As in recent years, the Berlinale has again faced enormous technical and logistical tasks that have arisen from the film industry’s digitisation.
Now that the rollout of digital cinema is nearing completion, one of the greatest challenges for the Festival is distributing the films with their ever larger data volumes. For the first time, the digital screenings at the Berlinale are all being presented in Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format. This involved converting the films in advance to this format whenever necessary.
As a result, 95% of the 2500 film screenings during the Festival and at the European Film Market are now digital.
Seven enterprises are supporting the Berlinale this year in the field of digital cinema: Colt, EMC, Barco, Dolby, Doremi, DVS and VIDI.
While the need for digital projectors has decreased due to successful digital rollout, the need for broadband data connections and storage systems has increased considerably. So prior to the Festival, many technical and logistical processes had to be reconsidered and modified. To accommodate the growing demand, fibre-optic cable specialist Colt connected all of the Berlinale’s permanent venues with both the Berlinale Film Office data centre at Potsdamer Platz and the Colt data centre in Berlin. Consequently, a bandwidth of 75 Gbit/s is available for transferring the films in 2014. For the first time, the Berlinale is also using Colt’s colocation services, which enables the Festival to operate a high-performance storage system supplied by EMC. To make it possible to store all the film data centrally, EMC has provided an ISILON storage cluster with a total capacity of 400 TB.
To transcode the films that were submitted in very diverse formats into DCPs, DVS has supplied several CLIPSTER postproduction workstations that are especially well-equipped to accelerate such computationally-intense processes.
Moreover, to ensure that the required HD video signals are transferred losslessly between the data centres of the Berlinale and Colt, the firm VIDI has installed an HD-SDI transmission system with four channels.
To supervise all the processes - from testing to transmitting films, managing film keys and monitoring screenings – centrally from the Film Office, the Berlinale is utilizing software developed specifically for this purpose.
To guarantee that everything also goes smoothly in the movie theatres, Dolby audio specialists checked the sound systems at the over 50 venues before the Festival opened and adjusted their setups accordingly.
Barco, global experts for digital cinema projectors, is again collaborating with the Berlinale. Along with other services, Barco is providing the Festival with a selection of DP2K and DP4K projectors, as these are crucial for transforming the Berlinale’s temporary venues into modern movie theatres.
February 11, 2014