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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


Asger Bak
On the Cutting Edge of Cinema Equipment in Denmark with AB Global A/S

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Interview by: Thomas Hauerslev Issue 65 - July 2001

Asger Bak talking about 70mm and modern cinemas. Image by Thomas Hauerslev

One of the sponsors of "..in 70mm - The 70mm Newsletter" is AB Global A/S. AB Global A/S is one of the two leading cinema equipment companies in Denmark. I visited the exclusive premises (-, on the second floor in a warehouse.) in November 2000 and spent an afternoon talking with the manager Asger Bak, about the background of AB Global A/S.

Asger started the company in 1978 as AB Musik. "AB" is short for Asger Bak. The company was formed when he began importing music instruments for his friends playing in a rock band. The principal focus of AB Musik evolved to sale and rent of music instruments as well as sale of PA equipment for orchestras, concert halls and recording studios. In those days they were three, including his brother Jens Bak. In 1985 all PA equipment activities was sold and the rental arm was discontinued as they refocused their business.

Further in 70mm reading:

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New Activities

AB Musik was a successful company and activities were expanded to include designing turnkey equipment, acoustical design and installation solutions for recording studios. By 1990 the studio design part was outsourced as an individual entity named AB Studiedesign A/S, managed by Jens Bak. When the second national-owned TV station "TV-2" was opened in 1987, AB Musik was heavily involved. Being an official Dolby representative since 1980 it was only natural for AB Musik to design the control studios and install Dolby Surround equipment. A ground breaking effort, because TV-2 was the first network in Europe to broadcast in Dolby Surround, John Iles from Dolby Laboratories in England came to Denmark and assisted Asger and his crew with the installation and testing. The name AB Musik was recently changed to AB Global A/S, as the company now has activities outside Denmark. AB Global A/S works closely with Nordisk Film Biografer A/S, and they are expanding their cinema activities in Norway. AB Global A/S has a permanent staff of only 5 people in the main office in Århus. When needed additional staff is called in.

Cinema Expertise

Offices of AB Global, and some chairs on display. Image by Thomas Hauerslev

It was only obvious to continue into the world of cinema equipment. Their first project was the Kom-Bi cinema in Hornslet (Denmark). It was the following project, however, that really started the successful line of cinemas. Nordisk Film A/S sponsored two complete cinemas for the European Film College in Ebeltoft. "Both cinemas were set up in only 5-6 weeks. It was an enormous task as the order came November 30 and we were ready to roll January 9! That "operation" gave us confidence and really ignited the idea of making total concept cinemas. We also act as technical advisor for cinemas if the client wants our help".
The first Danish THX equipment was installed in 1994 by AB Global A/S. Since then, more than 40 screens (out of 350 Danish cinemas) have been THX certified. That figure included 5 mixing stages and Johan Ankerstjerne film laboratory (A Nordisk Film subsidiary). It is a time-consuming process to THX-certify a cinema. Architectural drawings must be reviewed, acoustical problems addressed etc. AB Global A/S now has that know-how needed to make the process go as smooth as possible for the client. A typical 6-8 weeks is used for the review process where drawings are sent to California. When that is done, necessary re-design in the cinema is fixed to comply with the guidelines.

The Future

How does Asger see his customer's interest for investments in exhibition? "Better than ever. There's a huge interest to upgrade existing cinemas. Even local councils see the potential of having a cinema in their town where the kids can hang out and a have a wonderful time. We sell many new chairs and replace old projectors with new." When asked about what his customers think about the prospect of switching to digital projection in the future Asger says, "They all ask "When" digital cinema will become affordable. There are many cinema owners here who want it, but simply can't afford to spend 2,5 million Danish kroner on a DLP projector". Finally, it is Asgers firm belief that cinemas will still be around in 10 years. "Celluloid may have been replaced with some form of digital projection, but Joe Customer will still need a place to see his films, bring his wife and have a few beers." Does Asger ever go to the cinema? "Not really. I see 4 or 5 films during ShowEast and maybe catch a few films at "Øst For Paradis" (art cinema) in down town Århus once in while, but that's it. I'm maladjusted to cinema and notice the errors too often. I do enjoy the social aspects of movie going, however".

When asked about the goals of his company, Asger clearly states "Do a proper piece of work for my customers, be up front with the latest advancements and keep the costumers up-to-date". To do that AB Global publishes a newsletter "AB News" from time to time. Back issues can be found on the web site.
Equipment Range

Skeie seats (Norway)
Dolby sound processors (England/USA)
Cinemeccanica projectors (Italy)
KCS speakers (Spain)
QSC amplifiers (USA)
Isco lenses (Germany)
Harkness screens (England) 
Lawrence crowd control systems
THX installations in Denmark.
FlexFrame Screen Systems

THX certified Studios

Nordisk Film
Det Danske Film Studie
Johan Ankerstjerne (Laboratorie)

BioCity, Odense, (9 screens)
CineCity, Aarhus, (9 THX screens)
BioCity, Esbjerg (7 screens)
Scala, Holstebro (4 screens)
BioCenter, Kolding (6 screens)
BioCity, Herning (6 screens)
BioCity, Hillerød
Filmhuset, København (3 screens)
Imperial Bio, København
Palads, København
Kino, Klovborg
Kino, Nyborg

More Pictures of AB Global

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Updated 21-01-24