The much-anticipated highlight of the Symposium was the 4K Barco DLP vs 70mm shootout held before a sizable audience of movie aficionados from museum, movie theatre and other major attraction businesses. The format of the shootout entailed simultaneous projection of both film and digital formats on a split-screen to enable experts to compare and contrast the two technologies. For the digital version, 70mm film was scanned at 11K resolution and converted to a 4K DCP. The content chosen for the main event were trailers from “Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey” and “Wild Ocean,” both large-format films produced for IMAX™ and other giant screen cinemas. The split-screen demonstration was revealing, accentuating the anomalies of film-based projection such as noticeable vibration and dirt, effectively lowering the perceived resolution of the image, while the digital version featured excellent color depth, a cleaner picture, and greater image stability.
“Film purists thought that we were years away from a day when digital would equal or surpass large-format film presentation. However, in an informal straw poll of roughly 120 industry veterans in attendance, an overwhelming majority favored Barco’s 4K digital version, both in terms of image quality and overall presentation,” commented Andy Wood, Senior Vice President, D3D Cinema. “This is an incredible milestone for our industry, elevating digital as a viable giant screen exhibition solution among some of the world’s finest cultural institutions.”
“The shootout opened a lot of people’s eyes to the potential of digital on the world’s giant screens. It’s already fueling many discussions that weren’t occurring two months ago,” commented Art Mercurio, Vice President of Technical Services for D3D. “We were really excited to partner with Barco – they’re always a step or two ahead, always pushing the industry, and the first to support new technologies as soon as they hit the market.”
Rounding out the agenda was a demonstration of all current 3D technologies, including the various types of 3D glasses. Barco’s 4K projectors were also used to present an “Alternative Content Showcase” featuring demonstrations of live video sources, including HD TV, video games, PowerPoint and Blu-ray, and to screen 2D, 3D, and 4D movie premieres and the latest trailers.
As a primary technology partner, Barco also participated in expert panel discussions and roundtables focusing on topics of interest to large-format exhibitors, such as digital content production, theatre operations, and total cost of ownership. “We were honored to participate in this pioneering event by D3D and Moody Gardens, representing a diverse showcase of the latest game-changing innovations in digital cinema technology. Naturally, we’re thrilled that our 4K DLP projector put in such a stellar performance against traditional 70mm film. This is a testament to Barco’s technology leadership, and proves to large-format exhibitors that they can take advantage of the significantly lower cost of ownership offered by digital without sacrificing image quality,” commented Todd Hoddick, VP Digital Cinema for Barco North America.