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Author Topic: Digital Cinema
Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-26-2000 11:23 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Over the past several months there have many articles on digital cinema. It is difficult to tell the b.s. and hype from any real info. if any. It seems to me that after the "COMMITTEE" selects a system, the developers of the non selected systems will sue, the court battle will last for years and by the time all is resolved all the systems will be completely obsolete and everybody will start over, meanwhile film will have continued. Where are we headed?

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17662
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 07-27-2000 12:28 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds like a great plan to me! Let them try and sue and kill more time. I just hope there isn't different versions of the "digital" cinema available like having 3 different types of digital audio. Let's pick one and stick with it.

Any form of video is crap anyway.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 07-27-2000 01:49 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) welcomes and invites participation of expert individuals who can participate in and contribute to its standardization efforts:
http://www.smpte.org/engr/

There are currently seven Study Groups working on various aspects of Digital Cinema Technology in the SMPTE DC28 Committee: DC28.02 Mastering, DC28.03 Compression, DC28.04 Conditional Access / Encryption, DC28.05 Transport / Delivery Systems, DC28.06 Audio, DC28.07 Theatre Systems, DC28.08 Projection.

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16112
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-27-2000 03:22 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bill, John,
Thats pretty much what's happened to HDTV. While all broadcasters have to change over to the new format(The FCC mandated it) to stay on the air, the system is already obsolete, and extremely lacking(at least there's Dolby 5.1 though!). This is a good example of a committee type of doing. Plus there are at least several different standards. In Salt Lake City we have 1080 lines interlaced(NBC), and the other is 720 progressive(ABC). Both basically look the same. A close watch of HDTV will be a big indicator of where e-cinema will head. Hopefully that is to the dumpster.
Mark


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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-27-2000 08:06 PM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Let's call it what it really is:
Digital VIDEO Cinema (a.k.a. television in an auditorium). When you buy your ticket they'll tell you, "your video is playing in Living Room # 18".

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Lowell Peterson
Film Handler

Posts: 13
From: Sherman Oaks, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-27-2000 11:55 PM      Profile for Lowell Peterson   Email Lowell Peterson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Texas Instruments did a demonstration of their video projector today at the Directors Guild theatre in Hollywood for ASC members. They showed split screen comparisons with 35mm anamorphic on one side and their micro-mirror "black chip" video projector on the other half of a 51-foot screen. Projection throw 102-ft, video delivered off DVD-ROM. Clips from Star Wars I, The Insider, American Beauty and Mission To Mars. Then they showed full screen video only clips from anamorphic and 1.85 movies.

TI reported that there are 32 theatres in the world setup for their DLP video projection, all prototypes. About 15 movies have been transferred for video projection. Total cost of the prototype equipment is about $200K. They believe that the first manufactured models will be end of next year at about $100K per installation.

Altho many of the ASC members in attendance were unhappy with the inability of the video to render deep black, the overall reaction was that the video looked pretty good. The image has good contrast, altho the color rendition is not perfect.

I noticed that the squeeze was wrong for most of the 2.35 material - the people were fat. The screen geometry was also wrong for everything (picture too big for screen). Considering that the TI technicians spent days optimizing the system, this does not bode well for multiplex quality control.

The clips seemed to have been chosen to make the video look good. Other demos I've seen with flat daylight scenes have not been impressive (i.e. desert scenes from Starship Troopers).

Overall, tho, I was surprised that it looked this good on a 51-foot screen.

Lowell Peterson ASC

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 07-28-2000 08:34 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lowell Peterson wrote: "TI reported that there are 32 theatres in the world setup for their DLP video projection, all prototypes. About 15 movies have been transferred for video projection. Total cost of the prototype equipment is about $200K. They believe that the first manufactured models will be end of next year at about $100K per installation."

I personally have a very hard time believing that the $100K per installation figure will be achieved anytime soon. In another user group posting, Gordon McLeod reported MUCH higher equipment costs, especially if you add in the specially modified lamphouse, the two unique and very expensive anamorphic lenses (1.5X and 1.9X), the QuVis or similar server, etc.

AFAIK, the thirty or so current prototype installations are being heavily subsidized, as are the added costs of mastering and replication. A May 18, 2000 press release by Technicolor said "Along with creating the digital distribution medium – in the form of DVD-ROM – Technicolor is providing the expertise to deliver, install, upload and then test each digital cinema installation. Additionally, the company is providing significant funding to help offset the costs of the demonstration systems, installation and service."

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com

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Phil Connolly
Film Handler

Posts: 80
From: Derby, England
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 07-28-2000 09:29 AM      Profile for Phil Connolly   Author's Homepage   Email Phil Connolly   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The European standard for HDTV will be 24 fps progressive scan at 1080(ish)lines. This does not bode well for film production as at some point 24-P should cost less than 35mm.

Why waste money on anything as unimportant as film stock?

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Stefan Scholz
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 223
From: Schoenberg, Germany
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-29-2000 04:57 AM      Profile for Stefan Scholz   Author's Homepage   Email Stefan Scholz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At a theatre owner's convention this week, we were treated to a comparison of footage shown in 24p digital and film. They were using "Million Dollar Hotel" and large format Sony equipment for video. Film was screened on 35 mm Ernemann projector.
The digital image had to be significantly smaller than the film, to reach the same brightness on screen. The footage produced on Sony's 24p camera looked interesting, and was of decent quality, a solution for smaller auditoriums. At a following discussion, we agreed on the point, that real large format would still require filmprints for brightness reasons. We believe film will stay for showcase exhibition, and the low cost 24p "video" process will be the future for the smaller screens. Non of the digital screening I attended reached showprint quality, but some of them were surprisingly good.
And the fact, that this system was brought in by Sony, offering a complete system, from taking, postproduction to "projection", the final word on a specific technical system has not been spoken.
Three companies signing the TI-DLP-deal, by far companies beeing of international sizes and financial powers, does not mean, that it's going to be the future system.

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Ethan Harper
E-dawggg!!!

Posts: 325
From: Plano, TX, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 07-29-2000 10:43 PM      Profile for Ethan Harper   Email Ethan Harper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
digital video=suck!

film=will always be better! Digital will never come close to the quality that film can do, and anyone else who says differently is
"stupid!" they obviously dont know anything, my favorite was in that article with that guy who is working on Star Wars 2 who said that digital video will help protect your speakers from blowing. what a smart one that one (whats that sarcastic face again? hold on) ok here it is . its obvious to me how smart people are out there about film.

Has anyone heard about the intermittent that goes 48 frames per second?

"Viva La Resistance!"
--Southpark

------------------
--"That's my story and i'm sticking to it!"--

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John Walsh
Film God

Posts: 2490
From: Connecticut, USA, Earth, Milky Way
Registered: Oct 1999


 - posted 07-30-2000 10:23 AM      Profile for John Walsh   Email John Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually, I not completely against Digital Cinema. I think it is the comming thing, and anyone who can't (or won't) see that is doomed to be out of a job in 10 years or so.

I'd like to suggest that Brad create a seperate forum area just for the discussion of technical issues with e-projectors and associated equipment.

Advertising is serious business, and the potential for on-screen ads with captive audiences (held prisoner is more like it) is too great an income to ignore. We already have seen a big increase in theater advertising. Advertisers will help pay for Digital Cinema, and owners will want e-projectors to reduce labor costs (meaning projectionists.)

People say it's too expensive, but look at the history of most electronic devices: When I worked for Radio Shack (God help me) in 1973, I sold a calculator for $159.95 that only added, subtracted, multiplied and divided. Now, they give away better calculators. The first CD players were $1200; now they are $40. I won't even go into computer equipment. While it's true calculators and CD players are consumer items and e-projectors are not, the same rules will apply, but will take longer.

So, cost is only a temporary issue with Digital Cinema. "Temporary" does mean 5-7 years or so, but that's not so long (at least it feels that way when you're over 40 years old!)

My issues with Digital Cinema are: Is it at least equal to what we have now? The answer is: close, but no cigar. Is there one standard to make things easier on whoever has to "load" and operate the equipment? The answer is: no, looks like the industry will (again) have "dual inventory," only an electronic version.

Since the public has a history of accepting lower quality, (they "wowed" at Cinerama, 70mm, etc, but stopped supporting it after a while) I'm sure Digital Cinema will be accepted, too.

So, if you want to keep your job, start learning video. Because in 10 years (my guess) projectionist jobs will begin to dry-up, and the film projectionist will go the same way as the iceman, slide rules, and blacksmith.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9442
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-30-2000 12:57 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think it is that simple
The infastructure will take far longer to put inplace and and if the if competitors started control the infastructure then I wouldn't be suprised that justice dept would start to take a very close look especially since they have been noseing around the film industry again.
I also don't think northa american audiences wil put up with the amount of adverts necassaery for a advert agenancy to be interested in paying for the cost
Also if every cinema in North America were to convert it still would not be a large enought numbers to bring the cost signifigantly down
Also most film gross more in foreign marktets than in North America and 35mm prints will still be required as most of these markets will not be easy to convert for a very long time. 35mm is a international standard electronic delivery is not and in some countries is regulated. No producer in there right mind would screw up the loss of that revenue steam especially since it is regularly larger than there northamerican one
Digital Cinema is still a long way away

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Stefan Scholz
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 223
From: Schoenberg, Germany
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-30-2000 03:00 PM      Profile for Stefan Scholz   Author's Homepage   Email Stefan Scholz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As far as European figures go, advertising will not pay for Digital CINEMA projection, but for lower quality, if advertizers accept this. So there even might be dual systems, lowres digital for commercials, introduced today, widespread usage, paid for by advertising companies. And Hi res for movie presentations and ads, future use widespread.
From the point of exhibition, only Western Europe and the continental US will be able to afford digital technology. Think of the biggest film markets - India and China - they still make and sell 1930's type clone movie projectors and use them with "Peerless Magnarc" copy arc-lamps.
Digital sound was a true step foreward in exhibition. But 7 years after first introduction of the current systems, about 40.000+ (please correct me, if wrong, but I think it is about this figure) units have been sold to about 25.000+ sites worldwide.
Digital sound was about $ 15k investment, settling on your existing hardware.
There are about 125.000 sites with 35mm projection worldwide, so only 20% have reached the goal of digital sound today.
Digital picture is 10 - 15 times this investment, with no improvement, and no immediate savings.
And studios will not support transition with cash payments.
Good point: Projectionist, improve your skills to become a network administrator, and your job will be safe. More skills - more payment, and safe job.

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Aaron Sisemore
Flaming Ribs beat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups any day!

Posts: 3061
From: Rockwall TX USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-30-2000 10:42 PM      Profile for Aaron Sisemore   Email Aaron Sisemore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Stefan Said:
"Digital sound was a true step foreward in exhibition."

actually digital sound was what all but totally killed 70mm, the *real* future of exhibition.

Vive La FILM!

Aaron

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Robb Johnston
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 147
From: St. Louis Suburbs
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 08-03-2000 12:07 AM      Profile for Robb Johnston   Author's Homepage   Email Robb Johnston   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I saw a split screen demonstration using the opening sequence from Dinosaur. Frankly I was impressed though there was a sync problem.

Apparently the current system is 23.7 frames per second so our host was constantly pausinging restarting the DLP to keep approximate sync. The picture and sound still appeared very smooth. My preferance with color varied with the scene. The blues looked better on digital, the greens looked better on Film.

One of the reasons that many feel the cost will decrease so dramatically is that currently the percentage of mirror units is very low (around 30% pass). However, TI is building a new facility for these units only. with more than a million mirrors in about a square inch and failure meaning 3 mirrors per unit, I can understand the current problems.

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