Barco’s Groundbreaking 4k Laser Projection at CinemaCON

I’m kicking myself for not making out to Vegas this past month for the Holy Grail of Projection- CinemaCON. While it has come and gone, all the big players in the industry flexed their collective projection super-powers and impressed the industry once again. HFR and laser seems to be where we’re headed and it figured big at Cinemacon. So of course- Barco threw their skin in the game:
Barco, the global digital cinema technology leader, impressed hundreds of attendees at this year’s CinemaCon, demonstrating ultra-bright 4K laser projection, a never-before-seen exhibition of High Frame Rate movie footage at 120 fps per eye, its premier 3D multi-channel cinema audio solution, and a stunning 3D projection mapping show on Caesars Palace.

Laser projection promises a bright future
One of the most eagerly anticipated highlights of this year’s convention, Barco’s Laser Projection Showcase attracted more than 300 movie exhibitors and other industry professionals eager to catch a glimpse of the Cinema of the Future. Attendees witnessed the first-ever showing of Hollywood movie footage on a 4K laser projector with several clips featuring 4K resolution, High Frame Rates at 48 frames per second (fps), and the industry’s brightest 3D. The demonstration broke all previous records for large-format movie projection, presenting movie content at 55,000 ANSI lumens on a 70′ x 30′ screen, the largest to date.

The centerpiece of the laser projection demo was an extended clip of Samsara, a non-narrative film created by filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson (I almost fainted when I read this…..I’m an admitted HUGE Ron Fricke fan). The movie was shot at 65mm format, scanned at 8K resolution, and subsequently reduced to create a 4K Digital Intermediate/4K Digital Cinema Package. The result: a stunning display of ultra-bright, brilliantly-colored imagery, described by reporter Alex Billington of firstshowing.net as follows: “Today I saw a laser projection demo and whoa – this is the future I cannot wait for. It was spectacular. I could view every last little detail as far back as I could see, and it looked stunningly bright, but not too bright.”

Although digital cinema laser projection isn’t expected to be commercially available until late 2013 at the earliest, Barco offers its DCI-compliant Enhanced 4K and 3D cinema audio solutions now.

Shaping the cinema of the future with cutting-edge technologies
“We are close to achieving the pinnacle of immersive cinema, employing our diverse array of pioneering technologies in light, sound and processing to create the ultimate movie experience,” commented Todd Hoddick, VP Entertainment for Barco North America. “In this day and age, moviegoers expect to be ‘wowed’ on every level, and we can state unequivocally that we are armed with the tools and capabilities to shape the cinema of the future, today.”

High Frame Rates scale to 120 fps
In addition to presenting its 48 fps High Frame Rate demonstration during the Laser Projection Showcase, Barco also made cinema history by projecting 3D movie footage at an astonishing 120 fps in a special presentation at the CinemaCon Directors’ Luncheon. The demonstration used two stacked Barco projectors to show a combined 240 fps projection driven by a single Qube XP-I server to send 120 fps per eye.

“The 120 fps per eye presentation was a fascinating experience! Thanks to our partners Barco, ARRI and Stereotec, we were able to create a spectacular viewing experience to share with a very wide audience at CinemaCon, making a great first impression,” commented Siegfried Foessel, Head of Department, Moving Picture Technologies of the Fraunhofer Institute.

3D Audio – the perfect match for visual 3D
Barco presented its best-in-class multi-channel Auro 11.1 cinema audio solution, characterizing it as the perfect match for visual 3D. Auro 11.1 is an easy-to-install, backwards and forwards compatible 3D sound format providing the most enveloping cinema audio available today. Supported by content providers, such as Lucasfilm Ltd., Bad Robot Productions and Jerry Bruckheimer, and exhibitors worldwide, Auro 11.1 delivers a totally immersive, multi-sensory experience with breathtaking reality when combined with 3D movie formats.

Barco projection amazes beyond digital cinema
Flexing its projection technology muscle in the live events industry, Barco enlivened its annual Belgian Beer Bar with a gigantic 3D pixel mapping display enveloping the exterior wall of Caesars Palace with a first-ever pixel mapping of the building. Leveraging the power of its newest HDX-W18 large venue projectors, Barco partnered with nationally renowned event production company DWP Live and content creator Monster Media 3D (shout out to Danny Whetstone and Jack Hattingh!) to create a visual spectacular worthy of the Las Vegas strip. DWP Live used 12 Barco HDX-W18 projectors to provide crisp images and deep colors at ultra-high resolutions, further enhancing the dynamic 3D effect. These top of the line projectors are the most compact and powerful on the market and allowed the entire fa├žade of Caesar’s Palace to be mapped with ease. Coolux Pandora’s Box Media Server Pro Servers were used to coordinate the projectors.


“Barco’s high lumens event projectors offer the perfect combination of ultra brightness, true color reproduction, image uniformity and reliability – attributes that are especially critical for creating any outdoor show,” commented Danny Whetstone, Founder of DWP Live. “We’ve relied on Barco for years because of their superior versatility, brilliant color rendition and unparalleled light output due to their advanced processing. Their dependability is also a huge reason we chose them for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show and other high-profile events – they always exceed our expectations no matter what the environment.”

A long history of industry firsts
During the past 18 months, Barco has chalked up numerous digital cinema industry firsts in rapid succession. Among a growing list of technological achievements, Barco evolved its world record-winning DP2K-32B into an Enhanced 4K DLP Cinema┬« model to become the first to project movie footage in 4K resolution on an 80-ft screen, the first to pit digital 4K against 15/70mm film presentation in a side-by-side comparison, and the first to present numerous 3D technologies in a single venue. Earlier this year, Barco made history by demonstrating the industry’s first laser projection showcase, the first 3D comparison of high frame rate content, and the first cinema experience in the US integrating Auro 11.1 – all on a giant screen at the 2nd Annual Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium. See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lmafk22NPAA

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