Tag Archives: ShowEast

ShowEast [Update]: HFR, 3D Sound, HI/VI Glasses, Test Tools and Duqu

In a clever move, Christie took the URL highframerate.com – It now points to a story on their site: Expect a higher standard- higher frame rates. They tell the hyped part of the story, and don’t tell any of the grusome details like, how is the technology going to get there? what standards are going to need to change? How many of these standards are going to be backwards compatable? But it is good to see an effort to educate their audience.

What we can glean is that Christie now has their own internal media block and screen management system for their projectors. We’ll post the PR for you to read yourselves. When people start touting “Future Proof Your Long Term Investment”, it might be read as “We haven’t paid attention to this before, but we have nailed it now!”

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Barco has two facilities with their new Auro 3D Sound system now…one in Moscow and a new one in Antwerp at Kinepolis. Barco announced IMB/SMS integration at CineEurope.

That makes a lot of parties interested in selling IMBs. We seem to remember a ShoWest that <3 letter company> secretly showed a network panel and IMB that would do the same over a high speed network several years ago…and everyone said it was too early to talk about. We also remember Laser Light Engine’s Bill Beck describing the vision of fibre running from an engineering room to some DLP chips and a lens at the port hole back in 2004. Looks like the time is going to be here before we know it.

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[Update] USL has just released some new information about their new IMB, which will be used for several of the demonstrations of HFR at ShowEast – The input is 500 Megabits per second, twice the DCI spec datarate of 250 for a DCP. It will push to the projector the data rate of just over 10 Gigabits per second, displaying 60 fps stereoscopic 2K (2048×1080), 12 bit JPEG 2000 color plates. An interested party describes it as absolutely stunning.

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Sony showed the incredible Closed Caption glasses at CinemaCon – then the project went into silent mode. They were working with the USL system (speaking of 3 letter companies), which is the gold standard in the market for several reasons; the first being what was mentioned before – they did a good job of evolving their product line so that a client could upgrade without throwing away their current product.

USL also invested heavily to get people noticing the the closed caption space in general, and the glasses idea in particular. They showed them at plugfests and conventions for a few years, and really invested the time for the industry and client’s benefit.

Closed Caption in glasses is a big deal. Other solutions work, like the small screens that fit into popcorn holders. But they seperate the kids who can’t from the kids who can’t…and we all know how kids are. So a product that allows people with impairments, but who can read, now have a pair of glasses available that don’t look bizarre. The effect of placing the words out in the distance is great, so that they don’t have to keep changing focus. There are many questions to follow-up on, and we are expecting a call with Sony immenently – it sure looked as if USL was going to be able to incorporate the Sony technology into their sales flow, so it could be the best of both worlds.

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Harkness has an announcement that is under embargo until Monday and USL has a rumored announcement. Both show a certain maturity to the industry, and just in time. Several cinematographers have measured light levels in hundreds of cinemas around the world and found deplorable circumstances. One got the impression that, until recently, putting any impediments like quality in the stream would be too much for the industry to bear. In the next update we will have links to articles that are embargoed for pre-release, but the potential for Quality Control takes a couple steps forward at ShowEast.

===>> So now it can be revealed. Hopefully we will get more news as the product matures toward release, which is promised to be early next year.

Like IMBs above, the topic of test tools deserves a full article. Doremi has a new product in test, USL has a new product in test, Harkness has a new product in test, Digital Test Tools has a new product in test. Perhaps the industry is ready for a good examination of luminance on the screen.

The Harkness product is called a Digital Screen Checker, and looks like this.

Harkness Screen Checker
Just what the doctor ordered, though we don’t know much about it. What is the price? What corrolation does it have with a NIST certified device? The viewfinder window leaves some confusion in our simple minds. And is this a plot to impose Foot Lamberts on the other 96% of the world that uses the ISO standard unit of candelas per meter.

On/Off us interesting on something that looks like a USB device. But maybe it is also battery powered? Does the USB aspect imply some database and/or network capability?

The press release is attached at the bottom of this document.


USL is also in the process of introducing its LSS-100 Light and Sound Sensor. This product is based upon our 2006 design which combined proprietary luminance and audio level measuring technologies. Their other products in this field are pretty inclusive so, like the Harkness device we look forward to seeing people actually use these devices to make the audience experience more like the director’s intent.USL LSS100

One thing that won’t be talked about at ShowEast is Stuxnet and its new evolution, Duqu. Why would the dcinema industry need to concern itself with a virus that randomly attempts to get into any network to find out information about machine control? We present the link above without comment.

The Laser Trend

LLE then publicized an industry effort to shift the regulatory basis for lasers in cinemas. Sony has announced participation with that effort, though they haven’t made any further announcements since their 2008 technology release (or the recent rumor that they are working with a French group on a cinema-based laser project.) And now NATO, the US-centric national association of theater owners, is forming a laser task force 

Here are a few paragraphs of the Optics.com article. Er note that the anti-green speckle effort that is mentioned in the article takes on significance when reports come back from Rochester indicating that they haven’t completely handled the problem yet.

Optics.org – Laser projectors promise brighter 3D experience – Excerpts:

“Xenon lamps have reached their practical limit for high-brightness applications,” said Bill Beck, a co-founder of LLE. “High-lumen projection tops out at about 30,000 lumens with an 8 kW power supply. Most of the size, weight and power consumption of these projectors is driven by the illumination system and supporting optics, which is why they are very big.”

Laser alternative
LLE’s alternative is a light engine producing red, green and blue primaries from the same laser source, with the output coupled to a digital projector using optical fiber. With virtually all the laser power successfully reaching the projector chips, the result is a system that can deliver two- to five-times the brightness level of a xenon lamp.

“Our design is a diode-pumped, solid-state laser system using very mature, low-cost GaAs pump diode bars, MOPA architecture, and non-linear optics for wavelength conversion,” commented Beck. “It satisfies all the key requirements: power for 3D brightness, a long lifetime, and high wall-plug efficiency for decreased operating costs. The beam also has a low etendue, which is beneficial for fiber delivery and for scaling the power to higher levels.”

The company says that it can scale up the power of its system by aggregating the output from several light engines. “Our strategy is to provide RGB engines in increments of 30,000 white balanced lumens,” said Beck. “These will initially be aggregated, so as to supply projectors with input powers of up to 60-90,000 lm. In terms of watts, these modules would output 75-90 watts of RGB.” The company envisages these multiple RGB engines being delivered to a digital projector by optical fiber, potentially 50 feet away, allowing “a very small box to become a very bright box.”

Speckle secret
LLE also says it has cracked one of the field’s particular headaches: green speckle. When a highly coherent light source is used for projection displays, viewers can sometimes perceive an interference pattern as an image artifact, although the severity of this problem can be very subjective. It just so happens that the green channel is the hardest to acceptably ‘de-speckle’, because of the eye’s high sensitivity to those wavelengths.

Beck is keeping the secret of LLE’s victory over green speckle to himself, but admits that it was not an easy fight. “Dealing with speckle was one of the key challenges, up there alongside the development of a low-cost middle-volume manufacturing platform. We have worked for three years to eliminate the speckle, and have existing and pending IP in this area. All I can tell you is that it is really, really hard and lots of people have tried.”

The LLE light engine is also green in spirit, contributing to the energy savings that the cinema industry expects to make as digital projection systems become more widely adopted. LLE predicts that RGB laser illumination will reduce operating costs for movie theater owners by potentially $10,000 per screen per year, by eliminating the need to replace expensive xenon arc lamp projector bulbs and reducing electricity use by as much as 50 per cent. As Beck noted: “Our business model is very much in line with the trend to replace low-efficiency lamps with solid-state solutions, offsetting higher up-front price with lower total cost of ownership.”

Other Articles in this series:

Laser Light Engines gets IMAX funding– Putting Light on the Subject

3D Wonders