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Paris FAM Tour-Smart Jog 4K System

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The latest in French cinema and film-service technology was on display recently when Paris, je t’aime debuted in 4K high-resolution digital at a special screening held late last month at the Digital Cinema Lab’s Pacific Theater in Hollywood.The feature, a compilation of 18 short segments about romance in the French capital, was handled by Éclair Labs in Paris, and is the continent’s first example of postproduction on a full-length film in this advanced format. “This was the first 4K digital intermediate ever done in France—or in Europe,” said Éclair chief technology officer Philippe Reinaudo.SmartJog, also a French firm, used its technology to transmit the 203 gigabytes of digital files containing the film from Paris directly to Los Angeles, where it was put on servers at the high-tech theater run by the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California. The task was accomplished in about 12 hours.By securely sending the movie over the Atlantic in bits and bytes, the screening was a demonstration that French firms are able to deliver encrypted digital copies of films globally, using the same high technical standards approved for US entertainment companies under the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI), the joint venture created by seven major studios to establish technical specs for high-quality digital cinema.Paris, je t’aime launched at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it was projected conventionally, and will be released in the US in the spring of 2007. With 18 directors and 18 cinematographers involved, the film benefited from Éclair’s DI in 4K, which pulled together the segments into a more unified look while maintaining a broad color range.For Éclair, long a proponent of digital technology, “it shows that we are now at the cutting edge of digital,” said Reinaudo.SmartJog, with offices in Paris and Los Angeles, was spun off by France Telecom in 2002 and was purchased a month ago by TDF, a French-based provider of audiovisual, new media and broadband services. SmartJog now claims 400 customers in 60 countries, including all the major Hollywood studios. “They trust our secure technology and also find us cost-competitive,” says Christiane Ducasse, who heads the company’s LA office.Tasks SmartJog currently carries out range from transmission of movie trailers to multiple international markets, simultaneous delivery of television shows, and the digital movement of special material back and forth between the United States and Europe.“Many visual effects houses in London are sending a lot of frames back to studios in LA over our system,” said Ducasse. The company’s business model is aimed at ultimately transmitting finished films from the United States directly to cinemas in Europe.The company is growing rapidly. Since 2004 it has delivered over 200 terabytes (1,000 gigabytes) of data, but the current rate is up to 25 terabytes every week.

Written by Jack Egan

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