Monday, May 10, 2010

3D Projection Company MasterImage Expands Into Europe

Jim here. When I was at ShoWest this year, I had the pleasure of meeting the executive team of MasterImage who showed me their new 3D projection technology and it was simply amazing. And affordable! I love their business model and I believe the industry needs this solution to open doors for all theater players and situations. They are a serious player in this space and their product is very, very good. If you are a theater owner investigating options, definitely consider this company.

Here is their press release about their new offices at Pinewood Studios in the UK (emphasis is mine):

3D company MasterImage 3D, LLC has expanded its operations with the opening today of its European office. Located in the UK’s legendary Pinewood Studios, the new office serves the fast-growing number of theaters adopting MasterImage’s 3D digital cinema systems across Europe and will help drive adoption of its auto-stereoscopic 3D display systems. Cinema technology veterans Brian Kercher, newly named managing director of 3D cinema, MasterImage 3D Europe, and Andrew Lee, director of sales engineering, are leading the company’s European operations.

MasterImage provides 3D solutions for cinemas, flat panel displays for televisions and mobile devices, and cameras. In the past six months MasterImage has doubled its theatrical market share, with more than 1,600 systems installed worldwide (over 500 of them in Europe). All six major Hollywood studios, along with independent distributors, support the MasterImage format for their 3D features. In 2009 the company also commercialized the world’'s first glasses-free 3D mobile device, the Hitachi Wooo.

“"When I encountered MasterImage’s technology I was struck by the opportunity",” said Kercher. “"The company had an incredibly strong offering and a significant opportunity for growth in Europe. The quality of the MasterImage 3D presentation is unrivaled, and it has a cost of ownership that cannot be matched by 3D technology that uses expensive glasses or an endless ‘seat tax’ business model. Plus, MasterImage works through local integrators that cinemas already know and trust. With our full support and service organization now based in Europe together with our local integration partners, MasterImage is well positioned to bring beautiful 3D digital images to audiences in every corner of the region.”"

Kercher joins MasterImage from Eastman Kodak, where he was general manager of the company’s digital cinema business. In his fifteen-year tenure with Kodak Kercher held executive and sales roles, most recently developing the company’s digital cinema business in EMEAR. Kercher also developed new market customer bases for Quantel and Hi-Q Systems, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of Cinesite Europe since 2004.

Andrew Lee heads technical operations of MasterImage 3D Europe. He has been with the company since 2009 and was most recently vice president of cinema technology. Lee relocates to the UK from Toronto. A twenty year veteran of the 3D motion picture presentation industry, Lee built his expertise at IMAX, where he spent fourteen years developing 3D glasses and 3D camera and presentation technology. He is recognized as an industry expert in 3D screen technology and manufacturing techniques. Lee has also held senior level R&D roles at MDI and Franklin Designs International.

Said MasterImage CEO Younghoon Lee, "“We have been quietly developing and delivering 3D solutions since 2004 for an emerging 3D market, to the point where we are now providing the highest quality 3D experience from cinemas to cell phones. With Brian’s and Andrew’s experience and leadership, our European operation will help us to meet the demands of our growing customer base and deliver 3D images to a worldwide market hungry for 3D content and the means to view it.”"

About MasterImage 3D, LLC
MasterImage 3D, LLC is a stereoscopic 3D technology company that provides pioneering 3D solutions for theaters, television and handheld devices. With more than 1,600 theatre systems installed worldwide, MasterImage offers audiences the best 3D image experience, while providing exhibitors with a compelling ownership-based pricing model. The company’s auto-stereoscopic (glasses-free), 3D LCD technology for mobile and electronic devices are the first commercial displays of their kind, and the company’s 3D camera ASIC empowers dual camera-equipped devices that enable users to create and share 3D content. The company is gearing up to deploy millions of auto-stereoscopic units with multiple manufactures worldwide. Founded in 2004, MasterImage was recently acquired and capitalized by US-based Symphony 3D Holdings and is headquartered in Burbank, California.

I had the opportunity to try out the Hitachi Wooo H001 and let me tell you it was impressive. It has a 3.1 inch with an outstanding 854x480p resolution and is autostereoscopic! I was skeptical until I saw it. It has quite a wide range of viewing angles without losing 3D too. It is worth the time to check it out!

Looking forward to seeing more from this company as they continue their rapid 3D theatrical projection growth around the world.

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