The Scrabble Digital Initiative, in association with Cinema India Expo, held from the 3rd to the 5th of June at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, was India’s biggest digital and 3D event. It included conferences and screenings on digital cinema, with eminent personalities like Ranjit Thakur, Rohan Sippy, Alok Tandon, George Scheckel, Sunder Kimatrai, Amitabh Vardhan, among others, gracing the occasion.
At the 10th Cinema India Expo 2010, Scrabble featured a 250 seater 3D theatre on the exhibit floor as part of the Scrabble Digital Initiative. The 3D theatre boasted of full surround sound and a state-of-the art digital projection room with Christie 2k facilities. The event featured Hollywood movie screenings of unreleased films to be distributed on 2K digital projection, on the Scrabble network of digital theatres across India. A-Team and Robin Hood were the two movies that attendees of the event had the opportunity to enjoy.
Day one of the Scrabble Digital Initiative featured a great debate on whether the industry should move to 4K instead of the current 2K platform. Moderator for the day was Patrick Von Sychowski, Chief Operating Officer, Reliance MediaWorks. The panelists included Senthil Kumar, co-founder of Qube Cinema, Tony Adamson, Manager of Worldwide Customer Marketing, DLP Cinema & HDTV Products, Texas Instruments Inc., Dr. Chong Man-Nang, CEO, GDC Technology Ltd. and George Scheckel, Director, Business Development & Entertainment Solutions, Christie Digital Systems. A session on Worldwide 3D Technologies was also conducted by Bill Mead, Publisher, D-Cinema Today. The speakers included Hwang Jonggeun, President, Master Image, Phil Wu, Sales Director, GDC Technology Ltd., Guy Hawley, Dolby and Ami Dror, Chief Strategy Officer, Xpand. This was followed by the Twentieth Century Fox movie screening, A-Team.
Day two of the event had Rohan Sippy, Producer/Director, Ranjit Thakur, CEO, Scrabble Entertainment, Clyde DeSouza, Technology Advisor/Partner, Real Vision Consultancy and Vamsi Ayyagari of Eros International, discuss the opportunities/challenges Of creating Indian 3D content. Rohan Sippy, who has movies like Bluffmaster and Kuch Na Kaho to his credit and is currently working on Abhishek Bachchan starrer, Dum Maro Dum, described 3D as an opportunity to reinvent our cinema. According to him, the Hindi film industry relies heavily on the single screen. However, the single screen audience is not sufficiently addressed. Rohan feels that 3D is the biggest way by which such an audience can be reached. During the days of Sholay, he recalls, popcorn sellers in the theatres would complain of dropping sales as the audience was too stunned to leave their seats. One of the biggest challenges that Rohan thinks the Hindi film industry might face is that of convincing the studios that 3D is a profitable investment. On the question of how Hindi film makers will react to 3D, Rohan believes that a song and dance sequence in 3D would just be the number one thing.
Clyde DeSouza spoke about promoting the premise of thinking in 3D. One of the challenges, according to him, is that of Visual Grammar. “The action in Avatar in some parts is too fast paced. The 3D is actually falling off in the jungle scenes. Hence, the viewer is left with very little time to appreciate that particular scene.” He believes that live 3D is a great opportunity and a source of huge revenues.
Ranjit Thakur believes 3D cinema is here to stay. His company, Scrabble Entertainment, was formed in November 2007. Scrabble being India’s first 2K DCI Compliant Cinema deployment entity aims to convert every multiplex in the country to the 2K Digital Cinema Platform. The company has already contracted with leading Exhibitors, Producers and Distributors for the conversion process. According to Ranjit, it was the success of Avatar that sparked the digital market in India. “3D cinema leads to a more immersed audience. The viewer feels like he is in the scene with objects floating around him. People like the gimmickry. The revenue generated from 3D is about 3 to 5 times more than 2D”, said Ranjit.
Day three of the event featured the bigwigs of the industry such as Amitabh Vardhan, CEO, PVR Cinemas, Alok Tandon, COO, Inox, Devang Sampat, VP Marketing & Programming, Cinemax India Ltd., Vishal Kapur, CEO, Fun Cinemas and Ashish Saksena, COO, Big Cinemas speaking about the changing dynamics of Indian multiplexes with the revolution of digital cinema and 3D.
Ranjit Thakur signed off by stressing on the need for Digital Cinema in today’s day and age. He referred to Scrabble Digital Initiative as an opportunity to invite the Indian cinema exhibition industry to join the latest wave of 3D cinema that has captured audiences with the tremendous box-office success of Avatar worldwide. Ranjit firmly believes that the future of 3D cinema in India is very bright.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes. Ranjit Thakur did exactly that, by envisioning a need before it even arose.
Scrabble Digital Initiative attracted the crème de la crème of Bollywood. It was a major promotion event to go 3D and digital, inviting the Indian cinema exhibition industry to join the latest wave of 3D cinema that has captured audiences with the tremendous box-office success of Avatar worldwide. The Scrabble Digital Initiative at Cinema India Expo was the ground zero for the advancement of digital cinema and the most successful technology companies were participating in the Expo.