“Attention. Some scenes may offend”. Usually, the warning is rather reserved for violent movie where the hot topics of the most tragic. But in the auditorium in paris, the company Eclair, a specialist in digital technologies for the cinema, the little phrase takes on a different meaning. Here, the images shocked the audience by … their beauty, their brightness, their contrast ! And for good reason, a LED screen was several metres wide and replaces the white canvas classic. A small revolution that could shake the world of dark rooms.
“Until now, in a cinema, we had projectors that were sending the image using a light beam. But with the LED technology, it all disappears. The light is emitted by the slab, “says Thomas Kayat, account manager at Samsung”, the manufacturer of this equipment. Inside this “tv giant”, of small light-emitting diodes are assembled like Lego, to form a screen from 5, 10, or 14 meters wide. For spectators, this changes everything.
The assemblage of several slabs gives a screen from 5, 10, or 14 meters wide
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“The screen is designed provides a very high brightness and contrast, well above what you typically see at the cinema”, ensures a spokesperson for the company Eclair, which has developed Eclaircolor, a processing of the specific image for this new equipment. The demonstration that follows, made up of extracts of films projected with or without the LED technology, confirms this. Even compared to a laser projector of a very good quality with a contrast ratio of 3,000 to 1, while in the room it is rather of the 1 500-to-1 – the association Samsung/Lightning produces a true visual fireworks. At the point of giving the viewer the impression of waking up after years of watching and studying a little dull.
A bit like a Ferrari
“Our screen offers more robustness in the amount of time a projector classic, assures Thomas Kayat. With the LEDS, one is on lifetimes of 100 000 hours. In addition, the screen is modular since it is composed of panels made up of electronic cards are repaired to perfection”. Of course, not everything is perfect. Some of the scenes in which the brightness of a part of the image was a little too pronounced to leave a mixed feeling. Similarly, some of the effects of sweep when travelling seem to be more visible than before. “It will be necessary for the labs and learn to use the tool. Our screen, it’s a bit like a Ferrari : if you want to push the settings to the bottom, you can. But it is to the detriment of the work,” says Thomas Kayat. However, all in all, the LED screen leaves a nice impression, as in this scene in which the cabin of an airplane shining in the sun, or when the camera dives into a coral reef full of fish to perfection.
Thanks to the LEDs, the 3D image, which is often too dark, will gain in brightness
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“The LED technology not only allows to get the colors more vibrant or improve the 3D experience. She excels in dark shades, where often, there is something happening on an emotional level,” confirms an expert from the company Eclair. “Our promise vis-à-vis the public is simple : when we going to see a film stamped EclairColor in a room suitable, there’s a version very close to the one that has been validated by chief operator and the director,” continues the expert.
For the time being, this image processing is only available on 160 screens and in 17 countries. This process has been put on the market for two and a half years, is intended mainly to new cinemas. In effect, to convert the rooms current to the LEDs would have no meaning. Because, as with any new technology, it has a high cost. “For operators, this additional cost is of the same order of magnitude as the one he had paid for the digital transition,” says Thomas Kayat.
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But apart from the picture quality, LEDS offer new possibilities. “We will be able to use the screen for something other than cinema. Today, the operator distributes films and, from time to time, a concert. Tomorrow, he will be able to schedule corporate presentations or competitions of video games”. Moreover, as there is more light beam, the height between each row of seats may be increased, and the room enlarged. More comfort, more contrast, more brightness… The future of cinemas is bright.