New Christie Laser Projection System to Brighten 3D Films

Projector maker Christie hopes to quell critics who claim 3D films appear too dark in cinemas by implementing a laser-driven projection technology. The new system is expected to create brighter and more vibrant images. The technology will be used to screen Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” at AMC’s Burbank 16 theater on March 28, the first time that laser projection will be made available for paying audiences.

“”G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ will play in 3D at brightness levels of 14 foot lamberts (ft-L) — along the lines of what is used for 2D — on a 65-foot-wide screen,” writes Carolyn Giardina for The Hollywood Reporter. “It is estimated that typical 3D brightness levels only reach 3-4 ft-L.”

“We are keenly interested in hearing the reactions and the feedback from a broad cross-section of people representing exhibition, filmmaking, and the ever-important cinema audience,” said Don Shaw, Christie’s senior director of product management. “This test of our laser technology will demonstrate how spectacularly a moviemaker’s vision can be realized when shown at light levels normally only possible for 2D movies.”

“Christie developed its own laser projection engine, which uses laser devices from supplier Necsel,” explains Giardina. “The demonstration will use a 4K-ready projector, though ‘G.I. Joe’ will be played from a 2K Digital Cinema Package, with a version that was specially mastered for 14ft-L 3D.”

There is interest in this new digital cinema technology, since it could also lower operating costs, reduce power consumption and extend system life spans.

However, regulatory issues may be a concern, since the FDA monitors laser use. Shaw explains that Christie has satisfied all regulations and safety concerns. Additionally, the Laser Illuminated Projection Association is urging the FDA to lower its requirements, claiming that lasers are “no more dangerous” than Xenon lamps.

“Looking to the future, Christie hopes to learn more about how laser technology runs over an extended period of time,” reports Variety. “As Shaw pointed out, ‘To date our previous showings to conference attendees and exhibitor audiences have only been for a few hours, as when we debuted ‘Hugo’ 3D at IBC.'”

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