Interview with Lorenzo Branca,
Director of Digital Cinema, Cinemeccanica
graduate in electronic engineering from the University of Pavia, Lorenzo
Branca has been with Cinemeccanica since 2004 and coordinates projects
for the development and installation of digital projection systems in
How do you view the development of digital cinema?
Following a slowdown towards the end of 2007, I have noticed a considerable
recovery, both in actual installations and in contacts with new clients
in the first few months of 2008.
What do you think this increased interest by exhibitors is due to?
Without doubt to the greater availability of product: on the market
there are more films distributed in digital format and more alternative
content. But it is the spread of 3D that has given such a boost.
Cinemeccanica operates internationally: from your privileged observation
point, do differences emerge between the various markets in relation
to the development of digital and the economic models that support it?
As regards financing, in Italy there are high expectations of public
institutions, whilst the VPF model that has been adopted on a wide scale
only in the United States is considered with some perplexity. This is
mainly for “cultural” reasons: the exhibitor wishes to continue owning
his equipment. The figure of the intermediary, the so-called “integrator”,
foreseen by VPF, risks being considered an extra link in the supply
chain and one whose usefulness is not acknowledged.
As regards Europe, there is constant evolution in western countries,
whilst the surprise comes from eastern countries, such as Russia, Romania,
Croatia and Slovenia. Even though contacts do not always become contracts,
the interest there is growing constantly and there is a stronger desire
to follow agreements through.
Who are your “typical” customers? What do they demand?
There are various types of clients. The first to come along were our
traditional clients who have always taken on the role of pioneers in
the field. They immediately started experimenting with the new technology.
Amongst our more recent customers there are also those who are not yet
fully acquainted with the product. The initial idea is to purchase a
digital projector to gain experience. However, very soon in the case
of multiplexes, the customer realizes that at least 2 installations
are needed to pass programming from one theatre to another as the film
gradually starts to draw smaller audiences. Moreover, fitting a digital
projector in a medium-sized theatre optimizes 3D screening, which is
what exhibitors are trying to concentrate on because it attracts a great
many spectators and makes it possibile to increase ticket prices. In
Russia, for example, no digital equipment is sold unless it also supports
In many cases, we can say that enquiries come on impulse, often in the
wake of some event or other, but the actual purchase is far more carefully
Cinemeccanica, has been operating since1920 and is one of the leading
producers of projectors worldwide. Since 2005 it has also been supplying
digital projectors fitted with DLP Cinema™ technology.
The company’s headquarters are in Milan, Italy, with two branches, one
in France and one in the United States, for a total of around 130 employees.