NEC Corporation of America, RealD 3D, and Ballantyne of Omaha’s Strong Digital Systems and Strong Technical Services units have recently teamed to provide the latest in digital 3D projection capability to multiple US theaters. This latest wave of upgrades to RealD digital 3D was driven by theater owners wanting to capitalize on the introduction of the July 11, 2008 release of Journey to the Center of the Earth from Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema and Walden Media. Journey will be the first live-action narrative 3D film and the widest RealD digital 3D film released to date. While the film will also be screened in 2D cinemas, exhibitors are looking to the increased attendance and revenue delivered by RealD 3D–equipped screens.
“Ballantyne of Omaha /Strong Cinema Products is an industry leader in projection systems and trusted partner of Great Escape Theatres,” said Chance Ragains, chief operating officer, Great Escape Theatres. “They have partnered with NEC to provide top-quality, NEC STARUS digital projectors and with RealD 3D to provide state-of-the-art digital 3D cinema. As we started the transition to digital projection with 3D capability, it only made sense to go with a company with a history of delivering a first-class product with the service, support and technology partners to back it up.”
NEC and RealD 3D contributed to the cinema experience at the premiere of Journey to the Center of the Earth. Held at the Mann Village in Los Angeles on June 29, 2008, the premiere was shown using an NEC STARUS™ NC1600C digital cinema projector and the RealD Cinema system with RealD XL technology. NEC STARUS digital projectors deliver superior quality with precise 2K resolution and high contrast images. RealD XL is the only digital 3D technology which can reach screens as large as 60 feet with a single projector.
“RealD is a global leader in 3D cinema and NEC has a legacy of creating world-class, award-winning digital display, projector and server technologies,” said John Wilmers, president and CEO, Ballantyne of Omaha, Inc. “Partnering with RealD and NEC allows us to deliver a turnkey, state-of-the-art digital cinema and 3D solution within very stringent timelines to meet our customers’ exhibition needs. We’re proud to play a role in enabling theater-goers to visit the center of the earth in an immersive 3D experience.”
Today’s digital 3D, created by RealD 3D, is a next-generation technology which has been hailed as the most important innovation in cinema since the advent of sound and color. Leading filmmakers, including Robert Zemeckis, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and George Lucas, have embraced 3D as an integral part of making movies today. In March 2008, DreamWorks Animation SKG announced that its entire future film slate would be made and released in 3D, beginning with the March ’09 release of Monsters vs. Aliens. Disney/Pixar announced the following month that all future animated films from the studio would be 3D as well.
NEC's STARUS product line is based on advanced DLP Cinema® technology from Texas Instruments® to enable theaters to deliver stunning digital images, regardless of screen size, while simplifying theatre management and reducing costs. All NEC's digital cinema projectors meet Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) specifications for performance and reliability, meeting the requirements of the cinema industry today.
“RealD’s role as a 3D innovator maps directly to NEC’s overall heritage and commitment to innovation, particularly in the digital cinema market,” said Jim Reisteter, general manager of Digital Cinema Division, NEC Corporation of America. “And, Strong’s dedication to this market as well as technical knowledge make them a critical partner to NEC’s continued growth in the North American digital cinema market.”
“NEC’s ability to provide a comprehensive suite of high quality, innovative solutions to the theater industry and Strong’s consulting and installation expertise are key components of the RealD 3D platform,” said Joe Peixoto, president, Worldwide Cinema, RealD. “We’re excited about our ongoing relationships with NEC and Strong. They’ve contributed significantly to our ability to supply exhibitors – and moviegoers – with the absolute best 3D cinema experience.”
The Digital Cinema Division of NEC Corporation of America leverages NEC’s world-class expertise in visual display products, IT infrastructure and integration services to develop specialized solutions for the delivery and management of digital content. By combining the expertise of movie-making professionals with the technological innovation of NEC, the Digital Cinema Division delivers all-encompassing digital cinema and in-theatre advertising solutions that meet the requirements of the entertainment industry.