Five L.A. area showcase theaters go NEC Digital

posted by CinemAFuchs on November 17, 2006 at 4:35 am

BURBANK, CA — The rollout of the world’s brightest projector is coming to selected Los Angeles theaters. Going for the full splash, they’ll be coming to elite theaters first like Grauman’s Chinese, the Mann Village and the Cinerama Dome.

NEC Corporation of America today announced it is supporting the Technicolor Digital Cinema rollout through the installation of its NEC STARUS™ NC2500S Digital Cinema projector in three of the premiere movie theatres known to the Hollywood film industry. NEC’s STARUS NC2500S, the world’s brightest projector with DLP Cinema® technology from Texas Instruments®, will be projecting Hollywood’s hottest premieres at Mann’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Mann’s Village Theatre in Westwood, and ArcLight Cinema’s Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

“NEC is honored that Technicolor has selected our digital cinema projectors for installation in these impressive theatres,” said Kurt Schwenk, general manager, Digital Cinema Division of NEC Corporation of America. “We are excited that our projectors will help deliver an unparalleled visual experience for audiences and we expect our top-of-the-line projectors to leave a superior and lasting impression at these top three LA premiere sites.”

To read more, go to The Broadcast Newsroom.

Comments (9)

exit on November 20, 2006 at 1:49 pm

I wonder how these compare to Sony’s much heralded but never delivered 4K projectors. Let’s hope that they will take make the proper digital adjustments to finally eliminate the keystoning and horizon sag at the Dome.

KramSacul on August 14, 2007 at 5:00 pm

I just stumbled upon this article so I didn’t know about the new DLPs at the 3 locations. I haven’t seen Grauman’s latest projector but I did see the Dome’s (for Spidey 3) and the Village’s (Transformers) this year (2007).

Even with the improved brightness the Dome’s screen is still dim resulting in a lack of contrast/pop. The picture distortion is still there, of course. Bottom of image was noticable cut off during the opening Columbia Pictures logo. Disappointing.

The Village’s projection is so much better it isn’t funny. Along with the proper luminance the black level was much better than previous DLP shows I’ve seen. The best digital projection I’ve seen yet.

exit on August 14, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Theoretically the digital image could be rectified to compensate for the Dome’s curved screen, however, the Dome’s low-gain screen still is a factor. It’s been proven elsewhere that using 2-3 projectors (all covering the same area, carefully registered to match) can multiply the brightness on any screen.

Presumably using three 4ks properly registered could make a real difference… If any local venue were using 4k there would be some promotion about it, don’t you think?

The bottom of the picture was probably cut off because of the cheap workaround ArcLight uses to try to hide the keystoning. If they’re not going to really fix things, they need to at least raise the masking on the bottom and reset the lens to a slightly smaller picture.

KramSacul on August 14, 2007 at 5:56 pm

I imagine some kind of custom lens would be possible to fix the screen distortion. Doing it at the digital level (in projector or the movie file) could result in aliasing and other artifacts.

3 DLPs aimed at the screen would definitely do something about the brightness but the cross reflections would still be there, maybe even worse with more light.

Too bad when the Dome was built the projector booth wasn’t below the balcony (back wall of ground floor). The throw distance would be pretty short but the angle would be much better, right?

exit on August 14, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Actually I think that digitally altering the image to fit the screen is the better way to go, I believe something similar has been done before… if a lens corected for the distortion they would have one. Different lenses have been tried for curved screens before.

A proper strip screen would fix the contrast issue if it were correctly installed.

You are right on the nose about the back of the mezzanine being the best location for the booth. And a shorter throw means a brighter picture.

KramSacul on August 14, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Well, actually I was thinking more of right below the mezzanine on the ground floor, but that would probably be problematic. Not high enough for proper clearence of people walking back and forth, too short a throw distance, etc. Just a fantasy/idea.

Another idea I had was an adjustable screen. The screen could be relatively flat for regular movies then be programmed for the appropriate deep curve for Cinerama movies. This probably already exists somewhere.

exit on August 14, 2007 at 7:14 pm

There is no room for a booth in the location you speak of. It’s the concession stand and the restrooms.

An adjustable screen is wildly impractical. Mechanics break down, maintenance is costly, and doing it manually costs a fortune. Seattle had someone put it into their heads that the curved screen wouldn’t be right for all movies, in spite of the fact that that very screen is what made the theatre popular for forty years. So they put up a flat screen and rolled up the Cinerama screen behind it. It takes almost two days with a full crew of union stagehands to make the change. Costs a fortune and it’s not done right. How can you correctly position the louvers if they’re rolled up most of the time? They don’t. Ask Seattle CInerama patrons which screen they like better… Pacific didn’t want the louvers because they don’t like to spend money on maintenance. You think they’d pay a crew of union stagehands to move the ends of a screen back and forth?

Far too much thought is put into blaming the screen instead of the location of the projector, which is the real problem. Next time you go in there you’ll see that the rear mezz just under the booth is ideal. They would only lose 39 seats that nobody wants to sit in anyway. Adding a booth under the existing one is the simplest and most logical fix, In fact it was recommended by the Cinerama experts before the Dome was redone. But they chose a cheap workaround and tried to hide the dim picture by making the room dark as a dungeon…

KramSacul on August 14, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Yeah, I know there’s no room below the mezzanine for a booth.

I know the screen isn’t the problem but unless a strip screen is put in then the contrast problems will remain, because of the curve. The whole situation just sucks.

exit on August 14, 2007 at 7:50 pm

on that point I wholeheartedly agree.

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