Digital Cinema Projection (also called Digital Cinema) is a method of using digital copies of a movie stored in electronic devices such as high-capacity hard drives and servers instead of traditional reel-to-reel films. While the traditional method of playing movies in cinemas involves projecting light through a film to play the movie, digital cinema utilizes technologies such as Digital Light Processing and Liquid Crystal on Silicon technologies, and the movie is projected to the screen using a Digital Projector instead of a conventional film projector.
Advantages of Digital Cinema
Unlike the traditional method of distributing a movie film reel to each cinema, digital cinema movies can be distributed using hard drives, the internet, dedicated satellite links, or optical disks such as Blu-ray. Movies are supplied to the theatre as a digital file called a Digital Cinema Package, which for typical films will be between 90GB and 300GB in size. Distribution of digital cinema is simple, fast, and inexpensive compared to the time and cost incurred for the shipping and handling of heavy film tapes.
When comparing the average film presentation to the average digital cinema presentation, digital cinema presentations are usually equal in picture quality and have more stable images than film. Digital cameras are often highly configurable and use detachable modular components for flexibility and upgradeability. They can also record high-resolution images up to 4096 x 2304 pixels. And with the popularity of 3D movies today, digital cinema has an advantage since digital 3D uses polarization instead of the colored glasses used by older 3D cinemas to portray the 3D effect. This ensures that the color of the finished image is not corrupted. Digital cameras are also better for indoor shooting and shooting at night with a very low light.
Digital presentations don’t get scratched like film, and they don’t fade or suffer the problems that film experiences, especially after being played for an extended time. The picture and sound quality of digital presentations last indefinitely, unlike for film which eventually degrades.
Ease of Operation
Theaters that have digital cinema technology installed do not have to worry about building physical film prints and moving them from screen to screen to play a movie. With digital cinema, the shows can be queued along with the trailers and advertisements, without changing film reels that traditional film requires. Digital cinemas can be shown and managed in the theatres with minimal training as the management terminal is PC-based and simple to handle, unlike analog film that needs dedicated personnel for receiving, prepping, showing, dismantling and returning the movie tape films. Because of this ease of operation and superior image quality, digital cinema presentations dramatically improve the movie experience of the audience.
Digital cinema technology is still in its infancy compared to traditional film, and like all new technologies it is initially expensive. However, the advantages of digital cinema over film are encouraging theaters to invest in digital projection equipment in order to let their audience have an amazing movie-going experience.
Digital Cinema Projectors
Movie projectors designed for theaters such as the NEC NC1100L DLP cinema projector deliver an enhanced theater experience with pristine images. These projectors are compact and lightweight laser-based 2K DCI-certified digital cinema projectors. Their small sizes enable them to be installed in small projection booths within the theater, or transported for mobile applications. Their built-in all-in-one Integrated Media Server with 2 Terabytes of storage offers versatile connectivity, while reducing the number of peripheral devices that are needed for operation. The NC1100L features 2K (2048 x 1080) resolution, 3D capabilities, and 3-chip DMD reflection method, and is easy to operate with user-friendly accessibility and up to 20,000 hours of laser life.
The features and capabilities of the NEC NC1100L DLP cinema projector include the following:
- Laser light source ensures no black screen
- Approximately 20,000 hours of expected usage of the laser and Digital Micromirror Device
- 3D content utilizes the projector’s full 2K resolution and triple flash technology for smooth motion
- Complete line of (6) bayonet-style lenses with electronic zoom, focus and lens shift and lens memory (4 lenses)
- Direct selection buttons for eight stored projector configurations
- Projector can be controlled from an optional touchscreen
Vizocom is providing Digital Cinema Projection Systems based on this technology to the United States Air Force for their Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs.