First Commercial 3D Presentation with Laser Projector - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-03-2013, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Last night, I went to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation in 3D, not because I was interested in that particular movie—far from it. But it happened to be playing at a nearby theater with a singular distinction—it's the first and only commercial cinema to present a first-run 3D movie using a laser-illuminated projector.

 

The Christie projector is currently installed at the AMC Burbank 16 ETX auditorium in Burbank, CA, but it will be there only for another week or so. The projector is said to achieve a peak-white level of 14 foot-lamberts on the 65-foot-wide screen—in 3D! Most single-projector 3D images yield more like 4-6 fL once the light reaches your eyes through the glasses.

 

The movie itself is horrendous, IMO—basically an excuse for as much fighting and violence as possible. As such, it's also extremely loud. Using a Larson Davis 720 logging SPL meter, I measured an average sound level of 82.5 dBA over two hours and seven minutes (including the trailers), with the highest maximum level at 96.2 dBA. The level remained over 87 dBA 10 percent of the time, over 81.4 dBA 33 percent of the time, and over 78.5 dBA 50 percent of the time.

 

That's all within OSHA standards, but I still wore my custom-molded earplugs (-25 dB) the entire time, and I added noise-cancelling headphones for the really loud parts, which were very bass-heavy. As a result, I couldn't hear the full effect of the auditorium's Dolby Atmos sound system, but I've heard it before, so I wasn't concerned with that.

 

I was concerned with the laser-illuminated projection in RealD 3D. Overall, the image was reasonably bright, but not appreciably brighter than other 3D presentations I've seen. To be fair, most of the 3D I see in commercial cinemas uses two projectors (Imax and ETX), so if this one projector can compete with two lamp-based projectors in the brightness department, that's pretty impressive.

 

I did see some occasional speckling—what looks like film grain—in some shots, which is one of the bugaboos of laser projection. The movie was originally shot on film using Arriflex and Panaflex cameras, so some film grain might be expected, but there was none that I could see in most of the images, which leads me to believe what I did see was laser speckling.

 

If you like non-stop action with very little else, you'll probably enjoy this movie. The visual effects are beautiful—I especially liked the bungee-cord fight on the face of a sheer cliff, sort of like what they do in Cirque du Soleil's KA at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. And it's somewhat amusing to hear Jonathan Pryce—who played the villain in Tomorrow Never Dies—try to do a vaguely Southern American accent as President of the United States.

 

The 3D was created in post-production, and it isn't all that great—it becomes more or less evident in different shots, drawing attention to itself. And there's a fair amount of stuff that flies out at you, which is never a good thing. If you're not a big fan of 3D, this won't change your mind.

 

Also, the color wasn't very good; in particular, flesh tones seemed a bit orange. I don't know if this was due to the laser illumination or an intentional choice by director Jon Chu.

 

Laser projection has a lot to offer, including brighter 3D and light-source longevity. Whereas conventional xenon lamps must be replaced every few hundred hours or so at significant cost, laser engines should last for many thousands of hours before needing replacement. And of course, as this technology matures, we could see it in home-theater projectors—for example, the Red Digital Cinema projector that was announced a year ago but has yet to appear in the market. In any event, it's always fun to watch the future unfold.

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post #2 of 27 Old 04-03-2013, 04:51 PM
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Fantastic writeup Scott.

I am reminded of some hype here at AVS back in 2009 or so about some laser projector that was "coming soon" and was going to wipe out all the profits of flat-panel manufacturers that same year -- or so the rumor went.

Of course, none of that happened.

Good to see the technology is advancing though and hopefully it will make it into homes someday, even though the projection market remains vanishingly small there and seems to be getting smaller as flat panels continue to get larger.

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post #3 of 27 Old 04-03-2013, 05:11 PM
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Great review Scott.

Viewsonic and BenQ have two projectors both using a hybrid technology - Laser and LED. Brightness is great and the bulb can now last up to 20,000 hours. I think we are going to see laser technology more and more.

I wish we have some electronic "premieres" up here in Canada. I would have enjoyed seeing that Christie PJ.
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post #4 of 27 Old 04-03-2013, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for the write-up on this presentation Scott. I was very interested in how this laser PJ performed. I suppose the best test would be to return to the theater after they re-installed the original projector and viewed the same movie. Sounds like you prolly couldn't stomach it twice. I seen this movie a few days ago on a Christie DLP with RealD XL and I too seen some speckle like film grain in some of the backgrounds. Only in a few scenes tho. I enjoyed the action scenes and soundtrack but the plot was dismal, and I was a fan of the cartoon and action figures as a kid. Had a question about where you sit the db meter during the movie? I also was surprised to not see higher peak readings. Thanks a lot Scott!

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post #5 of 27 Old 04-03-2013, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the write-up on this presentation Scott. I was very interested in how this laser PJ performed. I suppose the best test would be to return to the theater after they re-installed the original projector and viewed the same movie. Sounds like you prolly couldn't stomach it twice. I seen this movie a few days ago on a Christie DLP with RealD XL and I too seen some speckle like film grain in some of the backgrounds. Only in a few scenes tho. I enjoyed the action scenes and soundtrack but the plot was dismal, and I was a fan of the cartoon and action figures as a kid. Had a question about where you sit the db meter during the movie? I also was surprised to not see higher peak readings. Thanks a lot Scott!


No, I certainly don't want to sit through it again! I taped the sound meter's microphone on the head of a cane so it was in as much of a free field as possible. To tell the truth, I was kinda surprised that the readings weren't higher, too. It sure felt loud! If I had measured with C weighting, I would have gotten much higher values (and perhaps more representative of human hearing), but virtually all standard measurements I know of are done with A weighting.


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post #6 of 27 Old 04-03-2013, 09:57 PM
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Thanks for the write up for the Laser Projector Scott! That is still very impressively bright for that big screen of a screen in 3D btw.

Now this is what they should have showed with the laser projector. tongue.gif

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Hi Scott,

Was a polarizer used in front of the projector, if reald d was it simple or XL?


I ask because i hear from some vendors laser pj can do passive polarization without an additional polarizer in front of the lens. But Barco says it's no different than with xenon.


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post #8 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Scott,

Was a polarizer used in front of the projector, if reald d was it simple or XL?


I ask because i hear from some vendors laser pj can do passive polarization without an additional polarizer in front of the lens. But Barco says it's no different than with xenon.


It's using RealD XL; when I looked back at the projection window, I could see two vertically stacked images on the Z-Screen, which identifies it as XL. According to RealD, most theaters use XL now, even those with smaller screens, because it puts more light on the screen, which is important for 3D. These days, only older theaters with small screens and small projection booths use the regular RealD Z-Screen, which is physically smaller than the RealD XL device.

 

Also, FYI, I just learned that the Christie laser-illuminated DLP projector is 4K.


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post #9 of 27 Old 04-07-2013, 08:11 AM
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So some time ago; I am at my local cinema and there is this guy in a middle seat wearing headphones - Scott you sure you haven't been in the Chicago area recently ? smile.gif

Seriously; a good article on what has been for some time, a teaser technology > laser or laser source light engines.
I wonder when this will truly become affordable and mainstream for home PJs?

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So some time ago; I am at my local cinema and there is this guy in a middle seat wearing headphones - Scott you sure you haven't been in the Chicago area recently ? smile.gif

Seriously; a good article on what has been for some time, a teaser technology > laser or laser source light engines.
I wonder when this will truly become affordable and mainstream for home PJs?


Nope, but I'm glad I'm not the only one willing to look like a dork for the sake of protecting my hearing! I agree it's a very interesting tech development; I hope to hear more about laser-illuminated projectors from NAB next week.


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post #11 of 27 Old 04-08-2013, 09:20 PM
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No, I certainly don't want to sit through it again! I taped the sound meter's microphone on the head of a cane so it was in as much of a free field as possible. To tell the truth, I was kinda surprised that the readings weren't higher, too. It sure felt loud! If I had measured with C weighting, I would have gotten much higher values (and perhaps more representative of human hearing), but virtually all standard measurements I know of are done with A weighting.

Cool thanks Scott. Clever thinking taping it to a cane!

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I was concerned with the laser-illuminated projection in RealD 3D. Overall, the image was reasonably bright, but not appreciably brighter than other 3D presentations I've seen. To be fair, most of the 3D I see in commercial cinemas uses two projectors (Imax and ETX), so if this one projector can compete with two lamp-based projectors in the brightness department, that's pretty impressive.

Also, the color wasn't very good; in particular, flesh tones seemed a bit orange. I don't know if this was due to the laser illumination or an intentional choice by director Jon Chu.
Thanks Scott, The XL doubles the light of the regular polarizer.

How wide would you say the screen was?

I'm thinking of doing dual DCI laser 4K projection for EUROPA with passive filters (in the Capital Hill Residence), but I know the Barco unit is 65,000 lumens, which may not be able to be tamed down in brightness...The fact that they used is XL is encouraging as brightness would be half with a passive polarizer,


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Kodak used the single polarity property of LASER to offer full output 3D, but Barco's own design was a straight forward lamphouse swap, no idea if Barco redesigned the retrofit unit or designed a new unit for new projectors using the Kodak polarisation 3D approach?

Wouldn't LASER offer the opportunity of using frequency filtering 3D.
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post #14 of 27 Old 04-09-2013, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I was concerned with the laser-illuminated projection in RealD 3D. Overall, the image was reasonably bright, but not appreciably brighter than other 3D presentations I've seen. To be fair, most of the 3D I see in commercial cinemas uses two projectors (Imax and ETX), so if this one projector can compete with two lamp-based projectors in the brightness department, that's pretty impressive.

Also, the color wasn't very good; in particular, flesh tones seemed a bit orange. I don't know if this was due to the laser illumination or an intentional choice by director Jon Chu.
Thanks Scott, The XL doubles the light of the regular polarizer.

How wide would you say the screen was?

I'm thinking of doing dual DCI laser 4K projection for EUROPA with passive filters (in the Capital Hill Residence), but I know the Barco unit is 65,000 lumens, which may not be able to be tamed down in brightness...The fact that they used is XL is encouraging as brightness would be half with a passive polarizer,


The screen was 65 feet wide.


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post #15 of 27 Old 04-09-2013, 12:26 PM
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Great comments Scott! I saw the press release about this a bit ago and wished I lived down there to check it out. I heard that the digital file was even color graded for the laser projector specifically.

So based on what you said about the 3D polarizer, 3D DLP with a 4K projector is similar to Sony 4K with 3D in that it isn't truly 4K but two 2K images stacked?? That is disappointing as I was hoping with DLP they could actually figure out a way to do true 4K 3D. But it also sounds like this isn't achieved with a hardware mod like the Sony that risks 2D movies being shown at less than half the resolution available. I went and saw Olympus has Fallen in Seattle this past weekend in 2D and was peeved to find that the theater still had the Sony 4K projector in 3D mode which resulted in a noticeably soft image that was on the dim side. Sony's solution cuts the resolution down to lower than 2K in this setup (although they've said this shouldn't affect playback if left in place, not a good statement if you're trying to sell the benefits of 4K to the public).

With more and more films being shot or scanned at 4K it is a little disheartening that most are being shown in the better theaters out there in 3D at 2K resolution. My friends and I were talking about where to go see Oblivion when it is released but I don't think it will be possible to see it in a bigger auditorium (ETX, RPX, IMAX) without 3D and therefore a reduction in resolution. I would love to see it in 2D at full 4K (it is the first film shot with Sony's new 4K camera) on a larger screen.

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Great comments Scott! I saw the press release about this a bit ago and wished I lived down there to check it out. I heard that the digital file was even color graded for the laser projector specifically.

So based on what you said about the 3D polarizer, 3D DLP with a 4K projector is similar to Sony 4K with 3D in that it isn't truly 4K but two 2K images stacked?? That is disappointing as I was hoping with DLP they could actually figure out a way to do true 4K 3D. But it also sounds like this isn't achieved with a hardware mod like the Sony that risks 2D movies being shown at less than half the resolution available. I went and saw Olympus has Fallen in Seattle this past weekend in 2D and was peeved to find that the theater still had the Sony 4K projector in 3D mode which resulted in a noticeably soft image that was on the dim side. Sony's solution cuts the resolution down to lower than 2K in this setup (although they've said this shouldn't affect playback if left in place, not a good statement if you're trying to sell the benefits of 4K to the public).

With more and more films being shot or scanned at 4K it is a little disheartening that most are being shown in the better theaters out there in 3D at 2K resolution. My friends and I were talking about where to go see Oblivion when it is released but I don't think it will be possible to see it in a bigger auditorium (ETX, RPX, IMAX) without 3D and therefore a reduction in resolution. I would love to see it in 2D at full 4K (it is the first film shot with Sony's new 4K camera) on a larger screen.


Thanks Kris! If the file was color graded for laser projection, they could have done a better job in my view! As for the 3D, I think it was not two 2K images stacked, but rather one 2K image switched by the RealD XL Z-Screen. As far as I know, virtually all commercial cinema files are delivered and shown at 2K, even though they are now being shot or scanned at 4K, and even though many digital theaters now have 4K projectors.


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Thanks Kris! If the file was color graded for laser projection, they could have done a better job in my view! As for the 3D, I think it was not two 2K images stacked, but rather one 2K image switched by the RealD XL Z-Screen. As far as I know, virtually all commercial cinema files are delivered and shown at 2K, even though they are now being shot or scanned at 4K, and even though many digital theaters now have 4K projectors.

I confirmed that with a cleint of mine who designs movie theaters for Regal. The holdup for 4K at the commercial level is no different than it is at the consumer level- the distribution methods have not yet been worked out to deal with files of that size. It really surprised me to discover that Digital IMAX is only 2K. The two IMAX venues near me are both film-based, which is a whole different ballgame in terms of being a higher resolution format.

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I confirmed that with a cleint of mine who designs movie theaters for Regal. The holdup for 4K at the commercial level is no different than it is at the consumer level- the distribution methods have not yet been worked out to deal with files of that size. It really surprised me to discover that Digital IMAX is only 2K. The two IMAX venues near me are both film-based, which is a whole different ballgame in terms of being a higher resolution format.

The problem with 4K 3D is that the most popular large screen 3D systems like Reald XL and two projector systems have the drawback of resulting in a bit softer image so even if they had a 4K DCP it wouldn't look much sharper than a 2K version. With an active 3D system, Z-screen Reald or Dolby 3D the light efficiency might not be good enough. DCI has put forward a proposal to add 4K 48fps in 2D to the DCI specifications which should in theory open up for 4K 3D but I think DCI is hoping more for HFR 3D to become the new 3D standard.

Personally I think they should start to think about giving up with trying to save 3D.
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The problem with 4K 3D is that the most popular large screen 3D systems like Reald XL and two projector systems have the drawback of resulting in a bit softer image so even if they had a 4K DCP it wouldn't look much sharper than a 2K version. With an active 3D system, Z-screen Reald or Dolby 3D the light efficiency might not be good enough. DCI has put forward a proposal to add 4K 48fps in 2D to the DCI specifications which should in theory open up for 4K 3D but I think DCI is hoping more for HFR 3D to become the new 3D standard.

Personally I think they should start to think about giving up with trying to save 3D.

Give James Cameron a call and tell him to stop making Avatar 2, 3 and 4.

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Give James Cameron a call and tell him to stop making Avatar 2, 3 and 4.

Well I respect the opinion of all who like 3D so I'm not going to do that.
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two projector systems have the drawback of resulting in a bit softer image so even if they had a 4K DCP it wouldn't look much sharper than a 2K version.

Personally I think they should start to think about giving up with trying to save 3D.

Thanks scott for the dimension.

If the content is 3D one eye sees 4k the other eye sees the other image convergence is not supercrucial. There are autocon systems for this, laser may be better suited for stacking and yes there is an obscure system installed in Mody Gardens with stereo 4k using a Qube server with dual IMB's.


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Thanks scott for the dimension.

If the content is 3D one eye sees 4k the other eye sees the other image convergence is not supercrucial. There are autocon systems for this, laser may be better suited for stacking and yes there is an obscure system installed in Mody Gardens with stereo 4k using a Qube server with dual IMB's.

And please speak for yourself the day 3D dies I will be there in the trenches with a laser gattling gun, they will have to pry it from my hands. I convert most content to3D using the vc100 and done right it's great.


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Great comments Scott! I saw the press release about this a bit ago and wished I lived down there to check it out. I heard that the digital file was even color graded for the laser projector specifically.

So based on what you said about the 3D polarizer, 3D DLP with a 4K projector is similar to Sony 4K with 3D in that it isn't truly 4K but two 2K images stacked?? That is disappointing as I was hoping with DLP they could actually figure out a way to do true 4K 3D. But it also sounds like this isn't achieved with a hardware mod like the Sony that risks 2D movies being shown at less than half the resolution available. I went and saw Olympus has Fallen in Seattle this past weekend in 2D and was peeved to find that the theater still had the Sony 4K projector in 3D mode which resulted in a noticeably soft image that was on the dim side. Sony's solution cuts the resolution down to lower than 2K in this setup (although they've said this shouldn't affect playback if left in place, not a good statement if you're trying to sell the benefits of 4K to the public).

With more and more films being shot or scanned at 4K it is a little disheartening that most are being shown in the better theaters out there in 3D at 2K resolution. My friends and I were talking about where to go see Oblivion when it is released but I don't think it will be possible to see it in a bigger auditorium (ETX, RPX, IMAX) without 3D and therefore a reduction in resolution. I would love to see it in 2D at full 4K (it is the first film shot with Sony's new 4K camera) on a larger screen.
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Originally Posted by Kris Deering View Post

My friends and I were talking about where to go see Oblivion when it is released but I don't think it will be possible to see it in a bigger auditorium (ETX, RPX, IMAX) without 3D and therefore a reduction in resolution. I would love to see it in 2D at full 4K (it is the first film shot with Sony's new 4K camera) on a larger screen.

Tom Cruise's movie Oblivion was shot in 4k but the DI was done in 2k due to the heavy amount of 2k efx shots. Rendering those in 4k would have taken an extra 6 weeks.

God forbid a movie misses its release date due to quality control.
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post #25 of 27 Old 04-15-2013, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

...it's the first and only commercial cinema to present a first-run 3D movie using a laser-illuminated projector.

The Christie projector is currently installed at the AMC Burbank 16 ETX auditorium in Burbank, CA, but it will be there only for another week or so.
Saw it at the Burbank ETX about a week ago and it kinda looked... well, normal in some ways (like watching a 2D plasma at home), which I guess makes it remarkable for a 3D presentation in a theatre.

What a waste of an Atmos mix; such a loud and busy soundtrack that the panning effects and overhead localization were lost in the noise.

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post #26 of 27 Old 05-08-2013, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Saw it at the Burbank ETX about a week ago and it kinda looked... well, normal in some ways (like watching a 2D plasma at home), which I guess makes it remarkable for a 3D presentation in a theatre.

What a waste of an Atmos mix; such a loud and busy soundtrack that the panning effects and overhead localization were lost in the noise.

Its not the mix my good man its the volume at which the cinema is setting it. Oblivion is the first movie to be mixed in Atmos instead of 7.1 and upconverted. Ive heard from others that is was excellent. I seen Brave in Atmos twice and the first time was good but almost too loud. The second time the volume was lower and the spatial effects really came into its own. I could really appreciate the Atmos Mix than. The higher the volume goes the more breakup happens and the subtilties get lost in the muck.

Edit: Sorry I see now your were talking about G.I. Joes Atmos mix and not Oblivions. Still gauraentee the volume was set too high to appreciate the Atmos mix.

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post #27 of 27 Old 05-11-2013, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Reddig View Post

I see now your were talking about G.I. Joes Atmos mix and not Oblivions.
I couldn't have been talking about 'Oblivion' since it wasn't shown with the laser projector (the topic of this thread).

About 6 days ago I said the following in the Dolby Atmos thread:
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Like movie mixes in general, Atmos mixes vary. The unique capabilities of Atmos (smoother pans, overhead imaging, etc) tend to get buried in loud bombastic soundtracks like G.I. Joe: Retaliation' and 'Iron Man 3'. Ironically, it's with quieter soundtracks like 'Brave' and 'Life of Pi' and 'Oblivion' that I've really gotten a sense of what Atmos can do.

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