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From Laser Projection to HDR, Barco Lights Up the Film Business

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Ben Croll This past February, an unconventional delegation from Barco made the trek from Ghent to Los Angeles. Clad in bowties and evening gowns, this crew of execs and engineers cut dashing figures on a Hollywood red carpet, striding into an AMPAS Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony that saw the team honored for their pioneering work reshaping the global film business.

The accolades arrived at an auspicious moment for Belgian manufacturer, as the optical imaging specialist now celebrates its 90th anniversary while seeing its imprint on the film world ever expand.

Indeed, that cinematic impact is all the more notable for its relative recency. Founded by Flemish entrepreneur Lucien De Puydt in 1934, the Belgian American Radio Corporation (Barco) first emerged as an audio purveyor, quickly dominating the European market with radios and then jukeboxes sold under the slogan of “‘Your family’s indispensable friend.” Such goodwill paved the way for television receivers – initially notable for their abilities to capture far-ranging feeds, and then for the introduction of Europe’s first remote control a generation later – before leading to video projection in the 1970s.

After assuring such technology on in-flight entertainment systems, Barco next expanded to hospitals and boardrooms, becoming so prevalent in the latter sphere that the brand itself became Gallic shorthand for conference room tech.

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