One of the hidden gems in the heart of Soho, Rex Cinema + Bar combines a 1930’s-style art nouveau lounge and members-only nightclub with a state of-the-art, 75-seat private screening room.
The cinema needs to be fully equipped for the most demanding of presentations — ranging from the screening of movie classics to advanced previews of soon-to-be-released blockbusters for private clients.
Realising that the facility is not only used by producers, editors and cast members to preview their work, but is also privately booked for parties, corporate events — and even computer game battles — Rex general manager Phil Yates knew he had to keep the equipment spec right at the cutting edge. His old video projector no longer had the capability to meet the demands being made, and once it had reached the end of its life cycle he consulted his A/V service company, Philip Stannard Associates (PSA).
Given the wide range of usage the cinema now undergoes — from Powerpoint presentations to webcasting — and the increasing availability of hi-definition content, he wanted a powerful, compact projector that was HD-ready.
PSA were originally introduced to the The Rex some 18 months after it first opened in 2003, and Philip Stannard himself recommended they audition Christie’s DS+60 single-chip DLP projector as the ideal HD-ready replacement.
“Phil really likes the Christie products, which we have used on jobs in the past, as well as the relationship we have formed with the company,” said PSA’s senior technician Craig Walmsley. Thus a site demo was arranged for the compact, lightweight SXGA+ projector, where the 6000 ANSI lumens output, 10-bit image processing and high quality optics proved the ability to deliver the rich, saturated colours and crisp, spectacular video for which it is renowned.
Sitting alongside conventional 35mm and 70mm projectors, the DS+60 is pole-mounted from the ceiling to avoid vibration, and projects slightly off-centre through a double-glass window. This is positioned at an angle, which both provides sound-proofing and avoids the risk of bounce-back and ghosting, while any necessary focal correction is carried out using the projector’s lens shift facility.
Since there is no SDI provision, the output is in Hi-Def analogue. With the exception of Hi-Def and DigiBeta signals, which come as a direct feed straight into the projector, selection between all other component and composite video sources is via an RGBHV switcher, which routes the selected source to the DS+60.
“This enables us to get as clean a signal as possible,” says Craig. One of the features he admires is the fact that as soon as a signal comes in, the projector recognises it immediately and compensates accordingly. “It makes the projector very easy to deal with,” he says.
“Resizing provides another benefit with the Christie software, as unlike with other projectors, once you have set up your ratio in the DS+60, vertical and horizontal scaling takes place automatically in proportion.”
Fitted with a zoom lens the DS+60 projects over a distance of 43ft onto a large 20ft x 8.5ft micro perforated cinema screen, with acoustically transparent masking and motorised horizontal adjustment. This provides viewing angles throughout the room in excess of SMPTE recommendations offering a variety of aspect ratios (including Cinemascope).
In house professional quality DVD, VHS, Beta SP and UMatic video playback formats are available, and all other formats can be supported, while a Sky satellite feed is provided from the projection room.
A full 5.1 sound system provides six channels of studio quality reinforcement throughout the room. Dolby SRD (digital) is installed for 35mm film and video projection, while all formats of optical 35mm sound are supported.
Phil Yates agrees that the installation of the DS+60 has been hugely popular. “Although not necessarily for film, the projecotor has been in use virtually every night and it’s picture perfect — we’ve certainly had no complaints since it has been installed.”
This was no better exemplified, he says, than when the Xbox 360 games consoles came out recently and Pro Evolution Soccer 6 from Konami was beamed up from the DS+60. “The picture quality was just unvbelievable,” he reports.