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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

IMAX's Digital Plans ... Shorts on iTunes

- IMAX Corp. has started to say more about its plans for a ginormous digital projection system to serve the world's 290 IMAX theaters. From the press release:

    [IMAX has] moved up the launch date of its digital projection system in development to the second quarter of 2008 from its previously announced timeframe of the end of 2008 to mid 2009. The highly anticipated IMAX(R) digital projection system will further enhance The IMAX Experience(R) and help to drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and IMAX(R) theatres by virtually eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on IMAX screens.

    Under the current roll-out schedule, the Company anticipates that three digital IMAX prototypes will be installed during the second quarter of 2008. Shortly thereafter, IMAX expects to install three additional prototypes. Once these prototypes meet performance specifications, IMAX expects to proceed with a full rollout during the second half of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter of 2008.

No word on who IMAX is working with as partners ... I suspect this is not all technology developed in-house. In a survey IMAX conducted, 46 percent of respondents said they preferrred the digital IMAX projection to film.

- The San Francisco Chronicle has a piece about how iTunes and Web sites are fueling new interest in short films. It focuses on Tiffany Shlain ('The Tribe'), Jon Bloom ('Overnight Sensation'), and Jesus Beltran ('The Grass Grows Green'), among others. From Joe Garofoli's piece:

    Creators of short films (40 minutes or less) have finally found an audience through such online sites as iTunes, Revver.com and San Francisco's Frameline Films and Caachi.com, which specializes in distributing independent films. And those sites are even starting to bring a revenue trickle to older shorts that audiences are unearthing online.

    Shorts haven't had this kind of exposure since before 1950, when pre-TV-owning audiences saw shorts on the same bill with features and newsreels at the local movie theater. Now, when Oscar viewers hear about a handful of really cool-sounding short films that screen at one the world's 5,000 film festivals, they can actually see them.

    "We are at the beginning of a transitional moment" in the short-film industry, said David Straus, CEO and co-founder of Withoutabox.com, an 8-year-old Los Angeles outfit that has helped 150,000 independent filmmakers market their films using the Internet. "It's not just that people can download them and see films online, it's that filmmakers are learning what they can do to reach out to audiences themselves."


Beltran says he has made "a couple thousand dollars" over a few months of having his film up on iTunes. (To clarify an earlier post, Mediastile is handling the distribution of 'The Tribe' on iTunes.)

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