Christie introduces IMB at CinemaCon
LAS VEGAS—Christie, a global visual technology company, has unveiled the Christie IMB, an integrated media block solution that seamlessly converts and delivers feature-film and alternative content within a secure environment to all of Christie’s 2K and 4K, DCI-compliant Solaria® Series 2 projectors.
Built into Christie projectors or easily inserted into previously purchased units, the Christie IMB utilizes industry standard, non-proprietary storage solutions, giving exhibitors the smoothest possible transition to HFR (high frame rate) and 3D projection standards.
Launched at CinemaCon in Las Vegas following several months of commercial field trials, the Christie IMB provides an integrated solution from a single, trusted equipment supplier. Christie used its IMB at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference earlier in April for hourly presentations of HFR cinema content on a single CP2220 Solaria projector, complete with automatic and seamless switching between different frame rates. This demo will also be held at CinemaCon. DCI Compliance certification is expected shortly.
“Most digital projector installations use a media block in an external server that is linked by cables to the projector,” said Don Shaw, senior director, entertainment solutions, Christie. “This creates bandwidth limitations that have an impact on picture quality, and restrict the system’s ability to offer higher frame rates and increased pixel resolution.”
The Christie IMB operates within the projector, becoming an integral part of the display device, added Shaw. “The result is a secure connection that can manage the high bandwidth required for HFR and 4K content while maintaining terrific image quality.”
All Solaria Series 2 projectors are designed to integrate seamlessly with the Christie IMB and the Christie Previsto™ high frame rate (HFR) technology. Featuring complete cinema content support, as well as MPEG2 and H.264 support for pre-show advertising and alternative content, Christie’s IMB is grounded in a solid understanding of the projector’s software, thermals, vibrations and internal power supply, ensuring the most reliable projection system on the market.
The combination of the Christie CP4220 or Christie CP4230 projectors and Christie IMB, offered by the world’s largest manufacturer of digital cinema projectors, brings exhibitors ultimate confidence that they will be ready for upcoming 4K or 3D HFR movies in a single projector system,” said Shaw. The first HFR feature film, The Hobbit, is scheduled for release in December 2012.
The IMB design reduces complexity because it eliminates the need for an exhibitor to support varied servers and IMBs currently on the market from different manufacturers. Christie achieves a fully integrated system solution by ensuring seamless interaction between its IMB and Christie Avias-TMS™, a theater management system (TMS) software application that allows exhibitors to centrally manage and orchestrate all of their projection operations within a cinema multiplex .
“Christie now offers a ground-breaking, single-projection solution that converts and delivers packaged feature film content within a secure, DCI-compliant environment, while providing the option to upgrade to full HFR capabilities,” said Shaw. “Because we also manufacture the projector that forms the keystone of our advanced digital cinema solution, we eliminate compatibility issues that could occur in media blocks from third party suppliers, especially following software upgrade cycles.”
According to Shaw, the main goals of Christie’s HFR activities are to help the industry develop the best HFR content and the best delivery system for HFR content. The first goal involves assisting leading-edge filmmakers and post-production companies in perfecting HFR movie creation, so the industry has the most engaging, entertaining content possible. The second goal is to assist exhibitors in showing these 3D HFR movies in all their glory.
To these ends, Christie is helping create the standards for 3D HFR movies through formal and informal technology-development alliances with major producers and directors, post production facilities, studios and technology partners. On the exhibitor’s front, Christie provides one stop shopping for all the hardware, software and services that enable exhibitors to deliver a filmmaker's vision in stunning 3D HFR quality.