Monday, July 15, 2024

Digital Projection’s Chuck Collins on The Five Spot

Founded in 1989, Digital Projection (DP), headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of Kennesaw, was one of the first licensees of Texas Instruments’ Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology. In 1997, DP became the first company to offer a 3-chip DLP projector, ideally situated for venues in need of high performance and brightness. Today, the company offers a robust lineup to suit a variety of price and project needs, ranging from 1 DLP to 3 DLP chips and up to 8K resolution, along with RGB laser projectors and LED video wall tiles. DP’s products can be found at museums, theme parks, attractions, and projection mapping projects worldwide. InPark Magazine’s Joe Kleiman asked Chuck Collins, Digital Projection’s Vice President of Sales five questions about the company.

What are some recent attraction and museum projects that have utilized Digital Projection products?

As part of a very large renovation project, Digital Projection is in the midst of installing several significant Radiance Fine Pitch LED walls at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. In addition, national entertainment venues such as Topgolf use our LED walls, as do smaller, regional fine arts museums and even some Esports venues.

What qualities make DP projectors well suited for immersive installations such as domes, flying theaters, and projection mapping?
Flying theater attraction uses Digital Projection laser projectors at Hengdian World Studios in Zhejiang, China. Photo courtesy Digital Projection.

Digital projection provides projectors for just about any budget and our projectors are suitable for nearly every application. Our line of projectors starts at $6000 for 6000 lumens and migrate to full 8K projection and 40,000 lumens. Our new and very unique Satellite Modular Laser System provides reliable DLP based projectors to meet any planetarium need.  For a high-end, fulldome system, our INSIGHT series can deliver an 8K dome by using just two of our 8K projectors with dome lenses – imagine the simplicity and ease of operation of fulldome 8K with only two projectors. A 4K dome system can be realized with just one 8K projector outputting 4320 x 4320 through a single dome lens with no edge blends or multi-channel worries.   

Why is the Satellite Modular Laser System (S-MLS) considered a game changer?

For years, conventional projectors have been getting brighter and brighter, but at the same time they have been growing larger and louder. Digital Projection took a step back and completely reinvented the projector as we have known it. We have separated the imaging portion of the projector from the illumination system by making them modular. Now, a 4RU 10,000 lumen RGB Laser Module can live in a rack that can be up to 100 meters away from a projection head! The light module is connected to the projector head via a fiberoptic cable. And the projection head is incredibly small and nearly whisper-quiet, so the viewer may never notice it. We offer S-MLS solutions from 10,000 lumens to 40,000 lumens and from WUXGA to 8K resolution! The revolutionary design has incredible ramifications for nearly every application. One can create edge-blended images in areas that in the past were too small.  Environmental enclosures can be a fraction of the size of those for conventional projectors. While “game-changing” is an often-used cliché, we believe the industry will find that it really is an appropriate description of the Satellite Modular Laser System.

Installation at The Fram Museum (Oslo, Norway) uses a specially mounted, customized laser projection system from Digital Projection. Photo courtesy Digital Projection
You’ve been with DP for 25 years, and served in the digital projection space for even longer. What are some of the most significant advances you’ve seen over your career?

For me, my work-related life really changed with the advent of DLP technology, which I am proud to say Digital Projection was heavily involved in creating. With DLP, convergence issues became a thing of the past. Then there was the series of advances in native resolution. We went from 800 X 600 pixels to full 8K resolution! Laser phosphor illumination eliminated all the lamp issues that had been prevalent in high performance projectors. 3D was fun in the beginning – but with our INSIGHT 360 HFR, which displays 3 different 3D perspectives of the same content at the same time – 3D became important both for its collaborative uses and its entertainment value. Finally, our new Satellite Modular Laser System is the most significant advancement because it incorporates all of the previous advancements into one exciting new product family.

What else would you like your industry community in attractions and museums to know about the company and its products?

Digital Projection is uniquely positioned to be an important partner in the attractions and museum markets. Because, when projectors are not the right display solution, we have a very comprehensive offering of both fine pitch indoor LED as well as robust outdoor LED. Finally all of our products are backed by a team of passionate engineers and installers that care deeply about our customer’s success with our products.

LED display provided by Digital Projection at Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Photo courtesy Digital Projection
Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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