Co. strikes deal with Kodak

In the first major deal to deploy what is expected to be the next major advance in theatrical projection, Imax has stuck an exclusive licensing deal with Kodak for laser projection.

Announcement said Imax has licensed “certain exclusive rights in the digital cinema field” to more than 50 patent families, as well as some exclusive rights to complementary technologies.

Imax expects to begin deploying the laser tech, which doesn’t require any additional add-ons to existing 3D systems, in the second half of 2013. Laser lamps will permit Imax to put digital projectors in its largest screens, some greater than 80 feet, and in domes. Those theaters are now limited to film projection.

“We’ve been around for over 40 years and pride ourselves on creating the best cinema experience,” Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told Variety.

Deal marks the first announcement of a commercial deployment for laser projection. Laser projectors have been considered a tech “holy grail.” Lasers run cooler and last longer than the lamps currently used in movie projectors, put out more light with less power and permit digital projectors to show a wider gamut of colors.

Kim Snyder, prexy, entertainment imaging, and VP, Eastman Kodak Company said of lasers “this technology produces the deepest blacks, and the brightest 3D of any system demonstrated to date.”In September 2010 Imax invested in Laser Light Engines with the same goal in mind. “This (Kodak) license, combined with LLE and Imax’s own intellectual property, puts us at the forefront of laser-based projection,” said Imax CEO Rich Gelfond.

Kim Snyder, prexy, entertainment imaging, and VP, Eastman Kodak Company said of lasers “this technology produces the deepest blacks, and the brightest 3D of any system demonstrated to date.”

In September 2010 Imax invested in Laser Light Engines with the same goal in mind. “This (Kodak) license, combined with LLE and Imax’s own intellectual property, puts us at the forefront of laser-based projection,” Gelfond said.

Deal will generate royalty income for cash-strapped Kodak, which is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, though specific terms were not disclosed. Kodak management has reportedly been interested in selling some of its extensive patent portfolio to raise cash but any such sales could be challenged by creditors if the company declares bankruptcy.

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