Kodak said it plans to expand the services offered at its Hollywood-based Entertainment Imaging division in order to define its strategies for digital cinema.

Prexy of the division Joerg D. Agin made the announcement Saturday during a keynote address at the annual conference of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in New York.

Agin said the facility will serve as the core of a virtual team charged with providing leadership, coordination, prototype testing and development on a wide range of potential applications from digital cinema to the Internet and asset protection.

Already, Kodak-owned f/x shop Cinesite in Los Angeles and London is developing digital mastering technologies.

More to do

For an industry changing over to digital projection and leaving traditional film prints behind, a worried Kodak’s Agin said, “We are impressed with the image quality seen in electronic cinema demonstrations. However, there is still much work to be done before it makes sense to implement this technology on a wide scale. Progress will require a cooperative effort involving all sectors of the industry.”

Agin said Kodak hopes to provide a leadership role in developing the new technology.

“We all need to challenge ourselves to drive digital image quality to a level where it exceeds the expectations of the most creative filmmakers and the most critical audiences,” he said.

Agin emphasized the importance of standards, open systems, security of images and solutions that are scalable and extensible.

“Digital technology can meet those challenges,” Agin said. “There are creative and cost benefits, in addition to applications for film restoration and preservation. Studio and other asset managers are embracing the concept of having standard digital master files for potentially valuable content. Digital masters are an entry point for Kodak into digital cinema.”

Many useful strategies

Agin said there is considerable headroom for driving the evolution of film, hybrid and digital imaging technologies forward along both parallel and converging paths.

“We will continue to listen to our customers and respond to their needs,” Agin said. “This is a time of great opportunity for the entertainment industry, and for Kodak. In a world changing beyond recognition, people will continue to communicate with pictures. And we will continue to find new opportunities to apply technology — and extend the power of moving images — in creative ways.”