ICE Theaters sets strict standards

At CinemaCon last April, and now at CineEurope in Barcelona, ​​international exhibitors cast a curious eye on the immersive brand ICE theaters. A relatively new player in the first-class field, the ICE (Immersive Cinema Experience) format adds six panels on both sides of the screen and fills them with visual extensions made at the company’s building in La Rochelle, France. The rooms also adhere to strict technical standards, all sold as part of a package deal.

By declaring the contents at least three weeks before the release date, ICE encrypts each title of a secure facility called the “bunker”. There, teams of graphic designers create visual ornaments for each frame, while choosing the appropriate effects for each scene. “We make a lot of films and it takes a lot of time,” said Guillaume Tomin-Desmazures, ICE Theaters’ commercial director. “We work second by second, frame by frame, so we have to be very precise.”

The studios and distributors are invited to the ICE Theaters facility in Los Angeles to screen and approve the fully coded film; the graphics team then reworks their feedback. Once fully approved and after one final quality control, the script is locked and the files are sent to all ICE equipped halls.

While the film is played on the screen, the action spreads over 12 LED panels, divided between the two walls of the auditorium. Designed specifically for immersion rooms, each panel is manufactured at a partner site of ICE Theaters in La Rochelle. “They create an atmosphere,” Thomine-Desmazures continues. “They add shape and movement to the side. The audience has no reason to look left or right. They are always focused on the big screen, which is what the director wants. “

All ICE immersion rooms are equipped with 4K RGB laser projectors. “The key for us is the image,” says the sales director. “It must be crystal clear with a high contrast ratio and a well-calibrated definition. For two years now, people have been enjoying TV series and platforms from home, so if you want them to go to your theater, you have to offer something quality. ”

For sound, ICE chooses Dolby Atmos, which broadcasts 53 DK Audio speakers – the same devices used at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes – and 35 amps around the audience. “The purity of the sound is really there,” says Thomine-Desmazures. “You can have a good home setting, but to repeat that in your living room, you have to be a millionaire.”

The only small variable in the setting of ICE Theaters, the brand and marking of each seat with a bed may vary from territory to territory, but ICE maintains strict standards. “We approve the seats, we don’t impose them,” he said. “They should be one step ahead of the seats in a standard audience, with a minimum width to ensure comfort.”

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