News | June 23, 1999

Pluto's HD Server Chosen for Star Wars 'Digital Cinema of the Future' Showcase

In a demonstration of developments in digital cinema, Pluto Technologies' HyperSPACE HD Digital Video Recorder is being used as the playback server for a digital cinema showcase featuring the latest Star Wars epic. The digital showing is being featured at theaters in Paramus and Secaucus, NJ and in Los Angeles.

Digital Cinema promises, among other things, to provide film images free of lint and scratches with superior picture stability and better pan and motion quality.

Currently, the project is transferring the electronic version to Pluto 's HyperSPACE recorder in Hollywood and then employing those units in the test cinemas for playing high definition pictures back at each showing.

HyperSPACE is a hard disk based high definition video and audio recorder/player which stores media on an array of computer hard disk drives, combining a variety of technologies to achieve the very high data rates necessary to faithfully reproduce the superior quality wide screen images and sound required for electronic cinema applications.

These technologies include RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives) which bands many drives together to deliver a reliable, uninterrupted high data rate stream of media to the projectors. Also used is a mild compression technique (supplied by Matsushita of Japan) which reduces the data to a practical size. Even with this compression, movies will require in excess of 300 Gigabytes of storage. Pluto has been supplying these HDTV recorders to the video production and broadcast industry (including CBS, HBO, and others) for the past year.

Even though 35mm film itself is already considered "high definition," HD video is slowly making inroads into the film world. Star Wars creator and director George Lucas filmed several scenes in high definition digital video in the Phantom Menace episode. Lucas has announced that the follow-up "prequel," scheduled to begin filming next year, will be shot in high definition digital video.