New ‘G.I. Joe’ film experiments with laser projection

by Bob Deutsch

2014 Traverse City Film Festival

The new 'G.I. Joe' movie will serve as a guinea pig for a special, amped-up projection system.

The new ‘G.I. Joe’ movie will serve as a guinea pig for a special, amped-up projection system.

This past year has seen an uptick in big Hollywood films experimenting with new ways to sharpen the image on a movie screen, whether it’s Peter Jackson’s much-documented pursuit of a higher frame rate or Ang Lee’s use of 3D in “Life of Pi.” Last month, the makers of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and projector company Christie announced that they would be giving the film a special run in an AMC theater in Burbank, California, in order to display a special laser projection system. It is unclear whether or not this could become an industry standard for movie screens showing 3D versions of films, but it’s possible that success in this trial could lead to accelerated movement in that direction.

One of the main complaints of 3D, particularly from noted critic of the process Roger Ebert, has been the way it makes images darker, hence the need for a way to keep films looking crisp, especially those that seek to compete with all other blockbuster-level releases. According to a press release from Christie, the projection will take place on a screen 65-feet wide and is allegedly reaching for unprecedented levels of brightness for a mainstream film.

While it’s a development that may strike some as an increased focus on gimmickry, it’s clear that brighter 3D films stand to become a priority, especially with the recent success of the 3D re-release of “Jurassic Park.”

Alternate forms of screening movies may be a subject of debate in some circles, but it’s possible that we may be seeing more widespread adoption of these and similar systems in the future. Those looking to make use of outdoor projections technology could plan events and screenings in conjunction with the capabilities offered by such developments.

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