Precision presentation: New RealD Technology Combines 3D and white screen performance


Leading 3D company RealD has changed the outlook for 3D presentations with the introduction of a groundbreaking new screen. Rod Archer, VP, cinema products, provides the details in this exclusive Q&A.

What does RealD’s new Precision White Screen technology offer?
Rod Archer: The Precision White Screen essentially combines 2D white screen performance with the ability to project polarized 3D images. Because Precision White Screens deliver a designed light pattern, the image onscreen has more uniform brightness going out toward the edges, which are four to five times brighter than a traditional silver screen.

Talk us through some of the advantages for the viewer.
The RealD Precision White Screen is a premium-viewing surface designed to deliver enhanced 2D and 3D presentations. The screen has wide viewing angles similar to white screens of equivalent gain while also delivering great 3D. RealD is focused on delivering the best possible entertainment experience in theatres and the Precision White Screen helps deliver on the true promise of going to the movies.

What advantages can you offer exhibitors?

Aside from the sheer quality of the picture, it’s the customizable aspects that will appeal. With up to a 40-degree half-gain angle, optimal reflection performance can be designed for each individual auditorium depending on screen size and curvature: high gain for extra brightness or broader distribution of light for wider viewing angles.

Is this a way to ensure 3D keeps moving forward?
We spend a great deal of time doing research and development with an eye toward inventing technologies to improve images on screen, both 2D and 3D. With top filmmakers increasingly releasing their films in RealD 3D, we are focused on ensuring that the quality of our presentation matches their vision. The Precision White Screen helps in this goal by more evenly distributing light across the screen for a more impactful presentation. Precision White Screens also put forth more total light. When combined with RealD 3D projection, it all comes together to create what we believe is the industry’s best 3D experience.

Is this screen intended solely for 3D use?
No, not at all. That would be hugely restrictive for exhibitors, and we respect the need for quality 2D fare. We feel we’ve developed a screen that serves both 2D and 3D functions, and surpasses the image quality of standard silver screens for each medium. The smooth surface of a Precision White Screen generates better image contrast for an improved 2D image quality. You can really recognize the powerful visual impact of 2D screenings on our surface when compared to presentations on the standard silver screens. This is a replacement for both high-gain white screens and for polarized 3D shows: the Precision White Screen product fulfills both requirements.

But the focus remains on 3D?
RealD is committed to creating premium, realistic viewing experiences that deliver on the great promise of cinema. While most people know RealD for our 3D technology, our motto of perfecting the visual images extends to 2D as well.

What was the role of Ballantyne Strong in the screen’s development?

We’ve essentially combined our industry expertise with the state-of-the-art screen engineering and manufacturing capabilities of Strong-MDI to create something really special—the next step forward in cinema screen technology.

How have early test screenings been received?
It’s been embraced by the industry and audiences alike. We exhibited the technology at CinemaCon in Las Vegas this April and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Audiences are saying the 3D floats off the screen. Studios are already on board too—DreamWorks has installed the screen at their own Campanile Theatre. And Precision White Screens have been used for the premieres of The Great Gatsby and The Hobbit. In fact, Peter Jackson said, “The RealD Precision White Screen is the best viewing surface I’ve seen for both 2D and 3D projection. It provides uniform brightness across the surface and an overall more impactful image. This screen brings 3D to life without compromise, allowing the audience to truly experience what filmmakers work so hard to create.” That’s high praise.

When can audiences expect to see the benefit of the new screen?
Precision White Screens are available now through Strong-MDI. We are also working with other major screen manufacturers to bring the screen technology to market on a broader scale. Importantly, Precision White Screens are exclusively available to exhibitors utilizing RealD 3D cinema systems, further improving their technology advantage over other 3D offerings.