Projecting Excellence in the Technology Sphere - Interview with Mark Ashcroft

Mark Ashcroft, Harkness Screens CEO and CEO Monthly’s "‘2019 CEO if the Year for the UK’.

Mark Ashcroft, Harkness Screens CEO and CEO Monthly’s "‘2019 CEO if the Year for the UK’.

Harkness Screens is the world's leading screen technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies for cinema and live events. We spoke with CEO Mark Ashcroft, on the back of his recognition as the ‘2019 CEO of the Year for the UK’, to find out more about the company’s extraordinary success and peerless reputation.

The technology industry is, often, a rather unpredictable beast. It’s also one of the world’s most dominant sectors, fuelled by constant growth and truly relentless innovation. Partnering these challenges through a more consumer-centric lens, Harkness Screens’ success in screen technology becomes all the more impressive. Juggling an innovative ethos, creativity and best in class engineering to determine the next ‘big thing’ in their industry. As such, they have become the defining standard of excellence, setting the pace in an evercompetitive and demanding field.

"From single-screen independent theatres to large multiplexes to large format immersive theatre experiences or live events, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year helping provide outstanding presentation experiences to audiences around the world." Says Mark Ashcroft, CEO.

Moreover, as consumer demand grows for ‘next-generation’ technology, Harkness has had to position itself with a decidedly future-forward mindset: an ability to predict the next big change before it happens. This, as Mark explains, is how the company have secured their enduring growth over the years. “Harkness has remained consistently successful due to our ability to predict the ‘next step’ of what cinemagoers want to experience. For example, Harkness is currently developing laser projection technology that is set to revolutionise the cinematic experience in the coming years.”

Boasting a whole host of international clients, including the world’s biggest cinema conventions, CinemaCon and CineEurope just to name two, there can be no mistake that Harkness has forged an indelible reputation within their industry. Mark takes a moment to discuss this in more detail: “Harkness has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. With our industry leading 2D and 3D screen brands (Perlux HiWhite, Clarus XC and Spectral) as well as an innovative range of presentation monitoring tools, digital surveying services and cinema design suite and specification apps, we continue to lead the way in screen technology for cinema.”

In his closing comments Mark reveals that 2019 is a special year for the company as they celebrate their 90th year of business. “As some will be aware, 2019 is Harkness Screens' 90th Birthday, so from September onwards we will begin to celebrate this landmark occasion. Other than this, our main aim is to continue being the leading producer of screen technology for both cinemas and exhibitors.”

There can be no doubt, Harkness has a very bright future ahead as they look to capitalise further on their leading position in the global entertainment and technology markets.

This article has been reproduced from CEO Monthly - original source - https://www.ceo-review.com/2019-projecting-excellence-in-the-technology-sphere

Harkness Screens 90th Birthday Year of Celebration

September 12th will mark the beginning of Harkness Screens’ 90th birthday celebrations. For our 90 years, Harkness Screens has been at the forefront of cinema screen technology, currently employing over 150 people in six different countries.

Founded by master draper Andrew Harkness in 1929, Harkness Screens soon became a leading force in the world of cinema. Just two short years after the company’s conception, the founder would sadly pass away, leaving the company to his only son, Tom.

It was under the guidance of Tom Harkness that the company would continue to develop a reputation as the dominant name in cinema screen production. In the early 1940s, Tom Harkness pioneered the use of PVC as a means to replace the heavy woven fabrics that had initially made Harkness a name in cinematic circles.

In 1952 Harkness was bought by the Rank Organisation and incorporated into Rank Audio Visual in 1960. Joining massive names in cinema such as Pathe and Odeon, Harkness found themselves located in the famous Gate Studios; and thus, in the epicenter of British movie making. Within a few years, Harkness had new neighbours, a start-up called Rank Xerox.

More key developments in cinema screen technology would come for Harkness. Creating a new cinema experiences with the placement of speakers behind the screens and kept up with the growth of cinema screens by developing the Perlux screen that provided a brighter and more vivid presentation.

The Perlux was Harkness’ first ever coated gain screen and propelled Harkness to become the world’s leading screen maker. By the mid-1990s Harkness had already begun developing the technology for 3D cinema screens. Predicting that there would be a demand for this technology during the multiplex boom, screen coating technology formed a major part of Harkness’ development of the Spectral polarised silver screen.

The Spectral screen helped to maintain Harkness’ status as the world’s leading suppliers of cinema screens. Harkness began to expand in late 1999, completing the purchase of a European competitor based in France. Following the expansion into Europe, Harkness then proceeded to open manufacturing facilities in the USA, India and China.

Harkness today continues to be a leader in screen technology, having had thousands of their large screens installed in over 130 countries. Always developing innovations in cinema technology, Harkness is currently developing screen surfaces for the future of laser projection systems.

“To be the CEO of Harkness during our 90th birthday celebrations is an incredibly proud moment for me personally.” Mark Ashcroft, Harkness Screens CEO, said, “When Andrew Harkness set up this company, I don’t think that even he could have imagined what we have gone on to achieve.

“Every time that there has been a key development in cinema screen technology, Harkness has been at the forefront of it, or at the very least, extremely close behind. Whilst we do intend to enjoy our 90th anniversary, we will not be slowing down.

“We are continuing to develop new technology that we believe will continue to revolutionise the cinematic experience. I really enjoy getting to travel the world and see what people think of our screens and it is extremely humbling to see the likes of The Rock and Kevin Hart present their latest projects on our screens at events like CinemaCon,” said Ashcroft.

“It’s been a tremendous amount of fun to go back through the history books and learn more about our founder and to find out more about the journey that has led us to be the leading cinema screen producers in the world.” Chief Technology Officer, David Harrison said.

“I’d always wondered what the faces of our founding fathers looked like and I’m delighted to say now that I have. Andrew and Tom Harkness can now be described as pioneers of cinema screen technology, but I scarcely think that even they couldn’t have imagined what we have gone on to achieve.

“We go to every major event in the cinema calendar and none of that is luck.” Harrison said, “For the past 90 years we have developed a reputation amongst the cinema industry and our screens are widely regarded as the best in the industry and we hope to be successful for at least another 90 years.”

Harkness_Master Logo_CMYK.jpg

Celebrating 90 years of innovation Harkness will be celebrating not only their own achievements, but also celebrating the last 90 years of cinema that has been projected onto their screens. Harkness aim to have a continuous input at the forefront of screen and presentation technology.

The 90th birthday celebrations will see several small changes to the Harkness brand. A new technicolour logo will be used on all branding and will represent the startling colours that Harkness screens have brought to cinema goers for the best part of a century.

There will also be an increased commitment to engaging with the movie goers. This will be done through the production of online content that will tell the Harkness story in more detail and tell the story of their hardworking and committed members of staff.


Harkness’ Perlux HiWhite takes centre stage in Riccione

Once again, Harkness Screens are reflecting on another successful exhibition in Europe. Last month, the world’s leading screen technology company were in Barcelona where they showcased their Clarus XC, Perlux HiWhite and Matt Plus screens at CineEurope.

At the longest-running European film and trade convention, both of Harkness’ products were received incredibly well, but it was the Perlux HiWhite which took the plaudits at the recent event Ciné in Italy.

Ciné is a meeting point and market of Italian film industry. It is attended by approximately 1800 professionals who work across all aspects of the film sector and for Harkness, they were at the heart of the event in Riccione.

Working alongside Cinemeccanica Italy - one of the leading companies in the production of cinema equipment - they provided a Matt Plus Screen for the main auditorium using RGB and Laser Phosphor projectors. Matt Plus allowed for a picture-perfect image and is engineered to completely mitigate laser speckle.

But, Harkness really stole the show with their Perlux HiWhite 180 which was installed in the CinéArena, with the help of CineProject Italy and Laser Phosphor projection. Again, Perlux HiWhite provided dramatic speckle free, presentation accurately conveying the creative intent of the filmmaker.

CinéArena, placed in Piazzale Ceccarini, turned into a fascinating cinema outdoor air, with a cutting-edge digital system. Built in collaboration with Giometti Cinema and Cineproject in the heart of Riccione, a stone's throw from the Palazzo dei Congressi where Ciné takes place, the CinéArena has hosted, every year for the last three years, a film festival in collaboration with the most important film institutes such as the Film Library of Bologna and the main distribution companies.

“Traditionally the Italian market has not embraced gain screen technology” said Nicolas Chiovini, Associate Director of Cinema Technology at Harkness. “Showcasing a Perlux HiWhite Screen in the CinéArena is a great opportunity to show the benefit of the state of the art of gain screens available on the market. Even in the arena where there is a bright environment, the images where sharp and clear from any point of the seating area and far behind. The quality of our gain screen gave the feeling to the audience of standard Matt Plus screen,” he adds.

Perlux HiWhite was introduced by Harkness last year and it is the industry’s leading white gain projection surface. Many exhibitors in the cinema industry consider it to be the premium surface for 2D and 3D active cinema, by creating the whitest ever gain screen.

The ultra-wide angles, improved uniformity, superior colour and laser projection were very much emphasised in northern Italy at the beginning of the month as the Perlux HiWhite 180 took pride and place outside in an open arena.

Harkness’ Sales Manager, EMEA, Andrew Emmott commented: “The show was sponsored by Cinemeccanica so it is great that they want to use our products because they recognise our screens as being the best in the world

“In terms of the Perlux HiWhite, there are a lot of white screens currently used in Italy and it is definitely a region which will see the benefits of a gain white screen. That is where Perlux HiWhite comes in because they get the benefits of having a white screen, but with the gain of cost saving. That is important for the region and we are proud to support Italian events like these.

“It is good to see that at one of the main Italian cinema shows, the integration companies who exhibit, recognise Harkness as the leading screen technology company. They want to sell Harkness products and we really do appreciate their support.”

Harkness continue to lead the way in terms of screen technology and they are constantly aiming to break new boundaries. In Riccione, it was the first outdoor Perlux HiWhite 180 installed worldwide and it is not just in Europe where they are making their usual impression.

“Harkness is the reference for these types of events,” added Chiovini. “Our position is being the top screen. If you want the top screen, it’s Harkness. We install Harkness for Berlinale, Cannes’ main auditorium, Italian exhibition shows, French congress etc so it is clear everyone wants Harkness for the top events.”

And this was no different at Cine Event. The Perlux HiWhite was able to express its qualities outside, when the sun had set in Riccione. Away from the generic auditorium and projection surroundings, it’s adaptability to present outstanding brightness combined with razor-sharp colours once again highlights why the screen and Harkness, are leading the way in the cinema industry.

“In Italy, the project was very positive for us,” added Chiovini. “There was a lot of light around the screen so all the open auditorium was really bright. The Perlux HiWhite was standing out and the picture, even on a dark movie I saw, you can still see enough detail to enjoy the projection.”

Six weeks on the road: Talking Screen Surfaces with CEO Mark Ashcroft

Journalist Chris Heal interviewed Harkness Screens CEO, Mark Ashcroft for the first article in this unique series, understanding the role of a Global CEO.

 CH: Mark, you have had a busy last couple of months! Which country shall we begin discussing because there are so many interesting places which you have been to recently?

MA: I think, as ever, when you travel and meet customers, you get a whole new perception on what is bothering them, what’s exciting them, where they see the opportunities and where they see the threats. That differs from country to country. I have been able to take in the US, China, France, Spain, the UK and Ireland and it has been an interesting set of customer visits and meetings.

In terms of getting out there and being in the field, it is really important. There is a lot of talk about the next generation of laser projectors. That’s significant investment for cinema operators. They want to make sure they get their combination of screen and projector correct which means we need to get out there to see where the opportunities are to support our customers to make them successful.

CH: Is that why it is so important for you and Harkness to travel because at the end of the day, you want to learn about the best technology to continue being the leaders in your field?

MA: These different countries are at different stages in their development. You can say the US and Europe are quite mature cinema markets whereas India and China are rapidly growing both in numbers, but also, in the deployment of new technology.

CH: Laser projectors in the industry continue to evolve. What are the key learnings you have taken away from your time travelling to different parts of the globe?

MA: As new laser projectors are introduced, there are a number of key players around the world that want to be early adopters of that new technology and it is important to hear their first hand experience.

There has been an enormous number of new laser projectors models in a very short period of time, probably four years. Each one of those new projectors models has something different about it. That difference may or may not impact the quality of the image on the screen. Certainly, the intent is that it is going to be a brighter, more vivid experience, but there is always the danger that with laser projectors, you can have this technical phenomena of ‘speckle’.

CH: Can you describe why that can have such an impact, Mark?

MA: It can be really distracting! Do movie-goers instantly see ‘speckle?’ Probably not. Do we within the industry see it? Very often we do. What is interesting when you do travel in the field to see customers, you see them actually getting drawn towards the screen as they try to understand ‘speckle’.

Five or 10 years ago, we would have sat back 15 meters from the screen and looked at the screen. We wouldn’t have got within six inches of the screen, but that’s what ‘speckle’ does. It draws you in as an industry professional because you want to understand it and see if the screen is actually contributing to it.

It can actually also get people touching the screen too! Again, for many years, we would absolutely try and avoid any sort of hand print, even if it couldn’t be seen. ‘Speckle’ is a new aspect and one we have got to help our customers with.

CH: What other key learnings have you been able to take away when it comes to screen surfaces?

MA: With laser projectors, it is a very powerful, bright light. The screens under that white light can be very different than how we may have looked at screens in the past. There is a requirement for us to work with our individual customers to understand exactly what they want with the content on the screen, but also what they want when that screen is under white light or house lights.

It is important to them that cosmetically, that looks good. It is important that the move-goer walks into an auditorium and understands the scale and the impact of the big screen. We have got to ensure that the screen looks good straight out of the packing and looks great when the content is on there.

CH: From an outsider looking in, 3D is becoming more popular in some markets and less in others, so what have you been able to learn about this?

MA: What’s been interesting is that, again, 3D system producers are always looking at ways to get more light on to the screen. Historically, 3D systems were considered to be very positive. Increasingly, the 3D systems manufacturers are developing new systems to look at ways to stop reflections in the auditorium, for example.

I also think the 3D system producers have built some really strong relationships with the laser projection manufacturers. When you combine the laser projector and the 3D system projector with one of our optimized screens, it is a very powerful combination. As you say, 3D is going from strength to strength in China but easing off in the USA.

CH: And finally Mark, what has been a clear positive for you because doing some research, the feedback you guys get on your screen surfaces continues to grow?

MA: I have been very impressed. We put a Clarus 170 water-based screen into the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for Cinemacon at the start of April this year. When you look at the excitement surroundings the premieres the major new movies had around that time and the feedback we got about the screen itself, that was massively encouraging. We have deployed that Clarus technology in LA and it was used by Disney for the LA premiere of Avengers: End Game. It was very widely applauded for superb presentation.

Go forward a couple of months, and the Clarus technology was being used at CineEurope in Barcelona which also had very positive feedback from industry professionals. The industry is constantly looking at Harkness Screens to stay ahead of the technology curve. The introduction of Perlux HiWhite in the last six to nine months has shown that a screen that can be introduced, can give 40 per cent greater brightness on the surface and we are looking to emulate this in current R&D projects. We are constantly looking at ways to optimise presentation.

Our technology is best described as ‘thin film’. The ‘thin film’ technology is well established in the world of automotive and optics. We have adopted ‘thin film’ surface coatings to give greater light uniformity to allow for speckle mitigation. There are also lots of other moving parts and you have to manage them also. What you discover is that you do multiple trips with multiple customers and not one size fits all. Customers need help in different areas and that is one of the things getting out on the road allows. It allows you to establish how we can support customer success and, then,  feedback to the teams around the Harkness world.

Harkness Screens announces major new investment in industry-leading technology platform

CINE EUROPE, BARCELONA, SPAIN, JUNE 18TH 2019 — Harkness Screens the world’s leading screen technology company has announced a major investment in its industry-leading Digital Screen technology platform at Cine Europe 2019.

Launched in 2013, the Harkness Digital Screen software family comprises a number of tools which are designed to help architects, exhibitors and installers to ensure they are creating best-in-class movie-going experiences through the correct specification and design of cinema screens.  These tools range from the Digital Screen Modeller – a real-time 3D simulation tool for visualising on-screen presentation quality through to the Digital Screen Verifier – a light measurement app for the iPhone.

The Digital Screen platform currently consists of the following tools:-

  •  Digital Screen Planner – For carrying out complex screen specification calculations

  • Digital Screen Calculator – For screen ad equipment selection and understanding operating costs

  • Digital Screen Modeller – Real-time 3D auditorium modelling for showcasing image performance

  • Digital Screen Archiver – For storing on-screen brightness measurements

  • Digital Screen Verifier – For measuring white light on screen

“Since we launched the platform in 2013 with a vision to create better outcomes for our customers and in turn the movie-goer, the Harkness platform has become an integral part of the design and specification process for screens around the world with over 15,000 downloads across both iOS and Android,” explains Richard Mitchell, VP Global Marketing & Commercial Development at Harkness Screens.  “This new investment allows us to take advantage of infrastructures and technologies that were still in their infancy when we launched our platform, to add new functionality to our tools and to create improved experiences and better outcomes for our global users,” he adds.

At the heart of this new investment will be the development of a new user interface across all tools and the addition of a secure cloud-based central user and data management system for all utilities called “myHarkness”.  This new system will allow users to benefit from being able to use complete cinema auditorium data (from physical measurements through to brightness levels and equipment specifications) across multiple platforms and allow for collaboration between teams and project stakeholders as well as opening up a number of significant opportunities for Harkness customers to benefit from an enhanced experience.

“Our apps have allowed customers to optimise design, generate return on investment, specify and monitor light and sound levels, measure moiré and laser speckle, test for environmental damage, auto-generate maintenance scheduling and more. Leaping forward, as part of this new myHarkness approach we are in very advanced stages of investigating how these tools and other digital assets within the Harkness portfolio can assist in upgrading the end-to-end quality of our screens including digital inspection, monitored transportation and installation. Managed well this will add to the relationship Harkness has been able to share with customers for decades to come,” explains Mark Ashcroft, CEO, Harkness Screens.

The new suite of Harkness utilities is due to launch in 2020 and the company is expected to run beta trials with existing users and key customers in late 2019.

About Harkness Screens

Harkness Screens™ is the world's leading screen technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies for cinema and live events. From single-screen independent theatres to large multiplexes to large format immersive theatre experiences or live events, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year helping provide outstanding presentation experiences to audiences around the world.

With global reach, Harkness is regarded as the world leader in cinema and has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. With its industry leading 2D and 3D screen brands (Perlux HiWhite, Clarus XC and Spectral) along with an innovative range of presentation monitoring tools, digital surveying services and suite of cinema design and specification apps, Harkness continues to lead the way in screen technology for cinema. 

Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the USA, UK, France, India and China and combines unrivalled experience with the latest technology and production methods to provide innovative solutions to the company’s key markets.  For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.

Harkness partners with Cinema XXI making way for the best-in-class cinematic experience in Indonesia

CINE EUROPE, BARCELONA, 18TH JUNE 2019 - Global leaders in screen technology, Harkness Screens, announces its partnership with Indonesia based Cinema XXI introducing a highly engaging and best-in-class cinematic experience with its Perlux HiWhite screen. Harkness Screens has installed over 170 Perlux HiWhite 1.4 gain screens across Cinema XXI. The screen continues to be the screen of choice by exhibitors worldwide for 2D and active 3D cinema. Backed with Cinema XXI’s laser projection system, viewers will experience films just as film makers intended. The project was executed by Jakarta based PT.Megatech Engineering.

Perlux HiWhite is known to improve presentation quality and reduce operating costs. It offers picture presentation with outstanding brightness, rich colours and deep darks to every seat in the house. Its unique coating technology places it as the most preferred and highly recommended screen for laser projection setups across the world.

Hans Gunadi, CEO and President Director of Cinema XXI said, “We have been partnering with Harkness Screens for more than 2 decades and we are very happy and satisfied with Harkness’ Perlux HiWhite screen quality, it’s technology and after sales service.

On being the partner of choice for Cinema XXI, Preetham Daniel, Senior Vice President-Asia, Harkness Screens said, “At Harkness, we have been partners to various industry stakeholders. This has helped us understand the industry’s requirements, and provide solutions that enhance presentation quality efficiently over the years. The cinema industry in Indonesia is highly evolved with consumer expectations increasing by the day.  Cinema XXI is one of Indonesia’s key cinema chains and one that believes in harnessing the benefits of innovation in cinema technology. It is our constant endeavour to continue to innovate and provide the industry and movie goers an experience that they will always return for.

Added Mark Ashcroft, Global CEO, Harkness Screens, “The screen happens to be the most important aspect in a cinematic environment and the experience of a viewer is entirely dependent on the quality of a screen. Harkness is one of the few global companies that has been constantly investing in R&D and innovating to provide screens that are developed on cutting-edge technology to ensure the viewing experience is life like.

Harkness Screens to showcase best-in-class technologies at Cine Europe 2019

STEVENAGE, UNITED KINGDOM, JUNE 13TH 2019 — Harkness Screens the world’s leading screen technology company and thought-leaders in on-screen brightness will once again showcase its screen technology portfolio at Cine Europe 2019.

Clarus XC technology will once again be the screen of choice for 2D and 3D theatrical presentations during Cine Europe 2019 with the show’s auditorium inside the CCIB featuring a 26.35m x 7.5m Clarus XC 170 screen used to showcase both 2D and 3D content from distributors. 

“Creating a premium movie-going experience is at the very heart of what the Cine Europe team strive to achieve each year within the CCIB auditorium.  We’re honoured that once again, the team have chosen Clarus XC technology to showcase the very best studio content to the European industry,” explains Richard Mitchell, VP Global Marketing & Commercial Development at Harkness Screens.

Harkness will also demonstrate its newly introduced Perlux HiWhite technology, widely regarded as the leading 2D white gain surface and Precision White 3D screens featuring RealD technology.

These leading products form part of a wide portfolio of cinema screens, beginning with Harkness’ proprietary Matt Plus; a surface engineered to completely mitigate laser speckle using phase, angular and polarisation diversity.

With Matt Plus as the building block and investing in coated laser speckle mitigation technology for ranges such as PWT, Clarus XC and Perlux HiWhite, Matt Plus has enabled Harkness to globally deploy more screens than any other screen manufacturer offering an unrivalled presentation quality with all types of laser projection and 3D systems.

CineEurope 2019 attendees will be able to find out further information on Harkness’ products by visiting the Harkness Screens suite during the show (Meeting Room 133, 1st Floor CCIB).

 

About Harkness Screens

Harkness Screens™ is the world's leading screen technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies for cinema and live events. From single-screen independent theatres to large multiplexes to large format immersive theatre experiences or live events, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year helping provide outstanding presentation experiences to audiences around the world.

With global reach, Harkness is regarded as the world leader in cinema and has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. With its industry leading 2D and 3D screen brands (Perlux HiWhite, Clarus XC and Spectral) along with an innovative range of presentation monitoring tools, digital surveying services and suite of cinema design and specification apps, Harkness continues to lead the way in screen technology for cinema. 

Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the USA, UK, France, India and China and combines unrivalled experience with the latest technology and production methods to provide innovative solutions to the company’s key markets.  For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.

Harkness Screens at CinemaCon 2019 - Which films are movie-goers looking forward to?

After talking to moviegoers about what films they were most excited about watching, journalist Joe Harvey looked back to CinemaCon in April and which stars of the screen were promoting their upcoming projects on Harkness screens ahead of release this year.

At the heart of the Caesars Palace Colosseum stood a Clarus XC 170 screen from one of the world’s oldest screenmakers, Harkness Screens. Starting life nearly 90 years ago in Scotland before moving to London. Harkness today has its headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland. The screen for 2019’s CinemaCon was manufactured at the Harkness facility in Roanoke, Virginia.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw - Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (Universal Studios)- 2nd August 2019
One of the most recognisable faces in cinema right now, The Rock was in Vegas to promote his latest action blockbuster, Hobbs and Shaw. Starring alongside Jason Statham (The Meg), the film is a spin-off from the Fast & Furious franchise and also stars Idris Elba (The Mountain Between Us) as the villain.

Knives Out - Ana De Armas (Lionsgate)- 29th November 2019
Due for release in late November, some of the stars of Rian Johnson’s Knives out were in attendance at CinemaCon in April. One of which was Ana De Armas. The Spanish-Cuban actress stars alongside the likes of Chris Evans (Avengers Endgame), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water) and the legendary Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music). Also in this mystery drama is 007 himself, Daniel Craig, who De Armas will also work with in the upcoming 25th James Bond film.

Rocketman - Taron Egerton (Paramount Pictures) - 22nd May 2019
Aberyswyth-born Egerton was at Caesars Palace to promote the biographical picture of popstar Elton John’s life. Alongside fellow Brits Richard Madden (The Bodyguard) and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), the Welshman has received rave reviews for his performance as John.

IT Chapter 2 - Jessica Chastain (Warner Bros) - 6th September 2019
After the huge success of IT in 2017, a sequel felt inevitable. Chastain stars alongside James McAvoy (Split), Bill Hader (Inside Out), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and Bill Skarsgard reprises his role as the terrifying clown. Written by Gary Dauberman, the mind behind the Conjuring Universe, the writer has said that this film is ‘pushing it to the brink’ with the gore.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 - Kevin Hart & Tiffany Haddish (Universal Pictures) - 24th May 2019
Comedians Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish (both Night School) made their appearance on stage all the more interesting by going on stage with rabbits, the characters they play in this animated movie. Hart returns as Snowball, a white rabbit, whereas Haddish is a new addition to the cast. In cinemas now, The Secret Life of Pets 2 also sees Harrison Ford join the cast for what has been a well-received film.

Terminator Dark Fate - Arnold Schwarzenegger (Paramount Pictures) - 1st November 2019
The latest instalment in the sci-fi franchise series sees the original cast including Linda Hamilton as the iconic Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger reunite for an epic adventure set 27 years after Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Late Night - Emma Thompson (Amazon Studios)- 7th June 2019
Released at the start of June, Late Night follows the story of a late night talk show whose world is turned upside down after hiring a female writer. Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the film has had good reviews from critics, with Emma Thompson (Love Actually) and John Lithgow gaining praise for their performances.

Blinded By The Light - Nell Williams (Warner Bros) - 14th August 2019
Released on the 14th of August, blinded by the light focuses on the life of British-Pakistani teenager Javed and the challenges he faces growing up. Directed by Gurinder Chadha (Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging), this film is set to be another great example of British cinema.

Long Shot - Seth Rogen & Charlize Theron (Lionsgate)- 3rd May 2019
Released one month after CinemaCon, Rogen and Theron are the protagonists in this comedy romance. Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), this picture has already had good reviews and would be well worth going to see in cinemas.

Yesterday - Himesh Patel (Universal Pictures) - 4th May 2019
Imagining a world where the Beatles never existed seems implausible to a struggling musician who finds himself with an entire back catalogue of incredible songs at his disposal after a global blackout eradicates any memory of the Fab 4.

Gemini Man - Will Smith (Paramount Pictures) - 20th December 2019
The latest sci-fi masterpiece from innovator Ang Lee sees a movie two decades in the planning come to life as Will Smith plays both an ageing assassin and through the help of CGI, a cloned version of himself twenty years younger.

Chapin Cutler of Boston Light and Sound who manage the entire show during Cinemacon told Harkness his thoughts on Clarus :-

“Harkness screens are always fabulous. This screen at CinemaCon is no exception. Of all the things we have to worry about in the Colosseum for CinemaCon, Harkness screens are one thing that we don't worry about.  We are grateful for your support and for your continued search for the perfect surface.”

The stars of the premieres love being at Cinemacon and so do Harkness. Since 2014, Clarus has been the screen of choice at the Caesars Palace Colosseum for both 2D and 3D presentations. Clarus technology was approved by all major studios prior to 2014 with the first Clarus screen in the world installed at AMC Burbank 16. 

Screens for Cinemacon 2018 and 2019 have been produced from Harkness’ Roanoke facility in Virginia. The screen was used for all 2D and 3D slate and screening presentation premieres.

Independent consumer research shows image quality is key to providing premium movie-going experiences.

CINEMACON (BOOTH #2203A), LAS VEGAS, APRIL 2ND 2019 — Harkness Screens the world’s leading screen technology company and thought-leaders in on-screen brightness has announced the results of its second in-depth consumer research study conducted by National CineMedia into premium experiences, image quality, comfort, cleanliness and dynamic pricing and the affect these have on the choices the movie-goer makes when choosing to visit the cinema.

Carried out during March 2019 and with over 550 responses from movie-goers across the United States, this latest research showcases the requirement for cinema exhibitors around the world to look closely at presentation quality and to consider the impact that sub-standard presentation has on movie-goers.

This latest research indicates that in the minds of the consumers, above all else, a premium cinema experience starts with the comfort of a luxury reclining seat, yet movie-goers still overwhelmingly believe that image quality is the most important element to that experience.  It highlights that whilst PLF experiences either branded or exhibitor-own have a vital place, the movie-goer acknowledges that a premium experience is attainable on a smaller scale and this showcases the potential for exhibitors of all sizes from large multiplex operators through to single-screen cinemas to both increase box office admissions and box office revenue by combining comfort with the best possible viewing experience.

The research suggests that this combination between comfort and a guaranteed improved presentation quality could improve profitability with 53% of movie-goers suggesting that this offering would make them more likely to visit the movie theater (with another 23% unsure) irrespective of upcoming movie releases that they specifically wanted to see.  Further more only 11% of movie-goers stated that the quality of cinema presentation today was an inhibitor to them visiting the movie theater more often supporting the view that there is still a distinguishable difference between the cinema experience and that of home entertainment in the eyes of the movie-goer.

“For the second time, the NCM Ask The Audience panel has provided us with fascinating insights in to how movie-goers view the movie-going experience.  We continue to champion that exhibitors should do the most that they can to ensure that they are providing movie-goers with the best possible presentation and that it has a profound effect on the revenue line of the exhibitor.  Not only does the research point very strongly towards this but also shows the potential to create incremental box office admissions and revenue by simply ensuring that exhibitors are delivering comfort and quality inside the auditorium.  With more than half of our panellists suggesting that improved image and presentation quality would make them likely to visit the theater more often, it is clear that exhibitors, having completed the roll-out of luxury reclining seat and now focussing on upgrading their presentation equipment, are creating a differentiator and driving a significant return on the investments they continue to make,” explains Richard Mitchell, VP Global Marketing & Commercial Development at Harkness Screens.

For more information on this research visit www.harkness-screens.com

About Harkness Screens

Harkness Screens™ is the world's leading screen technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies for cinema and live events. From single-screen independent theatres to large multiplexes to large format immersive theatre experiences or live events, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year helping provide outstanding presentation experiences to audiences around the world.

With global reach, Harkness is regarded as the world leader in cinema and has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. With its industry leading 2D and 3D screen brands (Perlux HiWhite, Clarus XC and Spectral) along with an innovative range of presentation monitoring tools, digital surveying services and suite of cinema design and specification apps, Harkness continues to lead the way in screen technology for cinema. 

Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the USA, UK, France, India and China and combines unrivalled experience with the latest technology and production methods to provide innovative solutions to the company’s key markets.  For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.

Harkness launches new Clarus XC 290 High Brightness 3D/2D Screen

BOOTH #2203A, CINEMACON, LAS VEGAS, USA, APRIL 1ST 2019 — Harkness Screens the world’s leading screen technology company and thought-leaders in cinematic presentation quality has announced the launch of the latest addition to its industry-leading Clarus XC screen family.

Clarus XC 290 is a new and improved high performance 3D/2D screen that combines high reflectance with outstanding performance including wide viewing angles, sharper clarity, rich colors and deeper 3D depth.  From its spectacular performance in 3D, Clarus XC 290 technology allows cinema exhibitors to dramatically improve both 2D and 3D cinema presentation like never before.

“Clarus XC 290 is the result of significant development in our Clarus screen coating technology. Through this step-change in technology we’re able to improve our previous high-brightness Clarus product without compromising on any aspect of visual performance thus providing exhibitors and indeed movie-goers with an incredible viewing experience.  Clarus XC 290 also allows exhibitors to improve on screen brightness by up to 20% (versus traditional silver screens) whilst still improving light distribution,” says Matt Jahans, Director of Cinema Technology at Harkness Screens.

At its core, Clarus XC technology features 4th generation d-smooth coating technology which has specific properties more commonly seen in white screens.  This technology enables Clarus XC 290 screens to benefit from significantly wide viewing angles, improved color and contrast and better light distribution compared to traditional 3D silver screens.  All Clarus XC 290 screens feature Harkness’ proprietary NanolastTM coating technology which provides additional improvements in visual performance as well as added durability.

As part of the launch of Clarus XC 290, Harkness Screens has retired its existing Clarus XC 270 product.

About Harkness Screens

Harkness Screens™ is the world's leading screen technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies for cinema and live events. From single-screen independent theatres to large multiplexes to large format immersive theatre experiences or live events, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year helping provide outstanding presentation experiences to audiences around the world.

 With global reach, Harkness is regarded as the world leader in cinema and has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. With its industry leading 2D and 3D screen brands (Perlux HiWhite, Clarus XC and Spectral) along with an innovative range of presentation monitoring tools, digital surveying services and suite of cinema design and specification apps, Harkness continues to lead the way in screen technology for cinema. 

Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the USA, UK, France, India and China and combines unrivalled experience with the latest technology and production methods to provide innovative solutions to the company’s key markets.  For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.

Clarus XC continues to provide superior movie-going experiences at Cinemacon 2019

FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA, USA, MARCH 21ST 2019 — Harkness Screens the world’s leading screen technology company and thought-leaders in on-screen brightness is delighted to confirm that Clarus XC technology will be the screen of choice for 2D and 3D theatrical presentations during Cinemacon 2019, for the sixth successive year.

The show’s auditorium in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace will feature an 18.2m x 7.85m (71’ x 30.25’) Clarus XC 170 screen used to showcase both 2D and 3D content from major distributors. 

Designed to work with all polarized 3D systems and regarded as the screen of choice for polarized laser 3D presentation due to its speckle reduction properties, Clarus XC screens create visibly superior deeper 3D content which draws in the audience creating a more captivating viewing experience.  A whiter look under projection mean that colours look visibly richer and more accurate both in 2D and 3D resulting in a more defined, sharper and crisper picture. 

“We’re delighted to continue our long association with Cinemacon providing our Clarus XC technology for the sixth consecutive time to the Colosseum,” explains Richard Mitchell, VP Global Marketing & Commercial Development at Harkness Screens.   Each year the Colosseum transforms into one of the best cinema auditoriums in the world and we’re extremely honoured that our premium 3D/2D screen technology continues to be recognised as the best in the industry for creating superior movie-going experiences.”

At its core, Clarus XC technology features 4th generation d-smooth coating technology which has specific properties more commonly seen in white screens.  This technology enables Clarus XC screens to benefit from significantly wide viewing angles, improved color and contrast and better light distribution compared to traditional 3D silver screens.  The screen also features Harkness’ NanolastTM coating technology which provides additional improvements in visual performance as well as added durability and Harkness’ proprietary 4K Digital Perforation Pattern designed to improve sound transmission in the spoken range, reduce moiré effect often seen in 4K projection and increase light reflectivity.

In addition to the showcase Clarus XC screen, Harkness will also provide a number of Perlux HiWhite screens which will be on display in the Octavius ballroom. Perlux HiWhite screens are regarded as the whitest gain screens availble with ultra-wide viewing angles, superior uniformity, color and contrast and all Perlux HiWhite screens are natively laser-ready.

Cinemacon 2019 attendees will be able to find out further information on Harkness’ products by visiting the Harkness Screens booth #2203A (Augustus Ballroom) during the show.

 
About Harkness Screens

Harkness Screens™ is the world's leading screen technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies for cinema and live events. From single-screen independent theatres to large multiplexes to large format immersive theatre experiences or live events, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year helping provide outstanding presentation experiences to audiences around the world.

With global reach, Harkness is regarded as the world leader in cinema and has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. With its industry leading 2D and 3D screen brands (Perlux HiWhite, Clarus XC and Spectral) along with an innovative range of presentation monitoring tools, digital surveying services and suite of cinema design and specification apps, Harkness continues to lead the way in screen technology for cinema. 

Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the USA, UK, France, India and China and combines unrivalled experience with the latest technology and production methods to provide innovative solutions to the company’s key markets.  For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.

Disney's success, Matt White screens and 2019 Box Office - An Interview with Harkness CEO Mark Ashcroft

Harkness Global CEO Mark Ashcroft discusses the uniqueness of Harkness Matt White screens plus their value in the industry as well as 2018’s Record Box Office and why Disney seem to have that extra edge.

2018 Box Office pleasing with a bright 2019 ahead

I think with all figures, you are going to see some ups and some downs, but the overall figure was very pleasing for the industry as a whole. There are many moving parts.

We have seen for example, in Australia, there has been an increase in box office, but average ticket prices seem to be lower. We’ve seen in India, massive movies like 2.0 that have obviously impacted the box office. I’ve talked about it before, but Bohemian Rhapsody just continues to go from strength to strength so within the figures, there are ups and there are downs, but there are great surprises.

I personally wouldn’t want to be an expert in picking which film is going to be a success in 2019! It’s very pleasing for the industry.

Disney’s magic is unsurprising!

Disney is an organisation which I have long admired not just because of my time in the cinema sector. In a previous role, I worked very closely with Disney Consumer Products and to see how professional they were, was always very revealing for me.

I have become very aware of Disney’s influence and their expertise at making movies. They’ve got a fantastic back catalogue. They, from what I can see, have a formula to build franchises and the ability to do that is something quite unique about them.

As I mentioned, that movie release can result in so many different revenue streams. My previous work within ‘Party City’, we would have seen Disney appear on balloons, table napkins, kids treats etc so as a joined-up organisation, Disney have got a lot going for them.

Frozen 2, The Lion King and Toy Story 4 will tick all the boxes for the younger generation

I understand from a number of people in the industry, they are very excited about Disney’s slate for the next two years. It is going to be interesting for us because we have already seen two or three of our cinema exhibitor customers taking about ‘Kids Theatres’.

Many people see Disney as the leaders in providing kids movies. A movie theatre for kids is very interesting in terms of how you create the right environment. A lot of cinema screens are easily damaged because of the specialist coatings we put on there. We start to ask ourselves questions like ‘Can we put a different coating on there so the kids could actually touch the screen without damaging the optical properties?’ It will be interesting to see where the idea goes.

The film distributors are incredibly interested that their movies are premiered to the standard the film maker envisaged.

The premieres are very often managed by the film distributor and what I’d describe as a ‘specialist premiere organiser.’ We’re fortunate that we work very closely with those organisations, both here in the UK but also in the United States. That gives us [Harkness] great access to that ‘premiere’ market.

The film distributors are incredibly interested that their movies are premiered to the standard the film maker envisaged. They would like to be able to guarantee that. Knowing where those theatres are,  in every country in the world, would reassure film makers there is a minimum performance standard and that’s where the movies would be premiered. That is not that easy. Guaranteeing light and presentation is on everybody’s agenda as something we have got to do. If we could do it collectively, the movie studios are going to benefit because they will know when they launch a movie, they can say ‘We’ve only got to launch it on these screens’ because they know these have got the guarantee for presentation. That would be a great place to be.

Matt White is part of the future and we will play a major role
The movie makers themselves will tend to see the movie in a more sterile environment than what it would necessarily be like in a movie theatre. The screens, in most cases, will be a Harkness screen, but it would be something we would describe as ‘Matt Preview’ or ‘Matt White’ not necessarily with a coating. So, the movie maker will see screen in a very pure form and that, in itself, is an interesting phenomenon within the industry.

So, the movie maker sees their creation on a ‘Matt White’ screen whereas you and I may see it on a ‘Silver Screen’ or we may see it on a ‘Pearlescent Screen’ in the cinema.

However, it is not as simple as every Matt White screen is the same. In fact, Harkness are one of the only cinema screen companies in the world that actually formulate and specify the Matt White screen. That, in itself, gives the Harkness Matt White Screen huge differentiation. We are able to give the screen a unique surface and we’re able to enhance the optical properties. One of the most interesting pieces of feedback we get time and time again is that a Harkness Screen straight out of the packaging looks better than anything else.

That is down to experience and skills of the people who manufacture our screens, but it is also down to the fact that the Matt White base is so well formulated and so scientifically thought out. Too many people in the industry are of the opinion that Matt White is the same across the board, but it can be  completely different. A Harkness Matt White Screen is different. With the introduction of more and more laser-based projectors, that Matt White Screen is important.

For us, we have now got a challenge that we are going to have to educate the market that when specifying a Matt White, its not one size fits all. A Harkness Matt White is truly different. That is going to be a new journey for us in 2019/20 but we have the technology.

Harkness congratulates Vox Cinemas on their first cinema in Saudi Arabia

Vox Cinemas is set to open its doors this week in Jeddah, following the lifting of the ban on movie theatres in Saudi Arabia in 2018.

The cinema, based in Red Sea Mall, is the first of 600 planned theatres to be opened by Vox over the next five years and the company announced they would be investing $533 million into this project.

Last year, the global Box Office figures were considered encouraging across the cinema industry and in Asia, Harkness Global CEO Mark Ashcroft highlighted: “We’ve seen in India, massive movies like 2.0 that have obviously impacted the box office. I’ve talked about it before, but Bohemian Rhapsody just continues to go from strength to strength.”

The vision of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to diversify the economy with the growth of new industries, in particular entertainment, has to be a positive for Harkness because of the investment the company is continuing to put into the industry in Asia.

Mark added: “We’ve been honoured to supply Vox for many years and we would like to congratulate the team at Vox for this initiative in Saudi Arabia. Regionally we have invested in state of the art manufacturing and are committed to supporting cinema in the region.”

“In 2013-14, we built a facility in Bangalore and we had a record year in India. In truth, the local team in India have done a fabulous job in identifying Bollywood blockbusters and the release of 2.0 really set the Indian cinema market alight. They want it to be shown on great screens. It helps our business.”

According to the website Rapid TV News, recent research suggests the total cinema revenue in Saudi Arabia will hit $1.5 billion over the next 11 years and would see the country host 2,600 cinema screens across 370 locations.

With screen technology also advancing across the world and with Harkness being the leaders in this particular field, Mark added: “We are excited about our relationships with some of our key movie makers in the Asia region, but also, we have got great cinema partners in places like China.

“Elsewhere in the Asia region, there is great growth. The environmental conditions in Asia means screens tend to get that little bit dirtier a little bit quicker.

“We get a great amount of our existing customers coming back to us and saying ‘Hey, help us improve presentation because we need to replace this screen’ and that’s been the case in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia and we hope that continues.”

The Harkness Screens 2019 Q&A with CEO Mark Ashcroft

Global CEO Mark Ashcroft answered questions from journalist Chris Heal on Harkness’ end to 2018 and start to the New Year.

CineAsia goes with Harkness Screens…Again!”

Q: So Mark, we sit here at the start of 2019 and we are hoping for another big year in the cinema industry. One key point at the end of last year was CineAsia again choosing Harkness as their screen technology provider. That must be pleasing?

MA: It was a great finish to 2018.The fact that the organisers of CineAsia chose our flagship product Clarus XC, was a real complement.

We’ve spent significant dollars and we have invested in numerous manufacturing facilities in Asia. In 2013-14, we built a facility in Bangalore and we had a record year in India. In truth, the local team in India have done a fabulous job in identifying Bollywood blockbusters and the release of 2.0 really set the Indian cinema market alight. Customers want blockbusters to be shown on great screens. It helps our business.

The China factory we completed in 2017 has all our latest technology. We are excited about our relationships with some of the key movie makers in the region, but also, we have great cinema partners in China; not only did Clarus catch their imagination the introduction of Perlux HiWhite created a real buzz. Elsewhere in the Asia region, there is great growth. The environmental conditions in Asia means screens tend to get that little bit dirtier a little bit quicker. We get a great number of our existing customers coming back to us and saying ‘Hey, help us improve presentation because we need to replace this screen’ and that’s been the case in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.

We are also really delighted at the start of 2019 and to announce that CinemaCon have once again chosen to partner with Harkness and use Clarus XC as the screen of choice for the sixth year running at the Las Vegas convention.

There is a real respect for Harkness Screen technology and I think when we look at 2018 finishing and 2019 starting, the global box office for 2018 was absolutely staggering - $41.7 billion which was a record. If you had asked a lot of industry experts 18 months ago what the movie slate was for 2018, they would have said not as good as 2017. What I am hearing now is that there is real excitement for the slate for 2019 so let’s be optimistic and I think as an industry, we can beat that $41.7 billion!

Laser projection key for Harkness

Q: Just to go back to something we discussed towards the end of last year, Laser Projection is one of the key topics we have chatted about and the Buyer’s Guide to Laser Projection has been launched. It is co-edited by your colleagues so it must be great to see that Harkness have that sort of influence?

MA: Harkness has, in my experience of its 90 years of history, contributed to the cinema industry as a whole. I was researching the history of Harkness and I found myself smiling because I saw that Harkness were at one point owned by ‘The Rank Organisation’ at the same time they also owned the Odeon Group.

Harkness has been part of the history of cinema. That has been achieved by contributing to industry associations and currently, two of our team Richard Mitchell and Matt Jahans, represent Harkness on technology trade bodies spanning Europe and the world.

It was one of those trade bodies that decided that there was so much new information about laser projectors that it was worth consolidating that in a Buyer’s guide. That’s got to be welcome because the development of laser projections is happening so quickly. Within the four years I have been aware of laser projectors, there have been so many different models from different manufacturers. It is an exciting area because we know that laser projectors give a great presentation to the consumer, but if you are purchasing a laser projector, there is a lot of information out there so I really think the trade body have done an excellent job in putting that guide together.

 Perlux Hi White is Premiere

Q: You reference the history of Harkness Mark, but to bring it back to the here and now, I noticed  Perlux HiWhite was chosen for the Mary Poppins Returns premiere, what a great way to end 2018?!

MA: Over Christmas, it was interesting to see the number of people who actually told me they had been to see ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and how much they enjoyed it. That was young and old, male and female.

They know that I am with Harkness Screens so they always ask ‘Do you know if we were watching it on a Harkness Screen?’ It would be nice to be able to say yes instantly, but with a 90-year history, there are so many of our screens in different locations, many of which we don’t know!

The Mary Poppins experience for us was fantastic in many ways, we were chosen to do the premiere at the Royal Albert Hall with Perlux HiWhite and it looked spectacular. That coincided with another premiere we supported towards the end of 2018 with Bohemian Rhapsody. That was very positive for us and that Bohemian Rhapsody movie has gone from strength to strength; that spectacular premiere gave the movie a massive kick start.

I went to the movies recently and saw the latest Papillon movie. One of the stars of that movie plays the lead in Bohemian Rhapsody; Rami Malek. He was a Golden Globe winner recently. If you get the chance to see his performance in Papillon, it is absolutely fantastic.

The consumer comes first

Q: And finally, Mark, we talk about the experience for the consumer because at the end of the day, they are a vital part in the cinema industry. We saw that Shang’s new cinemas have been renovated with new Harkness Screens to give a ‘red-carpet’ premiere feel about it. That is great news?!

MA: The consumer will choose not to go to back to the cinema if they have a poor viewing experience. As we work with our cinema customers, projector manufacturers and 3D manufacturers, there is no doubt in my mind that the presentation is improving and will be a contributor to future box office records.

I can see that cinemas are going to give the consumer better and better viewing experiences. Let’s face it, that has got to start with the screen. Harkness are heavily invested in new screen surfaces that make that presentation better. We go beyond the screen surface and we are now able to monitor the light on the screen.

My feeling is that ability now allows us to almost put ourselves in any seat in the auditorium and explain to the cinema operator, but perhaps the consumer, what their viewing experience is going to be like. That could well lead to us being able to provide compelling data to cinema operators that would allow them to create dynamic pricing models.

Dynamic seat pricing certainly works for the airline industry, but my suspicion is that it has been difficult to do within a cinema because you have not been able to quantify what each seat is capable of doing.

With our monitoring and modelling technology, we are getting closer and closer to being able to do that. Rather than it being a flat 2D image of a seat plan, give us six months and I believe we will be able to show that in a 3D, beautifully graphic presentation that should keep cinema’s customers coming back.

“The ‘wow’ obviously starts with the creativity of the film maker”

Global CEO of Harkness Screens, Mark Ashcroft, believes the creativity of a film maker and the technology being used are reasons why the domestic box office has recently hit $10 billion in record time.

According to the website deadline.com, the box office generated $11.4 billion in 2016, but in 2018, it is on course to beat that 12-month figure from two years ago.

Without what is becoming a mandatory Star Wars film to end the year, many would have expected the box office figure to be down, but Mark feels the imagination of the movie maker and the technology used are contributing factors to why the popularity of the cinema is increasing.

“I think this time last year, we were all getting really excited about Star Wars,” said Mark.

“We were excited because the heritage and the backstory is so important to the cinema industry. That movie hit the box office and went superbly.

“That means people are coming to the cinema and are looking to be entertained and looking for a ‘wow.’ That ‘wow’ obviously starts with the creativity of the film maker. You have then got the post-production and then the movie comes to the cinema.

“The projector manufactures have also been investing heavily in new forms of projection technology, lasers particularly. In my mind, we are already on our third or fourth generation of laser projectors and that is in no more than four years.

“Those projectors give a great and consistent light. Movie makers, cinema owners and the audience have all benefitted from the fantastic screens, these great new projectors and the great content.”

In 2018, there has been that ‘great content’ which Mark eludes to. Films such as Venom, A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody have all whetted the appetite of cinema-goers and in turn, these movies have helped enhance the experience for consumers.

Mark added: “We were responsible for providing the screen for the Wembley Premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody. That was one of the premieres of 2018. To have been a part of it and to have contributed to its success is a huge endorsement of what we do at Harkness.

“In terms of the figures in the United States, they are hugely encouraging because people want to go to the cinema. Going to the cinema is not a lonely experience. It has been an experience where you can go with friends and family.

“Looking at a smart phone screen with your headphones in doesn’t have that same experience and also, virtual reality really takes that loneliness a step further because you are putting goggles on and you’re totally removed from everybody else.

“Cinema is the opposite of that. Cinema is about sharing your experience and I do believe that is a really important step in the right direction.

“Fine dining and service to your seat within the cinema has increased. The style and quality of the seating has been upgraded. We have also seen the introduction of new formats and all of this makes the moving-going experience more impactful.”

Despite the positive box office numbers, Mark admitted that in China, the figures were affected because of the limited number of releases that occurred last month.

“What was interesting was the headline figure for the United States was positive yet, in China during October’s national weeks holiday, we actually saw numbers down,” Mark continued.

“That was disappointing. We know that box office has been difficult in China and we also know that there were less Hollywood releases during October that could have influenced those box office numbers.”

However, despite the dip in China and the continuing evolution of phone and television technology across the world, the cinema and movie industry seem to be in a healthy state as we prepare to enter 2019.

With Marvel set to release more films from their franchise as well as Toy Story 4, Star Wars XI and the new Avatar film expected to hit our screens next year, Mark is excited for Harkness to carry on working alongside the latest technology in order for consumers to feel the whole cinema experience when watching the headline movies.

“I think for cinemas, the slate of upcoming movies is really important to them”, Mark said. “There are some encouraging signs as we go into 2019. It is often mentioned that Avatar 2 is due out which transformed 3D.

“If you go back 10 years, 3D screens were being installed in their thousands. Those screens, inevitably, would have gone on to frames which were at least 10 years old.

“What we have seen is the cinema have tried to create that experience, by starting to curve and tilt the screens, for example.

“We have seen the walls of the cinema used to display the image. The lobby experience on the way into the auditorium has been upgraded so that complete experience and that immersive effect has been so important.

“I believe as the projector manufactures look at the next generation of lasers, they will be initially looking to take the existing screens and use those screens.

“As the light engine within a laser is modified, we at Harkness, really need to be able to develop optical screen surfaces that can optimise the total presentation.

“For me, one of the most exciting parts of my job is actually working with our R & D team as we look at some of these new optical surfaces and how they can be deployed across our manufacturing units.”


Article by Chris Heal.

Harkness Screens launches updates to Digital Screen Modeller and Calculator tools

CINEASIA, HONG KONG, DECEMBER 11TH 2018 — Harkness Screens the world’s leading screen technology company and thought-leaders in on-screen brightness has launched an updated versions for Apple iOS, Android and Web of its industry leading equipment and theatre design and specification tools the Digital Screen Modeller and Digital Screen Calculator.

The latest versions include a number of productivity updates, up-to-date data on Harkness’ Perlux HiWhite screens as well as a current inventory of projection equipment from major manufacturers and the inclusion of including:-


  • Barco DP4K-36BLPBarco DP2K-36BLP

  • Barco DP4K-18BLPHC

  • Barco DP4K-13BLPHC

  • Barco DP2K-17BLP

  • Barco DP4K-19B


  • Christie CP4325-RGB

  • Christie CP2315-RGB

  • Christie CP2320-RGB

  • Christie CP2208

  • Christie CP2308


  • NEC NC3541L

  • NEC NC2041L


  • Sony SRX-R815P

  • Sony SRX R815DS

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Harkness’ leading app platform has been helping exhibitors and integrators to obtain better outcomes from new build, refurbishment and equipment uplift choices since 2013.  The platform consists of five tools and has over 15,000 downloads to date across all platforms.

Further information on the Digital Screen Modeller or Digital Screen Calculator can be found at www.harkness-screens.com or by visiting the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

 

 

About Harkness Screens

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 (Clarus XC, Perlux HiWhite and Spectral) along with its innovative range of Curolux presentation monitoring tools, iOS/Android apps and ancilliary services, Harkness continues to lead the way in screen technology for cinema. 

Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the USA, UK, France, India and China. Harkness Screens combines unrivalled experience with the latest technology and production methods to provide innovative solutions to the company’s key markets worldwide.  For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.

Clarus XC continues to set the standard as screen of choice for CineAsia 2018

CINEASIA, HONG KONG, DECEMBER 10TH 2018 — Harkness Screens the world’s leading screen technology company and thought-leaders in on-screen brightness is once again delighted to confirm that Clarus XC technology is the screen of choice for 2D and 3D theatrical presentations during CineAsia 2018, the industry’s leading event for the Asian market.

The show’s auditorium in the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre features a 10.7m x 4.7m Clarus XC 170 screen used to showcase the latest showreels and movies from leading distributors both in 2D and 3D using RealD technology and Christie projection.

Designed to work with all polarized 3D systems and regarded as the premium screen of choice for all 3D presentations including polarized laser 3D due to its speckle reduction properties, Clarus XC screens create visibly deeper 3D content which draws in the audience creating a more captivating viewing experience.  A whiter and more uniform look under projection mean that colours look visibly richer and more accurate both in 2D and 3D resulting in a more defined, sharper and crisper picture without the requirement to vibrate the screen. 

“We’re delighted to continue our long association with CineAsia providing our Clarus XC technology  for the fifth successive year, incorporating our leading NanolastTM technology which improves the visual performance of the screen by creating an even smoother finish,” explains Richard Mitchell, VP Global Marketing & Commercial Development at Harkness Screens.

At its core, Clarus XC technology features 4th generation d-smooth coating technology which has specific properties more commonly seen in white screens.  This technology enables Clarus XC screens to benefit from significantly wide viewing angles, improved colour and contrast and better light distribution compared to traditional 3D silver screens.

The screen also features Harkness’ exclusive 4K Digital Perforation Pattern designed to improve  sound transmission in the spoken range, reduce moiré effect often seen in 4K projection and increase light reflectivity.


About Harkness Screens

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. 

Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the USA, UK, France, India and China. Harkness Screens combines unrivalled experience with the latest technology and production methods to provide innovative solutions to the company’s key markets worldwide.  For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.

'One Vision' - Creating the perfect image for Bohemian Rhapsody

The SSE Arena, Wembley was the scene for a lavish production on a scale even Queen themselves would have been proud of: the world premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody, charting the band’s rise to fame and the life of their legendary frontman, Freddie Mercury.

In keeping with their over-the-top approach, this was no ordinary premiere. An audience of 7000 film makers, studio executives, media, special guests and Queen fans joined the cast of the film and band members Bryan May and Roger Taylor on the red carpet and at the screening, at the scene of Queen’s renowned performance at Live Aid in 1985. Such a special occasion demanded a specially-installed screen too – courtesy of Harkness…



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