March 30, 2012—D3D Cinema is excited to announce the conversion of the giant screen theater at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) to digital 3D. The giant screen at HMNS has long offered one of the finest motion picture experiences in the world, and the upgrade from 15/70 mm film projection to a state-of-the-art digital 4K 3D system showcases their commitment to remaining at the forefront of the industry.
“The Houston Museum of Natural Science is without question one of the truly ‘core’ theaters in our market, and I believe their decision to convert from 15/70 mm to digital 3D will prove to be both pivotal and historic,” said Don Kempf, president and founder of D3D Cinema. “The HMNS theater has always been a top performer, from its initial years as a 15/70 mm 2D venue to its more recent years after adding 3D to its menu. In addition, the museum has been a leading producer and distributor of giant screen films for decades, including some of the most successful titles in the history of our medium. We at D3D are tremendously proud to be a part of all of this.”
Charlotte Brohi, Vice President of Giant Screen Operations and Film Production at HMNS, explained, “When we saw a demonstration of the Barco twin projector system coupled with the potential of the Qube server in January, we believed we found a viable solution to a great digital presentation. We wanted to give our audience the image quality they were used to with 70 mm film. With the D3D system, not only are the images picture-perfect, but they're steadier. And the artifacts we used to get from the wear and tear on film are gone. The quality of the on-screen picture exceeded our expectations."
"Our projectionists love it because it's so much easier to operate,” continued Brohi. "They would have to get 200-lb. film reels up into the booth manually. Then it was a matter of loading and unloading the prints manually in a very tight space. It was always a logistical challenge if we wanted to bring in a new film for a special event which wasn’t on our public schedule. With digital, the choices for corporations and other special screenings have been expanded.”
The Financial Incentives of Upgrading to Digital
"Our commitment to presenting documentary films on our giant screen will continue to be a priority, but our horizons have been expanded for after-hours and special events like never before," Brohi explained. “At the same time, we needed to find a way to reduce our expenses. We estimate we will save at least $200,000 in operating costs each year with the move to digital."
Derek Threinen, VP of Film Distribution and Business Development at D3D, added, "Since upgrading their projection system to a D3D digital 3D system, Moody Gardens in Galveston have reported an average annual savings of theater operating costs of more than $250,000. HMNS represents yet another example of the remarkable advantages of giant-screen digital exhibition: significantly greater flexibility of programming to better align with museum missions and goals as well as public demand, with a far superior economic model. The fact is that these venues are improving their guest experience while fully paying off their investment in less than two years from savings alone, while simultaneously positioning themselves for modular upgrades as technology continues to evolve. The digital revolution offers museums an incredible opportunity to breathe new life and vigor into their theaters without requiring huge investments or capital campaigns to fund them."
Brohi concluded by saying "Digital prints save money while keeping production quality high. I hope other theaters in our industry will become more comfortable in the switch to digital. It is an exciting time for our industry and the Houston Museum of Natural Science wanted to commit to staying big while embracing new technologies.”
About D3D Cinema
D3D Cinema (D3D) offers complete digital 3D cinema solutions and services to museum and attraction industry clients worldwide, providing a unique partnership approach to cinema design and 3D content production built around four core capabilities - theater design and installation; touring exhibition theaters; an award-winning library of 3D film content; and custom signature film production.
About the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Founded in 1909, the purpose of the Houston Museum of Natural Science has always been to "enhance in individuals the knowledge and delight in natural science and related subjects." To this very day, this purpose is carried out in every project, program and exhibit associated with the museum. As one of the most heavily attended museums in the United States, and one of the most attended venues in Houston, the Museum houses the Burke Baker Planetarium, Wortham GIANT Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center and a fascinating variety of permanent exhibit areas that examine astronomy, space science, Native American culture, paleontology, energy, chemistry, gems, minerals, seashells, Texas wildlife and much more.