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HFR and lasers are the future of cinema, says Christie

Just as the latest TVs are offering claimed refresh rates of 200, 400 and even 800Hz, so digital cinema is looking to higher refresh rates to improve image quality.

It is increasingly the case that consumers can watch what they want, when they want and where they want – and in very high quality. As such, cinema owners continue to try to find ways of levering those consumers out of their homes and into their local movie theatre.

Cinema has, historically, been all about delivering a visual experience unlike any other. The problem is, the bar is being set continually higher. 3D has been the industry’s most recent attempt to attract a fickle public – but even that may not be enough.

With that in mind, Christie recently hosted a High Frame Rate (HFR) Summit at the company’s worldwide centre for engineering, research and development in Kitchener, Ontario, touring cinema-industry luminaries through its manufacturing facility and providing the first-ever laser projection of high frame rate cinema and alternative content on to a 30-foot white screen.

HFR is the latest technology battleground for digital cinema projector manufacturers. It is said that, by recording and playing back movies at twice the present frame rate, artefacts such as flicker and motion blur are reduced – thus improving the cinema-going experience.

Recent Gordon E. Sawyer Academy Award winner Douglas Trumbull, Ian Bidgood (technical director, Park Road Post Production), Matt Cowan (chief scientific officer, RealD), John Helliker and Bert Dunk (directors at the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre) and Demetri Portelli (stereographer) met with Christie engineering and product development staff for an information sharing session and discussion on high frame rates, laser projection, and the future of 3D and 4K projection.

“Our guests were very impressed with our demonstration of high-frame rate content using one of our prototype laser projectors,” said Don Shaw, senior director, product management, Christie Entertainment Solutions, “as well as the laser projector development roadmap we shared in these frank discussions.”

“Spectacular movies delivered at high-frame rates, onto big and vividly bright screens, will enable the production and exhibition of amazingly immersive cinema experiences that will be far more powerful than any other medium,” said Doug Trumbull.

“3D images must be awe-inspiring to bring back the crowds to cinemas worldwide, and the higher brightness levels that are required to do justice to these images, along with higher frame rate material, will be delivered by Christie’s technology in the laser field, with new projector and cinema solutions for today and the future.,” said Ian Bidgood.

Christie says that it plans to incorporate laser projection technology into its cinema product line, business products line and visualisation and simulation solutions where it benefits its customer base.