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Author Topic: Digital Projector
Ron Davis
Film Handler

Posts: 23
From: Morgantown WV, USA
Registered: Jan 2007


 - posted 02-06-2008 02:53 PM      Profile for Ron Davis   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Davis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Greetings all!

Once again, I have a VERY newbish question to ask. We're considering making the leap on one of our screens to go towards digital projection. Any thoughts on where to start? Price range we're looking at? Conversion issues or considerations?

As always, THANKS!

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16540
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-06-2008 06:38 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Projectors: Christie has them all beat hands down.. no questions asked... down under the sun... at the beach etc, etc, etc! Except for the Kinoton I've seem em all. I doubt there is any Kinoton advantage for D-Cinema unless you have screens in Europe. Christie light engine prisms have a patented optical coating that the other manufacturers don't have... gives the image seemingly higher contrast ratio, more snap to the image, and much higher light efficiency. The Christies are the most servicable of the bunch... the BARCO the least servicable of the bunch and so far the LEAST RESPONSIVE COMPANY of the bunch! Christie seems willing and ready to be the only real MAJOR supplier of D-Cinema projectors with NEC being the runner up. For NEC you don't have to go through Strong... there is NEC Direct... and NEC Leasing and NEC leasing will lease other manufacturers gear as well. I can't speak for NEC or BARCO but Christie can produce close to 600 ZX's a month and that many CP-2000's. They are only utilizing about 1/2 of the available space for factory assembly lines at this point... they can add more production lines qickly if production needs to be ramped up. They also assemble the light engine themselves which gives them total control over this very critical piece. On the Christies all boards EXCEPT the three Formatters(the ones with the DLP chips on them) and Interface boards come from T.I. so there is some dependency on T.I. for everyone involved in this. In fact Christie may be the only one assembling their own Formatters.

Servers: There is really only one to consider and thats Dolby. It's so well thought out that any three year old could operate one. Also extremely reliable and 15 year minimum support(I was told in Dolby training class).

Screens: Really needs to be 1.8 gain and properly curved for your room so you don't end up with nasty hot spots. Most D-Cinema projector specs are based on 1.8 gain screens.

Lenses: Only Konica/Minolta Zooms at this point. Schneider is on the brink of releasing theirs. Who knows what ISCO is up to... they're lucky to still be in buisness.

Sound: What ever you have its going to have to have alot of extra headroom!!! D-Cinema Audio is uncompressed. Whan I say headroom I;m not talking just in the power amps... in the entire "B" Chain! Many speakers cannot endure the full peak output of large power amps with out breaking.

Software Storage: If you have more than two screens a Dolby Show Library is a must, in fact to be able to easily network more than two servers you HAVE TO install a Show Library.

Remotes: Dolby Show Manager Client running on it's own computers in several locations offers complete control of your booth operations once the power is switched on and things are booted up.

Sound Processors: Dolby CP-650 and the newer CP-650DC are all prefered... the latter being only for D-Cinema, there's no A-Chain so no film playback. The USL JSD-80 is an excellent choice and almost too inexpensive for what it's capable of. Superb piece! Want to use your Panastereo, CP-65, or older USL JS series then a DMA-8 PLus or the equivelent USL decoder will allow that. I have only used the DMA-8 PLus at this point. The sound out of them is terriffic.

Price Range: Dolby Server Costs the most of all the servers but it has other great ways of paying you back the difference! Best support in the industry too!
Projectors... Daily operating expense of the Christie ZX is no more costly than a Simplex film projector. Of course they all cost WAY WAY more to purchase THAN MOST film projectors. Cost wise per projetor is based on and quoted by the job. Purchasing more machines say to equip a 12 plex gets you a lower per machine price. Per unit price is also somewhat dependent on the lensing you require. But expect a minimum of 85 grand for just a single basic system.

Hope This Helps!

Mark

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 02-06-2008 07:54 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark this is great information thanks for sharing it. I'm trying to research the 4K projector being pushed by the one guy in the other thread outside from his web site.

I am find information on this new 4K Sony SRX-R110 and am reading though what is there. They claim a lot both at Sony sights and review sites and of course the guys over the top greatest format ever site.

They are also pushing a particular distribution system with along with the Sony projector. It reads like a lot of Sales BS. Have you come across the new Sony yet and what is your opinion on it? Even at 4K it doesn't have the lines of resolution of 70MM film that the poster is claiming.

I can't find a price on it or even a ball park!

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16540
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-06-2008 08:07 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I can't find a price on it or even a ball park!

I can tell you that at Showeast we tried to peg the SOny guy down on price... he even called his higher up but they wouldn't state a definate price... my customer who was interested and who couold afford to buy several was in tow but that didn't matter. I did finally peg them down at about 130K for the 16,000 lumen projector. They wouldn't even open the doors to show us what was inside... We assumed at that point that the floor sample was empty anyway. This was rediclous to say the least and that customer ended up purchasing three other DLP Systems from us. The Sony imaging chips have lots of heat issues anyway. Having worked with Sony Broadcast in past years and knowing several folks in the rental biz we will ALL tell you that Sony's baloney is not worth the hassles. Pushihg theor own idea of distribution is even going to put them more in the negative field... all thats already been set up. If they keep up the present rate of BS the 4K system will go nowhere.

Mark

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 02-06-2008 08:22 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sony has always been long on pride and a bit short on delivery. I think SDDS sounded great but everyone I talked to said they had a hard time getting Sony to stand behind them!

I have had several Sony hi-8's professional camera's and they were good, well actually great but the decks for the hi-8's pro's weren't as good.

Alright now back to the digital projection! I'm still reading on it for a friend! They claim you can blow the picture up to 75 feet wide that might work for a drive in if you can actually get a bright enough picture out of it. 18,000 lumens might be bright enough not sure! I guess that could depend on the surrounding area and how much light is around you!

With the uncompressed audio on the sound systems how do you ensure you set up amp and processor in a safe manner to keep from blowing speakers on movies like Cloverfield? We use to set the amps all the way up on gain and then set from the processor is that the best way still? Just a question of curiosity as I don't see this place going digital on picture for a long time - I do have a friend or two that might though!

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

Posts: 2276
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 02-06-2008 10:21 PM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Setting amp gains all the way up and adjusting room SPL is not the "right" way to do it, but it's usually reasonably acceptable and makes changing out failed amps a lot easier.
The right way is to look at the gain and noise structure of the entire signal chain, optimizing the system for low noise and adequate headroom.

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 02-06-2008 10:30 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I recognize and agree with what you are saying, but at the top you generally have the most head room available by the amp my systems I have set seemed to all ways end up on the top end of amp output.

In addition I try to set all my amps in any one auditorium to the same level point just for the reason of if you have to change an amp. Even that doesn't ensure you might not have to tweak with a change! But you can get by then in an emergency!

Of course if the amp is peaked and you get a very hot sound track you run the risk of blowing a speaker! But then you didn't get a good enough speaker if you! Actually I haven't ever blown a speaker!

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Ron Davis
Film Handler

Posts: 23
From: Morgantown WV, USA
Registered: Jan 2007


 - posted 02-07-2008 07:45 AM      Profile for Ron Davis   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Davis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Excellent information! The reason for us looking into this is the growing concern that the digitial trend is obviously going to continue.... Does this signal the end of the 35mm age? Will there eventually be prints ONLY available on digital?

Thanks again!

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16540
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-07-2008 08:22 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually Dolby always reccomended that you run their gear at around 750mv if memory serves me correctly. Sam or Steve please correct this if I'm wrong... The you set the amp gains accordingly. This can also be done with the USL JS series and it masks the hiss these processors have. However optimizing the overall system gain structure is not where it ends for playing back uncompressed audio... aside from the rooms themselves the other problem is with the speakers... many of the inexpensive "Shallow" EV and JBL's that dealers are specing in today can't take the headroom or continous power the amps are going to be delivering to them... Appropriate stage speakers for a given room and extra subwoofers will be needed no matter what.

quote: Ron Davis
Does this signal the end of the 35mm age? Will there eventually be prints ONLY available on digital?

What several industry experts say will happen (and I more or less agree) is that once the "Big Three" chains have converted (Keep in mind that Carmike is already converted and makes up the "Big Forth" in the digital chain list))... this will be completed in more or less 4 years... film print orders will decline and the per print cost will escallate tremendously. This will ultimately result in small print orders... high print prices and many marginal locations may be denied a film prints all together. This will force the rest who have not to convert to digital.

Hence I give film in large quantity distribution about 4 to 5 years. There will always be some film here and there even after "Digital" knocks it out of the mainstream. But it will become more of a curiosity than anything else, especially to new generations that grow up "Digitally".

At CLACO when we quote a new theater or replacement of an existing booth the customer has for about the last 6 months also gotten a "Digital" quote from us as well. With banks as fussy as they are and mortgages running as many years as they sometimes do the banks that loan huge amounts to equip a new theater are going to be very pissed off when they see the 4 or 5 year old film gear get pulled out and replaced with a system that could have been installed to begin with. In the very near future there will be alot of like new film gear getting pulled out for a short trip to the scrap yard. Hence banks may also begin to insist on equipping new builds with the available technology thats still going to be in use 15 years down the road.

Mark

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Paul Mayer
Oh get out of it Melvin, before it pulls you under!

Posts: 3836
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Feb 2000


 - posted 02-07-2008 09:45 AM      Profile for Paul Mayer   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Mayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wonder how much of the digital gear going in today will still be in service in 15 years? Sure, most booths will be digital but I doubt that any of today's specific units will still be there.

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 02-07-2008 12:10 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark, we were told that the more Digital units produced the less that each unit would cost. With Carmike going head first in to this they certainly are causing the more units to be installed but I don't see any drop in price from what I am reading.

The problem is all computer based technology makes significant changes in 18 month period so it is constant R&D and that will keep the price out of reach for the small operator.

NATO's buying group closing the group to new joins participating in the digital buying program before the technology is even on some kind of track for distribution, some kind of industry wide standard seems a bit premature to me. The fence sitters out in the real world just want some amount of assurance that they aren't buying outdated equipment the day it is installed.

Having been a computer tech and salesman I know that the promise that the technology isn't going to be outdated is important what assurance is there of this with those you are helping buy from for those they are getting the equipment? Do you see the cost factors coming down in the future?

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12673
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-07-2008 12:53 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ron - don't look for the price of digital projectors to drop all that much anytime soon. "Economy of scale" doesn't really kick in until you start producing something in the millions, or at least the hundreds of thousands. There are about 39,000 movie screens in the US and no giant demand for this technology in the home.

As for the CBG closing membershp to the fence sitters: They needed a definite number to give to the vendors as to how many units would be required. The reason for the timing is the "virtual print fees." Film companies have indicated that that's not going to last forever, so it's important for CBG to get a deal in place fast. There are some people who would never get on the bandwagon -- maybe your boss is one of them.

The fence sitters had ample time and warning that this was not an open-ended opportunity. It only cost $150 a year to join the group -- 50¢ a day. Any operator who is too cheap (or could not afford) to invest 50¢ a day in his business should get out of the business.

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 02-07-2008 01:10 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My bosses may in fact be those fence sitters that never move!

Had I stayed in the business as an owner I had it planned out to join the January 2007 but so sad it wasn't to be! We had actually been in talks with several different sources and were in contact with John during the time. I think Digital is the future and that it is a force to digital, at some point, or out of business. I don't see anything that can stem it from happening!

I'm not seeing the 4 year cycle myself I see a 6 or 7 year but it is going to happen sooner or later film is dead!

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2443
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-07-2008 01:27 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
film is dead!
I'll believe it when Brad changes the name of this place to Digital-Tech [Wink]

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12673
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-07-2008 02:17 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think movies will always be called "films" the same way collections of music are properly referred to as "albums," even though the kiddies always refer to them as CDs.

Therefore the name "Film-Tech" will always be correct no matter which format we exhibit our films in.

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