Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Any way to have NEC projector tail lights displayed in a remote location (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Any way to have NEC projector tail lights displayed in a remote location
Chris Daigle
Film Handler

Posts: 24
From: Gardner, MA USA
Registered: Dec 2012


 - posted 01-22-2013 08:13 PM      Profile for Chris Daigle   Email Chris Daigle   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on if its possible to display the NEC tail lights on a panel downstairs? In the event of an error condition, particularly when a show fails to start, the tail lights will be blinking red and the alarm will be going off up in the booth but because no one is in the booth, it goes un-noticed until the manager who is downstairs is notified by an employee or a customer that the show didn't start. I wanted to try and build something similar to my old Kelmar status board that we had in the 35mm world so that if we get an error at any time, a red light will blink (and possibly activate a buzzer) in the managers office and they can address it right away and not have to potentially wait for a customer to come out of the auditorium and tell us that there is a problem.

 |  IP: Logged

Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 01-23-2013 02:24 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not so much a monitor to check the tail lights on the NEC, but a client monitor to the server which controlls the projector.

Depending on the server, a network switch would go from server to monitor computer downstairs along with compatible software that can monitor the server's status .. and with on screen controls to remote operate the unit upstairs.

 |  IP: Logged

Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12539
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 01-23-2013 06:31 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would say the way forward on such an display would be one that can read SNMP messages, parse them and then show the status. Some have even considered having the equipment just email to ones smart phone.

 |  IP: Logged

Jock Blakley
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 218
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Oct 2011


 - posted 01-23-2013 07:22 AM      Profile for Jock Blakley   Email Jock Blakley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It would be cheating to suggest a CCTV camera pointed at the rear of the unit linked to a monitor elsewhere, wouldn't it?

 |  IP: Logged

Dave Macaulay
Film God

Posts: 2250
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 01-23-2013 07:29 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There hasn't been much if any thought given to this kind of concern by the digital cinema industry. "Security" is their number one design criterion, and they barely seem to be interested in actually showing motion pictures... security would be so much easier if they didn't have to let them out of the vault.
With a TMS system you can easily add a tablet computer or similar at any location, connected on the TMS/server management network, and VNC into the TMS to show the status of each server. Unfortunately the TMS only knows what the servers are doing. The servers, though, will happily play a show and indicate "all is well" on the TMS status screen - into a projector with its lamp off, a sound system that's not even turned on, or an automation control box that's failed or not powered leaving the house lights on or the sound playing nonsync.
There's no substitute for having an usher do a quick check during trailers to confirm the room is operational. Even with 35mm automation, there are problems that don't cause any "red light" alarms at the indicator panel.
You can't rely on patrons. They will sit through incredibly bad projection problems without going out to find a staff member. A staff member has to be doing auditorium checks - hopefully before the feature starts and at least once during it.
Doing test shows to confirm the DCP is OK also tests the auditorium - picture and sound quality should be assessed, and test shows should be rotated through all the rooms rather than always be in the most convenient/warmest/largest house.
I know of cinemas with a simple "security" camera set up in each auditorium. With a split screen monitor showing all the cameras the manager can at least see that there's an image on screen.

 |  IP: Logged

Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1435
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 01-23-2013 08:01 AM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, I understand that D-Cinema was sold to the exhibition industry on the premise that "you'd be able to save payroll". However, I am a firm believer in proper customer service. When we were 35mm, we had ushers check the shows at start time to make sure everything was o.k. (picture, sound, audience behavior, etc.)Now that we are digital, that practice has not changed. It even seems more important now - just to make sure the show is on screen.

While it is completely possible to set up SNMP traps for alerts and then having them sent out to various network locations, I still think good ole customer service is the answer to this problem. The more we turn over the operations of our theatres to machines, the less customer friendly we become...

 |  IP: Logged

Chris Daigle
Film Handler

Posts: 24
From: Gardner, MA USA
Registered: Dec 2012


 - posted 01-23-2013 08:31 AM      Profile for Chris Daigle   Email Chris Daigle   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I completely agree with all who say that an usher should be checking the auditorium during the trailers. We do that religiously and will generally catch most issues... however, my reason for wanting an earlier warning is that it seems the solution for many (not all) problems is to be re-boot the projector and/or server and then re-start the show. This whole process can take 6 or 7 minutes on top of the 3-4 minutes it may take before the usher realizes there is a problem and notifies the manager. I was hoping that maybe someone had figured out a way to immediately notify the manager via lights or alarm of an error at show start so that we could start the recovery process a few minutes earlier which goes to the improving customer service issue.

 |  IP: Logged

Ian Freer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 134
From: Wellington, New Zealand
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted 01-23-2013 03:04 PM      Profile for Ian Freer   Email Ian Freer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Chris
(Disclaimer: I have not yet utilised this myself so am unsure of all details following, but could be worth further investigation for you)...

For something nice and simple like a projector status panel, it may be possible to use the 37pin GPIO on the NEC. You won't get as much immediate information as SNMP traps can provide but I think as per your requirements this could work fine.

In their DCC software there is a GPIO setting page where you (or installer/tech) can assign a few limited functions to the inputs and outputs.
One of the output options is Projector Error Status. There is an option to choose what errors are monitored (I'd leave the all on, at least to start with as better a false alarm than no alarm) and in terms of setup it appears you can choose what state (Error/Normal) goes either High or Low on the output.

I have to say, in my experience, the number of Red Tail Light errors is pretty low, and more often than not the problems at show start is more likely to be a Dowser not opening or something and of course that is not an "Error", so that would only be picked up by a theatre check (or CCTV feed etc), BUT, in terms of covering ALL bases as much as possible in the name of Customer Service, I agree that this sort of thing is worth investigating..

If anybody has used the GPIO on the NEC's, please feel free to comment and let me know if I'm wildly off the mark in terms of it's abilities!

Cheers,
Ian

 |  IP: Logged

Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 01-23-2013 03:40 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Another Thought: If warm rebooting is necessary, sounds like the server and projector needs to be cold booted (complete and total shut down then restart)once a week to clear out "stale" memory that resides in these units especially if the two units are in standby or left on 24/7 all the time ... like you do with a computer (in which these two units actually are).

Doing this weekly shutdown procedure definitely eliminates such errors in the presentation schedules.

(An easier way to get the show back on if the server is playing back okey and the projector is stuck on preshow, is to do your macro change manually. Just press and hold the Macro button, then press your format button. Kinda does away with warm boots).

Good luck - Monte

 |  IP: Logged

Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12603
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-23-2013 04:50 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm surprised NEC doesn't offer a $700 remote tail light display for just this type of thing.

 |  IP: Logged

Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12539
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 01-23-2013 06:30 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why? I could sell you a computer system for much less that just runs the DCC and you will get the indicator in the upper right corner.

What I think could be done is for the conventional automation companies (like Eprad) is to parse the SNMP or other usable data coming from the projector and then work with their existing tally LEDs. One can already have those LEDs for their status station change based on where the show is (one can manually change them in the Macros/Programs)...the key would be to have a suitable macro execute if the right conditions occurred to cause the show to stop and then sound the right alarm...like a film break used to do.

 |  IP: Logged

Tony Bandiera Jr
Film God

Posts: 3044
From: Moreland Idaho
Registered: Apr 2004


 - posted 01-23-2013 07:24 PM      Profile for Tony Bandiera Jr   Email Tony Bandiera Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Would it seriously be that hard for someone to get off their lazy ass and actually take a quick stroll through the projection booth (if such exists) at the scheduled show start times?

Added benefit, if there is a problem it could be attended to right away.

Even running a 20-plex of film machines by myself it wasn't that big of a deal to do a walk-thru at show starts.

 |  IP: Logged

Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12603
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-23-2013 09:13 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, you would think it would be pretty easy for a "manager" to go from screen to screen and check things out. Having never worked in a multiplex myself I don't know for sure, but it seems like a no-brainer from a customer service standpoint.

 |  IP: Logged

Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 01-23-2013 11:08 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
True, I've noticed a trend of booth checks on the downhill roll since digital presentations arrived - like the arrival of a "magic box that does everything" eliminating an important location duty with the attributes of complacency and comfortability being the replacement.

 |  IP: Logged

Mike Connell
Film Handler

Posts: 4
From: Coventry, Warwickshire, UK
Registered: Jan 2013


 - posted 01-24-2013 05:22 AM      Profile for Mike Connell   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Connell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've been considering this over night (silly things like this bother me [Big Grin] ) and it seems the simplest method would be to make a quick circuit which runs off the indicator bulb to a relay which then operates both an indicator light in the projection room and one in the remote location. If you're lucky enough to have Cat5 cabling in the premises, you could use this to hook through the remote location.

I am making a massive assumption that the NEC projector has a simply accessible bulb and holder of course - not knowing the hardware specifically I don't honestly know...

Hi everyone, by the way!

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.