Christie and D3D Cinema have partnered to provide Christie’s laser projection platform for tilted giant screen dome cinemas. R&D and preliminary testing is underway in conjunction with a host of third-party partners, from veteran dome cinematographers and postproduction labs, to optics specialists and test bed theaters.
D3D Cinema will be shooting original dome test footage in multiple digital and 70 mm formats in the coming months. Classic 70 mm dome content will be scanned at 11K resolution, mastered and frame-interpolated for laser optimized high dynamic range and high frame rate playback. Christie’s laser technology can reach Rec2020. The company is designing its laser-illuminated cinema projectors to accommodate the configurations necessary for proper dome exhibition. Testing will continue through the summer with an anticipated demonstration to select buyers in the fall of 2015. The system will be made available through D3D to institutional dome giant screen clients with D3D targeting the first rollouts for integration in early 2016.
“Dome theaters have waited a long time for digital projection technology to evolve to a capable solution that can rival or exceed the quality of 70 mm,” said Don Kempf, president and founder of D3D. “Just as lasers usher in a new era for dome cinema exhibition, new digital-capture technology ushers in a new era for the production of dome-specific content to support the incredible dynamic range of the lasers. We’re proud to have produced multiple films supported by the Giant Dome Theater Consortium and the U.S. Dome Theater Alliance, and we look forward to continued collaboration as we work with their members in their transitions to a more economical, brighter, digital future.”
“The goal with this partnership is no compromise, providing open and flexible high-brightness laser projection solutions to the dome cinema market, which allows end users the creative freedom to use the technology to meet the changing needs of their audiences,” said Bryan Boehme, national sales manager, Christie. “Our approach is a dome configuration using a very special, single laser projector situated in the focal sweet spot, incorporating true spherical optics. This is the cleanest image available, without the need to pixel shift, warp, stretch, panel or overlay the images. The preliminary tests have been eye-opening and we’re convinced theaters will be very impressed by Christie’s ability to achieve higher perceived spatial resolutions through jitter-free image clarity and unparalleled contrast while pushing temporal resolutions to 60 fps and greater. The high frame rates and high dynamic range lasers will enhance the immersiveness and realism of the dome viewing experience.”
The D3D and Christie dome laser system will include options such as DCI-compliant window playback modes and Dolby Atmos surround sound on the Christie Vive audio platform.
“Giant screen domes are special and provide the inimitable viewer experience combined with the underlying technology necessary to deliver that unique experience,” said Andy Wood, senior vice president at D3D. “Lasers alone provide the illumination and clarity to allow these theaters to convert to a digital platform at long last. It was imperative that D3D and Christie work through the integration complexities of lasers on flat screens before tackling the dome format. Having successfully introduced the world’s first institutional giant screen 6P laser system at Moody Gardens last year, and with a host of installations underway in 2015, it was time to shift our attention to the critically important dome market. We’re tremendously excited about what’s on the horizon.”