After the lockdown comes the big technological relaunch. Get it right and it will help us project the perfect image of cinema to the returning audience, but get it wrong and it delivers the wrong impression. Simon Tandy, CTC director and MD of cinema integrator Omnex offers some advice.


FOLLOWING THE IMPOSITION of lockdown, many of us experienced just how challenging it was simply to put up the “closed” sign. Whether it be managing front-of-house stocks or supporting employees and relations with long-standing clients and suppliers; it was no mean feat for any of us. Turning off a business is an unnatural thing to do. At cinema integrators like Omnex we were no exception.


Similarly, cinemas went through a largely alien technology ‘shut-down’. In common with many supportive colleagues, Omnex was quick to send a freely distributed guideline to any and all that needed the information, supporting cinemas in preparations to turn non-essential equipment off and propose what might be left on. Now cinemas similarly need our support to reverse the process and switch back on — the long-awaited preparations for happier days!


Operationally, many will have developed a detailed macro-understanding of their businesses like never before. For our part, the quiet time has helped us to learn and appreciate all the facets of our businesses, scrutinise our overheads and review how we can support the industry. In common with others, at Omnex our team has used this time to participate in in-depth training and development opportunities which have only heightened our appetite to come back stronger. There’s a real feeling in the team now that we’re so very close to the big relaunch.
The perfect time for perfection


One thing that cinema integrators understand full well is that the work our companies do for our customers (exhibitors large and small) is, in fact, judged in turn by their customers (the cinemagoers). Now is not the time to get things wrong. As an industry we need to be coming back strong — cinemagoers deserve the best possible cinematic return. This isn’t the time for technical slip-ups or a casual approach to projection. Now more than ever we need to impress upon cinemagoers why the experience we offer is the ultimate entertainment format. The key word is “impress”. Picture and sound needs to be at its optimal — that means all of us working together to achieve the best results possible. See over for some tips on that front.


Ready, willing and able
Over the past two years, at Omnex we’ve trebled the number of screens we maintain in the UK and are ready with a wealth of support available to cinemas. We’ve been working hand-in-hand with major manufacturers to build technology options that cinemas may be able to benefit from at this time, whether that’s warranty extensions, or training programs for your team including webinars.

Clearly the past few months have had a dramatic toll on all businesses. That makes finance perhaps more critical now than it has ever been. Integrators like Omnex aren’t purely about technology: our companies also support customers with a range of finance models; (i) service model, (ii) capex model, (iii) finance model. These can support cinemas with upgrades from 2k to 4k, xenon to laser, 5.1, 7.1 and ATMOS. We believe there is a solution to suit every screen, especially in straitened times. And we’ve been working hard with Xenon suppliers to keep lamps as affordable as they have always been.


Whilst we’d all love to wind the clock back a few months or years to plan better for this particular version of the present, I know — whether it’s my colleagues at Omnex or my wider industry colleagues in the CTC — that all of us are buoyed by the spirit of industry. We will come back ready to support, to grow and to bring cinema back to where it should be.