Real D eases path to 3-D for theaters

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Digital 3-D system provider Real D has developed a technology with the potential to allow a greater number of digital-cinema-equipped theaters to offer the stereoscopic format.

"It will allow us with single projectors to reach much bigger screens," Real D president Joshua Greer said. "Where we've been limited to much smaller screens, we can now reach as high as a 70-foot screen with a single projector. We were typically maxing (out) at about 46 or 47 feet for scope."

The challenge has been the inefficiency of light in 3-D projection. "3-D is about sending images to your left and right eye," Greer said. "We basically divide up the light. Half of the light is conditioned to work for one eye, and half is conditioned to work for the other. Light that has not been passed from one eye to the other has essentially been lost in the past. Now we can be very efficient."

Real D CEO Michael Lewis said the challenge of light has until now resulted in missed opportunities, noting that the problem was keeping 3-D from being a viable option in about 15%-20% of domestic screens — those being the largest.

Added Greer, "Now we get demands from our exhibitors saying that they want to be in the biggest house, and we have to say no because we want to make sure there is enough light on the screen."

Today, projection of 3-D imagery on larger screens typically is accomplished with two d-cinema projectors stacked one on top of the other and used simultaneously. But acquiring and maintaining two d-cinema projectors for a single auditorium is not practical for exhibitors.

Real D expects to have the modified 3-D systems for larger theaters and incorporating this new technology available in 2008.
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