Norway's largest cinema company, Oslo Kinodrift AS, has radically upgraded the technology in its flagship Colosseum Kino — becoming the first exhibitor in the Nordic countries to install the new Christie Duo™ dual-projection integration kit. At the same time it has moved up to Christie’s 4K DLP Cinema® platform by replacing its existing CP Series 1 2K DLP Cinema projector with a pair of stacked Christie Solaria CP4230 projectors. The integration was handled by Christie partner, Unique Cinema Systems (UCS).
Distinguished by its large spherical dome, the heritage listed Colosseum is not only the largest cinema in Northern Europe but the biggest THX cinema in the world. It is one of eight cinemas (and 32 screens) operated by Oslo Kinodrift in the Norwegian capital.
Christie’s new Duo solution, offering enhanced 3D projection, is central to the Colosseum’s new package, enabling the cinema to create and deliver its own enhanced theatre experience, by perfectly aligning every pixel on the curved, 21-metre Harkness Spectral 240 screen (the largest in Norway) for optimal 2D and 3D screenings.
Oslo Kinodrift CEO, Jafar Altememy, confirmed that Colosseum 1 has become the first double Christie 4K DLP Cinema projector installation in Norway, and his company will now use the extra realism generated by the Christie Duo in promoting the enhanced cinema experience. Duo made its debut at the Norwegian premier of The Hobbit (in high frame rate of 48fps).
“We again chose Christie after carefully reviewing the new projector,” he said. “We could see it would provide the best opportunity to show good quality 3D, with the ability to run two projectors simultaneously, and also because of its high frame rate (of 48 and 60fps).”
Having long used Christie as its preferred 2K projector, Mr. Altememy confirms, “We now expect Christie to be the future for our 4K viewing,” adding that he anticipated all screening rooms at the cinema would eventually convert to that platform.
“Christie is a projector that any cinema owner can count on,” he continued. “We are very pleased with both the brand’s reliability and the service and support we receive from UCS.”
Dan Fuhlendorff, sales director, UCS, confirmed that the overriding reason for choosing the Christie Duo was because the lenses can be placed close together. “Christie Duo is the only system with that solution on the market — all others are either side-by-side or stacked.”
Also heavily involved in the pre-production process was Christie Senior Product Manager Jim Dukes. “Oslo Kinowas fully aware of the benefits brought by Christie Duo,” he said. “Having been through our demo at CinemaCon 2012 they had become very excited about the possibilities for the Colosseum.
“Duo has improved their 3D performance and doubled the brightness on this grand historic cinema’s magnificent screen.”
The scale of the screen, coupled with its significant 5° curve, is what the Christie Duo was designed for, observes Dukes. “This would present a challenge for most dual projection systems when it comes to image convergence. Due to space availability, and the need for accuracy, we chose the Single Mirror Duo configuration for the best results,” he said. “This reduces the lens spacing to a very close 7in, which produced a remarkably tight convergence across this massive screen.”
Due to the excessive brightness available from Christie Duo, Oslo Kino will run its 3D features using both projectors and back off to a single projector for 2D presentations.
The Duo principle initially involved aligning the two projectors manually as closely as possible. “This allowed any convergence errors to be returned to perfection quickly and easily,” Jim Dukes explained. ”Prior to the arrival of the Christie Duo, with only one projector installed, the biggest issue was in 3D when ample brightness was required for such a large screen.
“The operators weren’t fully satisfied with the light levels but had become somewhat accustomed to it because that was all the brightness that was possible at the time. Following the Duo installation they are enjoying twice the brightness, bringing them up to, and above, the normal 3D brightness standards. They have never before seen the 3D brightness levels that they are seeing now!”
Test clips — in 4K and HFR — had proved conclusive, he said. “The Hobbit opened to a sold out crowd and the performance was spectacular. The client was delighted with the new state-of-the-art system.”
At the same time the cinema has taken the opportunity to upgrade its entire technology infrastructure, including a new IMB and 7.1 surround sound.
Norway has been a progressive user of digital projectors since 2006 when the Norwegian Film & Kino project to convert all cinemas to digital saw Oslo Kino purchase Christie’s Series 1 CP2000-SM 2K projectors.
“Colosseum cinema was the first to take the Christie projector that led us into the digital world,” concluded Jafar Altememy. “This gave us the opportunity to book the Colosseum for events and live transmissions — in addition to the many major conferences held there.” And now the cinema has moved into the next generation — still with Christie as its primary partner.
In summary, Jim Dukes said, “Colosseum was a pleasure to install Duo in because it is such a well designed and planned out cinema. Oslo Kino has stopped at nothing to make this place an absolute showcase!”