Digital technology is in theprocess of revolutionising the economics of film-making, according to ahigh-powered panel of experts at an HP-sponsored event on Saturday.

At the heart of the changeis a clear trend: wide and easy access to higher computing capabilities atlower costs.

Huge changes are alreadyunderway, panellists said.

"Technology that was once confined to specialists is now inthe hands of the creatives," said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president ofAdobe's digital imaging and video division.

"The same person who does the visual effects can now also dothe editing and so on," he said.

At the same time, new trendspromise to cut costs even further.

HP vice president of globalstrategy and technology Vikki Pachara said that at its HP Labs in Bristol inthe UK, animators were experimenting with "utility computing," which meansaccessing computing power only when it's needed, like plugging into the mainselectricity.

"Film-makers are finding they can make movies at a tenth ofthe current costs," she said.

At the same time, theconsumer is finding it easier and cheaper to watch movies in any format theychose, said Shelley Zalis, chief executive of OTX Consumer Research.

The final piece of thejigsaw is common standards making life much easier for the consumer. Europe mayhave a head-start over the US in that respect, said European InformationSociety and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.

"The EU consumer needs a one-stop shop for content," shesaid.