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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » D-cinema questions (JPEG2000, 4k)

   
Author Topic: D-cinema questions (JPEG2000, 4k)
Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1382
From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 11-09-2005 12:11 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Did anybody see the Sony 4k demos at showeast? If so, how did they look?

Are the current 2k DLP releases using JPEG2000 compression? I'd like to see how 2k looks with JPEG2000. Since it compresses each frame as a single still image, it should eliminate the motion artifacts associated with MPEG.

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Paul Konen
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From: Frisco, TX. (North of Dallas)
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 - posted 11-09-2005 12:25 PM      Profile for Paul Konen   Email Paul Konen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lyle, it has always been with D-Cinema that each image is scanned and compressed, never a base image and then the differential from that.

Content is still being encoded in the intermediate format called MXF until most vendors are JPEG2000 ready.

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John Pytlak
Film God

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From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
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 - posted 11-10-2005 04:07 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The screening at the Kodak/Barco sponsored luncheon was from a JPEG2000 file using the Kodak CineServer and a Barco projector. The screenings on the big screens at the AMC Pleasure Island of "I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash biopic) were from Kodak CineServers on Christie projectors (AFAIK, using MPEG-4 encoding).

The Sony 4K demo was still on a fairly small screen in their suite. It included some old film material, including "The Music Man" (35mm 8-perf Technirama) and "The Sound of Music" (65mm 5-perf). IMHO, the "Star Wars Episode 3" footage they showed looked no better than the same footage being shown in 2K next door at the NEC suite. Best looking material was from a recent 65mm IMAX production, "Mystic India".

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 11-10-2005 11:17 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm sorry, but it is kind of retarded to choose "Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith" as source material for a 4K digital projection demo. Whose idea was that? The person obviously must not have been aware the show was videotaped. Exactly how is a movie videotaped in HDTV resolution and composited with 2K resolution visual effects going to look better in 4K? Better yet, why would that kind of material be any good to show off the potential of 4K? I would worry it would do the opposite of what was intended and actually sell people on paying less and going with a lower res d-cinema setup.

The only digital video content that should be shown in 4K is something actually videotaped in 4K. But then I don't think there are any video cameras anywhere that can hit that pixel level. So film cameras will have to do.

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 11-11-2005 06:18 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John,

By big screens at Pleasure Island are you referring to either Auditorium 1 or 2 (the 500 seat houses with balcony)? If so, how did it look? Was the Barco able to to light the screen to spec? I think those screens are around 60-65 feet wide in scope (complete with the wonderful AMC HITS sound system).

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Bevan Wright
Expert Film Handler

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From: Fountain Valley, CA, USA
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 - posted 11-11-2005 06:46 PM      Profile for Bevan Wright   Author's Homepage   Email Bevan Wright   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thomson Secures Wide-Ranging Hollywood Studio Support For Significant Digital Cinema Rollout
DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Sign Agreements to Utilize Digital Projection Systems from Technicolor Digital Cinema in 5,000 Screens in the United States and Canada; Twentieth Century Fox, New Line Cinema and Weinstein Comp

Thomson (Euronext 18453; NYSE: TMS) today announced that its Services division has reached digital cinema usage agreements with DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. to accelerate the deployment of digital cinema systems in North America. In addition, the company is in late stage negotiations with Twentieth Century Fox, New Line Cinema, and The Weinstein Company, and expects these studios to be part of the initial deployment.

Under the separate, long-term agreements, each of the studios has agreed to distribute content digitally throughout the United States and Canada, and pay a virtual print fee for screens equipped with Technicolor Digital Cinema systems, beginning as early as the first quarter of 2006. Studio support for Technicolor Digital Cinema covers an initial rollout of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 DCI-compliant screens over the next 3-4 years. It is the strategic intention of Thomson to deploy at least 15,000 digitally-equipped screens in the United States and Canada, through the initial rollout and additional phases, over the next 10 years.

The studios included in this announcement have accounted for over $5.4 billion of the $7.2 billion total year-to-date box office revenue in North America in 2005. Thomson is currently in negotiations with other film studios to expand the range of its non-exclusive content agreements. Thomson is also in ongoing discussions with regional and national exhibition chains to finalize plans to begin the deployment of digital cinema installations in early 2006.

Today’s agreements support Thomson’s strategic intent to strengthen its leading role in the services associated with end-to-end digital content preparation, distribution, and exhibition. Thomson’s intended role includes the management of the rollout of digital cinema projection systems covered by this announcement, plus postproduction services, network services, including distribution, and the supply of equipment.

“Thomson’s digital cinema plan is a clear example of our customers’ trust in our ability to deliver the services they need today and in the future,” said Frank Dangeard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thomson. “We believe that managing this transition requires a technology shift for the entire industry, a move which Thomson is best-placed to handle. These agreements also support Thomson’s strategy of expanding its client base and being a leading service provider to the entertainment industry. Having worked for several years with Hollywood to craft the right launch for digital cinema at the right time, we are also uniquely positioned to support the movie industry in other parts of the world in achieving this shift.”

“We are pleased to be part of the Technicolor Digital Cinema rollout,” said Jim Tharp, Head of Distribution at DreamWorks. “The Technicolor business model makes the transition to digital cinema economically sensible. In addition, we believe that theatre owners and the movie-going audience will enjoy the vibrant picture and sound available through digital distribution as each subsequent showing will look as good as the first.”

“This is a significant development in the evolution to digital distribution of our motion pictures,” said Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Columbia Tri-Star Motion Picture Group. “The Technicolor Digital Cinema business model was compelling, and this agreement ensures that our content will be displayed with the quality and reliability we require, and consumers demand.”

“In our continued effort to be proactive in the transition to digital cinema, Universal is pleased to have entered into this agreement along with other studio partners,” said Nikki Rocco, President of Distribution, Universal Pictures. “As digital technology in theatres continues to evolve, we see only great benefits to the movie-going public.”

“Technicolor has been a trusted service provider to Hollywood for many years and their expertise in both film and digital cinema is unmatched in the industry,” said Chris Cookson, President, Warner Bros. Technical Operations & Chief Technology Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment “We are excited to pursue the next phase of the long-awaited rollout of digital cinema.”

“We are impressed with the thoroughness of the Technicolor Digital Cinema business plan and are very interested in exploring the future role it could play for the studios, exhibitors, and the movie-going public,” said David Tuckerman, President, New Line Cinema Distribution. “We look forward to being a part of this venture as Technicolor initiates its digital cinema rollout early next year.”

Bob and Harvey Weinstein, co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, jointly said, “The development of digital cinema and the broad-based industry support for the Technicolor Digital Cinema plan is good news for filmmakers as it will expand our creative flexibility and exhibition options. We have selected Thomson to be our partner in film, post production and DVD services and we look forward to finalizing our digital cinema agreement in time for the initial deployment.”

Business Model and Financing
Under the business model for the digital cinema rollout, the studios will continue to book films directly with exhibitors, and if a booked screen is equipped with a Technicolor Digital Cinema system, the studio will pay Thomson a virtual print fee for usage of the digital equipment. Current estimates of the total cost of installed digital cinema systems are in the $90,000 – 100,000 range per screen.

The business model has been structured to allow the rollout to be financed from a variety of sources, including equipment vendors and financial partners. With today’s agreements in place, Thomson can now focus on sourcing the optimal financing structure for this rollout.

This announcement comes shortly after the publication of the Digital Cinema Initiatives LLC (DCI) industry specifications for digital cinema. The Technicolor Digital Cinema plan will be technology agnostic, allowing both exhibitors and studios to benefit from the best available technology, including both 2K and 4K projection.

This plan provides an industry-wide digital cinema framework addressing all aspects of the much-anticipated digital cinema rollout: full output long-term content commitments by multiple Hollywood film studios; the widespread deployment of digital projection systems with exhibitors, and a broad industry commitment for the installation, operation, and financing of those systems through a proven, experienced service provider.

By launching a program with a plan to convert at least 15,000 screens in the United States and Canada, Thomson further believes it will have the scale to support all interested exhibitors in a move to digital cinema, from large chains through independents. In response to exhibitor and studio requests, Thomson will start its rollout with a “beta test” to prove DCI equipment operates in a commercial environment at the very high level which all parties require.

Today’s announcement demonstrates Thomson’s commitment to enabling the transition to digital forms of distribution for its customers. Thomson will manage revenues flow from both physical/analog environment as of today (print fees and distribution charges), and from the digital cinema environment (virtual print fees and distribution charges). Thomson estimates that the opportunities from the market for digital cinema services are at least as great as from today’s $1.5 billion global film print and distribution market.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 11-11-2005 07:01 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bevan Wright
DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Sign Agreements to Utilize Digital Projection Systems from Technicolor Digital Cinema in 5,000 Screens in the United States and Canada; Twentieth Century Fox, New Line Cinema and Weinstein Comp
Hmmm.

Lots of movie distributors mentioned (I almost used the term "film distributors" but then I guess that terms really doesn't mean what it used to anymore).

Where are any mentions of specific movie exhibition chains? Loews? AMC? Regal? Carmike?

The videotape technology guys need to get something down in writing to help out the movie theater people actually working in the trenches making their product legitimate. Making it a real "movie." Making deals with distributors alone doesn't cut it. It does nothing to halt the destructive trend where movie theater circuits continue to get financially squeezed in an ever worsening fashion.

The D-Cinema guys need to wake up on this. Tech-saavy movie fans like myself are part of what makes this industry tick. But if it is something that gets reduced to a straight-to-video thing where the only movies made are made for some kind of disc, I won't give the first damn about that industry's future. I'll just play videogames, watch TV or do something else for entertainment.

They better start doing something that is actually beneficial to movie theater chains already.

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
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 - posted 11-12-2005 02:09 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What Bobby said.

Funny there is no mention here of the exhibitor!! Nice that they have worked out a deal between the studios and the hardware manufacture; this makes it sound like are they just going to GIVE the projectors to the theatres. Fat chance. How come the theatre doesn't get to partake of that virtual print money? -- if they'r running video, that saves the distrib the cost of the print. How come the theatre isn't part of this sweet deal? And Who owns these video projectors after they are paid for by means of the "virtual print fee?"

You know, why don't they just buy-out the theatre owners and run their crappy pictures on whatever piece of hardware they fancy? Evidently they are assuming the theatre owners are just going to gingerly accept whatever the studios and Technicolor unilaterally decide to hoist on them.

In the Technicolor press release it says: "20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema and the Weinstein Co. are in final negotiations to back the venture, which intends to deploy up to 5,000 DCI-compliant screens during the next three to four years. Over 10 years, Technicolor plans to take the system to a total of 15,000 screens." I see the Technicolor execs are once again having that recurring wetdream of theirs. This is the same company which proudly proclaimed that within a year of the STAR WARS I release, they were going to "roll out" 1000 DLP units as Dee "seeds" Well, THAT prediction fell short by more than 900!

"We spent a lot of time developing a plan that would work for both the big studios and the small studios," said Joe Berchtold, president of electronic distribution services for Technicolor. We didn't want to bootstrap our way into this. This is truly about a transition for the industry, and that means everybody..... [u]At this time, no exhibitor has yet to sign on to install Technicolor's digital cinema system"[/u] So it's everybody except the exhibitor is part of this great transition! It goes on to say they "expect" to announce exhibitors 'agreements in the next 30 to 60 days. Technicolor seems to be good at "expecting" things to go their way.

And just to muddy the waters a little more....." Berchtold said the company will test projectors with both 2K and 4K resolution in an effort to let the market decide which
technology works best."
So although we all get to pay the same $10, some of us will be watching 2K video while some will get treated to 4K, and the way this will be decided is by the same theatre owners who took 15 years to install $700 reverse scan cyan readers. Betcha there will be alot more 2K units than 4K if we have to depend on the market place to decide what's "good enough." But then, backing up, I am still not sure who is actually BUYING this equipment. To make it even more confusing, what is THIS about?: Technicolor estimates that the total cost of an installed digital cinema system will be in the $90,000-$100,000 range, but Berchtold said the cost to exhibitors will be similar to installing a digital screen advertising system, which many theater chains have done independently of their studio partners. The cost of a digital advertising system runs about $10,000-$14,000, according to industry sources. So exhibitors only pay for projectors that cost $10k to $14k? Seems to me this is a disaster waiting to happen, even MENTIONING those ad projectors in the same breat as DCI-complient video projectors will just smear the distinction in the minds of the exhibitors between those crappy advertising projectors and real digital cinema units....whatever they wind up being. So now there not only will be 2K-based units and 4K-based units, but inevitably even some jack-ass exhibitor will think VGA-based units will be "good enuf." So the public will be getting treated to a whole range of quality. Yet another reason for them to opt for their own home video theatre rather than the Realto's. Happily there will still be plenty of 35mm film-based units out there as well, only now you will have to be sure which is which when you venture out to see a FILM. Buyer beware.

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Bill Enos
Film God

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From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
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 - posted 11-14-2005 06:50 AM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, if everybody, exhibitors, studios, distributors, etc. came into agreement today, how long would it take t he handful of mfgrs. to make the 15,000+ of digital projectors necessary to implement the conversion? One problem I've seen first hand is that the makers of the projectors and their personnel are from other industries and don't understand that when I push start at 7:15 tonight, the machine absolutely MUST start and if it doesn't it is useless. Rebooting the server or the projector at showtime is unacceptable, but they say "we can take care of that tomorrow". That may be acceptable in a boardroom where they are going to present a video tellin the execs how great a jobthey're doing, but tell 1,000 people who just paid $10.00 to see some half assed movie that they have to leave because a $100,000 projector won't work.

One good thing will be though, with same day DVD release all you will need is a $36. Wal-Mart DVD player and the DVD you will buy there too to get on the screen, thus bypassing the imbecillic distribution system.

It doesn't have to be good, it only has to be good enough.

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John Pytlak
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 - posted 11-14-2005 09:43 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Lyle Romer
By big screens at Pleasure Island are you referring to either Auditorium 1 or 2 (the 500 seat houses with balcony)? If so, how did it look? Was the Barco able to to light the screen to spec? I think those screens are around 60-65 feet wide in scope (complete with the wonderful AMC HITS sound system).

The two big screens seemed to be lit very well, with good brightness and uniformity. I didn't have a meter to verify light levels. Since last year, new perforated screens and sound system have been installed, so the sound was MUCH better than previous ShowEast screenings. Brad Hohle of Dolby NYC was on hand to be sure all the sound was as good as it could be.

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 11-14-2005 11:00 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They must have changed the screens and sound systems recently. When I saw "Batman Begins" and "War of the Worlds" in one of those two auditoriums, it was still torus screen/HITS setup.

I'll have to go back there and see what it sounds like now.

Back to the topic, one thing that disturbs me about the DCI standards is that they are allowing releases in 2k or 4k. My opinion is that the releases should all be 4k and then the projectors can be either. This way an exhibitor that wants to spend the money on 4k will be guaranteed the ability to use it. If the studios can release in either resolution, let me take a wild guess which on they will use.

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Brian Guckian
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 - posted 11-17-2005 05:52 PM      Profile for Brian Guckian   Email Brian Guckian   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yep, that makes sense. Presumably the day is not far off when 4K material can be distributed viably.

Remember also that it isn't all about resolution, and that there is a relationship between perceived resolution and the contrast ratio. TI did an excellent dissertation on this a couple of years ago and if I can find the material on line I'll post a link to it.

Also, the higher the resolution the more "real" the image appears. That's actually not necessarily desirable when making fiction films, and the aesthetic impact of digital needs to be debated.

It's also intriguing how Technicolor have bridged the financing gap. Are they essentially providing long-term finance via recoupment of virtual print fees over a very long time?

(Aside: will the Studios set up Digital divisions?...Fox Digital Pictures, Warner Digital...it could happen).

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 11-17-2005 07:14 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Having more image detail is always going to be a better thing. Substituting that with lower resolutions and strange claims of high contrast ratio mean little to nothing. I think TI pushed a lot of those papers in part to gloss over the huge problem their first DLP chips had only half the pixels of a 1080 HDTV image and their new chips are merely equal to HDTV resolution.

The HDTV marketplace is an excellent example of that loony form of marketing as well. You'll find stuff like "6000:1 contrast ratio" in bold letters on the TV's sales tag, but then you have to dig through the owner's manual to find out the monitor has nothing near a 1920 X 1080 native pixel image. It is still pretty rare to find HDTV monitors with native pixel counts listed in plain view on the sales tag.

This is not to say all D-Cinema stuff should be released in 4K format. I think that should happen when the movies themselves are actually produced in 4K.

Lots of movies these days have their CGI effects still rendered in 2K format, even though top end computer systems have enough horsepower to make 4K practical. Why use that extra horsepower to make the image look better when you can render it even faster and cheaper in 2K? The same holds true of lots of movies produced with digital intermediate techniques. Most are still done in 2K, not 4K.

In short, a movie produced with 2K CGI and digital intermediate techniques just needs to be distributed at 2K level. It's a waste of disc space to quadruple the file size to 4K. You don't create any new detail interpolating it up to that size. Hopefully the 4K projection systems being developed can handle line doubling properly to scale up a 2K native image.

I suppose the thing that has to happen is a bit of truth in advertising about the differing video origination and projection standards. If there's a mix of 2K and 4K content as well as 2K and 4K projection, customers should have a way of finding out the difference.

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