By Sandra Kraisirideja
It’s easy to forget in the midst of all of the screenings and parties during CinemaCon that it’s also a place to learn about the behind-the-scenes technology that helps create the magical movie experience we all have when we sit in a darkened theater and see the screen flicker to life.
The CinemaCon trade show, which opened Tuesday, is where companies who produce sound systems, theater seats, concession treats, movie tie-in merchandise and screens share new products with the industry. A trip to the trade show is literally like being a kid in a candy store, especially walking down the aisles where all of the concession vendors line up. The tables are piled high with free samples of all the great junk food that movie theaters offer. There’s even endless amounts of soda and Icee drinks. If you need a pick me up during CinemaCon then the trade show is the place to go. Everything at the trade show is aimed towards maximizing the movie-going experience and convincing people that the act of going to the movies is still a viable entertainment option.
Harkness Screens, for example, manufactures high quality movie theater screens for some of the largest theater chains like AMC. In San Diego, all of the AMC theaters use Harkness Screens. At CinemaCon Harkness announced the introduction of the Perlux Digital 2D/3D screen.
Andrew Robinson, managing director at Harkness, filled me in on why their screens are so popular. Perlux screens reflect more light back to the audience than traditional matt white surfaces, so the audience enjoys a brighter picture. Additionally, Perlux Digital’s 30% whiter surface colour virtually eliminates the need for colour correction within the projector, resulting in greater colour accuracy for viewers.
“Harkness’ proprietary and unique seam welding process ensures our screens have no visible seams under projection conditions, which is not the case with other screen manufacturers. Also, our computer-controlled screen coating process ensures that the screen finish is smooth and consistent, resulting in a crisp image with no distracting clouds, splotches, or marks,” Robinson said.
I admit that I usually don’t pay attention to screen quality at the movie theater. My experience is effected more by sound quality but Robinson suggests good quality screens can improve the viewing experience. I asked if the comparison was similar to the difference between high-def and standard def TV screens. Robinson said the comparison has not been made but that it is a “useful way of thinking about it.” He added that gain screens such as our Perlux Digital brand reflect more light back to the audience, thus offering a visibly much brighter picture.
“Perlux’s differentiating qualities such as higher whiteness level, invisible seams, and smoother coating application process further enhance the show by ensuring the projected image is crisp and suffers no distracting marks,” Robinson said.
After spending time with Robinson I’ll certainly never look at a movie screen the same way again.