The number of films screened in DCP (Digital Cinema Package) formats has risen significantly since last year’s Festival - especially at the European Film Market. The Berlinale 2012 presented a total of 659 screenings in DCP formats, as well as 627 in 35mm film and some 1,100 in diverse video formats.
For festivals worldwide – and the Berlinale in particular with its enormous programme - this development poses substantial technical, logistical and financial challenges. The Berlinale shows films on more than 50 screens all over the city, and even though most of these cinemas have already been equipped with the latest digital technology in compliance with the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) and have a uniform standard of performance, they are still not able to meet the demands of such a large film festival.
The Berlinale’s office for the technical coordination of film screenings faces a variety of challenges each year, including insufficient compatibility between different server and projector types in the Festival’s cinemas, and their various software and firmware versions, as well as difficulties resulting from the heterogeneous IT infrastructures at these locations.
In contrast to how cinemas are usually scheduled, at least five different films are shown per screen each day of the Festival, which means new films have to be uploaded onto the servers daily to accommodate the Berlinale’s programme. Prior to the screenings, the films have to be technically tested and then loaded (“ingested”) onto digital cinema servers. This process must be completed in time to be able to address any issues that may arise. Due to the amount of data, these various procedures are very time consuming.