COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The National Infantry Museum's big screen theater will close August 24 for a major conversion.
When it reopens later this year, moviegoers will be treated to a state-of-the-art theater experience available nowhere else in the region.
At the heart of the conversion is a new 6P Christie Laser Projection System, currently installed in only a handful of theaters nationwide. The Giant Screen Theater at the National Infantry Museum will be the first in the southeast to use laser projection.
"Our visitors have enjoyed the giant screen theater format," said Ben Williams, National Infantry Museum Foundation President. "This conversion to a digital, laser, 3D projection system will allow us to provide not only giant-screen excitement, but also a cleaner, crisper image unmatched by technology currently being used in the region."
The theater's existing silver screen will be replaced with a white one, allowing audiences to see a picture that is nearly three-and-a-half times brighter and with more vibrant colors than normal theaters. Three-dimensional offerings will be enhanced with new, auto-actuating 3D glasses.
Don Kempf, president and founder of D3D Cinema, said the new laser projection system is "unparalleled in terms of image quality" and is "unarguably the future of cinema presentation." The National Infantry Foundation partnered with D3D to design and implement the conversion. The Illinois-based firm also produces inspirational and educational film content.
The conversion from film to digital will give the museum access to larger libraries of movie and documentary titles in both short and long forms. The industry has been moving toward digital over the last several years due to the high cost of film production and distribution.
In addition to the cinema enhancements, a 72-foot long stage will be constructed by Batson-Cook Construction, the West Point, Georgia, firm that built the museum.
The stage will allow greater use of the 289-seat space as an auditorium as well as a theater, and will accommodate everything from corporate presentations to live music performances.
The existing theater will close Monday, August 24. Crews are expected to finish construction and installation by December 1, in time for the museum's popular Polar Express pajama parties and other holiday presentations.