Customer Story

Christie Leads Spanish Digital Cinema Revolution with Yelmo Cines

Spain's leading cinema chain chooses Christie for its state-of-the-art digital multiplex

With 351 screens in 31 different cinemas Y​elmo Cines​ is the leading cinema chain in Spain, annually attracting 12 million people.

 The Yelmo Cines Islazul cinema is the most recent addition to its chain, involving an investment of over €12 million. Boasting 13 screens the complex is located in the Islazul shopping mall in Carabanchel (Madrid).

With a capacity of 3,200 people, the newly opened Yelmo Cines Islazul features a series of technological advances and a wide variety of state-of-the art services making it the most modern multiplex in Spain and a leader in the European industry. Five screens in the complex, accounting for half of the cinema’s total capacity, have been thoroughly digitised with 2K DLP Cinema® projectors from the Christie CP2000 series. The remaining screens are fully equipped with 35mm projectors. Arts Alliance Media (AAM), in collaboration with its local integrator partner Kelonik, has been responsible for the provision, installation and maintenance of all the  equipment.

This has been Yelmo’s first experience with a digital multiplex solution, as hitherto the company only had five digital screens distributed in different cinemas. “The purpose of this installation was to see what it would be like working in a complex with different digital screens, with the possibility of sharing and distributing content between the different screens,” says Enrique Martínez, Technical Director of Yelmo Cines. The 10-terabyte Theatre Management System (TMS) used by Yelmo is the first TMS installed in Spain. The screens are also equipped with Doremi's individual DCP-2000 servers featuring 1 terabyte of storage, coupled with Dolby Surround 5.1. for the audio system.

The five DLP Cinema® projectors installed include one Christie CP2000-SB projector, two Christie CP2000-ZX projectors and two Christie CP2000-S projectors. Kelonik underscores Christie’s extensive experience as one of the main reasons for choosing its projectors: “Christie’s projectors are known for their state-of-the art technology, particularly with regard to brightness, and we trust in their proven performance,” says Tomás Naranjo, Commercial Manager of Kelonik. “We shouldn’t forget that most DLP Cinema® projectors all over the world are Christie’s,” he adds.

Enrique Martínez from Yelmo highlights the reasons that tipped the balance in favour of Christie. “One of the features of the projectors that convinced us was the user-friendly menus. We believe this is crucial for our operators, especially when they were not very familiar with digital technology. We were also attracted by the fact that projectors are compatible with any signal and content source. All the built-in video scalers and input boards in Christie projectors are designed to support any signal. And we really appreciate this, because it allows us to output all kinds of content.”

The Yelmo Cines Islazul boasts the ideal premises and equipment for broadcasting big music concerts and sports events via satellite. For example, the complex has an opera programme, which is “proving a resounding success”, according to Enrique Martínez. “Not many people can afford a season ticket for the opera house; therefore, this is a very interesting alternative for those who would like to enjoy a live HD opera show in a cinema theatre at an affordable price. Hopefully this sort of alternative content will become more popular in coming years and we definitely expect it to become a core source of our box-office takings.”

Martínez claims that in the near future football matches in High Definition will be also screened live: “Watching a live football match at the stadium is amazing, but you can miss lots of different views of the match. However, with a combination of large screen and a 2K projector comprising these features, you can enjoy stunning details and views that would be impossible to see at the football stadium. So we do believe there is a target audience for this kind of content.”

One of the most outstanding and distinctive features of Yelmo Cines Islazul is its large scope cinema screen. Measuring 25.6m (wide) by 10.7m (high) the 700-capacity Screen 12 is the largest screen of its kind in Europe. Besides. The room is equipped with a powerful Christie CP2000-SB projector which has allowed the group to specify an incredibly large screen, explains Enrique Martínez.

On the other hand, Yelmo Cines Islazul incorporates a screening room with a capacity of 268 people, fully equipped with a CP2000-S projector, and ready for 3D stereoscopic digital projection using XpanD’s active glasses. The Spanish cinema chain also hopes to transform another of its rooms, with 432 seats, into a 3D screen very soon.

Cutting-edge technology can also be found in a multifunctional auditorium known as Cinegames, featuring 2nd generation multimedia equipment. This is a pioneering concept developed by Yelmo Cines aimed at holding online multiplayer videogames using a spectacular large format screen and special effects. Equipped with a Christie CP2000-ZX projector, this room includes 54 VIP leather seats with individual screens, as well as individual audio systems in the headrests and THUNDERBOX audio-tactile systems built in the seats and backrests, specifically designed by Euroseating for Cinegames. The auditorium is also used for holding interactive conferences, as well as for cultural, business and educational events requiring large screen digital projection.

Another of the complex’s new technological introductions is the so-called ‘Red Seat’ concept — three rows of seats located in the section with the best view of the screen, each equipped with an individual vibration system taking the viewers to another dimension through sound sensations, and allowing them to feel the film’s sound effects. Yelmo Cines Islazul boasts a total of 549 red seats distributed in its 13 screens, accounting for 17% of the multiplex’s total capacity.

Finally, revolutionary technology is also incorporated in the Digital Hall. This is the entrance to the cinema, containing several interactive systems with flat screens, a panoramic video wall and touch-screen terminals providing users with information about ‘What’s On’ on a weekly basis, videos with trailers of movie premieres or interaction with different content.

To sum up, Enrique Martínez points out that his company is fully satisfied with the performance of Christie projectors for their projection quality coupled with their brightness. According to Martínez, Yelmo Cines’ investment in digital technology has been worthwhile, as “it is attracting more public than we would have with a traditional 35mm projector”.

But Yelmo Cines’ digital cinema ambition goes much further. The company has just announced a new agreement with AAM for the equipment of another 22 of its screens with 3D digital cinema technology during 2009, including capability via satellite and DCI-compliant systems, a standard developed by Digital Cinema Initiatives. “With this new push forward for digital cinema, we wish to make the most of the new spate of 3D films,” says the Technical Director of the Spanish chain. Both the Christie projectors and the Doremi servers have been chosen again by Yelmo, AAM and Kelo​nik to fit out these 22 halls.

Enrique Martínez highlights that Yelmo plans to add new CP2000 series models in its cinemas. “What we really like about Christie is the philosophy of constant evolution. This never ceases as they are continuously releasing new models, improving and upgrading their technologies,” he concludes.

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