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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Large Format Forum   » First Lossless DTS Install Completed (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: First Lossless DTS Install Completed
Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 06-02-2004 07:03 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Engineering personel from DTS and CLACO Equipment have installed the very first lossless DTS digital playback system in the world at The Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi, Utah . The museum not wanting to be outdone in any area removed an Iwerks 8/70 system about 1 year ago in favor of a much higher quality CDC 15/70 3D projection system. The new DTS lossless playback system is a remarkable improvement over conventional digital audio playback which the museum had been utilizing and will now give other local venues stiff competition in the area of sound quality. I would encourage anyone that happens to be in the Salt Lake City area to stop by there and listen to this incredible new playback system.

DTS Press release follows.......

March 22, 2004 DTS Announces Lossless Digital Sound For Cinema

New Technology Delivers Lossless Soundtracks Identical to Master Tracks

PR for: DTS Cinema

DTS (Digital Theater Systems, Inc.) (NASDAQ: DTSI) announces the development of a system for delivering lossless digital soundtracks into movie theatres. With DTS lossless technology, a soundtrack played in the cinema is bit-for-bit identical to the original master. Demonstrations of the system to distributors and exhibitors will take place during 2nd quarter 2004.

DTS lossless technology works with all film specifications used in exhibition, including 16mm, 35mm, 70mm and any pulldown or frame rates, as well as digital pre-show, alternate content and digital cinema sources. Sampling rates include 44.1, 48, and 96 kHz at 16 to 24 bits.

DTS lossless coding is made possible by a new extension to the DTS Coherent Acoustics codec, which is used in applications including home theatre, car audio, PC and game console products, DVD-related software and broadcast. With this new development, Coherent Acoustics is able to offer a single, comprehensive system that can deliver quality levels from Internet streaming up to high definition and lossless.

“DTS lossless technology delivers the only audio for standard film equivalent to the best sound that has been proposed for Digital Cinema to date. Because of our unique timecode system, we are the only format that is capable of delivering this,” said Mike Archer, Director of Cinema at DTS. “The introduction of this technology continues DTS’ tradition of leadership in digital audio for the entertainment industry.”

About DTS Cinema Division
A preferred digital sound format on more than 20,000 screens in 99 countries, DTS quickly became a leading provider of premium, discrete, multi-channel audio for motion pictures after the release of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Since 1993, the company’s award-winning CD-ROM-based technology has set a standard for digital audio delivery in cinemas and special venues. In addition to supplying movie theaters with hardware solutions, DTS also licenses its technologies for filmed content, with DTS digital sound now featured on nearly 100 percent of films released by all major Hollywood studios.

[ 06-03-2004, 08:47 AM: Message edited by: Mark Gulbrandsen ]

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Phil Hill
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 - posted 06-02-2004 08:18 PM      Profile for Phil Hill   Email Phil Hill       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm glad to see that they have FINALLY come to their senses there and decided to install some good equipment. When Iwerks orginally dealt with them, we proposed that same 1570 system, but they were one of the most stupid, cheap-ass people I have ever seen. They would F*ck their own mother to try to gyp every contractor out of what ever they could.

>>> Phil

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John Pytlak
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 - posted 06-02-2004 08:31 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Phil Hill
When Iwerks orginally dealt with them, we proposed that same 1570 system, but they were one of the most stupid, cheap-ass people I have ever seen. They would F*ck their own mother to try to gyp every contractor out of what ever they could.

Phil: What did you REALLY think of that customer? [Wink]

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Phil Hill
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 - posted 06-02-2004 08:49 PM      Profile for Phil Hill   Email Phil Hill       Edit/Delete Post 
Gosh John, I thought I was pretty clear... [Wink]

Some customers are good, savvy and in-tune and some are... well ya just gotta deal with them all... Been there, done that. [beer]

Don't know if the original "people" are still around there, but they sure were cheap-ass, uninformed jerks back then. [Razz]

In the proposal/contract, they kept deleting and cutting-back projection systems, audio systems, etc... you know, the standard system "features" and then bitched when things were not included/installed cuz of their choices. It was a clear case of wanting something for nothing.

>>> Phil

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 06-02-2004 10:51 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've found this to be true of just about all Museum type situations in the past.... including the "Big Time" museums in Chicago. They do sometimes operate on Shoestring budgats, or strictly on grants or fixed endowments and that can make things difficult amd sometimes sticky for all involved.

So far my dealings with this particuluar museum has been on the up and up... which I admit is unusual for a museum. Sometimes they are slow at making decisions because of budget scheduling and other things but eventually they do get around to it. So far they have been pretty quality concious overall but they still have to do it within what is allowed by the almighty dollar.

Mark

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Scott Norwood
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 - posted 06-03-2004 07:45 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are there any 15/70 prints with timecode on the film? Or will they be using a timecode generator driven by the projector?

How does this compare to the Imax system? Isn't the current Imax sound system lossless as well?

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 06-03-2004 08:02 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Scott,
I am not aware of the exact specs but I'm sure that it compares favorably with DTAC. You would have to ask the folks at DTS that question for an absolute answer but I am pretty sure its only limited by the bit rate and depth, such as 96khz/24 bit, of what ever digital master is provided them to encode onto a disk. It does allow up to 10 channels though since its based on the XD-10 player. As for TC on the print, it would make alot of things easier for anyyone wanting to run previews but with the XD-10 its not really necessary as the new DTS E438 tach to TC generator is serial adressable and sound track serial numbers can be fed into it from the automation controller to sequence any string of audio files you'd want.

Mark

Mark

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Bob Brown
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 - posted 06-03-2004 08:58 AM      Profile for Bob Brown   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Brown   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
Or will they be using a timecode generator driven by the projector?
Scott, I belive that the new IMAX MPX system will be using a TC generator driven by the projector. I will be sure about this in a couple of months, when my system is installed.(first one in the USA [thumbsup] ) I do know that the sound system is only 5 channel.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 06-03-2004 07:44 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tach generation is the standard in the large format industry for syncing sound.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the DTS Lossless system is also available for regular feature releases as well. The length of the file is only limited by the size of the hard drive(s) that are installed in the XD-10. This will also mean, in the very near future, that with any XD-10 now installed one can load the lossless playback software system into it and play back lossless encoded disks.

Mark @ CLACO

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Mark J. Marshall
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 - posted 06-04-2004 10:41 PM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is the lossless system software just an updated "dts.exe" file, or is there more to it than that? I assume that the XD10 keeps the newest dts.exe file on the drive at all times, and only updates it when a new one comes along, so I'm wondering what will be involved in the software updating process.

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Stewart Anderson
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 - posted 06-05-2004 06:10 AM      Profile for Stewart Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Stewart Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
After signing the disclosure statement about the new system I'm not sure what I can/cannot say about our system here at the Museum of Ancient Life except to say that I had very high expectations of this new system and it has far exceeded them! General operation (record/play the discs) is very easy and the sound that we are getting out of our new toy [Smile] is incredible. And with a new software upgrade coming soon among other things... I hope it will get even better (if possible).
I didn't know we were the first, awsome [beer] !

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Joe Redifer
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Ummmm... why is there an NDA over a freakin' DTS system? Must be something wrong with it.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 06-05-2004 08:06 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark M.,
A software upgrade is done with a CD ROM since there is no TC on the Large Format film. The Lossless playback software can be put onto any XD-10 since all XD-10's have DAC's that can run up to 24/96, perhaps even 192 khz. Any upgrades would be done just like any other XD-10 software upgrade. The best part of this whole thing is that the Lossless feature is regular cinema compatable. And yes, it does delete files the same way the standard XD-10 does with regular APTX files. I believe it looks at age of the file and vs. how often it is played back.

Stew,

The Non-Disclosure thingy that you signed is that you agreed to not let someone like Joe into the unit to possibly have access to the Lossless DTS software. They said its ok to say that you have it there and such. I did not have to sign it cause I don't work there on a daily basis.

I have to admit that the Museum now has both 3D Picture and Sound that blows the local 3D Imax theatre to smithereens [thumbsup] ! The Imax doesn't even come close.

Mark @ CLACO

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Jeffry L. Johnson
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 - posted 06-05-2004 11:09 AM      Profile for Jeffry L. Johnson   Author's Homepage   Email Jeffry L. Johnson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMAX Film Format
quote:
The IMAX digital sound system was developed by Sonics Associates of Birmingham, Alabama. In 1988, Lynn McCroskey and Jim Cawhon developed a Digital Disc Playback system (DDP) that recorded 2 channels of uncompressed digital sound on an audio compact disc. This system with 3 discs and 6 channels began to replace the multitrack magnetic tape sound systems used in IMAX theaters since 1971. In 1993, Sonic introduced the IMAX 3D sound system with 10 channels for the Sony IMAX theater in New York. Theater speakers produce 8 channels from 4 CD disks synchronized with the15-perforation 70 mm filmstrip running through the projector horizontally past a 15,000-watt lamp at 48 frames per second. The 3D headset has 2 additional channels for the binaural Personal Sound Environment (PSE). "Binaural sound emanates from the headsets' two small speakers, just above and slightly in front of your ears; they cover all but the frequencies below 100 Hz. Low bass is handled by a pair of subwoofers behind the giant screen. Four full-range speakers, also behind the screen, keep sounds tied solidly to the
IMAX 3D headset from Sonics
film's images even if you turn your head; if you have trouble imaging binaurally (as some people do), these speakers will prevent front sounds from seeming to come from the sides or rear. Two more speakers, in the rear of the theater, carry only surround ambience; the headset's binaural speakers carry sounds that are supposed to originate behind you. Eight channels of an 18,000-watt, 10-channel amplification system feed the speakers; the other two channels feed the binaural signals to the headsets. These amps are fed from four audio CDs, computer-synchronized with one another and with the projectors. The headsets can receive four separate soundtracks, so a movie could be presented in different languages simultaneously if the theater provides enough channels." (quote from Ivan Berger)

Lynn McCroskey is President and CEO of Sonics Associates, a subsidiary of Toronto's IMAX Corporation. In an interview with Millimeter magazine, he explained the difference between the IMAX sound system and the surround systems in conventional theaters: "The typical IMAX screen is close to a conventional 4:3 aspect ratio, but much, much bigger. So you have a great deal of vertical, which gives you the opportunity to do a 'voice-of-God' loudspeaker." Another difference is the use of point-source surround, as opposed to the multiple small surround speakers used in conventional theaters. "Conventional rooms," McCroskey says, "come in so many different shapes that it is nearly impossible for them to make point-source surround work." Overall IMAX system power varies depending on the size of the room, but it is typically in the range of 12,500 watts. "The power is not there for the loudness," McCroskey says. "It's there for clarity and freedom from distortion." The enclosures are three-way systems using components custom-designed and manufactured to Sonics' specifications. Sonics combines four low-frequency loudspeakers in each cabinet with nested high- and mid-frequency horns. McCroskey points out the trapezoidal dispersion pattern (narrower at the top than the bottom), designed to match the distinctive shape of IMAX theaters. Using a sub-bass system for the deepest lows, McCroskey says, minimizes phase coherence problems. "In most installations, we use eight sub-bass loudspeakers, each in a 16-cubic-foot enclosure," he says. "The enclosures include a filtering labyrinth we designed that physically traps the higher-frequency components that can otherwise cause overtones and distortion."
Omniverum in Hague Netherlands

Another distinction between IMAX and other theater surround systems is that Sonics uses no digital audio data compression. Both the DDP and DTAC lines are full fidelity, "double-system" approaches, meaning that the sound is not recorded on the film itself. "DDP uses three CD-Audio discs with a patented sample-accurate playback synchronization system," McCroskey says. DTAC, the company's newest system, plays back audio files either from DVD-ROM or from a built-in hard disk. In some older IMAX theaters, the original 35mm six-track, full-coat mag-sound system used from 1971 through 1988 is still in place. "These days most soundtracks are produced in digital formats," McCroskey says. "They are usually sent in on TASCAM DA-88, and we transfer to whatever format is needed for the theaters where the film will play. On Everest, for instance, we created both DDP and DTAC discs." Everest was the first IMAX film where the final mix was done on location in an IMAX theater, the Irvine Spectrum. That meant the mixers did not have to make several rounds of notes while watching the film and then implement changes back at the EFX dub stage. But they did have to set up facilities in a working theater that was not available until 10 at night (after the day's last screening). They worked from a 24-track premix made at EFX with six tracks each for effects, backgrounds, and music; three for Foley; and one each for narration, voice-overs, and dialog. EFX made a discrete premix to 24 tracks: six each for effects, backgrounds, and music; three for Foley; and one each for narration, voice-overs, and dialog. (quote from Millimeter article by Philip De Lancie)



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John Hawkinson
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 - posted 06-05-2004 03:20 PM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Author's Homepage   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark Marshall asks, "Is the lossless system software just an updated "dts.exe" file, or is there more to it than that?"

The new-generation DTS equipment (XD10 and CSS (captioning), etc.) don't run DOS anymore, they run Linux. Software for them is much more than simply a DTS.EXE file, it is really an entire operating system.

For the CSS unit, there's a small ~800k executable that handles the captioning work, and there's a mechanism to automatically copy new versions off of Mopix CDROMs. That executable communicates with a loadable kernel module that interfaces with the timecode board.

I imagine there is a similar architecture used in the XD10, but there's no reason it has to be restricted to a few files. For special applications, one could imagine all sorts of changes they might make in a special case.

It's easy for me to understand why there's an NDA, though. Because the operating system provides a much greater degree of access if a user plugs in a keyboard and monitor, it is much easier for someone to "get inside" and reverse engineer or examine trade secrets. From DTS's perspective, that has to be a serious downside to their open architecture.

--jhawk

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