With the launch of a Technical Delivery Handbook by the Event Cinema Assn. (ECA), the burgeoning event-cinema sector has a set of best practice guidelines to follow to deliver consistent quality across all event cinema screenings. The handbook offers guidance for all areas of the event-cinema sector’s supply chain from production, satellite delivery and sound to distribution and exhibition.

“This is our first attempt at demystifying the process,” said ECA managing director Melissa Cogavin. “The handbook is intended to educate, inform and provide skills needed.”

The event-cinema sector is a rapidly expanding and ever-more important area for the exhibition business, expected to account for 5% of global cinema box office in 2015. This growth brings new players into the sector at all points of the supply chain, which can lead to significant differences in quality of experience. The whole sector can suffer from poor performance (whether through capture, sound quality, black screens, etc.) just as the whole can benefit from media attention around a successful, high-quality production such as last September’s “Billy Elliot the Musical Live” (above).

“Much of the technology used in event cinema is not new, but the practice is. Method and approach still tends to be quite variable,” said Peter Wilson, director of the European Digital Cinema Forum and managing director of High Definition and Digital Cinema, who chaired the committee behind the handbook. “We want to turn this into a professionalized industry. There are a lot of professional people in this industry, but we’re still learning.”

Wilson and co-presenter of the launch Isabelle Fauchet of Live Digital Cinema said the handbook was a first step, and updates would be produced as technology and opportunities changed. “The handbook is a summary of what’s been learned up to now,” said Fauchet. “It does not offer a window to the future.”

The launch took place Jan. 20 at Dolby’s European headquarters in London, marking the culmination of more than a year’s work for the ECA, the nonprofit trade association for the event cinema sector that has 75 members across 19 countries on six continents, and a committee of 14 industry experts from across the sector. As well as Wilson and Fauchet, the committee included representatives from BBC Worldwide, Arqiva, LANsat, DSAT Cinema, Vue Cinemas, CinemaLive and Royal Opera House, and consulted sector experts from across Europe. The handbook is available via the ECA website.