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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » What to expect from Digial Projectors? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: What to expect from Digial Projectors?
Tim Turner
Film Handler

Posts: 87
From: Chula Vista, CA, USA
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 04-29-2002 01:46 AM      Profile for Tim Turner   Email Tim Turner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So my theater will be getting 2 digital projectors. I beleive they are Christies but it hasn't been confirmed. The plan is to have them ready for SW:EP2.
Anyway I'm wondering, what happens now? Am I slowly being kicked out of the projection booth?
I was wondering if there was a FAQ anywhere with alot of info on what to expect.

Because I have a ton of questions!


*Will these machines ever have to be monitored?

*As a projectionist will I have to have any interaction with the thing at all?

*Do the shows start automatically through a timer?

*Do the lenses ever have to be adjusted, because of a blurry picture?

*Is it possible to run movies manually? And tell the manager that's the only way to run it? :-)

*How long does it take to download a movie?

*Does the Hard Drive ever become framgmented causing the picture to be slow or choppy?

*Is there ever that distortion in the picture like with HDTV after changing a channel?

*If for some reason the machine malfunctions and the show goes down, how will anyone know where the movie left off?

*Are they noisy?

*Is it possoble to download any movie at any time? Say for example I wanna see Spider-Man in the digital projector that has SWEP2, but our theater wont be showing it. Could I late one night erase "SW-EP2", and download Spider-Man, watch it during closed ours, then delete it and re-download SWEP2 agian for the next morning like nothing happen?

* Can these things even hold more than one movie at a time?

* I've heard about the earlier digial projecors running off Microsoft's Windows 98. Is this still the case? If so, and Windows Crashes do the customers get to see that famous "blue screen" projected on the screen?

* Do they generate alot of heat after running for many hours?

* Are there any known problems so far?


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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1535
From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 04-29-2002 02:57 AM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
1. Yes, they do have to be monitored, they aer finicky beasts and like company.

2. You will have to do usual projector things, keep it clean, chnage it's lamp etc.

3. I've never personally seen automated show start on a DLP, but there's no reason why it couldn't be installed.

4. Remember there's no moving film or gate, so once set, the lenses shouldn't need to be adjusted for focus, however that doesn't mean they won't due to heat for example. It's as easy as focussing a film projector.

5. Of course you can run it manually, what are you supposed to do when the automation breaks down?

6. The HDDs in the server, shouldn't get fragmented, remember apart from upload they are pretty much read only.

7. Occasionally you get glitches or artefacts.

8. The server either produces or runs to time code.

9. Not espcially noisy compared to a 35mm machine. Mainly fan noise.

10. As yet, program is not being downloaded to theatres on a mass scale, not here anyway. The program arrives on DVD or data cartridge, or on caddied HDD's. If you had the source material then I guess you could delete a movie, load another, watch it, delete it, upload the original, but why bother?

11. Depends on the available storage space.

12. Never seen a D Cinema machine having anything to do with Windows, other than a laptop running the makers setup software.
The server is it's own boss, as is the electronics of the DLP head.

13. They do generate a fair bit of heat, but in a properly installed and ventilated setup, this is not an issue.

14. How long is a piece of string?

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5111
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 04-29-2002 04:59 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So Pete,

How long have you been running these beasts? The big question mark that I heard techies talking about when they first came on the market was that the typical 7000w lamp pumping all that light and heat energy thru the nanomirror apeture assembly would eventually cause those little mirrors to fail, little by little -- stop responding to the signal. This would leave pinpoint spots on the screen, either of color or black, depending in what on/off position the mirror got stuck in. Any evidence of this in your setup so far? How hard is it to swap out one of these very expensive modules? And could a projectionist do it or does a TI $200-an-hour (travel time extra) technician have to do it? Given the cost of the replacement, and the fact that management tends to be Republican, I can see them letting the image be dotted with thousands of these points of light. Also, what kind of cooling system is being used? Seems like it would have to be redundant and highly failsafed; should it fail, that module would burn just as easily as does film that gets stuck in the gate, no?

Big question -- can you play video formats OTHER than the proprietary way the movies are configured on the hard drives? In other words, could you hook it up to a DVD player and just play an ordinary NTSC source?

And lastly, what's the sound output? Is it a special soundcard in the server? Does it output 6 channels, 8, 12? I recall reading a remark by a pretty unhappy president of Panastereo saying that a very big issue for audio hardware manufactures is that this issue has not yet been settled and they are still debating the sound format -- evidently they were first talking about 12 and even a higher number of channel. And wouldn't the sound quality only be as good as the soundcard as to poor specs that are common to many computer sound cards -- like the hum and crosstalk and the famous st...st....st....stuttering/buffering problems? I take it the audio channels simply hookup into the CP? And when the digital audio information gets misread, the Cinema Processor automatically switches to the SR analoge track.....oops, sorry, no backup SR analoge track to save its digital ass.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-29-2002 06:48 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm mildly familiar with the Framingham setup, which uses one of the TI units with a Christie console and Qubit player. I don't know how similiar/different this is to the other DLP installations.

No, you can't hook up a VCR or Playstation to it.

The sound output appears to be 6-channel discrete, which plays through the format 10 input on the CP65. There is a digital delay unit in the Qubit rack for the surround channel.

The lamphouse produces quite a bit of heat, since the large lamp (5k or 6k, I think) stays lit all day.

The system itself is connected to the film-projector automation and uses the same timer. As a result, the failsafe on the film projector needs to be held up somehow (with tape, wire, etc.). Between shows, the operator just re-sets the timer.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9389
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-29-2002 07:09 AM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually I believe you are getting Kinoton Barcos and they will probably tie into the existing automation

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Paul Konen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 981
From: Frisco, TX. (North of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-29-2002 09:46 AM      Profile for Paul Konen   Email Paul Konen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I will attempt to answer these questions since I probably have the most time on these projectors.

I imagine that the playback system that will be used will be the Technicolor Digital Auditorium Management System (AMS).

1. Even though mine were installed back in Dec, I have not had the chance to use them. Although I will probably expect my staff to watch the AMS Monitor for any errors.

2. Probably not, once you have the platter loaded, there should be nothing else to do.

3. The playback systems do not have a timer, but if it is part of your setup, then it would probably work. However, this will require that either your lamp is constantly on, or your automation can turn it on and off.

4. Maybe just a little focus, but once it is set, I have never had to adjust focus again.

5. Yes, you can go to the AMS system and click on the play button.

6. Currently, there is no download. The image will come either on a hard drive or on DVD's. The hard drive copy will take slightly longer than total image time on the source material. Once you have the copy, remove the original, then you will build your platter and make another backup copy.

7. I don't believe so. Each time you will have to erase all the previous media from before starting a new one.

8. Don't know.

9. Currently, if one hard drive fails, the system will catch that and ask if you want to go to the backup drive. A future software revision is in the works that will automatically switch to the other hard drive. There is also a running clock on the monitor display to show you were you were at.

10. The only noise is the exhaust fan that you hear anyway, and the buzz from the lamphouse running.

11. Again, no satelite downloads or anything like that right now. Besides, the material will be encrypted and the process will have to be that you receive an email or floppy disk with the decryption keys to unlock the material.

12. With 4 hard drives, it is possible to hold 4 shows with no backup or two shows with a backup drive.

13. These systems run on Linux and that is mainly for playback system. The output from the disks runs through another piece of hardware (decoder) and then to the projector head. Newer systems may not have the decoder in the AMS but rather in the projector head itself. No one ever see's what the operator sees.

Frank, been running the same chips for about 2 1/2 years and have not had one fail yet. The DMD's (on my setup) have their own liquid cooling system.

From what I understand, these OEM manufacturers (plural spelling?) have ports that will allow NTSC hook ups.

Scott, yes the sound is ran through the external 6 channel input on the CP-500. It used Mode 11. We have a custom format screen that places this mode on the SoftKey that normally would have the startup format of the regular projector.

Paul.

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Tim Turner
Film Handler

Posts: 87
From: Chula Vista, CA, USA
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 04-29-2002 10:42 AM      Profile for Tim Turner   Email Tim Turner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
[quote]6. Currently, there is no download. The image will come either on a hard drive or on DVD's. The hard drive copy will take slightly longer than total image time on the source material. Once you have the copy, remove the original, then you will build your platter and make another backup copy./quote]

I see, actually my theater already bought two satilites, but they're having trouble getting it THX approved.

If I understand right. they will have 4 HDD? And a T1 connection?


Also is the rumor true that SWEP2 will be released 3-5 days early to theaters with digital projector?


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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9389
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-29-2002 12:29 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You are getting the Boeing system

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Paul Konen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 981
From: Frisco, TX. (North of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-29-2002 01:42 PM      Profile for Paul Konen   Email Paul Konen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you are getting the AMS system, yes 4 HDD but unless you theatre is paying for the T1, no. There is no need for that yet because the safety, secutiry of satelite download has not been totally worked out.

Paul

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

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From: Toronto Ontario Canada
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 - posted 04-29-2002 01:57 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You will have a Boeing system useing a grass valley server at chulavista

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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1535
From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 04-29-2002 03:23 PM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank,

I don't run them, I am a factory trained installer/maintainer of DLP's. I've not run a show of any desription for about five years now.

The dark chip has some fairly serious heat filtration between it and the lamp, the cooling system is both air and liquid and has various flow switches and temperature sensors. Of course the chip wears in time, but as yet I've not seen any burned up. I've heard tales of early machines without all the interlock magizmos that have burned up chips. On replacement. I did it as an exercise, it's not something your average projectionist could perform, but you wouldn't necessarily need a TI technician, you'd need someone like me, an ordinary projection/sound engineer who's been trained to deal with DLP's. I wouldn't like to pay for the chip either!

Actually there is no technical reason that you couldn't hook up your VHS to a DLP, whilst in a standard cinema installation this isn't regarded as worthwhile, remember that DLP's are not just used for cinema exhibition, conferencing is one market where multi-format input would be a necessity, and it is available as an option from at least one manufacturer. So if you had the right bits of gadgetry you could easily plug your Playstation in!

The audio can come straight off the server as 6 channel no pc soundcard is involved, there is nothing like the compression involved in any of the current digital sound formats, in fact if there's enough room on the server, the audio need not be comrpessed at all. In reality you don't need a CP, as it's doing nothing other than EQ, but in most existing setups it's being interfaced to existing sound equipment, so for the moment 6 channel seems to be the flavour of the month. This is not carved in tablets of stone though, but it would seem illogical to move away from a tried and tested format.

Interesting this, I didn't think anybody was biting at the Boeing bait.

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David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 4006
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 04-29-2002 03:27 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is the Boeing satellite delivery system considered "finished" or is it still a work in progress? Is it susceptible to weather-related interruptions? Satellite delivery seems like the most efficient way to do this, if they can get enough exhibitors signed up.

I can't believe the servers aren't using RAID-5, or that a redundant (mirrored?) drive is optional instead of standard.


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Greg Mueller
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1687
From: Port Gamble, WA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-29-2002 05:02 PM      Profile for Greg Mueller   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Mueller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"What to expect from Digial Projectors?"

Push this button, wait 5 seconds, press this button, POOF!

Scotty
Chief Engineer, Enterprise

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9389
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-29-2002 06:24 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The servers use raid technology

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1493
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 04-29-2002 07:47 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How are trailers handled on these- are you forced to play whichever ones are included with the movie or can you add or change them as long as you have them in digital format? Also, how do the house lights work? (I can only wish this system would force everyone to keep the lights down during the end credits, but there's probably a way around that.)
I assume if this gets further off the ground they'll have some provisions for being able to show more than one movie on the same screen during the same day.
BTW anyone know if any theaters in the Sacramento, CA area are getting DLP? The closest one I know of is the AMC Van Ness in San Francisco, and I haven't had time to get down there.

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