Immersive Experiences for all

For the first time, incredible immersive experiences are becoming available to all types of location based entertainment with the introduction of new 1-Chip DLP 4K projectors.

Written by Lluis Mila, Panasonic Connect Europe.

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The secret to creating these new immersive experiences for all is down to the new series of 1-Chip DLP coming to market, the REQ series and its new C1 lens platform. 
This new REQ Series further expands Panasonic’s 4K projector line-up, to suit all needs from 5000 to 50,000 lumen. The introduction of the REQ12 provides 4K at 12,000 lumen and in May 2024 this will be followed by the REQ15 (15,000lm) model. These new projectors are complemented by the REQ80 and REQ10 (8000lm and 10,000lm respectively).

Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with my colleague Shingo Sugino, the Chief of the Projector Product Planning Section at our headquarters in Kadoma, Osaka. Despite his busy schedule, Shingo was generous enough to share some insights into the creation of the 'C1' lenses platform.

A vision Three Years in the Making

I asked Shingo when the necessity for a new lenses’ platform first came into focus. He revealed that the idea began germinating three years ago, back in 2020. The primary goal was to develop a product that would push the boundaries of resolution and brightness. At that time, we didn't have a 1DLP 4K projector with interchangeable lenses. The decision to bring 'REQ&C1' to life followed shortly after.

The new platform needed to be fully compatible with the 0.8" DLP panel size, which is a key feature of the REQ series.

Creating a cutting-edge platform like 'C1' involved a collective effort from various departments. Shingo mentioned the Mechanical Department, Optical Department, Electrical Department, and Software Department as the main contributors. It's impressive to note that over 50 professionals have been part of this journey. And the journey to bring the REQ+C1 to the market spanned approximately 80 weeks, encompassing phases such as concept discussion, planning, development commencement, prototyping, prototype evaluation, quality tests, and more.

Developed for entertainment

The REQ12 and forthcoming REQ15 were developed with immersive entertainment in mind. The high quality visuals faithfully reproduce creators' works, streamline on-site installation and adjustment, and minimise maintenance during operation. 

Quad Pixel Drive, Panasonic’s ground-breaking 2-axis pixel-shifting technology, reproduces authentic 4K images that are deep, smooth, and detailed. It enables the blur-free projection of 2K/240Hz content over multiple edge-blended screens with a latency of 6ms or less.

These projectors can also sync with Panasonic’s ET-SWR10 Real-Time Tracking Projection-Mapping System to fuse digital content and analogue motion within XR attractions or stage performances. Rich Colour Enhancer, a technology that expands the red-channel output, delivers more vibrant and accurate red tones. Evolved Dynamic Contrast breathes new life into every frame. The new scene-analysis circuitry better recognises light and dark areas of the image for captivating visual impact.

Seamless blends are also vital in immersive 360° spaces, especially when projecting on curved screens. The black-level settings in the new Series offer point-based border adjustment for screen shapes, allowing black levels to be set precisely. With the ability to unlink black-level adjustment from geometric adjustment, black-level settings can be applied to the entire blend, including the image overlaps outside the image display area, for a completely seamless multi-screen image.

Easy integration and AVoIP

To ensure that the projectors can be quickly and easily integrated into any location based entertainment (LBE) scenario, they come with an Intel® SDM-ready slot for use with various proprietary or third-party function boards. With an appropriate board, users can adapt, scale, and expand connectivity to suit the application’s interface or AVoIP standard. 

Streamlined workflow

On-site workflow is streamlined with an NFC function that allows projectors to be prepped or initialised without power on via smartphone. Preactivated upgrade kits for Geo Pro expand functionality and automate edge-blending via camera.

Powerful new lens line-up

Being introduced alongside the new REQ Series is a new 1-Chip DLP lens line-up – the C1 platform. These new lenses with improved native contrast, complement the existing DLE lens line-up. 

The new C1 lenses use high transmittance glass materials to deliver high resolution and contrast. Alongside improved focus performance and clear expression with less colour bleeding, there is improved focus adjustment accuracy finely controlled with a new algorithm.

Other innovations include a high precision lens memory function, motorised peripheral focus that can be controlled by remote – a first in a 1-Chip DLP projector. Lastly there is increased brightness with the optional lens and suppression of brightness change during zooming when compared to the former RZ120 projector optional lens.

Based on new lens technology

What makes the C1 so special is the use of Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion (UED) and Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Lenses. For those interested in the technical details: With conventional optical glass lenses, the longer the focal length or the wider the angle of view, the more difficult it is to correct chromatic aberration, resulting in a decrease in contrast and colour bleeding. This problem is overcome by UED/ED lenses that suppress the colour dispersion effect of the prism, which compensates well for axial chromatic aberration on the telephoto side and chromatic aberration at magnification on the wide-angle side. UED lenses have even smaller dispersibility and performance close to fluorite, achieving better delineation performance.

For the LBE industry, the C1 platform and in particular its C1U100 Ultra Short Throw (UST) straight lens is a game-changer for any immersive installation. Use of a UST lens with the REQ Series means venues can create large crystal clear images from very close projection distances, with less loss of brightness. It also enables immersive experiences to be created in smaller and awkward shaped rooms. Close projection also eliminates the risk of the immersive experience being broken by the shadows of people walking in front of the projector. 

In addition, images projected short distances are clearer and brighter than ever and enable interactive elements to be built into the show. And finally, installers have more options to position the projectors in the least intrusive and easiest to maintain areas.

Built for immersion

The great benefit of all these innovations is that location based entertainment venues and rental and staging companies now have the ideal projectors to meet the increasing customer demand for ever more realistic immersive experience. The REQ Series enables museums to update and bring history to life. It enables artists to show their work in new and imaginative ways and rental and staging companies to turn the most difficult spaces into Instagram-able immersive attractions. 

The great value of Panasonic 1-Chip DLP Projectors has already been recognised to bring to life the global phenomenon of Games of Thrones at the only official studio tour in Northern Ireland. Panasonic’s best-in-class projection colour reproduction enables visitors to the Game of Thrones Studio Tour to feel as if they are on-set, with its 4K projectors showing the finest level of detail, realism and colour, when projected onto any surface – even the typically jagged environments that have become synonymous with the series. 

The projectors and displays are carefully positioned throughout the tour, ensuring the sets and environments remain as realistic as possible, and do not detract from the overall visitor experience. This is enabled by the range of flexible installation solutions that Panasonic provides, such as Ultra Short Throw lenses, allowing visitors to get up-close to the content without casting a shadow. 

As ever, the ability for visitors to capture photos of the immersive projection, for social media use, is a key consideration in maximising the popularity of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour, with the quality provided by Panasonic’s projectors proven in existing installations worldwide.

David Browne, Executive Director at Linen Mill Studio, comments: “This is the only Game of Thrones Studio Tour in the world. After our grand opening, we have had several of the wider Warner family and executive leadership team through the tour and they have been incredibly impressed with what they have seen, given the importance of the brand. We are delighted that it is being properly represented and what we have here for visitors to experience is truly world class.”

Whether it’s supporting a global tv franchise or providing a new perspective on the artwork of classical painters, these latest projectors are impressing audiences around the world. 

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