While the performance of DLP based projectors in theatrical settings is impressive, we still have a ways to go before digital projection is ready for prime time, all the hype and George Lucas’ dream not withstanding. JVC was screening a variety of clips using their new D-ILA (Digital Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier) projector and my impression was the image is better than the images I’ve seen from DLP projectors. At 2048 x 1536 pixels the D-ILA offers higher resolution than current DLP projectors but more importantly, there is less visibility of the pixels. The image was bright, had good contrast, and gradations had an analog quality. The clips they showed from Amelie did justice to the image compared to the film print. Unlike DLP projection (with its annoying characteristic “grid” effect) I had to walk right up to the screen in order to see the pixels of the D-ILA images. A very impressive device and quite small for what it can do. This is the technology Kodak is using in their digital projection venture, and will give Christie, another player in the digital projection space, their run for the money.
This post is a section from the article “NAB 2002 Roundup” published in the New York Independent Film Monitor, Vol. 7, No. 7 (May 2002)