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Most of our laser blog readers are from the global cinema industry. But this post is about a special, unique and impressive segment of that industry: the world of the “giant screen”.
The Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA), held its international conference and trade show in San Francisco this year. I was honored to have been invited to speak about the impact of laser illumination on a panel of industry experts from different backgrounds ranging from filmmaking for the giant screen to star show producers for full dome planetariums.The GSCA represents a diverse group of theaters, museums, multipurpose venues - all with a common interest: showing content on… GIANT SCREENS. Though unified in this common first principle, they quickly show their fierce independence. First they divide into flat screen vs. dome exhibitors and become more specialized from there.
With more than 54,000 screens installed across the world, Barco is the global leader in digital cinema projection. Barco is also the leader in laser-illuminated digital cinema, with over 50 installs in 15 countries. What’s probably less well-known is that Barco provides the laser technology for IMAX’s new GT Laser Cinema system. This system was recently installed at the AMC Metreon in San Francisco on an unbelievably giant, 100 by 70 foot, totally immersive screen.
The conference opened with a brief explanation of the IMAX laser system and two new giant screen movies: Wild Africa 3D and National Parks Adventure. The laser system was used for all of the week’s flat screen content, both 2D and 3D. The conference included a technical deep dive on Friday afternoon, containing some GS camera test footage and a comprehensive presentation by IMAX’s Chief Quality Officer, David Keighley.
Understand that the GSCA doesn’t take its moniker lightly. It has developed a specification that defines what GS means. The DIGSS (Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications) is similar to the DCI Cinema standards but it has its own unique requirements. Its key elements are:
In 2012, Barco demonstrated the world’s first, integrated (read: lasers inside the projector), high-brightness laser-illuminated projector prototype. It weighed in at 54,000 lumens and stunned the entire cinema industry. Shortly thereafter IMAX and Barco announced an exclusive partnership to provide the GS world with a projection system, the likes of which the world had never seen.
Barco provides the laser technology for IMAX’s unique, high-performance, dual 4K projector system. David Keighley provided the rundown on performance on the huge, 100 foot-wide screen.
For the GSCA membership, I had only one critical recommendation: do what no other medium can – spend the lumens on scale and immersion. Flat or dome, laser is the only platform for a truly unique and unmatchable experience.
Photos courtesy of my good friend James Hyder, editor of the Large Format Examiner Photo by James Hyder. © 2015 by Cinergetics, LLC.