Visual Experience with Better Screens Technology

The leading screen technology company, Harkness Screens recently announced the introduction of its new high performance coating technology Nanolast. It is poised to create a significantly more robust and durable surface with added visual performance improvements.

Mark Ashcroft, CEO, Harkness Screens, on his recent visit to India, talks to Raghavendra T, Editor-Publisher, TheatreWorld about the company’s threefold plans of investment and technical & commercial activities in India.

Harkness Screens is the world’s leading screen technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies. From single-screen independent theatres to large multiplexes to large format immersive theatre experiences or live events, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year for cinema, film production, special effects, live events and custom AV applications.

With truly global reach, Harkness is regarded as the world leader in cinema and today has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. With its industry leading 2D and 3D screen brands (Perlux and Spectral) along with its innovative range of tools and iOS/Android apps, Harkness continues to lead the way in screen technology for cinema.

The world leader recently announced the introduction of its new high performance coating technology Nanolast. Nanolast coating technology is an improvement added to the formulation of all of Harkness’ coated screen families (including Clarus XC, Perlux and Spectral). The new technology adds a stronger polymer structure to the existing coating technology to create a significantly more robust and durable surface with added visual performance improvements.

Mark Ashcroft’s Significant Visit to India
Raghavendra T, Editor-Publisher, TheatreWorld catches up with Mark Ashcroft, CEO, Harkness Screens on his recent visit to India. Mark talks about the company’s threefold plans of investing in technical and commercial activities in India:

“Firstly, we’ve established a technical and commercial office in central Bangalore. It provides us with an opportunity to recruit more staff; to give them a working environment that’s conducive to 21st century technology. We would like people to join us in this exciting journey in India.

Secondly, we’ve got a number of major clients based in India. It’s always interesting to learn about their plans for future and the challenges they face and how we can address them.

And thirdly, probably the most significant for me, is the introduction of a new chemical technology within the screen for better performance and higher quality. We’re fortunate that our screens have got a lifetime, which can be anywhere between
7 – 12 years, depending on the environmental conditions. Improved performance is very critical because if we want the millennials of today to come back to cinema we will have to match up with the experience they are used to on their cell phones or flat screen TVs. If we can do that we can help the cinemas attract the millennials for a lifetime.

We’ve have had a great financial year world over but specifically in India, our business has grown by more than 12 per cent per annum for last two years. More and more cinemas are buying high end screen surfaces. In India, cinema owners are taking their presentation quality seriously.”

On Retrospective Note
On a retrospective note, Mark says, “For Harkness, India has been an interesting market since mid 1990s. We’ve sold screens in the country for a number of years. In 2011, we decided to start our manufacturing unit in Bangalore. It opened in 2013. It’s very important for us to be close to the market and to technical and sales team. It makes things easier for the customers. The cinema screen is a pretty cumbersome item to transport. So being here has helped us keep the complexities at bay and has helped our customers. In addition to that is the new technology Nanolast for the surface of the screen, which we have been able to manufacture here and give the Indian cinema industry the opportunity to benefit from this technical advancement. The cinema operator gets to improve the movie presentation with the new technology.”

Nanolast Technology – Improving Robustness
David Harrison CTO of Harkness Screens said, “At Harkness we strive to continue to improve the performance of our screens. Nanolast technology is a major enhancement providing exhibitors with a more durable screen less prone to installation or surface damage. By adding additional strength to the base coating technology, we are able to mitigate the most often seen types of screen damage and therefore reduce the risk of exhibitors requiring screen replacements thus improving total cost of ownership from their Harkness coated cinema screens.”

Whilst improving robustness, Nanolast technology also enhances the visual performance of screen surfaces by creating an even smoother, whiter and more uniform finish. This improvement creates a more immersive viewing experience by increasing the richness of colours, adding further depth of field to 3D presentations and widening viewing angles.

“Many of our customers are now starting to rapidly adopt the latest projection technologies including phosphor and RGB laser. The unique properties of Nanolast provide a complementary surface for showcasing the visual improvements offered in the latest generation of cinema projectors such as 4K, HDR and wide colour gamut,” Harrison adds.

Nanolast technology is an incremental improvement added to all Harkness coated screens and is now available from Harkness’ global manufacturing facilities in USA, China, UK, France and India.

“Nano technology and nano chemistry is all about small particles and if we can use those small particles in screen surface we can give better properties to cinema owners. Our expectation is that Clarus screens will continue to grow in India and the introduction of Nanolast technology will enhance that performance,” said Mark.

Plans for the Coming Years
“Our Perlux product, which has been for 2D, has been re engineered. The indications are that the reengineering has given it greater whiteness and brightness. A lot of people are looking for better 2D and this next-gen of Perlux has a competent screen technology. We’ve been investing in manufacturing units across the world to give better screen quality and performances. We want to engage with customers as to how we can optimize their business,” points out Mark.

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