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Off the red carpet, festivals struggle with data drama

Blog
12 February 2014

Berlin: The digitisation of the film industry throws up huge technical and logistical for events like the Berlin Film Festival.


Some 95% of the 2500 film screenings during the Festival and at the European Film Market are now digital.

For the first time, the digital screenings at the Berlinale are all being presented in the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format.

It means the festival now has to manage huge volume of data. The festival says the need for broadband data connections and storage systems has increased hugely. 

Before the Festival, many technical and logistical processes have had to be reconsidered and modified. 

The festival says that seven companies are supporting its digital cinema infrastructure: Colt, EMC, Barco, Dolby, Doremi, DVS and VIDI.

Fibre-optic cable outfit Colt connected all of the Berlinale’s permanent venues with both the main Berlinale Film Office data centre at Potsdamer Platz and the Colt data centre in Berlin. 

It means a bandwidth of 75 Gbit/s is now available for transferring the films around the festival venues.

The festival’s central storage system is supplied by EMC, which has provided an ISILON storage cluster with a total capacity of 400 TB.

Meanwhile, the festival has also had to transcode all the films playing at the Berlinale from very diverse formats into DCPs. DVS has supplied several CLIPSTER postproduction workstations to help speed up the 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 using software developed specifically for this purpose.

Meanwhile, Dolby audio specialists checked the sound systems at the over 50 venues before the Festival opened and adjusted their setups accordingly.

Digital cinema projector firm Barco has provided the Festival with DP2K and DP4K projectors, helping to transform the Berlinale’s temporary venues into modern movie theatres.

 

 

 

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