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Old January 15th, 2004, 01:09 PM   #1
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HDV Projection Solutions?

Once our wonderful HD projects have been shot, edited and color graded to make them absolutely gorgeous, what are the best and most economical ways of getting these movies on the Big Screen? And I don't mean up-converting to film, I mean digital projection.

Has anyone found an really good options that are under the $250,000 Hughes and JVC DLP projectors that can be taken to a theater for a film festival or special engagement and shown on a 20' screen?
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Old January 15th, 2004, 02:58 PM   #2
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I don't know if this will help, but we used a small Canon projector that we borrowed (can't remember the name) last year for a film fest, and it projected nicely in a small movie theatre with 99 seats. I'm guessing an HD JVC projector is probably just as great in just light projection.

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Old January 15th, 2004, 03:28 PM   #3
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> Has anyone found an really good options that are under the $250,000

Sure, I've used a projector that "only" cost half that much, the Barco SLM-R10. Very impressive image quality and BRIGHT, even for our purpose which included spill from stage lighting. We were only projecting 16:9 DV, but it can handle HD with native 1280x1024 resolution.

I'm told that the smaller projectors in this series are very nice also, see the PDF brochure at the link above. However, once you drop below the 8,000 lumen mark the resolution is only 1024x768 so you aren't really in HD territory anymore.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 05:16 PM   #4
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If we're going this route, there my be a less expensive but higher resolution route. I just don't know if it has the brightness required for a theatrical environment.

Barco made a model called the 1209, which had 3 9" tubes. 2K x 2K resolution. I don't know about brightness. Output is rated at 1350 lumens, but being a CRT, I don't know how that compares to a DLP.

I've seen references to the 808s model being able to project an image up to 250" diagonally, but there's no mention of if you can actually see it at that size. Output rated at 850 lumens, but again, don't know how that translates to a picture.

These projectors can be had for between $4000 and about $10000 for a fully decked-out system, complete with a scaler.


....just don't know if they have the throw needed for a theater.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #5
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Check out this projector, the Sanyo PLV-Z2 if you're looking to display the full 720p resolution of the HD1OU in 16:9 and it's just for home theatre use, at $1999 street price I don't think this can be beat right now. I'm seriously thinking of getting one Only 850 lumens though, but that's ok in a darkened room.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Sanyo-PLV-Z2.htm

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Old January 15th, 2004, 05:47 PM   #6
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Don't confuse "throw" with brightness. All that matters is the screen size, not distance from the screen, provided that you're using the correct focal length lens. We have a pair of NEC GT-1150 3000 lumen LCD projectors which we use to project English translations of the opera ("Supertitles") on a 24' wide screen and subjectively they seem quite bright. They cost about $7,000 each, plus another $2,250 for the correct lens to use for our 100' throw. But I can't imagine that 850 lumens will be bright enough to use in a theatre setting, suspect you need to be up in in the 2,000 lumen area at the very minimum.

This stuff is very subjective, and it isn't easy to compare brands to each other because they are measured differently. Also, factors like contrast ratio play a big part in your perception of image brightness and clarity.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 01:33 PM   #7
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I just spoke with Eric at crtcinema.com.
He says that for cinematic projection with a 20-30' screen, some theater owners have duplexed the 1209. He said that in a darkened theater, the image is as bright as a single projector with a 10' image, wihch is pretty bright. I don't have any empirical info, but I've seen what these look like in home theaters, and the images can be stunning with the proper support equipment.

The full package would be $19,495 for the two projectors and a customized DVD player with a built in scaler and SDI and component outputs. I guess we're looking at an equivalent output of 2700 lumen.

Boyd, what's your take on this? How far would this need to go to compete a bit better with the output of a 35mm projector?
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Old January 16th, 2004, 02:07 PM   #8
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Not really sure. However, we did try overlaying two projectors to get twice the output. It does work, but you also lose some resolution. This was noticeable with a regular DV image, so I'd think HD would further compound the problem. A single projector gave a cleaner image. I guess it depends on how picky you are. But there will be some parallax since there's an offset in the two projectors, and it was noticeable over a 100' throw in our case. The two images won't quite match up, leading to a bit of fuzziness. If you're closer to the screen I'd expect it to be more pronounced. It would be helpful for you to see a demo of this to determine whether it meets your standards.

One advantage to this approach however is that if the lamp blows in one projector the screen doesn't go dark, it just gets dimmer. I'm not sure that I understand how you're going to use a DVD player with HD source material. Would you down convert it first? I'll admit I don't know much about HD, so maybe I'm missing something.

Is the 1209 the unit that had the CRT tubes? Sounds like pretty old technology to me...
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Old January 16th, 2004, 06:21 PM   #9
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Either HD 1080i or DV can be uprezzed to 2k for this projector. The reason I mentioned the DVD player is that it has a built in board for an interpolative uprez. I hear that it is a similar process used by houses who convert video to film, but you know how sales pitches go...

The 1209 is about 8 years old now, but among CRT projectors, which seem to set the standard for image clarity and definition, it is the standard. There are newer units that will outperform it, but the differences are marginal.

It does offer keystone correction, so the parallax issue might be a non-issue.

I won't know 'til I see it set uo, and I don't know of anyone who has such a setup in Portland.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 07:00 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brandt Wilson : It does offer keystone correction, so the parallax issue might be a non-issue.-->>>

I think you will still find it an issue. Our big Barco's also had keystone correction. The problem is that you just can't get a pixel for pixel alignment of the two images. You can come relatively close to adjusting the outer perimeters however.

Now this is more difficult with the big 250 pound monsters we were using I suspect. But a trained technician screwed around with the two projectors for quite awhile to align them as close as possible. They looked OK, but not perfect. And if we had decided to go this route then we would have needed to tweak them a bit each day I'm sure.

But the real test for me was when we first ran the video at the rehearsal. I went up to the booth and told the technician I was impressed that he got both projectors aligned so well because I couldn't see any of the problems he was having earlier in the day. He chuckled and said they just ran the show with a single projector to see what I thought of it! The contrast ratio and brightness on these big 10,000 lumen SLR-R10's is so great that you really don't need to double them up.

Now regarding brightness, my totally subjective opinion was that the image from these projectors is not a whole lot brighter than what one would see on a movie screen. However, remember that brightness is a function of the AREA of the screen and not the width. We were projecting a bit wider than 40', but for the sake of argument let's round that off to an even 40. Before choosing a projector you really need to decide how large a screen you're going to fill. If it's 20' wide then that's only 25% of the area of our 40' wide screen. Therefore - all things being equal - a 2500 lumen projector should appear as bright on a 20' wide screen as a 10,000 lumen projector appears on a 40' wide screen. Also consider that we were projecting on theatrical scrim, a translucent material. It's a pretty good projection surface, but not as reflective as a coated projection screen. With a "real" screen you could probably get by with a few less lumens.

FWIW, here are a few photos from our production that might give an idea of how bright 10,000 lumens is. The grain in the projections is really noise from the digital still camera I took the photos with (Nikon 5700):

http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/trovatore/pix/1/07.pdf
http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/trovatore/pix/1/17.pdf
http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/trovatore/pix/2/08.pdf

This image will show why we used a scrim as a projection surface. The flames are a DV projection on the scrim while the moon and clouds were actually painted on a backdrop at the rear of the stage: http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/trovatore/pix/2/07.pdf

Here are a few more pix from an earlier test done with a Digital Projection Lightning 15sx, which is a 12,000 lumen unit. We actually felt the 10,000 lumen Barco looked just a bright, and had a nicer image since it's a newer unit with a much higher contrast ratio. All the more reason why you can go by specs alone: http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/tro...project/04.pdf

The following may provide a frame of reference regarding brightness since te houselights were on and a internal test screen was being displayed: http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/tro...project/06.pdf

These things ain't small! http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/tro...project/01.pdf
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Old April 10th, 2004, 12:02 PM   #11
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hate to mention it but those CRT (heavy-ass) 3 guns still provide superior-ish color... If you're on a budget you could fairly easily find state of the art (4+ years ago) crt built to be theater and not conference room...
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Old April 10th, 2004, 01:47 PM   #12
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If you're talking about spending $20,000 and up on a digital projector, you might want to consider just transferring it to film and project it with that if it's for a theatre. Even at $300 a minute, a two hour feature would be about $36,000 and viewable anywhere.

You might even get it for a little less than that. If you're only talking about a short, then for ten minutes it's only $3000. A lot less than buying a digital projector.

But if you mean a permanent installation for multiple showings then you have to weigh the cost of the unit against the transfer cost.
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Old April 13th, 2004, 10:23 AM   #13
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I have been in the AV projection business for almost 20 years. The comment by Boyd Ostroff about AREA of the screen is VERY important to consider. The measurments made by most companies is on a very small screen, (4'x6' or so,) in a darkened room, with perfect conditions as to placement of the projector. (Short through, straight-on to the center of the image, etc.) When you blow that size image up to a screen 4-8-20 times it's size, then you have lost a LOT of brightness before it can reflect off the screen and be measured as lumens. Light decreases by the inverse-square law, double the distance, half the light. When you figure out the width of your screen, you then multiple by the ratio of your lens, (1.8:1, 2:2, etc,) to find out how far your projector will be from your screen. 40' wide X 2:1 lens = 80' throw. That's a lot of air (and dust,) to push your light through. Go for a shorter throw lens? OK, but a 1.2:1 lens WILL have barrel distortion and a slight curvature to the edges of the image. When you double-stack projectors the brightness does NOT double. It only increases by 1/3 more. (Trick of optics that I don't completly undestand, but have witnessed and dealt with.)

As far as double-stacking projectors: it can be done by a competent projectionist with DPL projectors. MOST current projectors will not allow for the fine control of the geometry of your image to correct for the parallax between the projectors. I have done it myself and it is HARD to do correctly with DLP, HARDER to do with LCD, and a BREEZE to do with CRT! Because it's an analog system, you have control over geometry that you'll never have with the newer projectors. I have done 3-D projection with CRT projectors for image-consious doctors and they were thrilled with the results. (Brain dissection through stereoscopic magnifying system with polarized cameras and matching polarized filters on the front of the projectors. Funny watching a room full of 'dignified' doctors wearing 3D glasses! Discusting watching the images on screen!)

The nature of a CRT projector is resolution independent. Since it is an analog system, as long as it can refresh your scan lines fast enough, it can project the image. Doing so DECREASES your brightness, since the scanning electron doesn't have as long to energize that portion of the front of the CRT before moving on across the tube. Most of the remaining CRTs will project HD without a problem.

As far as color is concerned. You can not beat the color quality of a well balanced CRT. DLP can't do it. LCD surely can't do it. Plus the quality of contrast as well. Sure you can have a contrast ratio of 2000:1 on some DLPs, but that's measured as full (unusable) bright white compared to having the projector turned off in a darkened room. (Don't think the companies measure it that way? Boy do you have a lot to learn about marketing! LOL!)

All this being said... I have not had to use a CRT in 5 years and I don't intend on doing it. The agravation, time spent in a dark room, teaking here, nudging there, and then once it's perfect, turning it off and then back on the next day... and it's WRONG again! ARGH! The ease and acceptance of inferior products makes working with high-end LCD/DLP projectors worth it. Pricey, but worth it.

As far as which projector to use? What's your favorite flavor? And your favorite tie? How much is too much? You need to work that out with what is available in your area, and what looks good in your situation. Sorry to leave it like that but it is a VERY subjective thing when it comes to quality of image.

As Boyd Ostroff said:

"...We actually felt the 10,000 lumen Barco looked just a bright, <as a Digital Projection Lightning 15sx, which is a 12,000 lumen unit> and had a nicer image since it's a newer unit with a much higher contrast ratio. All the more reason why you can't go by specs alone."

Caveat emptor.
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Old April 28th, 2004, 12:18 AM   #14
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Kevin made lots of great points.

I have a Barco 1209 in my home theater and use it to watch JVC HDV footage. It is truly a magnificent picture on a 10' screen. But even though it is capable of making a 20' picture, the brightness will be dissapointing, even stacked. The THX Theater Alignment Program (TAP) requires between 10 to 12 foot lamberts of brightness to be certified. I am just getting 10 fl on my 10 foot screen and that's cheating using peak white and not ANSI full field white.

While CRT is still king for image quality, it's just not practical for big venues. I have been most impressed with D-ILA. I think JVC has a model called the SX-12 or something which is around 1500 ANSI lumens. Still not quite bright enough to equal your typical Christie lamphouse, but it's affordable. I would think you would need around 4000 to 5000 Lumens for a 20 foot screen to get 10 foot lamberts. This is just a guess, and somewhere there is a formula for calculating this.
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Old April 28th, 2004, 03:23 AM   #15
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4 projectors doing a quarter screen each..

Hi guys,
wondering if anyone has figured out how to use four small projectors sharing the feed and doing one quarter of the screen each. This should keep screen size down so brightness stays ???
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