Wednesday, March 17, 1999
THX Announces Specification For Electronic Cinema Projectors
Presaging the transition from 35mm film to electronic cinema, Lucasfilm THX today announced a specification for electronic cinema projectors as part of the THX Theater Program. At the same time, the company announced future plans to certify electronic masters and to develop standards for digital transmission schemes. The electronic cinema projector standard, announced here at Sho West, is designed to provide the same guarantee for electronic cinema that the THX Theatre Program has long provided for 35mm film presentations�the very best possible theater experience.
�The commercial inauguration of electronic cinema is not immediately imminent, but the development of a projector specification and our ongoing research into other areas of electronic cinema make it clear that THX is committed to lead rather than follow in exploring new technologies,� says Monica L. Dashwood, Lucasfilm THX General Manager. �All of which underscores our pledge to ensure that the public enjoys the highest quality film presentation.�
The THX specification was developed to guide theatre owners in selecting an electronic projector that provides the best possible image, while also providing the reliability and ease-of-use of a traditional film projector. The specification covers such parameters as screen light levels, resolution, color uniformity, color temperature, and warm-up time to optimum performance. At this time, no projectors have been submitted for THX certification. However, the company will be working closely with manufacturers once product is ready to be introduced into the marketplace.
A critical step in electronic cinema will be the film-to-digital transfer and the creation of an electronic master. To ensure that the master looks and sounds as close to the original as possible, THX will certify electronic masters, a process THX has years of experience with through its DIgital Mastering Program�s certification of video software. THX has also begun researching various proposed transmission schemes, all of which would require signal compression, and plans to develop a standard that would guarantee against any compromise in picture and sound quality.