CJ@CineAsia Christie Laser Demo

By | December 10, 2014 5:05 am PDT

In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

Early morning talk and demo of Christie’s 6P laser light illuminated projector. Most of this is a repetition of what was said at IBC’s Christie 6P laser demo in September. First topic is ‘Market need’. Given that lasers are not cheap, why do exhibitors need them, particularly when many of them have just gone through the expensive upgrade from 35mm?

“Why is Christie building a 6P laser projector?” asks Don Shaw, Sr Director Product Management Entertainment Solutions for Christie.

“Not because it is cool or because Bill Beck [Barco] is building 6P laser projectors. Butbecause there is a well established market need – for PLF [premium large format] and for 3D. Both of them are places where exhibitors can make more money. PLF gives you an opportunity to give a differentiatied exerience and you can charge more for it. 3D has been around for longer. Ever since the “Avatar” effect. The only way to get a true immersive 3D experience is to go to cinema. The most important thing about 3D is that premium, the upcharge.”

Flashing up the chart demonstrating the decline in 3D attendance (using Screen Digest/IHS data – see above). “This is what will happen in international market if we don’t fix the problem. What does this mean to exhibitors? All the money for 3D premium is drying up.”

So what’s wrong with 3D? Journal of America Academy of Optometry identified several problems. Don uses the example of how low light levels in cinema is analogous to reading in the dark. Eye strain, headache & blurred vision. “It won’t ruin your eyes – like your mother warned – but it won’t be a pleasent experience,” he observes. Stereopsis – it is our primary cue of depth perception. Naturally simultaneous. Therefor natural preference for simulataneous L eye/R eye.

“The big issue that people aren’t talking about is silver screens. Here’s the problem – the hot spot in the middle.” Inevitable with silver screens, Don comments.

Discusses the Christie laser technology: “In our lab we have built prototypes of projectors with over 100,000 lumens – with no smoke coming out of it,” Don swears. Another advantage is cost over life time – 30,000 hours with no lamp change. Works with most 3D systems – except Dolby (“will get back to that in a moment”).

RealD’s Light Doubler is about 27% efficient, meaning just over a quarter of the light put out by the projector reaches the eye. “Doesn’t sound like much but it is the most efficient one in the market for Xenon bulb, ” says Don. By way of comparison:
– MasterImage’s spinning wheel is 16% efficient.
– Static polarized glass is about 16% efficient.
– Liquid crystal light polarization is about 15% efficient.

According to Don, “A truly good 3D experience should be on a matt white screen.” Shutter glasses are only 13% efficient plus alternate L/R can be percieved as flicker. Color separation (the system Dolby 3D uses) – “on a good day you might get 10% efficiency” – but many would say it has the best image quality. Creatives want to grade use the Dolby 3D system.

Theory of color spearation 3D slide and discussion.

6-Primaries laser has 42-45% efficient 3D built in. Uses color separation Dolby 3D. ‘Glasses-only’ 3D system built in to the system. >1,000:1 contrast ratio.

Christie 6P System architecture
Dual head system
– Simultaneous L/R eye images
All lasers on 100% of time
Fiber Coupled laser
– Scalable
– Upgradable
– Built in cooling
– Redundancy
‘Remot-able’ light sourse (“I’m not sure that’s a word,” Don aknowledges.)
– Heat noise away fro projector
– Boothless cinema projection

Single projector 6P system architecture:
-L/R eye lasers alternate on/off
– 2X lasers for same 3Dbrightness
– 60K lumens projector means less than 30K lumens >Max 13 meters 1.0 gain screens 14 fl 3D
According to Don “you are better off with two stacked Xenon projectors.”

Looking at the competiton’s lasers (Barco and NEC), “Large external chiller means a single point of failure.” Talk then switches to the challenges of achieving 6P laser DCI spec color compliance. Staying within the DCI triangle is a challenge, particularly for both eyes and for two colors each. Don claims that Christie is the only one in the market that has achieved this.

Blue/phosphor laser for cinema. “Perfectly fine for home projector. Problem is not enough red light.” 10K lumen projector is only 5K-6K lumens in DCI color space.

Christie will ship >USD $25 million in laser projectors in this FY.

Screening “Hugo” opening clip in 3ftL and 14ftL. Then re-color timed “Avatar” clip. 

Next up Christie Vive Audio

Christie uses ribbon driven technology by adressing shortcomings to deliver better results through: lower distortion. greater dynamic range, extremely uniform coverage, high sound pressure level (SPL) with wide disersion. This has already been implemented in professional audio and Christie want it to filter through to cinemas as well.

Christie compact line array has been integrated into single enclosure. This offers directivity, cverage, phase cohenrence and output (higher SPL in listening area). Line array is also less obtrusive form factor. With more uniform coverage there is expanded listening area. Covers 4X the ideal listening area conventional systems.

Christie offers premium speakers, profesional class D amplifiers and  SKA 3D cinema processor. Installed in most continents. Showing the
Wanda CBD Cinemas, Beijing, Cinea Dolby Atmos which has baklight behind the speakers. “This is all the speakers that you are listening to.” Unobtrusiv during the actual presentation;
New Farm Cinemas, Australi, 5.1 corenr surround channels. Minimises visual impact on heritage protected cinema;
Lotte World Plaza, Seoul, Korea, Dolby Atmos and 7.1;
Twentieth Century Fox Studios, Screening Room, Dolby Atmos;
USC Film School, Norris Theatre, Dolby Atmos;
Southern ThemGrand Esplanade 14, Kenner, LA, Dolby Atmos – one Dolby Atmos and 13 Dolby 5.1. Stresses that Christie Vive Audio is NOT just Dolby Atmos. Our goal is just to provide the hardware and you implament it any way you want (including Barco Auro 11.1);
Cinemex Gran Sur, Meico, Dolby Atmos (one of their 15 Atmos installations). They invented the backlighting the speaker;
Cinemark Starcreek 16, Allen, TX, Barco Auro (one of two Auro 11.1 in North America using Christie Vive Audio).

Patrick von Sychowski
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Patrick von Sychowski

Patrick was a Senior Analyst at Screen Digest, went on to launch the digital cinema operations of Unique and Deluxe Europe, then digitised Bollywood at Adlabs/RMW, and now writes, consults and appears on panels about cinema all over the world.
Patrick von Sychowski
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