ATTENTION GSCA MEMBERS AND THEATRE OPERATORS

On March 11, I will be visiting Barco’s North American headquarters for a tour and meeting with their senior management. 

If you have any inquiries regarding their digital cinema equipment, including the 4K DLP projector that was introduced at the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium, please feel free to email them to me at largeformattd@yahoo.com.  Barco’s responses will be included in a post later this month on the Kinotech Blog.

The following press release was issued today by Barco and my colleagues at D3D.  Thanks to Art for bringing it to my attention.  In addition to the event described below, Barco recently announced a deal with Cinemark to convert all their Cinemark XD theaters to Barco DP4K-32B projectors and many of their smaller auditoriums to 4K as well.

Rancho Cordova, CA, USA – 3 March 2011 – Digital cinema pioneer Barco chalked up another round of industry firsts at the inaugural Digital Cinema Symposium presented by D3D Cinema and Moody Gardens held in Galveston, Texas on January 24th and 25th. The occasion marked the first time that 4K digital and 70mm film projectors were set up in a side-by-side comparison to assess and compare the qualities of each format and technology. It was also the first time that Barco’s 4K projector was used to present a movie on a giant 80-foot screen, the first time dual DP4K-32B projectors were used to project 3D, and the first time that Barco projectors showed four different types of 3D technology.

The much-anticipated highlight of the Symposium was the 4K Barco DLP vs 70mm shootout held before a sizable audience of movie aficionados from museum, movie theatre and other major attraction businesses. The format of the shootout entailed simultaneous projection of both film and digital formats on a split-screen to enable experts to compare and contrast the two technologies. For the digital version, 70mm film was scanned at 11K resolution and converted to a 4K DCP. The content chosen for the main event were trailers from “Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey” and “Wild Ocean,” both large-format films produced for IMAX™ and other giant screen cinemas. The split-screen demonstration was revealing, accentuating the anomalies of film-based projection such as noticeable vibration and dirt, effectively lowering the perceived resolution of the image, while the digital version featured excellent color depth, a cleaner picture, and greater image stability.

“Film purists thought that we were years away from a day when digital would equal or surpass large-format film presentation. However, in an informal straw poll of roughly 120 industry veterans in attendance, an overwhelming majority favored Barco’s 4K digital version, both in terms of image quality and overall presentation,” commented Andy Wood, Senior Vice President, D3D Cinema. “This is an incredible milestone for our industry, elevating digital as a viable giant screen exhibition solution among some of the world’s finest cultural institutions.”

“The shootout opened a lot of people’s eyes to the potential of digital on the world’s giant screens. It’s already fueling many discussions that weren’t occurring two months ago,” commented Art Mercurio, Vice President of Technical Services for D3D. “We were really excited to partner with Barco – they’re always a step or two ahead, always pushing the industry, and the first to support new technologies as soon as they hit the market.”

Rounding out the agenda was a demonstration of all current 3D technologies, including the various types of 3D glasses. Barco’s 4K projectors were also used to present an “Alternative Content Showcase” featuring demonstrations of live video sources, including HD TV, video games, PowerPoint and Blu-ray, and to screen 2D, 3D, and 4D movie premieres and the latest trailers.

As a primary technology partner, Barco also participated in expert panel discussions and roundtables focusing on topics of interest to large-format exhibitors, such as digital content production, theatre operations, and total cost of ownership. “We were honored to participate in this pioneering event by D3D and Moody Gardens, representing a diverse showcase of the latest game-changing innovations in digital cinema technology. Naturally, we’re thrilled that our 4K DLP projector put in such a stellar performance against traditional 70mm film. This is a testament to Barco’s technology leadership, and proves to large-format exhibitors that they can take advantage of the significantly lower cost of ownership offered by digital without sacrificing image quality,” commented Todd Hoddick, VP Digital Cinema for Barco North America.

About D3D Cinema
D3D Cinema is a Chicago-based company that offers complete digital 3D cinema solutions and services to museum and attraction industry clients worldwide. D3D offers a fresh and unique partnership approach to cinema design and 3D content, from theater integration to signature film production. D3D is a sister company of Giant Screen Films, a global leader in large-format film production & distribution.

About Barco
Barco, a global technology company, designs and develops visualization products for a variety of selected professional markets. Barco has its own facilities for Sales & Marketing, Customer Support, R&D and Manufacturing in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Barco (NYSE Euronext Brussels: BAR) is active in more than 90 countries with about 3,500 employees worldwide. Barco posted sales of 897 million euro in 2010.

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