New 3D technology comes to Central Europe


    {mosimage}Dolby Laboratories Inc. came to Poland Thursday to unveil its 3D digital cinema system, which is being made available in 75 screens in 12 countries in time for the world premiere today of Paramount Pictures' 3D film Beowulf.

    Dolby officials gave a demonstration of the new technology at the Multikino cinema in Warsaw's Zlote Tarasy shopping center.

    The Polish premiere of Beowulf will be held on Nov. 23 in selected Multikino cinemas in both Warsaw and Poznan. The world debut of the new technology was held in Madison, Wisconsin Oct. 19.

    John Iles, vice president for cinema at Dolby, said the technology has revolutionized the industry, and many Hollywood producers - including Dreamworks - have already committed themselves to either producing new 3D pictures or re-engineering old ones.

    In fact, he said, the rollout on 75 screens worldwide was limited solely by production.

    "If we had had twice as many systems, we could have sold them," he said in an interview with FNE.

    Of special interest to Central European cinema owners is the fact that a camcorder or cellphone cannot accurately replicate the 3D image - which could drastically reduce the piracy that is rampant in many Eastern European countries.

    Beowulf is also being released on IMAX screens. But unlike IMAX technology which relies on special silver screens for the 3D effect, Dolby 3D involves placement of a filter wheel inside any existing digital projector, and use of the standard white screen and special glasses. The technology achieves the 3D effect by splitting the color band, which is re-aligned by the glasses.

    Dolby executives say aside from producing high-quality picture in a practical format, the technology is cost-effective. Installation of the filter wheel and a filter controller to synchronize the wheel to the projector takes an experienced engineer one or two hours.

    Multikino, a subsidiary of the multimedia group ITI, will have special free showings of sample works using the new technology Saturday and Sunday each hour from 10 am to 10 pm.

    Poland's rollout is the first in Central Europe, and among the first on the continent. The Brussels-based Kinepolis Group presented the 3D system on Nov. 13, having installed it so far in 17 complexes in Belgium, France and Spain.