DIGITAL CINEMA AT THE 2017 BERLINALE

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

In the last few years, the films shown at the Berlin International Film Festival have increasingly been delivered and screened in digital formats. That trend continues in 2017 – almost all of the more than 2,500 screenings at the Berlinale and the European Film Market will originate from Digital Cinema Packages (DCP).

The Berlinale occupies a unique and innovative position compared to film festivals worldwide at this digital cinema frontier, which would not be possible without a modern, temporary infrastructure enabled by IT and cinema technology companies. ARRI, Colt Technology Services, Dell EMC, Dolby, Aspera – an IBM company and Barco, as well as Rohde & Schwarz together form a well-rehearsed team of partners who support the Berlinale with digital cinema products and services that are essential to realizing the festival.

Telecommunications company Colt Technology Services provides the fibre optic network and collocation services at its Berlin data centre; from there the DCP files are sent to the festival’s more than 60 screens. The Berlinale network now has a total bandwidth of more than 100 gigabits per second, which is used during the festival to transfer a total of approximately one petabyte of data. For the first time this year, the software-defined networking is implemented into the system, allowing flexible adjustments of transmission bandwidths to respond to demand.

That enormous volume of data is stored on a cluster of six Isilon storage systems by Dell EMC, making it easily accessible and fully redundant. The more than 1,000 DCP copies reside on 550 terabytes of storage distributed across more than 200 hard drives.

Since 2002, ARRI has been responsible for the creation and processing of the beloved Berlinale trailer in all its versions and formats; the trailer will be shown in a 4K, high frame rate format.

Dolby provides the Berlinale with sound equipment, digital cinema servers and technical support. Since 2015, the Berlinale Palast has been equipped with the Dolby ATMOS immersive audio technology. And for the first time this year, the Berlinale will be using Dolby’s Fidelio wireless audio system to make selected screenings accessible to the hearing and /or visually impaired.

Aspera – an IBM company will once again provide the Faspex software to allow high-speed data transfer from distributors and production companies all over the world to the Berlinale servers at Colt’s data centre. Thanks to the ten gigabits per second Internet connection at the Colt facility, the DCP for a feature length film can be transferred in about 30 minutes. More and more production companies make use of network-based, encrypted film delivery, sparing themselves and the festival having to deal with tapes or hard drives.

As some productions do not deliver their films as DCPs, but as video tapes or files the Berlinale relies on the proven technology of post-production company Rohde & Schwarz to screen those films. The Berlinale Film Office team uses the encoding system R&S Venice, R&S SpycerBox and R&S CLIPSTER® to quickly and securely convert the various formats into encrypted DCP files.

And once again, the manufacturer of DCI-certified projectors, Barco will be supporting the Berlinale with five DLP projectors from its DP4K-32B and DP4K-23B series. Those 4K projectors will be used in the Berlinale Palast and the Friedrichstadt-Palast, among other venues, to deliver crystal-clear, high-quality pictures to screens as wide as 22 metres.

Logo-Berlinale-Facebook

(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

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