Laser facts

Laser projection facts

Laser projection facts

Higher brightness, lower cost of operation, longer life, expanded color gamut and a more modular system architecture are some of the benefits of laser illumination. Learn about these benefits and more by reading our laser projection facts.

​Laser illumination marks a significant advancement in projection system technology. As a manufacturer at the forefront of laser illumination technology, Christie® is dedicated to informing our industry on the benefits of laser projection. Check out our resources below for a series of short articles covering various aspects of this exciting new realm.​​​​​

Bigger, brighter, better - A need for laser projection

As the popularity of Premium Large Format (PLF) theaters increases, so too does the need for more powerful projection systems to properly showcase movies in these premium theaters. This is most evident when playing 3D content.

The problem with today's lamp-based 3D projection solutions is their brightness limitations, especially when exhibiting 3D content in a PLF theatre. Movies appear dark and audiences struggle to discern the details of the image; everything disappears into the background and colors appear unnatural.

The answer to this issue is laser projection. A public demonstration held by Christie® in 2013 featured a single-head, 72,000 lumen RGB laser projector that was capable of 14 fL brightness on a 65 ft. wide, high gain silver screen using a RealD XL 3D system. This was a benchmark moment for the industry, as people were finally able to see a 3D movie at the proper brightness level. Since that demo, Christie has continued to push the envelope of laser projection systems.

Visit our Laser Illumination Technology page to learn how Christie is leading the charge in laser projection.

What are RGB laser projection systems?

RGB laser systems use individual red, green and blue lasers to generate light for the image. Currently, manufacturers are producing 3-Primary (3P) and 6-Primary (6P) RGB laser projection systems.

3P laser systems create light by combining a single set of red, green and blue primary colors to produce the image. A 3P system is the ideal solution for giant screens, rental staging, projection mapping, location-based entertainment and any application where high-brightness and reliability are important.

Developed primarily for 3D applications, 6P laser projectors employ two sets of RGB laser lights - one for the left eye, and one with slightly different wavelengths for the right eye. 3D glasses then filter out the different wavelengths and direct the light to the eye it was intended for. The benefits of this system architecture are numerous. 3D content is brighter and features a wider color gamut. In the case of the 6P Christie dual-head laser projection system, the left and right eye images are presented simultaneously, which means audiences are not affected by common issues when viewing traditional 3D content such as fatigue, headaches and nausea.

Download our tech brief to learn more about Christie's 6P RGB laser projection system: 6P laser projection - Redefining 3D cinema

Why is a dual-head 6P laser projection system better than a single-head?

Different manufacturers are offering 6P laser projection systems in single - and dual-head configurations. Considering that what is being achieved with 6P laser projection—a high-brightness 3D experience—it only makes sense to acknowledge dual-head system architecture as an acceptable solution.

For 3D cinema, a single-head laser projector system is required to perform sequential flashing of the left and right eye images. To achieve this, the projector is turning off or mechanically blocking both individual sets of RGB primary colors on an alternating basis. This means each set of lasers is used less than 50 percent of the time. So, with a single-head 6P laser system, you will need at least twice as many lasers to achieve the same 3D light output as a Christie® dual-head 6P laser system.

As such, Christie's 6P dual-head 3D system is almost twice as light efficient as the most efficient 3D laser system available today - with the added benefit that it does not need a high gain, non-uniform silver screen. With the current cost of lasers far outweighing the cost of projection heads, this means that a single-head system will cost almost twice as much as a dual-head system to achieve the same brightness result.

Download our tech brief to learn more about Christie's dual-head 6P laser projection system: Christie 6P laser - Why two heads are better than one.

What temperature control methods do single and dual-projector solutions use?

Controlling temperature in a single-head projector involves liquid-cooling the entire system with a pump placed in the body of the projector. More importantly, this means that there are multiple redundant cooling units throughout the system, as opposed to a single, centralized chiller architecture; if one laser module fails, the remaining modules are still operational.

Since Christie's 6P laser system separates the projection head from the light source, we are able to integrate an independent cooling system for each individual laser module. This means that no additional energy is consumed beyond what is necessary to keep the laser modules cool. More importantly, this means that there are multiple redundant cooling units throughout the system as opposed to a single, centralized chiller architecture, if one laser module fails, the remaining modules will stay operational.

Are laser projection systems safe?

High-powered laser projectors are no more dangerous than other lamp-based, high-brightness projection systems. In the United States, Christie® is the first company granted a manufacturer's variance by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which allows us to legally sell and install laser projectors in accordance with various safety guidelines imposed by the US government. Christie applies the same safety standards to any installations we are involved with around the world.

The biggest concern is the amount of heat that is generated by laser projection systems. To deal with this issue, Christie has developed an independent cooling system for each laser module to ensure efficient temperature control of the projection system.

Download our tech brief to learn more about laser safety: Are RGB lasers safe?