"When theaters began approaching us about developing new products for the giant screen industry, we realized there was a real need for the type of creativity and experience we could bring to the table," states MediaMerge president, Ken McKibben. "We've had a lot of success providing systems integration services in other markets for almost a decade, and as the world's largest third-party SPP service provider for IMAX Theaters, we've got a really unique perspective on how to solve their problems."
"With modern day, off-the-shelf hardware, the focus of creating a product like this centers around a software platform that utilizes high-quality codecs and an open ended architecture to provide a solution that is of immediate benefit but will also usher the theater into the emerging world of digital cinema," notes Ogletree. " The ShowSource™3D includes capabilities for networked show control, 3D, 4k digital cinema playback, and a content security & licensing solution. Couple that technology with an interface designed to make everyday use a snap, and the value of this approach is clearly evident."
In the heart of the system is placed a high-powered media server utilizing off-the-shelf components. video output, multi-channel audio, SMPTE time code, and tach-to-SMPTE conversion is provided by PCI cards, and Audio is delivered to an external DSP (digital signal processor) over a digital network using standard CobraNet technology.
"We've never really bought into the idea that the use of proprietary hardware, in and of itself, adds any value to the equation," remarks McKibben. "There are tons of manufacturers out there spending millions of dollars on R&D who are completely focused on a very narrow range of functionality. It's not necessary for us to re-invent the wheel. Our focus is on how we can take those products, with good design and some custom programming, and deliver a truly exceptional experience. Without all of the unnecessary in-house R&D costs, you get a better product for a whole lot less money."
A large-scale renovation was placed in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry's Omnimax Theater in June. "This is one of the most exciting things to happen to the Omnimax Theater in 22 years," states Kathryn Chapman, the museum's Manager of Guest Services. "We are thrilled to be the first IMAX theater to feature this new technology, and can't wait to share it with our audiences. We were initially interested in the product because of its range of flexibility, but our expectations were completely surpassed when we saw the interface. Not only will the ShowSource™3D be able to seamlessly handle inputs from a variety of media, but building and executing first-class theater experiences will be easy and fun for the first time in our theater's history."
Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry
Giant Screen Cinema Association
Liberty Science Center MediaMerge, Inc.