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Cannes: Barco Previewing New HDR Cinema Projection System

Tech developer Barco has brought its new HDR Lightsteering cinema projector to Cannes, previewing the system for filmmakers in advance of a rollout that is expected to begin in early 2024.

This “lightsteering” technology is an option that Barco believes would give moviegoers a brighter, HDR image — therefore a wider creative palette for filmmakers — compared with most of today’s laser-projection systems.

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The tech effectively throws more light at parts of the image that require high brightness, but not the darker areas, which the company contends makes their system a more efficient user of light and therefore more cost effective than proposed HDR-capable LED cinema screens.

The company has been presenting this system for more than a year at a bespoke setup in Hollywood to filmmakers and studio execs, after first debuting what was then-developing tech to a limited number of guests in private demos at CinemaCon in 2018.

At Cannes, Barco is showcasing the system at the Cineum’s Lodge auditorium with clips from 2021’s Last Film Show, 2022’s Jacir and 2017’s Let the Corpses Tan. It is also demonstrating the lightsteering tech with the American Society of Cinematographer’s Standard Evaluation Material II (StEM2) project, titled The Mission, a 16-minute short film that was made to offer a consistent baseline while evaluating a myriad of different technologies and workflows used to produce and display movies and episodic series, with an eye toward maintaining the filmmakers’ intent.

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