Tyneside Cinema hosted a unique HD outdoor screening of the 1980s film "Dirty Dancing" starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Fans came early to get the best positions and to enjoy the pre-film entertainments, and by the evening Newcastle City Centre was packed full of people enjoying the event, with many singing and dancing along with the film.

Special permission was granted to play the new 20th Anniversary Blu Ray release so QED chose to use Sony S600 3rd Generation Blu Ray machines and two twinned Christie HD18K 17,500 ANSI lumen HD projectors to deliver outstanding quality and brightness onto the giant 50ft wide inflatable air screen.

With the rig and show on the same day the two Christies had to be doubled up in daylight conditions and so this was always going to be a challenge. With pre-screening entertainments beginning in the afternoon and the film scheduled to start by dusk, wireless control of the projectors was the only realistic way to achieve this, as cables could simply not be used. So what one might possibly deem to be one of the "luxury features" of the Christies proved on the day to be an absolute essential. Lining up projectors in daylight via a wireless laptop at the base of an enormous outdoor screen amongst a crowd of people was certainly a new experience for QED.

After dark the doubled HD18Ks really cut through the lighting from surrounding buildings that shone directly onto the screen. The projectors also had to overcome the additional light loss generated by the thick plastic windows in the specially constructed control room, designed to protect all the kit from the rain. The amount of reflected light in the control room was quite extreme yet the resultant on-screen image was still incredibly bright. The small footprint and relatively light weight of the HD18Ks meant that there was still plenty of room for technicians in the control space!

The HDCP compliant Christies enabled the film to shown at the very highest quality using the HDMI output of the Sony S600 Blu Ray player. Main and back-up machines were run synchronously, with a pair of Marshall V-R842P-AFHD monitors providing HD preview monitoring. Unsurprisingly QED pre-show warehouse tests had already showed how much more superior the HDMI output was compared to the analogue component output, so the whole rig had to be fully digital in order to deliver the filmic experience as best as possible.

The screening certainly demonstrated how convenient and cost effective Blu Ray is as a format for professional applications, and how essential the Christie wireless remote control really can be.
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