CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

14 December 2012

Kenya: Planet Media Cinemas Unveil Kenya's First 35mm HFR 3D Digital Projection Systems

Regional retailer, Nakumatt Holdings, has completed a digital migration project for its Planet Media Cinemas at Westgate Mall. New technology presents unmatched image resolution and sound clarity for a near real life cinema experience.

The migration from analogue cinema screening to digital format, makes Planet Media Cinemas, the first movie theatre house in Kenya to adopt the new digital standard ahead of an expected global transition set for mid-next year.

Speaking while confirming the successful migration, Nakumatt Holdings Managing Director Atul Shah said the Kshs 30million analogue to digital conversion would now enable Planet Media Cinemas to screen 3D movies commencing this weekend.

Globally, movie theatres are rushing to complete their conversions to digital formats as all leading movie distributors continue to reaffirm a mid-2013 cut-off date to cease analogue 35mm film distribution.

In Kenya, Shah, explained that Planet Media Cinemas have installed new digital cinema systems with specifications technically known as 4K 3D and High Frame Rate (HFR) capabilities running on Dolby Screen Servers.With HFR 3D digital format, patrons at Planet Media Cinema will enjoy a smoother and more life-like picture as the eye sees twice the number of images per second.

With the commissioning of the new digital film projectors, Planet Media Cinema patrons will also enjoy better sound clarity.

"At Planet Media Cinemas, we are committed to revamping the local film screening scene by converting our theatres to Digital formats in line with the global developments for the benefit of our loyal patrons," Shah explained.

And added: "Leading film distributors are next year set to stop film distribution on 35mm Analogue films in favour of the high definition digital formats which present an amazing high definition picture quality."

This weekend, Planet Media Cinemas will premiere Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at its Westgate Theatre in HFR (High Frame Rate) 3D as part of the global release for the blockbuster movie. Globally, movie distributor Warner Bros has released The Hobbit in "only" 900 screens worldwide, 400 in the U.S. and the rest worldwide.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first major Hollywood blockbuster to be shot at 48 frames per second or HFR 3D, a digital 3D motion picture format using a higher frame rate than the industry standard of 24 frames per second.

Since 1889, the celluloid/35mm filmhas been the standard film projection technology. In 2009, James Cameron's Avatar appears to have been the turning point for the film industry particularly in the United States where thousands of theatres had to switch to digital projection in preparation for the release.

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