Imax Corp. offered a glimpse into cinematic future, showcasing a new laser projection system at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood that executives contend will transform the moviegoing experience.
Gathered inside the newly refurbished 88-year-old theater, IMAX executives demonstrated a 4K laser projection system equipped with a new optical engine and other technologies that they said vastly improve the brightness quality of images on large screens compared with conventional film and digital projectors.
IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said the debut of laser projection is a “pivotal moment in time for IMAX and a giant leap forward for cinema technology."
The laser system is among the most ambitious technological advancements to date for the Canadian big-screen-technology company, which has a long history of innovation, including introducing stadium seating and the modern era of 3-D cinema.
IMAX spent three years and invested $60 million to develop the laser system, which has some 3,000 parts. Researchers in the U.S., Canada and Belgium worked on the project, using patents Imax acquired from Eastman Kodak in 2011.
The laser projection system uses a laser light source to provide substantially more brightness than a xenon bulb, allowing IMAX to fill its largest screens with sharper and more lifelike images.
Coupled with a new sound system, the laser technology will also enable filmmakers to expand their use of color and provide greater contrast between white and black to improve realism, IMAX executives said.