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Monday, August 28, 2006



Selecting and purchasing the appropriate digital projector for your cinema's pre/post feature entertainment, advertising, alternate content, and other uses can be daunting.

With hundreds of models from numerous manufacturers on the market it's difficult to make a selection as to which is best suited for your requirements and which offer the best value with those features.


The first decision will be how large a projector. This means, how many lumens (a measure of brightness) will be required - given the screen size and picture throw (distance from projector to screen) - to provide a very good (i.e. HDTV quality) on-screen image.

There are no fixed rules for determining brightness; however, I have found that to get a good, bright image on a typical matte white, peforated cinema screen requires about 50 - 100 lumens per foot of picture throw. For example, an auditorium with a throw of 50 ft. will require a projector with 2500 - 5000 lumens (and it's preferable to error on the high side). This will provide a bright image whether running a PowerPoint presentation (with house lights up) or a DVD movie presentation.

There are small, desk-top projectors on the market that advertise 3, 4, or even 5,000 lumen capability, but don't make the mistake of purchasing a small (less expensive) projector as the internal components, standard features, and expandability options you desire, may be lacking. Also, make sure the projector you select has a lot of internal cooling capability. Heat, dirt, and erratic power levels are the worst enemies of all digital projectors.

As noted, it's always better to error on the side of more lumens so as not to be operating the projector "full out" all the time. This will put less stress on the internal components and the optical system as well. Rule: It's better to purchase a 3,500 lumen projector and run it at 2,500 than a 2,500 lumen projector and run it at maximum capacity.


Acer - Christie - IBM - Panasonic
ASK - Dell - InFocus - Philips
Barco - Epson - LG - Sanyo
BenQ - HP - NEC - Sony
Canon - Hitachi - Optima - ViewSonic


Determining the appropriate lens can be tricky. In the world of digital projection, as a general rule, dividing the image throw by the screen width will determine the lens size. For example, if the image throw is 50 ft. and the screen is 30 ft. wide the lens required is 1.62. Most cinemas require long-throw lenses and most of these have variable (zoom) focal lengths.

Be prepared, as most cinemas cannot use the standard lens which normally comes with the projector and in most cases will have to be upgraded to the rquired lens. Also, a projector with a motorized lens shift (vertical & horizontal) is best, particularly if placing the projector off the screen's center line of view.


What content sources will you be interfacing with your projector, DVDs, VHS, laptop, HD video, BETA, USB Flashcards, High Speed Internet? Rule: Make sure the projector you are purchasing can accept a wide variety of source components. Additionally, a projector with internal switching and scaling features is well worth the extra cost if you plan on using various source components.

Best Bet: Don't purchase any projector unless it has at a minimum the following inputs: DVI (digital input) HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) composite video, s-video, and USB ports.


A multi-lamp modes feature is very desirable. A lamp economy mode will prolong a lamp's burn life. If you envision the projector getting a lot of use or you are exhibiting content you are charging for then it's imperative to purchase a projector with dual lamp capability.


Never purchase a projector based solely on price. Plan ahead and use the information in this article to give you a start, to calculate: image size, minimum lumens required, lens sizing, minimum connection interfaces, and content source components.

Also check out the projector's required servicing and maintenance. As with all digital projectors the biggest problems stem from dust and dirt accumulation, inadequate cooling and improper maintenance.

By James Lavorato, excerpted from Summer 2006 issue of The Marquee magazine, published by Entertainment Equipment Corporation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006



Relevant training for a cinema's management and staff is a critical necessity. Today, cinemas are at a fork in the road. They can proceed on the old path of simply exhibiting films or take a new road that will begin to transform their cinema into a multi-dimensional entertainment venue.

Training programs which focus on effectively marketing and branding your cinema, the introduction and management of new products and activities, the re-assessment and enhancement of concession and other revenue generators, and the profitable use and implementation of digital technology are vital.

To accomplish this requires learning new skills and techniques through expert training and counselling which is available only at Cinema Training Central.


September 18 & 19 - Primary Technical Training (2 Days)
18 - 20 - Advanced Projection Training (3 Days)
18 & 19 - Operating A Cinema (2 Days)
19 - 21 - Advanced Audio Training (3 Days)
20 - Marketing Your Cinema (1 Day)
20 & 21 - Intermediate Technical Training (2 Days)
21 - Maximizing Concession Profits (1 Day)
22 - Alternative Content & Digital Cinema (1 Day)

22 - Modern Cinema Design & Planning (1 Day)

For information on registration, travel, lodging, and in-depth course descriptions, contact CTC at 800-448-1656 or email: entequip@aol.com.

While enhancing and updating the core courses we will be adding new courses in 2007. Look for a number of surprises, including:

Tech Training Courses Specific To Women
Currently CTC's technical training courses are dominated by men - over 90% of all tech training participants are male. However, as more and more women are filling theatre management and operations positions it is critical that they obtain a working (if not thorough) knowledge of the technical and mechanical aspects of a cinema.

To address this, CTC will be offering technical training tailored for women. The courses will be designed by and taught by women and structured for women currently working in or wanting to enter the cinema exhibition industry.

Organizing & Managing A Digital Film Festival

Recently I was asked to be a judge at a new film festival - the Endless Mountains Digital Film Fest - managed by the Bradford County Regional Arts Council of Pennsylvania. The festival was sponsored by 5 cinemas in the region, as well as, businesses and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Based upon the entries submitted - by individuals aged 12 to adult - this festival is destined to be a great success.

Because of what's involved in the setup, planning, marketing, and logistics of even a small film fest, a one-day training course on organizing and managing a digital film festival will be offered next year.


The Summer 2006 issue of The Marquee is attached to this email as a pdf file. If you are on our regular mailing list a hard copy will be sent to you. If for some reason you cannot open or print the pdf file or if you would like to receive an original hard copy of The Marquee, please provide your post address.

Hope all is well.

Jim Lavorato - Entertainment Equipment Corporation

CREDITOR'S NOTE: When quoting any or all of the data in this 'Cinema Training Central FLASH' please credit "Entertainment Equipment Corporation". Copyright 2006 Entertainment Equipment Corporation and Cinema Training Central.