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EDCF CineEurope Roundtable 2023 Report

EDCF Problem Resolution Round Table CineEurope – Barcelona - 22/6/2023

For the fourth time, the EDCF Problem Solving Round table was organised during CineEurope. A mixed audience was present today.

Here are the questions and issues which were raised during the discussion and the summary of the comments.

  1. After the Covid pandemic, there seems to be an increase in cinema equipment which does not work.

More than before, there is equipment already ‘death on arrival’. Several types of equipment are involved: servers, amplifiers, sound systems etc. Several participants confirmed that they also see this problem, it is structural not incidental.

Where does the problem come from?

  • Backlog
  • Redesigned equipment
  • Chips issue
  • Lack of experienced technical people in cinemas

What are the possible solutions:

  • Pre-checks before sending out equipment
  • Easy access for products
  • Make products more modular
  • See below for experienced technical engineers.
  1. There is a lack of experienced technical engineers in cinemas:
  • During covid they found other jobs
  • Older experienced people having knowledge but retire
  • Few good people but they are too busy
  • Training is necessary
  • But are there people to train?
  • You can hire IT trained people, but they don’t have cinema experience
  • If you train people to become IT engineers they leave to another industry.
  • Cinema industry is not attractive – salaries are too low.
  • Cinema industry is not cool (24/7 job? You have to love the industry)

Possible solutions:

  • Customer versus service provider: work as partners and ‘share’ resources
  • Promotion on high schools/universities
  • UNIC people program (job awareness), focus is on creative but should be more technical
  • EU subsidy? No, too long too difficult no funds for UK
  • Hire highly educated people from other countries e.g. India
  • Keep people happy
  • Create different roles: entry level is engineer with limited responsibilities, slowly grow into more responsibilities
  • Training also available in other languages (not only English)
  • More automation in cinemas
  1. Security issues on older servers being hacked.
  1. Paramount have decided to not issue keys anymore for these servers. These servers are not used in Europe.

Possible solutions:

  • Frequently update hardware
  • Do not use the same password (1234)
  • Upgrade in test environment
  • Apply policies
  • Use ethical hackers

But there are even more threats, e.g. using a USB stick with hacking software on it.

There should be a paper with recommendations for cinemas ‘how to protect your cinema’. Action EDCF to create this e.g. in a working group

  1. Retirement of old equipment: is there a registry?

No!  How to decommission old hardware in a secure way (so it can no longer be hacked/used).

Need a proof of destruction. However, the circular economy would suggest that destruction may not be the best way.

There’s currently no official way.

Possible solution:

Increased communication between integrators and manufacturers. A quick email to list the server IDs will make a start in taking out the ‘dead’ servers.

Worth developing an official way to decommission a server – need industry conversation to determine what the best way is, taking into account all parties and interests

  1. DCP and trailers seem darker

Xenon is still preferred, but should be mastered for laser; less silver screens

  1. Live events; there are issues with video and sound (poor mix for cinemas, originally made for broadcast/tv)

Fantom has a list with recommendations, action EDCF to create such a list (work with ECA?).

Next event: EDCF will be at IBC 2023 in Amsterdam with the “annual update seminar (preliminary).

September 17th / time: 14:00 CET / Room: E105 – rai Conference Center / Amsterdam

Contributors to this summary: Cathy Huis in ‘t veld‑Esser, David Hancock, Wout van der Elst, Juergen Burghardt