Barco to Present Giant Screen 4K 3D Laser Projection Demo - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 49 Old 12-26-2011, 11:24 AM
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hi peter

yes at very big distances may some people see it some not but in a
home cinema we not have this big distances!

the other company that promise in some month a laser based lcos vibrates the screen
to not have speclking but this will creates other issues.......and you cant do this for
big screens.

no question laser will have some advantages but also some disadvantages.
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post #32 of 49 Old 01-20-2012, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Not much reporting from this event here on AVS yet, so I had to google for some;


The 2nd Annual Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium kicked off Monday at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. Barco, teaming with museum cinema integration company D3D Cinema, is the event's host, and Barco-as much of the electronics industry played with gadgets at CES in Vegas- unveiled some impressive large-screen milestones here in Galveston, on day one of the two-day event.

In demos for an audience of select reporters, theater owners, consultants, and analysts, Barco has demo'd its Enhanced 4K DLP Cinema 3D offering, Auro-3D multi-channel three dimensional audio system, and a new prototype Laser projector.

Barco first released its 4K DLP Cinema projector in 2010- but Barco is now exploring higher frame rates. The specification of 48fps in the DCI spec ushered in 3D. But further evolution of frame rates will see the ability to achieve 60, 96, and 120 fps performance- to be able to do 30fps, 48fps, and even 60fps 3D. And DLP technology- that Barco (as well as the other DLP Cinema licensees Christie and NEC) uses for its light engine- can more easily move to these faster frame rates- with a software upgrade- than can Sony's SXRD technology.

But certainly the most dramatic demo at the Digital Cinema Symposium was Barco's showing of a prototype Laser projector. How many prototype demos have I seen, over the years, of new projection technology? Too many to count, and typically demos are done in smallish, darker-than-the-inside-of-a-cow rooms, and showing material that avoids things like skin tone. Not so this demo. I was very impressed. Although Todd Hoddick, Vice President Entertainment, North America, at Barco, prefaced the demo by asking the audience to bear with any glitches in the prototype demo, I can report that the admonition was totally unnecessary. The audience saw a stunning display on a massive screen (about 80 ft. wide at least), with a light output they have never seen anywhere. 600 watts of laser light into the 4K DLP (with a 1.38 inch chip), super high contrast, with amazingly uniform light output to the last inch of every corner of the screen. And although Hoddick explained that the de-speckling necessary for the laser-produced image still had a bit more to go in development (speckle is the introduction of image artifacts resulting from the interference of narrow bandwidth light), Barco did an amazing job of eliminating the speckle. Clips from Pulse (upcoming movie release from the producers of the Broadway hit Stomp) and from original 4K material shot with a Red 4K camera, projected onto the massive Harkness screen, were stunning. It's impossible to describe the combined, synergistic effect of simultaneous very high light output (55K ANSI Lumens), higher contrast, and 4K resolution.

The benefits of Laser projection are easily listed:

higher brightness (55K now, in this prototype- and in ANSI, not Center, Lumen measurement)

unlimited dimming for 2D and 3D

more energy-efficient than a high lumen projector using a Xenon lamp

higher contrast, because of the more collimated light source

wider color gamut (Barco projected, for comparison, the DCI standard color bar, vs the native color gamut color bar in the demo. The native color bar showed deeply saturated color)

no light fall-off in edges or corners of screen

The challenges yet to overcome for Laser: cost is still too high for significant penetration; and very importantly, regulatory bodies have not signed off on the safety concerns (the light beam emitting from the projector onto the screen is not an issue, it's the safety concerns surrounding the projector housing that is at issue).

Barco is showing Laser to the cinema and large venue world now, and stressing that when it does come, owners of their Xenon lamp DLP projectors will be able to retrofit to the new technology. In the meantime, there is plenty of keen interest in what's available today, from the company: things like their Dual 4k- double stacked 4K Barco projectors that can put 83K Lumens on a single screen, and the new Auro 3D. And- coming soon from the company, their own Media Block. That last development will be another milestone- more on that to come.
More about the audio system in the link;

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post #33 of 49 Old 01-20-2012, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
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This might also be of interest for some;


Qube Cinema XP-I Streams 4K 3D from a Single Server
Industry First Unveiled at Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium

Technology leader Qube Cinema made history at the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium last week delivering a high bit-rate 4K stereoscopic DCP through two Barco projectors. Presented to a live audience at the Moody Gardens 80' by 60' Giant Screen in Galveston, TX, the demonstration used a standard Qube XP-I server paired with Qube Xi 4K Integrated Media Blocks (IMBs) installed in two Barco DP4K-32B projectors. With this advance in digital cinema technology, high bit-rate, stereoscopic 4K projection from a single DCP through a single server is now a reality for exhibitors.

At the Digital Cinema Symposium, the Qube Cinema system played back an 800 Mbps DCP, more than three times the maximum DCI bit rate specification of 250. The data speeds of the Qube XP-I server make it possible, for the first time, for a single server with one DCP to drive two projectors, each with their own IMB.

Delivering High Frame Rate Content
At Moody Gardens, Qube Cinema also demonstrated the high frame rate (HFR) capabilities of the Qube XP-I server with 2K stereoscopic content on the Giant Screen. This demonstration compared 3D material at 24, 48 and 60 fps. At 60 fps, motion blur disappears and rich detail is clearly visible in the moving images. Accustomed to 24 fps playback, many people are not aware of the image compromises associated with this standard, especially for stereo 3D. The difference was immediately apparent during the Qube presentation, including side-by-side split-screen comparisons at the Digital Cinema Symposium.

As currently configured, the Qube XP-I server with the Qube Xi 4K IMB is capable of data rates of up to 1,000 Mbps - or 500 Mbps per projector, allowing for pristine 4K stereo 3D. The system can support frame rates of 30 fps for 4K projection, and frame rates of up to 120 fps for 2K content.

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post #34 of 49 Old 01-20-2012, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

Not much reporting from this event here on AVS yet, so I had to google for some;

Thanks for the update coolscan.

JBL Pro Cinema-JTR subwoofers-Sony SXRD projection
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post #35 of 49 Old 01-20-2012, 02:27 PM
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Guess Peter missed his flight...
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post #36 of 49 Old 01-24-2012, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by donaldk View Post

Guess Peter missed his flight...

Aww thats too bad. Anybody else attend???? Would love to hear some personal opinions on the demos.

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post #37 of 49 Old 01-25-2012, 10:45 AM
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Well, i meant, he hasn't posted from or after the event. If he attended he would have posted...
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post #38 of 49 Old 02-09-2012, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Link to this report was posted in another thread. Because links often go dead over time, I post the whole text here;


IMAX, Barco and Kodak to Bring Laser Cinema
February 8th, 2012

Last time I did a Display Daily column on laser cinema was back when IMAX announced they had licensed the Kodak laser cinema technology. But, neither IMAX nor Kodak actually builds projectors. Now the other shoe has dropped with announcements by Barco and IMAX that Barco has been chosen to be the exclusive supplier of projectors for IMAX for the next 7 years. According to the announcement, the laser projectors will incorporate technology IMAX has licensed from Kodak.

This 7-year agreement covers both xenon lamp-based projectors and laser projectors. Previously, Christie had supplied the IMAX xenon projectors, so this is a big feather in its cap for Barco. IMAX may not be a huge market itself, but it is certainly a very visible one. The first xenon-based IMAX projectors are expected to be installed by mid-2012. Installation of Barco laser projectors at IMAX venues will begin in 2013.

In January, Barco demonstrated a laser projector with an eye-popping 55,000 lumens. See the February issue of Large Display Report for details on that demonstration. Here are some additional technical details of the demonstration that were not available in time for the February LDR:

» • 600 optical watts of laser power (Total R+G+B)

» • Laser light is coupled to the existing integration rod in a conventional DP 4K-32B optical core.
» • 1.38-inch DLP 4K DMD with an illuminated area is 4096 X 2160 pixels was used.

» • Contrast of 2,300:1

» • The wide color gamut of the laser was mapped to a standard digital cinema P3 color gamut for the demo.

» • Everything was self-contained in one projector cabinet 30" wide X 36" high X 60" long (76 x 91 x 152 cm). This includes the lasers and the laser drivers.

» • A standard projection lens was used, with no optical modifications done on the output side of the DLP optical core.

» • The demo was shown on a 70 foot (21.3M) wide Harkness matte screen (1.0 gain) at a light level of 22fL. 22 fL on a gain 1.0 screen area of 2,560 sq. ft. (238M2), corresponds to 56,980 Lumens.

» • Pictures were excellent, with especially good uniformity and resolution across the full screen.

» • There was no observed chromatic aberration in the image.

» • By all reports, speckle was not an issue. Even experienced observers could not see speckle in color bars showing the P3 color gamut. When color bars showing the full laser gamut were shown, the speckle in the green bar was visible although still not objectionable. Barco acknowledges speckle is objectionable on a silver screen for 3D, however.

» • A retrofit program for existing digital cinema projectors is thought to be necessary by Barco, and product development is including that option.

» • The demonstration was not a product yet.

» • Barco listed the challenges as:
o Regulatory issues
o Cost
o Retrofit design issues to allow the lasers to replace an existing xenon lamp and power supply
o Speckle on a silver screen.

It is not clear how much Kodak technology was incorporated into the projector used for Barco’s January demonstration. For that matter, it is not clear how much of the Kodak technology will be incorporated into the laser projectors IMAX and Barco will introduce in 2013. The Kodak technology is based on design of an entirely new projector, not a retrofit into a xenon projector and is not intended for retrofit applications. While it is certain some aspects of Kodak technology will be incorporated, since Barco feels the retrofit market is important, aspects of the Kodak technology that depend on a new projector design may be bypassed for now.

One key question about the demonstration: Whose lasers were used? Speculation centers on NECSEL lasers, but IMAX, Barco and NECSEL have not confirmed this. One advantage of using NECSEL lasers is that the large number of emitters needed would significantly reduce speckle. Insight Media estimates that 1400 separate emitters would be needed for NECSEL to product the required green wattage. Since speckle is reduced by Square Root(N) in a system like this, 1400 emitters would reduce the speckle by roughly a factor of 37x. While additional speckle reduction may be needed, this would be a giant first step in speckle reduction. One thing about speckle is not clear: how low a level is required for digital cinema? Projectors with xenon lamps are not speckle free but are considered good enough. This certainly helps define the target for IMAX, Barco, Kodak and the laser supplier.

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I will take partial credit for this development...

There have to be at least 3 previous posts from me in this forum telling Imax they need to switch projector companies to Barco.
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Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post

I will take partial credit for this development...

There have to be at least 3 previous posts from me in this forum telling Imax they need to switch projector companies to Barco.

Where have you been!

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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Quietly plotting my next paradigm shift. {evil laughter}
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I'm ready to see another one of your great projects popup on a dedicated thread!!!
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post #43 of 49 Old 03-01-2012, 11:52 PM
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During NAB 2012, the annual convention of the National
Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas (www.nabshow.
com), the Society of Motion Picture and Television
Engineers ( will once again produce
a dedicated program on digital cinema. SMPTE will
provide an in-depth global view of the new wave of technology coming
soon to your local multiplex, the organization noted in the program
announcement, with an eye toward how it might later affect the
broader media ecosystem.
Founded in 1916 to advance theory and development in the motion-
imaging field, it is not surprising that SMPTE takes a decidedly
grounded approach in describing the current state-of-engineering.
Cinema technology has historically been in the forefront of motionimaging
invention. Over the years, revolutionary new technologies
were first tested and proven in the movie theatre, only later to become
mainstream in television broadcast or gaming.
Until last year known as the Digital Cinema Summit, the April 14
and 15 series of events has been renamed the 2012 Technology Summit
for Cinema (TSC), presenting Advances in Image and Sound.
SMPTE president Peter Ludé feels the name change is emblematic of
the progress made over the past decade. In his view, the basics of digitalcinema
projection have been firmly established, so it is now time to look
at additional improvements and benefits to be drawn from the technology,
with help from the engineering and creative communities.
Film Journal International had the opportunity to speak exclusively
with the noted technologist in advance of the Summit about some of
the topics to be discussed and emerging trends to be analyzed there.
As our conversation readily confirms, with his day job as senior VP
of Sony Solutions Engineering overseeing all U.S.-based engineering
efforts for digital-cinema systems, software development and other
professional media solutions, Ludé is also very much in tune with the
practical side of implementing innovations.
In line with our February issue's report on the Moody Gardens
Digital Cinema Symposium, co-presented by Barco and D3D, Ludé
confirms upgraded sound environments, higher frame rates (HFR)
and laser projection to be among the main topics. Hey, all of this is
exciting to us technologists, Ludé enthuses. I spend a lot of time
talking to exhibitors and they have confirmed their interest in all of
these possibilities as well. From an audience participation impact, in
my mind, it is a tie right now between HFR and laser.
Beginning with the latter, almost everybody that you talk to would
like to see brighter 3D images. Now that this will soon be possible
with laser technologies, what should the new standards be? Drawing
the comparison to current DCI-defined 2D and de-facto 3D brightness
levels, he puts that range probably somewhere in the middle
between 14 or 4.5 foot-lamberts coming off the screen.
You could take a projector today that is already in the field, he
continues, take out the Xenon lamp house and cold mirror and replace
all that stuff with lasers and it could work just fine. Obviously,
there are complexities in optical interface, control, cooling and many
other details, but in theory it can be done. On the other hand, a laser
projector designed from the ground up will enable the use of different
optics and overall system design, which would have advantages in
brightness efficiency, contrast ratio, lower costs and smaller size. It will
also facilitate a greener environmentwith less power consumption,
fewer cooling vents and less carbon emission.
That whole bunch of benefits with laser illumination includes an
expanded range of available colors as well, Ludé adds. The wonderful
thing about the DCI specs is that they can accommodate virtually any
white points and color gamut. Now that we have lasers that allow us
to represent colors that are not possible for Xenon, those need to be
established in order to support the overall workflow from capture to
exhibition. Sometimes, when everything is possible, it is more difficult
to manage all the variations and to establish the foundation.
While lasers do not have to be different, Ludé makes a case for
creative expression. It is very easy to engineer a laser system to exactly
match the current P3 color gamut that you see today. It's very readily
done. The interesting question that comes into this is whether we really
want to limit ourselves, he muses. Specifically in the deep reds and
cyan regions, with lasers audiences will be able to see something on the
screen that has not been possible before. Until someone from Pixar, for
example, decides, I would love to use that color because it would help
my storytelling.' Then the engineers will scratch their heads: OK, how
do we redefine that expanded gamut beyond P3?' Technically, it is not
so difficult, he assures once again. But in order to have a universally
accepted new standard color gamut, we have to get our heads together
and decide what exactly we want to extend it to.
Creatively, it's similar to 3D, Ludé asserts, drawing another comparison.
You don't need to use 3D, but now that it is available, you
could choose to use it if appropriate for your movie. Color gamut
is the same way. It is very simple to replicate what we have today, if
that is what is desired. But now there is this new, tempting, unique
enhancement allowing you to extend color range. Let's work through
that and enable the filmmakers to do what they want to. As a matter
of fact, they can still display a black-and-white movie just as well when
there is a laser in the projector.
Given the need for an industry-wide consensus, not to mention
that costs have to come down significantly, is Ludé not taking a rather
optimistic view? Maybe I'm biased, he admits, because another one
of my night-and-weekend jobs is being the chairman of the Laser
Illuminated Projection Association. Realizing just how much work
needs to be done from a regulatory reform standpoint too, LIPA

was set up earlier in the year ( We need to clarify
the laws that apply to laser projection as opposed to standard lasers,
because they are both very different. A laser-illuminated projector
doesn't really represent any more optical hazard than the Xenon
projectors that we have been using for over 50 years. And carbon arc
lamps before that. Yet, they are subject to entirely different rules under
the FDA and OSHA regulations, Ludé has observed about the Food
and Drug Administration's Occupational Safety and Health Impact
Assessment. Those government agencies recognize that discrepancy.
However, they really don't have a mechanism in order to create the
proper updates to their rules that would make laser-illuminated projectors
more practical in theatrical exhibition.
Moving on to another improvement on the horizon, just how practical
will the implementation of higher frame rates turn out to be?
When James Cameron and Peter Jackson say that it looks better, you
have to pay attention to them, Ludé states up front. Technologists
as well have been noting for years that the use of 48 or 60 frames per
second, especially for 3D, provides a very perceivable benefit, such as
less eyestrain and more fluid 3D motion, he says, naming but two
improvements. I think audiences will be excited about both of those.
Laser-illuminated projectors and HFR are very possible in the near
future. Again, it is a matter of having the industry come together
studios, exhibitors and manufacturersand agreeing on what the new
target is. The engineering community is probably not the best one to
answer that. Technically, all are quite feasible.
Asked to elaborate, Ludé ventures, You could make an argument
from the scientific data that retinal retention has been proven to be
pretty strong up to around the 60 fps rate But I have also talked to
some people who say it needs to be much higher, like 120 frames per
second. Other people feel, practically speaking, 48 fps is virtually as
good as 60 fps, although 60 fps might be ideal. Ludé defers to noted
filmmaker Douglas Trumbull, the founder of Showscan, among many
other accomplishments, and the 2012 recipient of the Academy's Gordon
E. Sawyer Award for his lifetime of technical contributions and
leadership in the motion picture industry. He actually did very exciting
tests many years ago, Ludé tells us. Using electroencephalograms
and galvanometers, Trumbull measured people's perspiration, heart
rates, EKG while they watch movies to gauge their emotional reaction
His results indicated that the human visual system and brain
respond incrementally as you raise the frame rate up somewhere in the
mid-60s. After that, raising the frame rate further only tends to make
a tiny bit of difference. That's why Trumbull came up with 60 as being
a good target number. By happenstance, so did James Cameron when
he made his announcement how he would like to do Avatar 2. At the
same time, for practical reasons, among others, Peter Jackson settled
on 48 fps for The Hobbit.
Along the same lines, Ludé acknowledges that many filmmakers in
Hollywood and elsewhere see 60 fps as too similar to television. They
prefer to be at 24 frames to maintain the well-established aesthetic of
cinema. So this is one of the techniques that a director should be able to
continue to use to create a certain effect. From a technology standpoint,
we can't get ourselves in the middle of the crossfire in that discussion.
I think there is a very valid artistic dimension to the discussionit's a
filmmaker's choice. You should be able to do 24, or 16 frames for that
matter, 60 or 120 frames per second. You pick what you want. Some
folks, Trumbull notably, say why should the entire movie be at the same
rate? Run those emotional dialogue scenes at 24, and when there is a car
crash, do that at 120 fps. So the question to the technical community is:
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Could we have variable frame rates within the same movie?
To tackle all this and more, a new SMPTE study group was established
under its 21 DC (Digital Cinema) Committee. Over 60 people
are participating in this discussion of how good is good enough,
Ludé says. How do we decide what is practical? And reflect what is
already installed and what we might need to upgrade? How do we assure
backward compatibility? Even if a film comes out at 48 or 60 fps,
some theatres still want to run it at 24 fps because they haven't been
updated yet. How do you accommodate that?
While a variety of frame-rate conversions are already standard on
television, this is not something that you would commonly go to see
in a movie theatre, he notes. Perhaps frame-rate conversion can be
accommodated in the post-production pipeline. But we really have
to be sure that it works before we move any further. In doing those
conversions, you have to be very careful not to introduce anything
contrary to what the original creative intent was.
Another one of the key messages in advance of the Technology
Summit is that cinema is the original place for technological innovations.
Ludé provides examples: The introduction of sound, then
multi-channel sound. Widescreen images going back to anamorphic,
the use of special effects, fast cutting, computer graphics, stereoscopic
3Dall these innovations were originally implemented in theatres. A
more recent example is 4K imaging, which incorporates four times the
resolution of high-definition television. 4K was pioneered by Sony in
digital cinema, and has now become the premier standard for the best
exhibitors. But at this year's CES show, it is clear that 4K is heading
for the home theatre as well.
Ludé thinks this will continue to apply, [although] cinemas will
not be the only mechanism of getting new things into the home. The
strength of movie theatres lies in the simple fact that it's not that hard
to control the entire chain. Say Peter Jackson decides to shoot his movie
at 48 fpsa whole new standard in 3Dand he could work out with
his distributor to get some 4,000 screens to exhibit it in that way. Boom,
it's out there. You try to do that with television and you'll find huge obstacles.
Getting a new standard into 100 million homes in the U.S., and
billions worldwide, is a very big challenge to go through with all the
different set-top boxes, cable systems, satellite delivery, home recorders,
Blu-ray/DVD players. This is a much more complex infrastructure
that is much slower to change. He brings up Disney's decision to go
3D with Chicken Little back in 2005. They made that happen in some
80 theatres in just about six months. It takes five years to get that same
level of functionality into people's living rooms.
What does Ludé personally think about the movie theatre? My
own view, and that of many of my peers, is that the cinema is the gold
standard in terms of imaging technology. It is, in fact, the highest standard.
Cinema is used for the most important stories told by the biggestbudget
producers. So when a studio wants to produce a good movie and
they are spending $40 or $50 million in production cost, they are going
to be very persnickety about the creative as well as technical aspects.
They are going to spend a lot more time on the lighting, on the lens selection,
on exactly what film stock or digital image to capture on, every
detail of color correction and so on. A lot more effort and thought, and
creative intent and brilliant engineering, go into the creation of those
movies. You contrast that with a typical television program, a reality
show or the nightly newscastjust for practical reasons, you don't have
the budget. It's good but just not that extravagant.
Although we didn't even talk about sound systemsand you will
see a lot of new thinking on the acoustical frontit is a very exciting
age for cinema now, Ludé concludes. I think the whole movie
experience is going to continue to evolve. We currently have Digital
Cinema 1.0 up and running. Now we are working on version 2.0,
which will offer additional enhancements to main
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Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium report;
Laser focus: With new technologies, Barco proposes premium cinema experiences for all
Jan 25, 2012
-By Andreas Fuchs

“It is important that the market gets a good view and perspective on what is possible and coming,” Wim Buyens tells Film Journal International about the newest technology on hand and latest developments in store for cinemas at Barco. “We want to show people what is possible right now, and let them feel and envision the possibilities. Then, later on, we will present them with different solutions tailored to the types of auditoriums that they have.”

Buyens, senior VP of the company’s global Entertainment Division, which covers events, corporate A/V, digital cinema and more, exclusively briefs our readers about a company-wide effort for providing “premium-screen” solutions. “It’s a combination of visuals and audio together that creates the most immersive experience,” he elaborates. “We are making sure that the bundling is flexible, dependent on the size of screen and what our customers want.” After all, for Barco, great and immersive technology is not “just for a few customers, but for all exhibitors who want to invest in a special experience. We believe that every cinema will have premium-experience screens, not in all their auditoriums but in several of them. It is definitely a broader focus and market than just large-format exhibitors alone.”

Nonetheless, the largest of screens are a great place to start when it comes to showing off innovations and improvements. Enhanced 4K DLP Cinema 3D (, Auro-3D multi-channel and truly multi-dimensional sound (for access to Barco’s White Paper, go to, along with projection at higher frame and higher compression rates (very smartly dubbed “ultra-reality), are all part of the package. And then, shining brightly in the not-so-far-away future, we are looking at the amazingly promising light output from laser sources.

The Jan. 9 world premiere of a fully functional laser-illuminated prototype projector was far from the only first that the Barco team of engineers and designers from Belgium, along with their North American colleagues in sales and marketing, showcased in Galveston, Texas. The “full complement of immersive digital-cinema innovations driving the future of cinema” included the first demonstration of true DLP Cinema Enhanced 4K resolution 3D, the first 3D comparison of high-frame-rate content (48/60 fps and at various compression rates), the first 4K digital versus 15/70 film “shootout” at full 4:3 giant-screen aspect ratio, and the first-time integration of Auro-3D sound into a large-format film venue. And you’re reading about it all here first in FJI.

Barco co-presented the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium jointly with the generous hosts at the public, nonprofit, educational facility that lends its name (, and with D3D Cinema, the Chicago-based provider of complete digital solutions and services to the museum and attraction industries worldwide.

For the second year in a row, industry experts with an interest in giant screens—from the institutional and destination segments as well as from general theatrical exhibition—gathered in front of the 60 by 84-foot main screen (18.3 m x 25.6 m) of the MG3D Theater, which hosts some 275,000 visitors at 3,000 shows annually. Dubbed “the largest in Texas” for 3D, Moody Gardens recently switched from branded 15/70 film projection to a Barco-projected and polarized, 3D-enabled, Qube-served digital solution.

In another industry first, one Qube XP-I server and two Xi 4K IMBs in Barco DP4K-32B projectors delivered a single, high-bit-rate, stereoscopic 4K DCP.

Even before any discussions of sight and sound enhancement, Moody Gardens general manager Robert Callies made his case for “the value and savings of moving to digital.” At the opening-day panel, Callies brought numbers for backup. MG3D attendance was up some 20% because of a higher turnover of films over the course of a day and from the expansion of traditional offerings into new content. In addition to savings on print, shipping and staff costs similar to (and sometimes higher than) those experienced by commercial theatrical exhibition and distribution, licensing costs connected with branding also fell, with electrical dropping as much as 70% over the heavy-duty 15/70 equipment, he noted.

Not too surprisingly then, event moderator Toby Mensforth of Mensforth & Associates assured attendees that “unless you have lived in a giant-screen cave, digital is here and the future looks bright.”

That future already exceeds 55,000 ANSI Lumens, but Todd Hoddick, Barco’s VP for entertainment, North America, was even more precise in his outlook. After holding Guinness world-record status as the brightest single projector with 43,000 ANSI Lumens since December 2010, Barco has upped more than the amperage. New bells and whistles include high frame rates; true 4K resolution on each of two projectors for the right and left eye for 3D, delivered at a high image-compression rate of 250 Mbit/per second from server to projector (and as high as 500 Mbps for the 4:3 format); and creating height and height reflections for true dimensional sound. For Hoddick, these are all “objects that enable storytellers in their storytelling. And a means for you to run your business. Our business is not to get into your business.” Owning their equipment, he opined, empowers large-format venues in particular “to fit their mission, and to improve upon and differentiate the audience experience.”

Among the audience of more than 300 registrants from ten countries were representatives.

“We are trying to educate and answer questions,” Hoddick stated, further setting the Barco tone of collaboration and transparency prevalent throughout the two-day proceedings. Introducing the demonstration of the laser-illuminated prototype projector, Hoddick noted, “Outside of Barco, this is the first time that anyone is seeing this. And we are doing it in front of our competitors. We are inviting everyone into the conversation.”

Joining the screening required being wrist-banded after signing an “experience at your own risk”-type waiver that the FDA requires when it comes to lasers. In addition to their cost having to come down substantially, this is another one of the hurdles en route to seeing the laser light. In response, Barco joined with other industry leaders in founding Laser Illuminated Projector Association (LIPA,, advocating necessary revisions to outdated regulations that do not apply to our industry. “The lasers inside are no more dangerous than Xenon,” Hoddick reassured.

The demo on the 72-foot-wide (22 m) Harkness Unity 1.0 gain standard screen via Doremi server went off without a glitch, even though Buyens had cautioned this author earlier about what proof-of-concept means. “You are going to see a working system that is doing what it should do: not anything odd, but where the colors are right, the light output is strong.” Adding with a chuckle, “And it doesn’t take up an entire room.”

The three individual laser beams, which Barco sends through a series of prisms until they bounce off the DMD chip, surely lit up the room with screen luminance of 22 foot-lamberts measured on a 100-foot throw (30.5 m). To be clear, Barco’s design does not use interlacing lasers to create the image on screen, but quote-unquote “simply” replaces the traditional Xenon bulb with the solid-state, uniform and long-lasting source of laser illumination. No matter how much Barco’s golden-eyed team talked about inherent artifacts that needed to be addressed by “de-speckling,” and no matter how hard an equally critical seat neighbor tried to point out image flaws caused by air conditioning, none were visible to me (an observation later shared by many). What blew me away, however, other than the overall brightness, amazing sharpness and clean crispness of the images, was the expanded range in color gamut that laser can facilitate. And the superbly rendered wet “shine” on the noses of Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo. (What can I say, I love animals and was reminded of my dogs.) If James Cameron could make his next two Avatar adventures even bluer, laser would be the way to go! Come to think of it, The Abyss might benefit from a laser-lit re-release too.

With Cameron and Peter Jackson very actively pushing existing standards, and Barco making sure to facilitate their wishes, DCI specifications come to mind. “Some rules do not yet exist,” Buyens readily admits. “There is no DCI regulation regarding lasers. We are looking at a large audience, targeting all cinemas worldwide. So DCI compliance is a mandatory piece [of the development process].” Barco is trying “to be in the driver’s seat with the studios, [talking with many of them] to see what should be next and making sure that all the necessary requirements will be included in the DCI specifications,” he insists. “Our customers have to be assured that this technology is secure and future-proof.”

“Premium experiences might want to go above and beyond some of the DCI requirements,” adds Hoddick. “Right now at Cinemark in their XD theatres, it has to be six foot-lamberts for 3D,” he says of light output. “The image quality that this generates, and the experience that audiences have, is above [DCI compliance]… We want to be able to deliver more light in that it provides a more natural, immersive experience.” So, “in some places we make the extra effort for the audience to go above and beyond,” he says. “Just because it isn’t mandated, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.”

“We can get one hell of a quality picture,” concurs Buyens. “Studios have reacted very positively,” he assures. “We are buying the lasers—Barco is not a laser manufacturer—and put them together in a very special way. Different companies have come up with different ways of implementing lasers. Ours was designed by people with projectors in mind, not just lasers. We own the technology and can replicate it. Optically, it’s very efficient with maximum output from minimum input.” In other words, “we are not putting in a lot of lasers to get a lot of light, but only a few lasers with a lot of light coming out. Design and engineering is where our expertise lies as a projector manufacturer.”

That same expertise guarantees that compatibility is Barco’s “number-one development goal.” Buyens indicates these advances will be designed as retrofits for Barco Series II projectors. “We are not throwing in a technology that is disruptive to what has been installed,” he reassures. “We don’t want anyone to think that—after having spent millions and millions—they have to go out there in two or three years and buy completely new systems. No. Barco’s approach to these innovations is to be retrofittable. People will have the option to choose different modules depending on how much light output they want to use. We want people to explore what a premium experience means to them. For Barco, it is all about creating technology and higher standards that elevate moviegoing to electrifying new levels.”
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post #45 of 49 Old 03-02-2012, 12:41 PM
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That was a read and a half.
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post #46 of 49 Old 04-06-2012, 10:14 AM
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Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I'm curious about something. Does it strike anyone as odd that Barco would be using Necsel laser technology when Necsel is owned by USHIO who also owns Christie? Why wouldn't USHIO have harnessed the synergies of Christie and Necsel and kept it all in the family?
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post #47 of 49 Old 04-06-2012, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
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If you are refering to this........(?)
One key question about the demonstration: Whose lasers were used? Speculation centers on NECSEL lasers, but IMAX, Barco and NECSEL have not confirmed this.

As you see, not confirmed~pure speculation.

It is possible Kodak used Necsel in their first prototype, they only said they used "off the self lasers".

Previous to acquire the Kodak patents, IMAX was already in strategic partnership with Laser Light Engines (LLC) for development of laser projection.

Barco developed their Laser projection light engine in the European Osiris project where French laser company Oxxius where partners.

Now that Barco is building Laser DLP projector for IMAX based on the Kodak patent, who knows what they will use as laser source.
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post #48 of 49 Old 05-16-2012, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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OT; many ways to use projection; Barco Large Venue HD Projectors at Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show

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post #49 of 49 Old 06-10-2012, 11:32 AM
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^^ That's interesting....I had wondered how they covered such a large surface on the horizontal ground level with images. I knew there is rolling LED technology but that area was huge and people marched over what looked like the normal grass when show started. (seen in time lapse). So....they hung multiple units of these Barcos shooting straight downward on the roll out surfaces?
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