Kinepolis Bruges at the forefront of technology

Visits to cinemas equipped for digital projection have been one of the basic components of the course “DigiTraining Plus: New Technologies for European Cinemas” since the first edition in 2004.
In 2007 the venues visited were the Kinepolis in Bruges and the Imagix in Tournai.

Opened on 7 July 2006, the Bruges Kinepolis, situated not far from the town centre, offers eight theatres for a total of 1,605 seats. Three screens are already equipped with digital projectors, made by Barco, with Dolby servers. As its Manager, Diether Thielemans, explained, this complex was designed to meet the demands of the contemporary spectator who looks for ideal conditions for watching the projection of a film, but also a place to enjoy a communal experience and to be entertained. In this perspective it becomes important for the cinema to have spaces where magazines and dvds or the posters of favourite films can be bought, or simply spaces to relax in whilst reading a good book or munching popcorn on a comfortable sofa. To satisfy these demands, the Bruges site offers the Kinepolis shop together with the CréaCafé, where it is also possible to buy salads, pizzas and pasta dishes, as well as an area reserved for play stations, where clients can enjoy playing with a game pad, whilst waiting for the beginning of a film. Kinepolis also reserves a digital screen for these games, which gives fans of videogames the opportunity to compete against one another with the latest models provided by PS3. The videogame business has, in fact, experienced strong growth over the last few years: recent surveys show that the play station has proved to be the favourite form of entertainment with young people. The technological innovations of these cinemas do not stop here, though. Ticket purchasing and the choice of seats, for example, can be carried out either from home, using a system of online payment, or by making use of the special self-service columns placed in the foyer of the cinema. This system allows the spectator to avoid long lines at the box office and the exhibitor to save on staff costs. In addition, a system based on sensors fitted below the seats allows the box office staff to check on special monitors to see if the seats sold and the seats occupied actually coincide. When showing participants at the DGT course how her product operates, Lzhou Pei-Zhi, Director General of Quick Sensor NV (the company that supplies the mechanism), stressed both the money saved and the benefits for the spectator who feels freer of controls.
But of all the innovations adopted by the Bruges Kinepolis, what is most striking is the digital projection. The fact that it is strongly appreciated is demonstrated by the spectators’ willingness to pay a slightly higher price for “digital films”. Proof that Kinepolis, the leading firm on the Belgian market (46.6% of the Country’s box office in 2005), is staking a lot on this technological innovation as part of its strategy to maintain its competitive edge, is the project that aims to install a digital projector for every screen by the end of 2007. The objective: to ensure the quality of digital projection for the duration of the film’s commercial life.

Manuela Nastri

On the morning of 27 March, the Bruges Kinepolis hosted the digital screening of a selection of European films prepared by XDC for the participants at the "DigiTraining Plus: New Technologies for European Cinemas" course.
Amongst the titles were Changes, Das Parfum – Die Geschichte eines Mörders, Silence becomes you, Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek. Click on the titles to see the fact cards.