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This topic comprises 9 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 
 
Author Topic: all digital projection theatres
Edwin Schwing
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 116
From: Las Vegas NV
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 08-25-2007 01:08 AM      Profile for Edwin Schwing   Email Edwin Schwing   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi all

What do you all think of these new "all digital" theatre companies that seem to be popping up lately?

I am sure Brad hates them since "Film Juice" will never enter their abodes.

How about anyone else?

I am currently between jobs, but I am trying to decide where to go. Digital or 35MM....

Any one?

E

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-25-2007 01:21 AM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, its a simple choice. If you are looking for a managment position, go digital. If you're looking for a projection position your only real choice is 35mm.

I'd say what chain you want to work for should have more bearing on your decision.

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David Zylstra
Master Film Handler

Posts: 432
From: Novi, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2007


 - posted 08-25-2007 09:37 AM      Profile for David Zylstra   Email David Zylstra   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are digital chains that realize there is still a need for qulified booth personel - i.e. there still needs to be knowledgable eyes and ears to make sure the presentation is correct. The film work disappears but it is replaced by a lot of IT work to get films ingested/transferred, schedules input, delete old content, etc - not to mention you still take care of the sound side of the equation; our guys are very busy Tue-Thu making sure everything is set for the weekend on our 18 screens.

If you like the art of presentation there will still be some digital projection positions with the exhibitors who want to ensure quality for their customers. (I know there is one exhibitor building an all digital location that is paying a decent salary for their booth manager position - I don't know what the actual title is but the duties are coordinating all the digital ingests/transfers, etc)

You could always go the service route and work for one of the evil empires doing digital field service - they definitely have long term contracts (i.e. 10 yrs +) so there is minimal worry that the work will disappear until 2020.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16587
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-25-2007 10:40 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: David Zylstra
There are digital chains that realize there is still a need for qulified booth personel - i.e. there still needs to be knowledgable eyes and ears to make sure the presentation is correct. The film work disappears but it is replaced by a lot of IT work to get films ingested/transferred, schedules input, delete old content, etc - not to mention you still take care of the sound side of the equation; our guys are very busy Tue-Thu making sure everything is set for the weekend on our 18 screens.

Absolutely! All the Digital Locations around here have maintained projectionists for those very reasons. The only striking difference for those who've never seen an all digital booth is the absence of platter systems. MUT's and Rewind benches. The projectors are about as big as before and there is more stuff in the sound rack or an added sound rack for the server. There is still program ingestion, build up and Code Keys to retreive load in although none of it is as labor intensive any more....

Mark

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Thomas Pitt
Master Film Handler

Posts: 266
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: May 2007


 - posted 08-25-2007 03:37 PM      Profile for Thomas Pitt   Email Thomas Pitt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Also, while digital cinema may not be as labor-intensive or prone to failure as 35mm film, things can still go wrong. A common misconception is that a digital cinema can be run completely by one person sitting at a workstation, doing all the loading up and running of movies remotely. You still need people in the booth to adjust the projector if it goes out of focus or out of alignment, change the lamps, and keep an eye on the presentation in case something goes wrong.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-25-2007 04:14 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Thomas Pitt
A common misconception is that a digital cinema can be run completely by one person sitting at a workstation, doing all the loading up and running of movies remotely. You still need people in the booth to adjust the projector if it goes out of focus or out of alignment, change the lamps, and keep an eye on the presentation in case something goes wrong.

Well, one can almost run them from a central station. Indeed Christie Digital has a monitoring department resembling Mission Control in Houston that monitors all their installations from this central Office in Cypress,CA. They can tell if a projector goes down, if the lamp has failed, if an input has been switched and if a technician is at work on the system among other things. This is on a screen by screen basis. Any screen can be called up 24/7 from this central location. If a failure occurs the site automatically comes up on a large fault screen on the front wall of the office.

If a projector goes out of alignment or out of focus(digital projectors do not suffer from focus drift!) it will require a technician to properly deal with it. The regular projectionists can keep an eye on things though just as they always have. Shows can be started and stopped manually or by a time clock or by a remote just as always.

Mark

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-25-2007 07:03 PM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You guys are really making mountains out of molehills here. Ingestion? Plug the drive into the LMS/server and walk away. Build ups? Five minutes per show max. Transfers? Save your show list to where you want it, hit transfer, walk away. You have to be insane to pay someone to only do build ups/ingestions/transfers. As far as other booth things to take care of-there are very few-if any-user servicable parts in a digital projection system. Bulb changes would be it for the projector. Anything that goes wrong with the server is something a technician needs to handle. As far as sound goes there's really nothing to maintain-anything that should go wrong (outside of a blown speaker or a card in a processor that needs to be replaced) would be something a service technician should handle.

I'm not saying digital projectors don't need their own brand of 'care and feeding'; but having someone on staff who 4-5 days out of the week will only be setting start timers seems like a collosal waste to me.

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David Zylstra
Master Film Handler

Posts: 432
From: Novi, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2007


 - posted 08-25-2007 07:43 PM      Profile for David Zylstra   Email David Zylstra   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Dustin Mitchell
You guys are really making mountains out of molehills here. Ingestion? Plug the drive into the LMS/server and walk away. Build ups? Five minutes per show max. Transfers? Save your show list to where you want it, hit transfer, walk away. You have to be insane to pay someone to only do build ups/ingestions/transfers
multiply this by 18, 20 or more screens - booth staff at our larger locations earn their keep Tues-Thur by managing content - i.e. weekly playlist preview changes, tracking down holdover and new KDMs, ingesting into LMS, timing all weekly moves for when there will be room on the destination server, retransfering failed transfers, QC'ing content to make sure it is good (we've had glitches that don't get caught by the checksums), coordinating special buyouts, etc.

It's a waste until something catastrophic happens that loses several busy shows - only to find out that the catastrophe could have been easily avoided by someone who noticed a minor issue and called for service before Sat afternoon.

I get a few reports a month from my staff at all 3 locations about something minor going wrong with the show starts - i.e. lamp didn't strike, sound didn't switch over, show didn't start at all, etc - I'd rather have the insurance of someone available to immediately fix the issue. We've discussed how to reduce booth labor, but no matter how you look at it if you want to ensure presentation quality for every patron you must have someone on staff to verify that each show started and that it looks and sounds good (of course building size is a factor so some smaller locations can get away with managers monitoring the booth). Also, if any location is doing any alternate content or buyouts I'd rather have someone qualified plug their source into the projector and adjust it correctly than any manager who happens to be on duty (there have been several important ones I have done myself to make sure we give the best picture possible - some minor tweaking is almost always needed)

quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
They can tell if a projector goes down, if the lamp has failed, if an input has been switched and if a technician is at work on the system among other things. This is on a screen by screen basis. Any screen can be called up 24/7 from this central location. If a failure occurs the site automatically comes up on a large fault screen on the front wall of the office.

So far they have not caught any of our failures . . . . . every issue my staff calls about is news to them - all repairs have been reactive, none besides the ones I've asked for have been proactive . . . . . they are still adding features to the software so eventually they might be able to find out about server issues before we have an onscree issue, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-25-2007 07:52 PM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For an 18 screen theatre perhaps one could justify having a dedicated booth person even in a digital booth.

For a 12 screen theatre? No way. We normally run with the manager and either an assistant or a staff leader (on weekends or busy days its manager, assistant, and staff leader, or assistant manager and two staff leaders). While someone is always assigned the responsibility of setting start timers (and verifying the shows starting properl-who here hates the 'lamp strike fail' error?) that person can easily help out downstairs too. In a film booth one has to monitor focus/watch for brainwraps/etc between shows; time can also be spent taking care of minor maintenance of projectors that aren't running, etc. In a digital booth there is nothing to do betweens starts. In my experience (over a year now) with digital projection if the show starts fine 99% of the time nothing will go wrong during the show. The occasional malfunction can just as easily be spotted from an auditorium check as it can from the booth.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16587
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-25-2007 07:55 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Dustin Mitchell
For a 12 screen theatre? No way. We normally run with the manager and either an assistant or a staff leader
Having done alot of work in Wisconsin I can attest to the fact that the projectionist is probably making cheese [thumbsup] .

Mark

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David Zylstra
Master Film Handler

Posts: 432
From: Novi, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2007


 - posted 08-25-2007 07:59 PM      Profile for David Zylstra   Email David Zylstra   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, our 10 screen has become mostly manager run - with the lower business level they have time to learn the booth and how to ingest films . . . . we usually run a "swing shift" booth person who comes in after the first set of shows have started and leaves after the last daily show starts (or goes home early if the manager is not busy) . . . .

I think eventually as digital becomes more reliable we will eventually see things run even easier (I know some chains are talking about controlling playlists from the home office) The eventual goal is to have a staff-less booth, but the equipment has to get a lot more reliable before it happens.

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Darryl Spicer
Film God

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From: Lexington, KY, USA
Registered: Dec 2000


 - posted 08-26-2007 02:44 AM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One thing they can't do from the home office. Clean the equipment. Make sure the port holes are cleaned. Wipe the dust of the projector and sound rack equipment. I'll tell you right now who ever comes in to do maintenance on the equipment is not going to want anything to do with wiping the dust off the consoles and cleaning the port glass. Remember all this stuff is computer based. It will never be reliable enough to leave it alone completely. If you believe that I just might have some swamp land down in Florida I will sell you. Sometimes I want to beat the shit out of my digital projector when it pulls the lamp failure or dowser failure or TPC locks up and you have to restart the projector. Granted this doesn't happen every day but it pisses you off when it does and it pisses the customers off when the movie does not start on time.

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John Walsh
Film God

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


 - posted 08-26-2007 07:09 AM      Profile for John Walsh   Email John Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have to agree with Dustin on this. Most of the reason to go to digital is to seriously reduce labor in the booth. If quality presentation was really the goal, we wouldn't be getting rid of 35mm in the first place.

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Stephen Furley
Film God

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From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 08-26-2007 11:01 AM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Dustin Mitchell
For a 12 screen theatre? No way.
I can think of plenty of even single screens that have a full time projectionist; indeed, most of the ones that I know do.

quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
If a projector goes out of alignment or out of focus(digital projectors do not suffer from focus drift!) it will require a technician to properly deal with it. The regular projectionists can keep an eye on things though just as they always have. Shows can be started and stopped manually or by a time clock or by a remote just as always.
And how long does that take, compared with the time that it takes a reasonably competent projectionist to fix a typical problem with a 35mm system, which in my experience is usually just a few minutes? Of course, there will be very rare major breakdowns which cannot be fixed that way.

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-26-2007 11:19 AM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A 12 screen theatre running film should have a full time booth manager/projectionist/whatever, yes. A 12 screen digital theatre? No.

And to answer your question, if something major happens that cannot be fixed remotely a tech will be several hours away at least usually.

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