Amsterdam’s Stunning Pathé Royal Theatre Tuschinski Upgraded with CinemaNext

Anyone who has visited Amsterdam’s Tuschinski cinema is inevitably captured by the timeless architectural grandeur of this historic cinema. The Pathé Royal Theatre Tuschinski - to give it its full title - was named the Most Beautiful Cinema in the World by Time Out magazine in a 2021 list of the Top 50 Cinemas of outstanding beauty around the world. Yet even a classic cinema needs to move with the times when it comes to projection, audio and related technologies – even if it keeps its 101-year-old organ for silent films and special screening events.  

Making the cinematic presentation as grand as the cinema is no small challenge given the architecture and history of the 100+ year old building. “As Tuschinski is over 100 years old and is given a monumental status, we always must adhere to rules and restrictions,” notes Nico Vertommen, Director Facility, Pathé Theatres BV. “This means that nothing can be changed about the building, deviating from how it was built 100 years ago.” Given these challenges, CinemaNext was particularly honoured to have been selected by Pathé NL to complete the groundbreaking upgrade to the iconic Pathé Tuschinski. This historic theater underwent a transformative renovation with key technology from Christie Digital, Dolby, Harkness and Q-SYS to enhance the movie-watching experience for the next century. As Vertommen observes, “At Pathé we always focus on innovating our cinemas and improving our movie experience for customers, so they get the best movie experience.” 


The highlight of CinemaNext's upgrade work was the installation of cutting-edge cinema technology in the main auditorium of Zaal 1. Matthew Jones, CinemaNext's Country Manager The Netherlands, emphasized the significance of this project, stating, "The goal was to improve and optimize the quality of picture and sound to a similar height as its magnificent stature and to ensure that technically, it has everything available for their high-level events." The Tuschinski Theatre is built more akin to an opera than a traditional cinema, with curved balconies stretching high up, so there was no traditional projection room or conventional line-of-sight to the 12.2 by 6.9 metre screen. As Wikipedia states, “When designing the main hall, the cabin for the film projector was forgotten,” with Vertommen explaining, “the projector is currently placed in a projection booth behind the second balcony and due to these monument protection rules, this location cannot be altered.”  

The main auditorium now boasts a Christie CP4435-RGB projector system offering stunning 4K resolution and unparalleled colour accuracy. Additionally, a Dolby IMS3000 and a Q-SYS 510 Core with DCIO-H were installed with NV-32-H and QIO units, providing advanced audio capabilities and seamless control over the theater's audiovisual systems. The upgrade also included the implementation of a new Harkness matt white screen sheet, ensuring optimal image clarity and brightness, with the work requiring significant coordination between the Pathé NL management, local Tuschinski staff as well as CinemaNext Netherlands’ most senior cinema engineers. 

The high position of the projection room means that the image is projected at a downward angle of 27 degrees, so according to Vertommen, “the biggest challenge for installing new projection equipment was to significantly improve the image quality on the screen despite the unnaturally high projection angle.” There was also less than half a meter of depth behind the screen for speakers. The steep projection angle meant that keystone could not be corrected by conventional digital projection tools. CinemaNext thus employed a combination of Christie’s Mystique system, the first time it’s been used for a single-projection solution anywhere in the world, as well as a Premium Ultra High Contrast lens 6.000:1 contrast with minimal lens aberration. For the speakers behind the screen, CinemaNext re calibrated the special Alcons Audio solution, consisting of both a custom-made full 7.1 cinema audio system and ribbon speakers, with separate balcony surround systems and an additional PA event system. 

Despite the technical challenges posed by the theater's unique architecture, including its severe projection angle and multiple balconies, CinemaNext's Dutch team successfully executed the project, with the cinema reopening at the end of March 2023. “The many years of loyal cooperation between Pathé Theatres Netherlands and CinemaNext and Christie gave us confidence in solving this biggest challenge,” says Vertommen. “Together we were able to upgrade the projector in this beautiful building to the modern standards of today’s cinemas, while keeping the grandeur of this iconic theatre.” The installation was shown off by Matthew and his team of engineers at the EDCF Conference on 6-7 February this year, who provided detailed explanations of what had gone into the upgrade and how the cinema is operating.  

With its latest upgrade, the Pathé Tuschinski cinema continues to uphold its legacy as a cultural icon in Amsterdam, offering patrons a truly unforgettable cinematic journey. As audiences visit the theater to enjoy the magic of the big screen, they can expect nothing short of excellence thanks to Pathé’s dedication to innovation and quality, enabled in partnership with CinemaNext. Most importantly, says Nico Vertommen, “our visitors are very happy with the results.” 

A full list of CinemaNext’s upgrade work in Screen/Zaal 1: 

- Installing a Christie 4K Full RGB laser; 

- Premium Ultra High Contrast lens 6.000:1 contrast with minimal lens aberration; 

- Wide Colour Gamut and capable of 4K @120 frames per second; 

- Electronic Convergence Correction (ECC) allowing maximum pixel alignment up to 1/64th of a pixel to form perfect whites; 

- Full RGB best-in-class energy/lumens efficiency; 

- Image optimalisation and keystone correction through the Mystique system; 

- Q-SYS extensive input / output control with built in digital mixers, switching and control; 

- Full integration of non-cinema PA system audio; 

- Improved audio equalization tuning and control due to the expanded Q-SYS capability;  

- Fixed labelled input panels for event inputs; 

- Q-SYS User interface including digital mixing for control both by Pathé and event staff - (tailored protected and limited user interfaces for event customers); 

- Full Matt white screen from Harkness Screens for both better acoustic transparency and enhanced image

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