TI seeks to up Hollywood's focus on its digital cinema

LOS ANGELES: Texas Instruments has hired entertainment specialists Rogers & Cowan to promote its digital cinema technology to Hollywood's power players.

LOS ANGELES: Texas Instruments has hired entertainment specialists Rogers & Cowan to promote its digital cinema technology to Hollywood's power players.

"We are trying to build widespread awareness for digital cinema and really get the industry behind the benefits of going digital,

explained TI's Cheraina Dunn.

Although the idea of digital cinema has been brewing for years, the technology has been slow to develop to film standards, and support from filmmakers and exhibitioners even slower to materialize.

Filming and exhibiting movies in a digital format creates higher quality images that don't fade or scratch like traditional film, as well as significantly cutting distribution costs for studios that currently have to make expensive copies of films for each theater to show. Digital films can be distributed electronically through satellite or cable connections, or on disks.

However, installing digital projectors is an expensive proposition - about $150,000 per screen. And since it's a nascent industry, no one is certain what the standards will be - leaving theater-owners hesitant to embrace the idea until it is more established.

However, some filmmakers are drawn to the high quality of digital images, and the flexibility they offer in the editing process. George Lucas' much anticipated Episode Two: Attack of the Clones was shot and edited with TI digital equipment, while other films such as Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's 11 were offered for digital distribution.

As digital film technology slowly winds its way toward mainstream acceptance, Texas Instruments is embracing PR as a means of cementing its place as an industry expert. Dunn said the need for a higher profile became evident at a trade show earlier this year, when competitors such as Kodak were receiving more press, despite TI's ties to the industry.

"All of the individuals that we believed had less of a reason to be included in the story were included,

said Dunn. "We decided at that point either we don't have the relationships to make it happen or we're not spending the money. We have really worked so closely with the industry, now we want the press and the media to recognize these relationships."

But Hollywood isn't the final destination for Texas Instruments. Dunn said the company's main focus is on business projectors for corporate America. However, that market wants to know that it's buying cinema quality equipment - which is why TI is targeting Tinseltown.

"We hope that people relate the image quality they experience in the theater with our other lines,

explained Dunn.

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