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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Not All D-Cinema Projectors Are Equal! (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Not All D-Cinema Projectors Are Equal!
Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 12-28-2008 11:25 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've read it enough times here... that all digital projectors of a given size "should more or less look and perform the same". That is simply bullshit! I had the good fortune to replace a BARCO DP-100, considered to be a large projector, a couple of weeks ago with a Christie ZX, considered to be a medium size projector. Both projectors use the same 1.2" DMD's and the zoom in use on the BARCO was simply moved over to the ZX, so the very same lens was utuilized. Not only did the Christie ZX have a much higher quality picture than the DP-100 was capable of mustering but I was able to light up the same screen with just a 3kw SG lamp instead of requiring a 4.5 kw SG lamp as was in the BARCO. And there was more headroom in scope available in the Christie where as the BARCO had no headroom in scope and could barely make 14fl. The final results had the ZX running it's 3kw lamp at 1870 watts for flat and 2670 watts in scope to make 14fl. In this case the smaller projector trounced the bigger projector easily and with room to spare.

Anyone else here had the opportunity to do a similar swap with any other brands of projectors?

P.S. Mr. Moderator would U please move this to the Video forum!!

Mark

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Demetris Thoupis
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 - posted 12-28-2008 02:40 PM      Profile for Demetris Thoupis   Email Demetris Thoupis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wasn't the Barco DP100 one of the first generation 2K projectors? While as the Christie ZX was introduced in Nov 2007 if I remember correct. As I said a lot of times, what you buy today becomes immediately obsolete when you purchase in D-Cinema. I bet Mark that if two years time, you will have one Digital projector which can cover the needs of what you did now with a 2K bulb!!
Demetris

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Tristan Lane
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 - posted 12-28-2008 03:43 PM      Profile for Tristan Lane   Email Tristan Lane   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I imagine if you pitted simlar generation DP-100 and CP-2000H you would still see improved brightness and performance from the CP2K.

Mark's point is that the key imaging components in both machines are the same. The formatter interface within the ZX might be better, but the DP-100 components are in no way obsolete. Similar things could be compared within the 35mm realm.

Either way, it is interesting to hear that the ZX is brighter than the DP-100 using half the wattage. Brightness specifications of the DP-100 and ZX are almost equal, so in that respect, the DP-100 is obsolete.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 12-28-2008 05:29 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Then again...who set up the DP100? What are the measured color spaces (additional filtering translates into less brightness).

That said, I have found that the ZX to be an absolute light-cannon...however, that is about all I like about it, aside from the size. the CDP thing on the back is miserable and the web-interface is a nightmare of slowness. The uber-long boot up and the insanely long cool-down for the thing, that don't seem to be actual temp. dependant are annoying. If the ZX's tail lights are flashing (cool down/warm up)...it'll ignore you.

Imagewise, one should be able to obtain identical results, if not more flexibility on the DP100. Again, raw light efficientcy, the ZX is incredible...I also much prefer to change lamps in a ZX.

So are all projectors Equal? Perhaps not a realistic question. They are pretty equivalent though. One should choose based on the features that matter most to an installation...just like with film projectors.

Steve

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 12-28-2008 07:39 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve,

I had set up the DP-100 myself... after trying three different lamps in the 4K range we came to the conclusion that the BARCO's lamp system is very inefficient compared to Christie's.

Am surprised that you're not using the T.I. setup software... Its far more accurate than anyone's DLP interface...BARCO's included, although it's difficult at first to learn. The only thing you might need to use X interface for are lamp changes, lamp per channel calibration and downloading error logs to send to the factory. Well, ok... you can also re-name the channels in X interface too if you need to. If you think the present ZX web interface is slow, and I don't really as it seems about like being connected at 56K, you shouda been using them with Version 1.0... that was pathetic at best.

The DP-100 has a similar boot up time and also should get a 15 min cool down when turning off the lamp which is what the ZX and I believe all Christies time out at. To me this is a normal cool down cycle even for a 35mm projector. At least the Christies DO shut off their blower systems after cool down where the BARCO does not.

Mark

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Bill Enos
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 - posted 12-28-2008 08:03 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
FWIW I just timed our DP100--takes 1:52 to boot.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 12-28-2008 09:57 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
I had set up the DP-100 myself
Probably the problem...right there. You are more than a little biased and if you think the TI software is faster/better than the Barco...then you don't know how to set the Barco up very well.

As to the ZX boot up times...they are about 3-5 times longer and unbelievably long on the cool down...again...not temp dependant. The problem is...once the ZX is in a cool down...forget it...you can't restrike...it is worse than an LCD projector. It would rate the ZX's feel is more like running a 300 Baud modem...even with a direct connection.

I have no problem with a 15-minute cool down on the blowers...I do have a problem with the projector forcing one to wait 15-minutes on a reboot.

Steve

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 12-29-2008 09:59 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Guttag
Probably the problem...right there. You are more than a little biased and if you think the TI software is faster/better than the Barco...then you don't know how to set the Barco up very well.

I never said the T.I. software is faster but it does allow much more fine adjustment than anyone's interface software BARCO's included. To the new user it is actually very clumsy... obviously written by the engineers at T.I., I guess thats why they call it Engineering Software.

On the BARCO I have had very good training and in all honesty myself as well as another very experienced BARCO tech did all we could to get more light out of it. The fact stands that the BARCO just isn't a light efficient projector in todays's world. That "other tech" maintains close to 40 BARCOs and they also have to run over 4K or larger lamps on their 40 foot screens.

I may be biased but I am only biased towards companies that offer excelltent during and after the fact service and give the most bang for the buck. That bias could change tommrrow towards anyone else that offers better of the above mentioned things.

quote: Steve Guttag
As to the ZX boot up times...they are about 3-5 times longer and unbelievably long on the cool down...again...not temp dependant. The problem is...once the ZX is in a cool down...forget it...you can't restrike...it is worse than an LCD projector.


The initial power off(cold) boot up time is slower than an after powered (hot) re-boot. The interface has to boot up first and then the projector. Once it's been initally turned on the boot up time is no longer than the BARCO. Servers typically take twice as long to boot as any projector does and hopefully you've taught your customers to re-boot the whole system... not try the projector one and then the server or vice versa. The patrons will be waiting for ever no matter who's stuff has been installed! Also, keep in mind that the majority of digital locations are never shut down because they are monitered... the projectors just eventually go into a sleep mode... automatically. The interface is still powered though for the monitoring capability. Some day when you have a whole herd of digital projection systems to look after you may be doing similar things from your easy chair at home.

Little is known about short gap lamps at the present time. But one thing that is known is the worst thing one can do to them is re-strike a hot one immediately. Doing so results in more damage to the anode than in a normal cinema lamp. Hopefully you have instructed your BARCO and NEC users to allow a similar cool down period before re-strike. If you are not then you are not getting the best lamp life or performance that you could be getting. One thing I can say about Christie DLP is that they do get excellent lamp life and consistantly... and that is why.

quote: Steve Guttag
It would rate the ZX's feel is more like running a 300 Baud modem...even with a direct connection.
You should check your firmware version. What you descrribe sounds like the old firmware to me and it was awful. I just don't see that slow of a reaction time through either the TCP or the web interface. Its slow but not as slow as you describe.

In all fairness I shoulda probably compared this DP-100 to a CP-2000 thats at the same site but it's running 3-D and on a different sized screen. From my experience with other CP-2000's though and data I know of from a shoot out at MALCO Theaters that the CP-2000 still beat the pants off the current BARCO equivelent sized projector. But then whats to expect from a company with as much experience in reflector design and as huge a lamp manufacturer behind you.

Mark

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Demetris Thoupis
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 - posted 12-29-2008 07:47 PM      Profile for Demetris Thoupis   Email Demetris Thoupis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve, I doubt Mark is unable to configure correctly any D-Cine projector out there. He might be favourable towards the Christie line but I don't believe that a technician like himself would ever let down anything before getting the maximum out of it based on his capabilities. As far as getting the same results on the screen from two different projectors, I believe that with a lot of adjustments using specific test instruments and software, one should be able to achieve the same brightness, contrast, colour temperature on any projector (after all is Digital).
Demetris

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 12-29-2008 09:47 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes!

Demetris, I could have brought the brightness level of the ZX down to that of the BARCO by installing a 2kw short gap lamp! My point is that not only do the images look different... at the same brightness levels... but the ZX which is a medium sized projector easily outdoes the large sized DP-100 projector with just half the lamp wattage! As good of a rep as the BARCO gets... and this one in particuluar has been VERY reliable with nery a problem aftyer being moved at least 4 tmies to different locations... it's still clearly a light dog.

Steve can gripe all he wants about the TPC... and it IS a bit clumsy but after initial installation by those that actually use it, it is used but perhaps every other month to do a lite- lock adjustment. It's mainly used at initial setup and afterwords for lamp changes. Since I have made it a habbit to use the T.I. software for the DLP setup the TPC doesn't matter much to me, and certianly not my customers, but the projector performance on screen and end operating cost very definately do.

Mark

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Sam D. Chavez
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 - posted 12-30-2008 12:29 AM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There does seem to be a consensus of sorts in the industry that the Barco is not as light efficient as the Christie and NEC. I don't know this to be fact as I have not been in a position to do actual A/B tests. It's rather early in the game to have D-Cinema projectors laying around like Simplex and Century projector heads and lamphouses.

Some say the light difference if any, is due to Barco's smaller integrator rod (size matters?) perhaps it is the reflector design or simple difference in age of the optics or the coatings.

What I don't understand is why one 1.2 chip projector looks different or better than another apart from absolute light output and/or absolute color temperature.

In Mark's recent changeout, he used the very same lens from the old projector in the incoming ZX so we can eliminate that I guess. I don't know Mark ran the same material in both projectors back to back, or if this is merely an impression Mark was left with, and of course impressions are always open to question unless there is data to back it up, i. e., test patterns, contrast ratio, etc.

I have done two installations with Barco DP2000's and the results look excellent on their own merits and am about to do a 10 Plex with 10 ZX; 7 with the new full chip triple flash 3D capable projectors and 3 of the older version ZX's. Ought to be interesting.

[ 12-30-2008, 02:22 AM: Message edited by: Sam D. Chavez ]

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Steve Guttag
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 - posted 12-30-2008 06:44 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bring your sun glasses, Sam...the ZX is rather bright.

Steve

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 12-30-2008 08:26 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, We used the same content, pattern, Server, etc. One thing I'll say is that one should NOT use the patterns built into a given projector for doing masking adjustments!!! Use a Dolby Screen Masking File off the actual Server and pause it till you're done. I have found that there IS some difference in the internal projector patterns and the signal the DCP-100 puts out.

Sam,
Best of luck to you on the install, we already have three locations going in for 09 that are all digital. Two of the owners don't even want film on the premises but I know that one will have to give in on that. The other already has another theater less than a mile from the new one going up so he is well covered.

All those that have compared the two images agree there is more Snap to the image from the ZX. Sorry, but I am still waiting for Jack to release the forthcommming "Image Snap Quantity Meter" before I can make accurate measurements on that factor.

Epilog:
The BARCO which was removed is still running and living happily in yet another theater with yet another new owner and yet another new Dolby Server. I wonder how long it'll be beforer it's sold again???

Mark

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Tristan Lane
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 - posted 12-30-2008 11:40 AM      Profile for Tristan Lane   Email Tristan Lane   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
One thing I'll say is that one should NOT use the patterns built into a given projector for doing masking adjustments!!!
I agree with this statement for the most part. When using anamorphics, I have yet to find an internal test pattern that will allow you to correctly crop the image to masking, or adjust masking to image (on Christie anyways). I do use internal patterns for setting flat and n/a houses and they seem to match up well with the Doremi playback.

quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
The BARCO which was removed is still running and living happily in yet another theater with yet another new owner
Hah! That projector gets around more than a college co-ed! It spent time on two different screens when it was here.

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Lyle Romer
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 - posted 12-30-2008 12:18 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess it makes a little sense that different projectors with the same DLP chipset can look different. Doesn't each manufacturer design their own light engine?

Even though the DLP chips and formatter boards are the same they can still all produce different quality images especially when it comes to brigtness, contrast and color accuracy.

All I can say from personal experience is that the Christie CP-2000 ZX creates a great looking and VERY bright image.

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