Christie® has donated a top-of-the-line Christie digital cinema projector to help entertain the local community in the new Gianopulos Family Theater at the Wilson-Hanks Family Cultural Center, Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, California. The theater is the latest addition to the Huffington Center, located in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter of Los Angeles. Christie’s Managed Services team worked with audio-visual innovator BLACKSTAR Engineering to install the Christie Solaria® Series projector and other theater equipment, transforming a basketball court by day into a fully professional movie theater by night.
A gala dedication ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 17, to unveil the new theater to the community and parishioners of St. Sophia, and to celebrate all of the benefactors involved in the development of this new venue. Christie will also be presented with a plaque that will be affixed to the theater in honor of its contribution to the center.
“Christie is pleased to provide a truly meaningful gift that will assist the church in serving the community,” said Jack Kline, president and COO, Christie. “Movies offer a great medium for telling stories, for sharing education, culture and history, and of course for entertaining. The Christie projector at the Wilson-Hanks Family Cultural Center is an integral part of the church, and we feel it serves an important function because movies are also a great way to bring a community together under one roof to share in a magical experience.”
Movies Bring People Together
A respected community institution, Saint Sophia is a Greek Orthodox Cathedral committed to serving the needs of the people of Los Angeles. Its non-profit entity, the Saint Sophia Foundation, developed the Huffington Center as a dedicated place where community members can gather for celebrations, meetings, performances and special events. Completed in February 2012, the new 53,000 square foot facility brings Los Angeles together in its banquet halls, cultural center, library, museum, basketball court, and more.
But there was one thing missing to fully complete the center as an all encompassing entertainment and events complex – a movie theater that could be used to host community events, pre-release screenings, and various third-party bookings.
BLACKSTAR and Christie’s Managed Services Team install a “Slam Dunk”
BLACKSTAR Engineering worked with Christie’s Managed Services team to install the equipment for a new convertible movie theater for the Center. The installation included a Christie CP2230 digital cinema projector, a Stewart Filmscreen projection screen, and a new sound system – all of which were designed and integrated to fit flawlessly into the architecture of the Huffington Center’s gymnasium.
“The idea to convert the gymnasium into a permanent, fully-functional theater came later, so the end goal was to allow for the gymnasium to host sports activities during the day and screen movies and other digital content in the evening, and to make the transformation with a minimal need for any special technical assistance,” explained Sean James, vice president, Managed Services, Christie. “We had to do more than transform a basketball court, complete with retractable baskets and bleachers, into a dynamic and multipurpose venue. We also had to ensure that the room could be converted with as little effort as possible, and that the theater would entertain an audience with the same degree of quality and comfort as a permanent theater.”
According to Andrew G. Setos, CEO of BLACKSTAR Engineering and the lead designer who worked on the project, BLACKSTAR and Christie had to come up with solutions to overcome a number of technical and design challenges. This included adjusting the location of the retractable basketball supports to allow for enough room for the screen case and designing a projector pedestal that would keep the light path above the audience.
“The transformation of the venue required acoustic, electrical, sound system, projection, and other design disciplines to be brought to bear so that, in the final result, it would not sound and look like ‘a movie screen in a gym’,” said Setos. “Christie Managed Services took my team's design for the sound and picture aspects of the theater and realized it with top level professionalism. It has been a complete pleasure working with them to achieve this ambitious vision.”
The installation was completed in January 2013 and the Christie DLP® digital cinema projector is now lighting up a 36-foot-wide by 15-foot-high screen in brilliant color and high definition. To convert the theater for screenings and events, the bleachers are retracted, theater flooring is placed over the hardwood court, theater seating is installed, the screen is lowered, and the digital cinema equipment is powered on and ready to go.
“Everyone at the center is extremely happy with the final result and thoroughly impressed with the quality of the exhibition,” said Setos. “With all of the new upgrades, we have developed a truly state-of-the-art facility. This is a no-compromise 3D digital cinema and, when the lights go down, the experience of sound and picture is unsurpassed. This is owed in large part to the exceptional brightness afforded by the Christie projector, which has been a central element to the systems’ performance.”
Time for a Celebration
At the dedication ceremonies on March 17, a screening ofthe Oscar winning picture, “Life of Pi,” will be shown in 3D to showcase the new abilities of the theater.
Said George Preonas, President of the St. Sophia Foundation: “We are very grateful for the generous donations we received for the theater from so many people; their vision and expertise has provided us a technological marvel. The dedication ceremonies will be a time for us to show our deep appreciation for all of those involved in the project and to show off the theater’s potential for what it will offer to the community. We are confident that it will be something our entire community can be proud of.”
About BLACKSTAR Engineering
“Advising on the intersection of technology and media,” BLACKSTAR Engineering has been involved in virtually all aspects of cutting edge audio-visual media, from production and distribution to exhibition in every technology that has become mainstream. Among the areas of expertise that BLACKSTAR can draw upon to contribute to a client enterprise’s success: developing strategies in the new media; transactional advice and representation; legislative and regulatory activities. BLACKSTAR can assist in large-scale and unique audio-vision operations that range from helping startups to some of the most massive operations in the world, and can advise on tailoring such plans to the specific needs of the enterprise. For more information, log on to www.blackstar-engineering.com.
About the Huffington Center
The Huffington Center at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral is a new state-of-the-art event venue located in the heart of Los Angeles in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter. Conceived and developed by the Saint Sophia Foundation, a non-profit entity, the Huffington Center was made possible by the generous donations of several key donors including Michael Huffington, the Maniatakos Family, Tom and Rita Hanks, as well as hundreds of other donors in the Saint Sophia Community. For more information, log on to www.huffingtoncenter.org.