If you ever had any doubt that pro AV display technology is the hot ticket in the broadcast and film production world, a walk across the show floor at NAB, which just wrapped up in Las Vegas, would have dispeled those doubts. While the exhibit hall, devoted almost exclusively to pure broadcast gear, generated modest attendee traffic, the South Hall, devoted to projection, emissive displays, and image processing, was buzzing like never before.
There has always been a natural crossover between the Pro AV world and the commercial entertainment world. With the explosion of new video display technologies in the past decade, that crossover has increased. Live events increasingly incorporate video screens in the set, but more interestingly, the new generation of high-resolution, high-lumen projectors and high definition emissive displays such as Plasma panels and LCD panels is now showing up in production and post production environments, opening up new markets for AV pros and equipment providers, and ushering in a new production era.
Dan Zubik, product line manager, projector systems NEC, comments that a wide variety of production professionals are using high-resolution video projectors for editing and other applications.
"At one post house in Hollywood, they are using a NEC HD10K projector, going right from the telecine, to produce credits/titles," he said. "Using the projector, they are able to view the frames at a larger size, as it would appear in a theater."
D'Arcy Pickering, product manager, cinema, for Christie Digital, says that the use of both DLP Cinema and DLP projectors in post and production environments is growing rapidly.
"In addition to the use of video projection to view finished content in theaters and private screening rooms, the uses of video projectors in grading applications, editing, color timing is one of the most dynamic markets right now."
While digital cinema, in terms of digital projection of major Hollywood movies in commercial theaters, is a separate market, with its own unique set of market politics and business dynamics, there is also cross-over between video projection of feature movies in commercial theaters and post-production. To take just one of the competing technologies--DLP Cinema technology from Texas Instruments--recent product introductions are blurring the line between the previously more firm distinction between the high-end "d-cinema" and the lower-end "e-cinema," which offers more opportunities for systems integrators.
At NAB, Texas Instruments' three DLP Cinema partners, Christie, Barco, and NEC/Digital Projection, showed their new, smaller, DLP Cinema projectors, aimed squarely at the post-production and smaller screening-room markets.
Barco was showing a digital cinema projector solution designed for use on smaller screens. The D-Cine Premiere DP30, a compact DLP Cinema projector, is designed to meet the need for post production and true digital cinema displays on screens up to 33 feet wide. Developed to meet a growing demand for digital movie screenings in smaller theaters and in post-production houses for color correction of digital masters and film electronic intermediates, the D-Cine Premiere DP30 boasts a full range of features that makes it interchangeable with Barco's full range of digital cinema projectors.
Sjoerd De Clerck, managing director of Barco Digital Cinema, commented on the release of the DP30: "We have been very encouraged by the industry's reaction to the DP30. Exhibitors who recognize its performance, price benefits, and post production praise its color performance and have confirmed our belief that the DP30 will contribute significantly to the establishment of digital cinema this year."
Christie was showing at NAB its CP series of digital cinema projectors. The Christie CP Series incorporates an innovative modular design that addresses brightness and resolution requirements for a wide range of screen sizes and applications. The Christie CP2000 projector is designed to address traditional exhibitor applications and any screen size from 20ft to 75ft (6m to 23m) wide. The CP1200 is ideal for applications with screen sizes up to 40ft/12m such as DLP Cinema digital mastering, digital intermediates, and postproduction. Due to the modular design of the CP Series, the CP1200 can easily be upgraded to a CP2000 model.
All projectors include features such as the Christie LampLOC (Automatic Lamp Alignment), Christie LiteLoc to ensure constant brightness on the screen, Christie SSM (System Supervisor Module) for remote system diagnostics and monitoring via Ethernet, and Christie Touch Panel Controller (TPC), which provides system setup and control via Ethernet. Projectors support SMPTE/ATSC high-definition video formats. The Christie CP Series offers connectivity in any theater or postproduction environment. In addition, the CP Series projectors can be installed in parallel with existing film projectors and interface to the majority of theater automation systems used in exhibition worldwide.
"The CP Series was designed with the exhibitor in mind," said Pickering. "All of the projectors provide dramatic overall reduction in system operating costs because they use less power to achieve the same brightness performance as current digital cinema projection systems.
Digital Projection International (DPI) introduced two new DLP Cinema technology-enabled projectors at NAB. SMPTE brightness-compliant on screens up to 35-feet wide, the iS10 is designed to meet the requirements of more than half of the world's cinema screens and is, according to DPI, an ideal solution for postproduction houses and screening rooms.
The cS15 employs an innovative DLP Cinema head design that integrates with industry standard lamp consoles and fits easily in any type of commercial theater projection booth. It provides SMPTE brightness on screens between 35 and 60-feet wide and includes as standard an automated three-position lens turret system. The cS15 is also upgradeable to future brightness and resolution platforms, including Texas Instruments' soon-to-be-introduced 2K resolution.
"The iS10 and cS15 offer a wonderful combination of design and functionality", said Peter Nicholas, director of cinema sales and marketing, the Americas. "The compact iS10 provides exceptional flexibility in terms of location and portability. It has been rigorously tested by Texas Instruments and meets their qualification for full production standard."