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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Will series-1 projectors run future movies? (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4 
 
Author Topic: Will series-1 projectors run future movies?
William F Green
Film Handler

Posts: 84
From: Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 07-18-2011 09:48 AM      Profile for William F Green   Email William F Green   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi all, we are being offered refurbished series 1 projectors as an alternative to new series 2 machines.

We are an independent in the UK currently screening movies no earlier than 6 weeks after release.

Part of the change between series 1 & 2 as I understand it is the encryption. Yes, I know there are other implications such as light efficiency and 3D suitability but 3D is not a priority for us anyway.

What I am concerned about though is if new movies could potentially be withheld from us (at the moment we are not on 1st release anyway) because we have installed a series 1 projector rather than a series 2.

Also are some series 1 machines capable of being upgraded to series 2 spec?

What we have to consider is either entering into a long-running VPF agreement (which none of us is happy about) or buying a series 1 machine outright with no VPF strings attached.

Thanks in advance for opinions.

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2074
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 07-18-2011 11:08 AM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would say they had better be really cheap to make them worthwhile.

Perhaps 50% or less of a series 2.

Christie has a program you can run on the series 1 projector in question to tell you which cards will need to be upgraded to achieve compliance. Once you figure the cost of the upgrade boards you will be better informed.

Also, there is the issue of 48 frame movies.

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William F Green
Film Handler

Posts: 84
From: Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 07-18-2011 11:13 AM      Profile for William F Green   Email William F Green   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for reply Sam. Yes, they would be cheap-ish, apparently around £15k at the most.
What IS the issue around 48fps movies? I'm fully 35mm now so unaware of these potential pitfalls - which is what I'm trying to avoid really by posting here.
Could you explain the 48fps problem?
thanks.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4426
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 07-18-2011 11:22 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It would appear that Series I projectors have a short, expensive upgrade path, leading to replacement.

Series II, they say, has a longer upgrade path; brighter also.

That is the reason the Series I's are cheap. Louis

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William F Green
Film Handler

Posts: 84
From: Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 07-18-2011 11:30 AM      Profile for William F Green   Email William F Green   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To avoid duplication.. I've now found some info on FT about 48fps.

I don't think brightness is an issue for us at all. The way I look at it, if a machine less than half the price with no VPF tie-in can do the job for a 60 day a year theatre then I'll take the cheaper option.

But.. I am still concerned, not about if a series 1 is the latest spec but if a series 1 will not be able to play a movie at all for any reason.

If a series 1 keeps us on screen for say another 5 years it seems like a better option than taking a series 2 machine which would cost more than our yearly box office take.

I'm open to all suggestions for or against series 1 purchase.

It seems as an industry we have really got ourselves into a crazy position where we are moving from a technology which has changed little in 100 years to one that is out-dating itself every 5 years or so.. but anyway, changing it is, so we have to deal with it I suppose.

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2074
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 07-18-2011 01:40 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
William,

You are not wrong about your points about switching from a 100 year old stable technology, but we are in an "Alice in Wonderland" scenario nonetheless.

I'm not the world's expert here, or a lawyer either, but the studios can enforce the DCI specifications regarding various encryption issues at their choosing at certain milestones, past and upcoming.

They may or may not choose to do so but it's in the language.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12084
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 07-18-2011 01:46 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are series 1 projectors and there are series 1 projectors. They are not all equal.

First off...a series 1 can never be made into a series 2 (short of throwing out the guts, keeping the chassis and putting all new guts in but by then, just by the new projector).

48fps should not be an issue for series 1s in a 2D mode...that was always in the spec. "Cinema Processing" was always supported to 48fps...but not 50 or 60fps.

As for updates required for VPF deals...one will be required to have either a GORE board or Glue Cable upgrade to the projector (the type is determined by the manufacturer...either way, TI board gets wrapped in this black plastic stuff that prevents tampering...the board will commit suicide if you even push on it too hard or leave it unplugged/unpowered for 6 months or more.

The cost for that seems to be in the $4K (US) range and less. What you need is a "type-5" board with security enabled (the series 1 DLP program will tell you board you have, regardless of NEC, Christie or Barco. On the up side, if you go to a type-5 board, you will have an HDCP compliant projector too...which will be handy for playing BluRays and other HDCP encrypted content. Note, Christie is trying to merely supply a glue-cabled board of the same type (lower cost than a full upgrade) so that if you have a type-3, you still have a type-3 but DCI compliant...I would always go for the type-5 board as it will make the projector more useful for non-DCI stuff.

But other than that (and the improvements the manufacturers have made), a series 1 projector is going to be indistinguishable from a series 2 downstairs in the audience. I have a complex that we just put on line with two series 1 projectors (DP2000s) and the rest are series 2s (also Barco). There is zero difference in their operation to the end user or the patron. They are under a VPF deal and have the GORE board upgrades.

Note, Barco currently has a rather attractive full-frame triple flash upgrade deal for series 1s too. So if you are considering a Barco series 1 and it is a DP1200-DP2000...I'd seriously consider it.

-Steve

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2074
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 07-18-2011 02:22 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of the true experts has now weighed in and while he is technically correct (he always is) the issue may not be so simple.

We are talking a whole other continent here and the rules of the road used in the USA regards VPF, and series may not apply there.

An exhibitor in the USA upgrading a series one projector already registered would likely be "grandfathered". That may not be the case in UK or EU or any place else.

Logic is not always the answer here.

I'd be careful about giving sweeping answers regarding this topic.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

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


 - posted 07-18-2011 02:50 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Sam D. Chavez
Logic is not always the answer here.
In this industry? Surely you jest.

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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1543
From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 07-18-2011 04:45 PM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well put Steve [beer]

William, at the end of the day, you pays your money, you takes your choice.

The Series 1s will be reaching the end of their supported life in around 5 years [Eek!] So if you do go for one, make sure that your longer term plan includes some whay of financing its replacement in the fairly near future.

I've customer who bought one of these second hand machines.... Not a great experience with it so far. I've also had dealings with a second hand server lately. Far too many issues for a refurbished unit. [Roll Eyes]

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12084
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 07-18-2011 05:20 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Barco has repeatedly told me they plan to support their projectors 10-years or so beyond discontinuation. In particular, the DP100 they said they planned on support through 2016...so if one is that old, then yes, as Pete said, some are in danger of parts availability issues.

Note, I brought up the DP1200-DP2000 in respect to Barco...they were in production until 2009...thus one has 8 more years on the parts plus they share quite a few parts from current machines. Note, I also still have Barco DP50s in service...it isn't like these things drop dead right away...however the discontinuation of support notice has been issued on the DP50 (and similar Christie vintage units).

As I said earlier...there are series 1 and there are series 1s...they are not all in the same state of usability and supportability.

-Steve

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2074
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 07-18-2011 07:09 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The relatively new DP100 power supply electronics are already no longer repaired. You have to buy a new power supply. Not exactly cheap as in a Strong switcher.

You are so right, there are Series One of several iterations.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

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


 - posted 07-18-2011 08:24 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What Steve and Sam said!
There are indeed series 1 projectors that can not be upgraded at all! I bet Carmike has a bunch of them! If it's used Christies you're looking at get the DLP Interface interrogater software and check them. There is a sheet that goes along with the software... Use the software to see what your module's SN is on the projector's currently installed board and then look it up on the sheet. If you don't find a replacement listed on the sheet for your projectors current module then you can not update them and you probably won't be able to VPF them. As for used Series 1 I'd stay within the last year or year and a half of manufacture on those and you should be pretty safe... at least with Christie and NEC.
As for BARCO... they have been through too many versions of those stupid firmware controled SMPS boards. My first run in with one was when we upgraded the firmware in an early DP-100 and the firmware upgrade killed the board. We had to move the non operable board to another still working DP-100 and downgrade just the SMPS firmware and that restored the module back to operation. With Christie and NEC they use a more typical switch mode type LVPS that is very tightly regulated instead of one that is software controled.

As for parts... I have had little trouble getting any parts I've needed for any projector thats needed to be repaired but be prepared to pay big time weather it's Series 1 or Series 2. This stuff is just damed expensive! Some insurance companies offer "break down" insurance. I'd certainly consider that on a used Series 1. NEw Series 2 offers warranty extensions fomr just about every manufacturer for as ling as 7 (Christie) to 10 years (NEC).

Mark

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William F Green
Film Handler

Posts: 84
From: Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 07-18-2011 09:16 PM      Profile for William F Green   Email William F Green   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is all great info.. which is really appreciated.

Some have assumed that we want a series 1 to be capable of being included in a VPF deal but as far as I'm aware series 1's aren't being included at all in the VPF deal I'm being offered.

The choice for us is used series 1 OR VPF on new stuff.

We are actually trying to AVOID a VPF arrangement. We have the option to go for a VPF deal now but if we go down that route for a new series 2 machine we will need to make a contribution to the deal of around £15k with the balance being met via VPF payments. However, if we go for a used series 1 we can buy a machine outright for slightly less than £15k with no VPF.

Why am I not keen on VPF's? We are a part-time screen within an arts centre and some of our screenings may not even attract VPF's at all leaving us with a shortfall to make up in VPF payments (although I have been assured by the providers that the VPF deal would work for us)

In short, we find the VPF deal a little worrying having always financed everything ourselves in the past and paid for equipment outright. Maybe it's just our mindset we need to change?

In terms of what equipment we are going to be offered I can see from all the advice here that this really is not a black & white issue at all. I'm still waiting to have it confirmed but I believe we are going to be offered a Christie and that it's going to be around 5 years old - which sounds like it might be a bit risky according to what some have said here.

My business partner instinctively wants to go with the apparently cheaper alternative of a used series 1 but I'm not so convinced that will be the cheaper option in the long run - especially after some of the advice on here.

Much more thinking/calculating to do I think.

If anybody thinks we are being foolish not taking a VPF deal, then please do say so. All advice appreciated!

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Kevin Fairchild
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 112
From: Kennewick, WA, USA
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 07-18-2011 09:21 PM      Profile for Kevin Fairchild   Email Kevin Fairchild   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My 2¢.

If you do end up buying the old series 1, make sure the CINEMA pays a higher price. I don't know if I would bother with all the chains of VPFs if I would only recoup $15k. So have COMPANY A buy the projectors at $15k, and have the CINEMA buy the projectors from COMPANY A at $35k.

I hope that makes sence, and of course this is all based on whether you can get VPFs on those old projectors. If you can upgrade to GORE, I don't think you will have a problem.

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