Laser Projection to Illuminate Future 4K and HD Installations

Posted by werigi. September 12, 2012 - 3D, Advanced Visualization

In case you missed it at NAB 2012, Red Digital Cinema screened a new 4K film in conjunction with the debut of their REDray Laser 4K Stereo projector. This represented one of the first alternate light source projectors to be released into the wild for public viewing. It also demonstrated a completed Red digital workflow from acquisition to screening. In 4K passive stereo, with Oakley glasses of course, this film looked truly stunning! Rich colors and high dynamic range from the Epic were on full display while Luke Scott presented a Blade Runner-esque dystopian view of the future. Included below is the HD version currently on YouTube.

The REDray 4K laser cinema projector supports 2D and passive stereo at 4096x2160 for each eye. The rated laser life is a incredible 25,000 hours of operation. To increase brightness, laser modules can be placed in a stacked configuration. Low power consumption and reduced heat are other calling cards for this projector. The REDray will be able to fit all current Red cinema lensing and can also be retrofitted to work with other lens mounts such as Canon's EF.

In case you are unfamiliar with the concept of laser projection, here is an excerpt for Wikipedia summing it up nicely (if you can handle the techie jargon!):

A laser video projector is a video projector that modulates a laser beam in order to project a raster-based image. The systems work either by scanning the entire picture a dot at a time and modulating the laser directly at high frequency, much like the electron beams in a cathode ray tube, or by optically spreading and then modulating the laser and scanning a line at a time, the line itself being modulated in much the same way as with Digital Light Processing (DLP). When well implemented this technology produces the broadest color gamut available in practical display equipment today, because lasers produce truly monochromatic primaries

Laser as a alternate light source has long been in development, but until recently it has not been a applicable technology for projection. Problems with speckling hampered this alternate light source from coming to market, but recent innovations by talented research and development professionals have pushed laser technology back into the conversation. Major projector manufacturers, such as Sony and Barco, have begun to tease and even demo many versions of laser projection for private viewings. This is not only the wave of future projection technology, but it is here today and right on our doorstep. Installations may begin as soon as 2013.

So why laser projection? Using a laser system for a projector's light source allows improved screen brightness and image quality, as well as perfectly uniform brightness on huge screens upwards of 70 to 100 feet. A reduction in power consumption and heating spill are another massive advantage to this technology. Plus, life span of a laser diode unit can go into the 25K hour range at least, dramatically reducing the cost in ownership of large high-resolution projectors.

Stereoscopic projection will also see a great benefit from this technology. One of the major knocks on stereo is the reduction in brightness. This has been combated some with the Barco Galaxy 4K projector, which outputs a maximum of a 32K lument active stereo image. However on the larger screen sizes of up to 100 foot, the laser technology will prove to provide high brightness and uniform image quality for stereoscopic projection.

For more information on IGI and Advanced Visualization technology, please visit werigi.com.