Black Wing Up
Every show has a surprise, and for me CEDIA's 2007 surprise was the demo I saw from the St. John Group, the importer/distributor perhaps best known for handling the Cabasse line of loudspeakers. This group has picked up Screen Research for distribution, and now has a projector line to shine on those screens: CineVERSUM.
The CineVERSUM line of PJs will be offically billed as CineVERSUM powered by Barco. This last element is key as it refers to the fact that the briliant engineers are Barco in Belgium provide key technologies for this line.
The projector on display was the $10K Blawk Wing Two, based on the latest three-chip JVC D-ILA projector, which means there are extensive gamma and color correction adjustability, and it's tweaked to the max in this installation. The processing is by Gennum, and according to the St. John Group, CineVERSUM gets to cherry pick the PJs for the best performing units.
The Black Wing was demonstrated on a woven (not perforated) Screen Research ClearPix screen that was 96" wide, 16:9 and rated for .95 gain. The demo material was the HD DVD of Planet Earth, every disc of which I'm intimately familiar with.
This image was simply stunning. The blacks were deep, but balanced with excellent shadow detail and lots of pop on the brighter scenes. It had loads of fine detail, but it looked silky smooth and natural, which is D-ILA's calling card. THe colors looked very natural, but that's much harder to judge based on one piece of demo material. Nevertheless, this is an image I'd be proud to show you if you came to my house, which is saying something.
As mentioned, Planet Earth, as being mostly palatable HD for a two-year old gets a lot of run in my house. And that being the case, I've heard that programs narrations (BBC, David Attenborough) as many 100s of times as I've watched these programs. The human voice is as complex and significant as anything we hear in movie sound. While this material wasn't dynamically challenging, the behind screen Cabasse speakers reproduced the narration as timbrally natural as I could want. It sounded terrific.