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Monday, October 23, 2006

New Digital Cinema Projector on the Way ... Meatloaf for Halloween ... And 3 From the LA Times

- Frank Stirling, formerly of Breakpoint Digital and Boeing Digital Cinema, has just hitched up with Panorama Labs. Panorama is an Australian company that is developing a new "microphotonics" technology, and one application will be in 4K digital cinema projectors.

Panorama has also hired Harry Mathias as its vice president of R&D; Mathias had previously been director of technology for NEC's Digital Cinema Division.

The most intriguing thing about the company: it's claim that it'll be able to produce projectors with "greater than 4K resolution," which could lead to "digital 70 mm" and "digital IMAX" projection. They'll apparently be at ShowEast this week, though it's unclear whether they'll have a working projector with them.

- Why do we need digital cinema? So that Meatloaf can perform a Halloween concert. Here's the trailer and list of theaters. (The last time I saw Meatloaf in a movie theater, it was the old "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" music video they used to show before "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Grove Art Cinema in Coconut Grove. Well before the advent of digital cinema...)

- From the LA Times: `AOL video site to sell Paramount movies and TV shows.' The deal:

    Classics such as "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Chinatown" and newer releases such as "Mission: Impossible III" will be sold for $9.99 to $19.99 each, comparable to fees at online services CinemaNow, MovieLink and Guba as well as sites operated by MySpace owner News Corp.

    Consumers will own the movies and can transfer them to as many as three other computers or portable devices that support Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Player technology.


- Also from the LA Times: `YouTube users keep dialogue running.' Chris Gaither and Dawn Chmielewski write that YouTube's community -- and the video `conversations' that take place within it -- is part of what has made the site so successful. They write:


    To Google, that community is worth potentially far more than the bootlegged video clips and amateur movies that built YouTube's audience of 63 million. Among fickle online audiences, loyalty is prized.


    "What's so unique about YouTube is that most of the content on the site is this conversation between people," said Fred Stutzman, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who has studied social networks. "The interesting thing is that the conversations are happening in videos."


    Charlene Li, a principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., called that the "secret sauce" that could help YouTube fend off competition from the rash of other video-sharing services.


- Finally, Gaither writes about an interesting Yahoo experiment that is a kind of hybrid between professionally-generated and user-generated video: "The 9." Gaither writes:


    Together, "The 9" (not to be confused with the ABC series "The Nine") and "Talent Show" reveal Braun's emerging vision for Yahoo's role in online entertainment: Blend show-business packaging with homemade-video creativity to bring cult hits into the Web mainstream.


    "In a world where there's such a proliferation of this user-generated content all over the place, there is a need for that programming element that is still, to a very large extent, an underutilized discipline on the Internet," said Braun, a former chairman of ABC television. "I think that's where our company is going to be able to distinguish itself."