The British Film Institute (BFI) has extended its long association with digital cinema world leader, Christie and its DCI-compliant projectors, by embracing the new Solaria 4K DLP® resolution platform.

With its high frame rate, the acquisition of the new CP4230 will enhance the BFI Southbank’s cinema experience — particularly its 3D exhibits — delivering more than 34,000 lumens.

The new projector will sit alongside the BFI’s Christie CP2000 2K DLP Cinema® projector in the 450-seat NFT1, at London’s BFI Southbank.

“The BFI is now staging a lot of very high profile premieres, and this gives us a choice,’ says Richard Boyd, Head of Technical Services. “Each year we run over 2,000 bits of content through these Christie projectors, and in an enormous number of formats, and they never fall over.’

The BFI also plans to take delivery of Christie’s new DCI-compliant Integrated Media Block (IMB) — the first to pass the DCI Compliance Test Plan (CTP) in a 4K DLP Cinema projector, in both 2K and 4K modes of operation.

The Christie IMB has been designed as a standalone IMB, meaning that everything required for control and content decryption/decoding is part of the IMB itself. The only external hardware needed to operate the IMB is a compatible storage solution and Richard Boyd notes that one advantage of the Christie IMB is that it only requires a simple RAID [storage].

Christie’s new generation of digital cinema projectors will have a significant benefit to the BFI and the new CP4230 will enjoy a high profile debut, screening a new restoration of the David Lean classic Lawrence of Arabia, which was screened earlier this year, also with a Christie 4K DLP Cinema projector, at the Cannes Classics section of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This has been lovingly restored and remastered in 4K by Grover Crisp, and will receive an extended run at the BFI Southbank during October and November. Meanwhile, a new print of another Lean classic, Bridge On The River Kwai, has also been remastered in 4K.

The BFI is now capable of displaying every analogue and digital format, including nitrate, 16mm, 35mm and the wide high resolution 70mm format, as well as 2K and 4K movies.
“It’s important to be ready and we are incredibly excited by the new 4K possibilities,’ admits Richard Boyd. “The high frame rate will keep us on the cutting edge of the technology; The Hobbit runs at 48 fps and Avatar 2 at 60, so we can show what the industry has to offer.’

Added Richard Nye, Cinema Sales Director, Christie EMEA, “This is another milestone in the long journey that the BFI has taken with Christie into the digital world over the past decade. We’re delighted that this flagship institution is continuing to back Christie platforms in the new era of 4K resolution as it continues to promote education about film and the moving image.’

At the same time, the commissioning of the new Christie CP4230 has given the BFI the opportunity to carry out a complete overhaul of its AV projection booth, with greater soundproofing, renewed cabling and enhanced remote control.