One of the few exhibs at the confab willing to publicly embrace electronic cinema
is Virgin Cinemas Japan's Anthony Winston.
"It's going to be a real eye-opener for people when they realize how good electronic cinema
has become," Marcoly says.
But the rollout of electronic cinema in exhib terms will not be determined by aesthetic considerations, according to Alan McCain, ABC Cinema's technical director.
A further possibility, and the preference of European exhibs like AMC Europe's president, Bruno Frydman, is the physical delivery of tapes or discs on which the telecined data stream is stored, although this option would negate some of the savings and flexibility that electronic cinema would afford.
THX Professional Division director Kurt Schwenk, a panelist at the forthcoming Cinema Expo seminar on electronic cinema, points to the resolution of this issue as the key factor in the roll-out of electronic cinema, while its timing a specification for digital projectors is in place--will depend on the need to certify electronic masters and to develop standards for digital transmission schedules.
In the meantime, European exhibs, acknowledging the inevitability of electronic cinema, are testing the technology for themselves and laying the groundwork for the future.
Poster, who has shot in high-definition TV and describes himself as an early adopter, is put off by what he sees as a "PR juggernaut" promoting electronic cinema
. "I've examined it very closely, and I think it's a big hype job about something that isn't ready for primetime and isn't going to be ready for some time."
is really intriguing for us," Giordano says.
There's no consensus about an arrival date, but some industry insiders believe that within two years, high-quality electronic cinema systems could be operational.
Electronic cinema could potentially save studios millions of dollars in print and shipping costs, while maximizing profits for theater owners by giving them new scheduling flexibility.
In addition, electronic cinema is a highly charged issue.
As with many new technologies (think: the Internet), the hype surrounding electronic cinema still outshines the images electronic systems currently can deliver.