Film Journal International takes a look at the latest crop of Giant Screen theaters:
After much study over the past three months, the FJI Class of 2011 is headed for the final stretch. Our eighth annual survey of new cinemas concludes by taking a close look at and listening intently to the two elements that define the theatrical experience most: bigger screens and better sound. As in previous entries to the series, the featured selection of theatres and initiatives is exemplary, and cannot be comprehensive.
Starting off, we set our sights on a fittingly named venue. The Giant Screen at Millennium Point reopened on Oct. 24 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, after a major refurbishment that included Barco’s Enhanced 4K-32B DLP Cinema large-format twin-projector system with Dolby digital-cinema servers. “Millennium Point is currently still using their original IMAX sound system, which is a 5.1 with point source surrounds,” Art Mercurio, VP of technical services at D3D explains. “The top screen speaker used for IMAX 6.0 sound has been relegated for use as a spare. The digital cinema audio was tied in through their Dolby CP650 XO.” With Dolby 3D on its 72 x 51 foot (22 x 15.5 m) Perlux high-gain screen installed by Franklin Designs, Millennium Point now has “the U.K.’s largest independent giant-screen digital 3D cinema.”
After the opening, acting chief executive officer Karen Steed noted: “This is a very exciting time for the cinema at Millennium Point. The landscape of filmmaking and cinema is evolving at an enormous rate, and in order to succeed in the current climate, we have gone digital. To replace our IMAX installation, we undertook a rigorous tendering process with companies worldwide to find a suitable system.”
In turn, the U.K.’s leading cinema chain, Cineworld, brought The IMAX Experience to Cineworld Edinburgh on Dec. 21, offering “the most immersive cinematic experience for many a mile.” The launch was the first of three IMAX screens to be installed at existing sites, with additional openings at Cineworld Nottingham and Sheffield scheduled for this year.