Kodak pushes pic image quality

General Cinema first exhib certified under company logo

General Cinema has become the first major theater chain to embrace an industry-wide initiative by Kodak designed to enhance image quality on screens, which Kodak claims has fallen well below standard.

Dubbed the Kodak ScreenCheck, Kodak’s initiative calls for exhibitors to become certified for optimal image quality on their cinema screens. Once a screen is certified, exhibitors may display a Kodak ScreenCheck logo, a trailer and other promotions to inform moviegoers.

“The public recognizes and trusts the Kodak name and logo, and associates it with quality,” said General Cinema prexy and CEO Bill Doren. “When they see the Kodak ScreenCheck Experience logo on our screens and in our lobbies, it tells them they are seeing films the way they should be seen.”

Having begun with the Westwood AVCO Theater on Wednesday, General Cinema plans to certify some 150 screens in L.A., Seattle and Boston during the coming months.

“It is important for audiences to experience movies the way they are meant to be seen,” said Richard P. Aschman, president of Kodak’s Professional Motion Imaging.

Aschman said that studies by Kodak and other organizations indicate that the brightness of images projected on the average motion picture screen at cinemas in the U.S. falls far below industry standards, averaging about half of the recommended brightness.

This prevents the audience from seeing details on the film, which can be an important part of the storytelling, according to Aschman. “It’s a more immersive experience when bright and sharp images are projected on big screens with clear lines of sight.”

Most screens can quickly be brought up to standard with relatively inexpensive adjustments in projection equipment and maintenance procedures, according to Robert Mason, general manager, cinema operations for the Kodak division. “We need to differentiate and enhance the total movie-going experience.”