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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Converting to Sony 4Ks in 2 weeks. How do you prepare for digital? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Converting to Sony 4Ks in 2 weeks. How do you prepare for digital?
Grant Chambers
Film Handler

Posts: 29
From: Branson Missouri, USA
Registered: Jul 2012


 - posted 02-23-2013 10:56 PM      Profile for Grant Chambers   Email Grant Chambers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The condition of our booth is bothersome for what lies ahead. The company bought this theater in pretty rough condition a couple of years ago, and has patched it up just enough to make do. Extremely frustrating.

We the projectionists have been somewhat left in the dark, not knowing anything until the last second. From what I gather, It will be our sole responsibility to connect the automation and sound systems up for these projectors- all 15 of them. And apparently, my company was not aware that the older DTS system is not compatible with the new Digitals. They thought the sound system just came with the package... An unexpected upgrade, and one that they fully don't understand. We threw out the idea of using digital to analog converters and they love that idea - but then we realized that we would be still relying on out-dated equipment, that is barely working, to sustain the new upgrade. Is there anything else I need to know about this process?- Because we are not getting a lot of information.

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Tony Bandiera Jr
Film God

Posts: 3014
From: Moreland Idaho
Registered: Apr 2004


 - posted 02-23-2013 11:20 PM      Profile for Tony Bandiera Jr   Email Tony Bandiera Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Getting Sonys? Run, don't walk away.

And put in your two week notice now.

In all seriousness, you sir are on the Titanic my friend and it's just hit the iceburg.

Sonys have the highest operating costs and worst reliability, bar none. ONLY Sony's techs can work on the damn things too.

And if your owner is unwilling to spend the extra (Aprox.) $3k per screen to get a CP750 and bring your sound processors up to date, do you really want to be around for the headaches that are coming your way?

And from your post, I take it there is no outside integrator to do the installation and set-ups for you? If that is the case you are in for some very nasty times ahead...

Sorry to be so gloomy but from here this has disaster written all over it. I hope that in a few months you can come back and post something to prove me wrong.....but I have my doubts that you will be able to do so.

Best of luck to you. I am sure some others will come on here with advice that will either agree with me or reduce the pain with other advice.

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6440
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-23-2013 11:25 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Go to the unemployment office and apply for Dislocated/Displaced Worker status.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8353
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 02-23-2013 11:39 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Most expensive units to be operating with impending doom for the pocketbook in a few years when that LCoS system in the light engine begins to have display issues due to the intense heat from the light gradually fades the arrays.

You need, at least 1000cfm exhaust with these units, or the bulbs will be black within half of their warranty period...and pull those SRX bulbs out (depending on what size you are using and if using 3D) when the taillight yellow and is blinking. If your exhaust isn't turned on after five minutes when the projector is on, the projector will shut down and lock up with an 'exhaust error' and the projector has to be turned off and shortly back on to remove this error message to get the projector back up and running again.

If you get a "Ballast Error", this could be a fatal message meaning either the bulb has died, or the ballast (rectifier) has failed. If the bulb has died, do a changeout and do the power cycle to clear this message.

If you're just leasing the units with a VPF deal, then it isn't so bad since it's not all of your money. But on a straight purchase, they're the "YUGO" of the D-cinema world.

They do give out a great 4K display with the correct content ingested.

Oh, the IMB inside is rather tempermental-they use "Deathstar" HD's in the RAID that one will fail on occasion.

Do a complete reboot once a week on these units so they can remain behaving if you're planning on keeping them on in standby mode at the end of the day.

I work with 10 of these creatures. Please PM me with more questions about these units.

But, doing your own installs is very complicated since there is a lot more installing digital than installing a 35 mm setup-you need Strong Technical Services to do your SONY installs for you.

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Grant Chambers
Film Handler

Posts: 29
From: Branson Missouri, USA
Registered: Jul 2012


 - posted 02-24-2013 12:09 AM      Profile for Grant Chambers   Email Grant Chambers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was afraid of this.

The idea of someone else coming to do these installs is not going to happen. Sony techs come down and put the things where they need to go. They expect all major cables to be identified in advance and everything ready to go.

They are going to keep the theater open during this install as well.... a 10 day process, so that will be extra fun. To be exact, the Sony's that we are getting are the "New" SRX-R515P models. Haven't heard much yet about these things. And we are still waiting to hear about the sound upgrade.

And the best news of all - they will send some of us to train at one of Sony's training centers.... wait for it... AFTER THE INSTALLS.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8353
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 02-24-2013 01:28 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are you going to use your existing setup for sound or start from scratch with new processor amplifiers, speakers, et.al. ? Sonys can use the existing system but will need an interface device for the digital output from the IMB in the SONY to talk to the existing device processor. Ususally, the most common interface unit is the Ultra-Stereo eci60 interface unit that can be connected to practically any existing processor.

The "515's"

Good and (sorry) the bad:

Good - smaller footprint than the 320's and can do 4k resolution.

Bad-They use SIX UHP mercury bulb modules (three on each side of the console that must be installed) and if you know anything about mercury light, it's basically like the bulb is in a street lamp.

A bulb that, instead of using xenon gas, contains a drop of mercury that must be vaporized to emit light. Thus, there is a ballast that shoots a spark gap within the bulb to begin the vaporization of the mercury. Then the main arc takes over to emit the light. This is why when a street light ignites, it's very blue until the mercury is fully vaporized then will get to full brilliance. Making, you might have to leave the bulbs on at all times instead of shutting the bulbs off between performances since they take so long to be fully heated up to emit the best light possible.

The claim is that these UHP (Ultra High Pressure) mercury bulbs is that they have quite the duration, but will dim with age within a few hundred hours. And as with any bulb that dims with age esp with mercury bulbs, there will be an obvious color difference with the light. Xenon bulbs just get tired and lose their brilliance after a few thousand hours, but the color temperature will not change-it remains around 4100 degrees kelvin. Mercury bulbs lose their brilliance a lot sooner and the kelvin temperature will drop down to the 2700s which is a soft yellowish light.

Thus, if one module suddenly looses its color, ALL modules will have to be changed to keep the same color output, unless the unit has some sort of color compensation to correct the offset to keep the same color of light at a constant.

They contain the same LCoS light engine as does the larger 220 and 320 units and can do 3D.

Big thing with any new product is that they're going to have their obvious "growing pains" in their own form.

Here is some blurb on the topic of these "budget" projectors, including the 515 on the second page

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2565
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 02-24-2013 04:56 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The light engine of the 515 is not the same of the 220/320. It's still based on SXRD but definitely different. It's actualy based on the VW1000.
515's sw is still very raw, Sony know it and they produced a bulletin with all the issues documented. It'll get better!
Picturewise the 515 is amazing. Don't be too concerned about Sony, DLP fail as well! Sony is just different, have its ups and downs. But to be honest picture quality is very good.
Hard Drives fail, sure. SONY raid have 7 drives. 1 spare and two redundant. I still have to see an LMT that cannot be recovered just swapping drives.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 02-24-2013 07:33 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Grant Chambers
And apparently, my company was not aware that the older DTS system is not compatible with the new Digitals.
Can you be more specific towards the audio setup in all booths?

If Sony Techs come to install the projectors, there should be no problem with these.

The Sonys have digital audio outputs only, 16Ch AES balanced or 8ch unbalanced ('Dolby Type') - what processor do you currently have, and is it the same type for all booths/screens? I assume all 35mm equipment will go?

What kind of automation/needs to you have - lights, curtains, masking? Was there automation for 35mm? What type?

There is a PDF manual for the Sony available - I suggest you get it from Sony to prepare for basic operation. Sony software is certainly not yet finished, but all functions are there for daily operations, and I don't think there are stability issues.

- Carsten

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6440
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-24-2013 08:05 AM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Grant Chambers
And the best news of all - they will send some of us to train at one of Sony's training centers.... wait for it... AFTER THE INSTALLS.
They are going to use you for grunt labor so that they can get the equipment installed as quickly and cheaply as possible. You will basically haul the equipment up to the booth, unpack it and set it into place. At that point, the techs will take over. They might let you stand on the sidelines and watch.

They will send one or two of the theater managers for training. The G.M., an assistant and the booth manager if you have one. Depending on how many people work in the theater, they might send one of your best operators ("booth leader") for training as well. The rest of you will be unceremoniously dumped. If your theater's management are nice, they might offer you a position as an usher, a box office cashier or a concession operator, downstairs.

I have seen this happen in two different theaters. One theater basically said, "We don't need you anymore," and, after the launch date, all the booth employees were let go. The other one offered the booth employees other positions but I don't think any of them took the offer.

Regardless of the timeline or the manner in which it occurs, your job is about to be eliminated. Get down to the unemployment office now. It takes a few weeks for the paperwork to be processed. If you want training as a dislocated/displaced worker, you'll need to get ahead of that ball as soon as possible.

Just by listening to you talk about how cheap your theater's management is, I can't imagine that they are going to keep very many, if any, of your booth workers. They have spent far too much money on this conversion. Unless they got some kind of grants or low interest loans or have done a lot of fundraising, they are likely to be in debt. The first thing they will do in order to make ends meet is to cut payroll. The first place they will cut payroll is in the booth.

You can be certain that they will get rid of most, if not all, of the booth workers. Unless you are certain that you will be kept on, long term, get out now while the gettin' is good.

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Ken Lackner
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1885
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 02-24-2013 10:44 AM      Profile for Ken Lackner   Email Ken Lackner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Tony Bandiera Jr
ONLY Sony's techs can work on the damn things too.
False.

quote: Tony Bandiera Jr
And if your owner is unwilling to spend the extra (Aprox.) $3k per screen to get a CP750....
Who says it has to be a CP750? What's wrong with a USL JSD-60? Or an ECI-60 to interface with existing processor. Grant says he has "DTS sound systems," so I'm assume 6AD. There are tons of these lying around that can be had for cheap as spare parts if one fails.

quote: Monte L Fullmer
Most expensive units to be operating with impending doom for the pocketbook in a few years when that LCoS system in the light engine begins to have display issues due to the intense heat from the light gradually fades the arrays.
Sony replaces the optical unit under warranty. Annoying, yes. But not a cost issue to the exhibitor.

quote: Monte L Fullmer
Oh, the IMB inside is rather tempermental-they use "Deathstar" HD's in the RAID that one will fail on occasion.
Please use the correct terminology. While most probably understand what you are referring to, Sony systems do NOT use an IMB; that is a component found in DLP projectors, which Sony is not. The media block may be housed inside the same chassis as the projector, but it is not an IMB. And show me a hard drive that will not eventually fail. I'm sure plenty of folks on here have replaced failed drives on Dolby, Doremi, and GDC.

quote: Marco Giustini
Hard Drives fail, sure. SONY raid have 7 drives. 1 spare and two redundant. I still have to see an LMT that cannot be recovered just swapping drives.
Exactly. I've had LMTs operate for weeks with a bad drive until I could get out there to replace the drive, which is a 10-minute procedure.

Do I personally prefer a Barco or Christie projector? Sure. But I had to call to light some of the inaccuracies presented as fact here.

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2565
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 02-24-2013 11:36 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
quote: Marco Giustini
Hard Drives fail, sure. SONY raid have 7 drives. 1 spare and two redundant. I still have to see an LMT that cannot be recovered just swapping drives.
Exactly. I've had LMTs operate for weeks with a bad drive until I could get out there to replace the drive, which is a 10-minute procedure.

Someone may say "Dolby and Doremi have RAID as well and behave exactly as you're describing". Then why I come across Dolby/Doremi units stuck in a situation where the unit fails to identify a faulty drive (despite the SMART table clearly identify it as such) and tries to rebuild on a faulty drive, leaving the installer with the only option to reinitialize (doremi) or reinstall (dolby) the server?

Not a massive deal, it does not happen very often. Just to point out a Sony upside, where with 3 redundant drives it's very unlikely that you lose your content.

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1567
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted 02-24-2013 12:16 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How do you prepare?
>Make sure your resume is up to date.
You may be looking for a new job next month.

Don't get me wrong- I wish you the best of luck. It's
obivous you care about what's happening at your theater
or you wouldn't have expressed the concerns you did.

But I can echo what Randy said in a few posts earlier- -
I've seen a number of situations like the one you find
yourself in where those who did the most work to move the
digital conversion "process" forward were the first ones
to find themselves looking for new jobs the day after the
installation was complete.

Everything may work out OK for you- and I hope it does,
but you must also be prepared for the possibility that
it won't. . . . "I'm just sayin...'

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Grant Chambers
Film Handler

Posts: 29
From: Branson Missouri, USA
Registered: Jul 2012


 - posted 02-24-2013 12:40 PM      Profile for Grant Chambers   Email Grant Chambers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks all for your replies and input.

The audio is currently running through the 6-AD DTS system for all houses.

I'm not sure why I worry about it so much, considering the pay. I just love what I do despite the nasty suprises every oncein a while. It's all for a good show.

I anxiously await the weeks to come.

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6440
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-24-2013 02:09 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm happy to see that you have a good work ethic and take pride in what you do. Those are good things and they will help you in whatever career path you decide to take.

I'm sorry to sound so negative and pessimistic but, unfortunately, most big companies don't value the work that people do and they don't care much about individual people.

Maybe I'm being harsh but the point is to get people to look at reality. Read this thread in the Ground Level forum: http://www.film-tech.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=002655

quote: "Dennis Benjamin"
Regal Entertainment Group is a company that is run by the numbers:

As an employee you are given a employee number. You work at a numbered location in a numbered region.

That's it.

There are too many companies that don't give two shits about the people that work for them.

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

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From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 02-24-2013 02:42 PM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The easiest is to use a D-A and plug it into the 6-AD. The cost difference between a D-A and a CP750 or JSD-60 isn't daunting, but replacing the processors requires a B-chain alignment which won't be free - and I don't advise anyone to try it without the proper equipment.

My advice: don't break your back on this job. Advise management that you are not a mover and will not be carrying projectors up stairs - they can hire proper equipment movers. Also that you aren't an installation tech and can't be expected to do 1.5 sound and automation conversions a day. This is a reasonable schedule for experienced installers who know the equipment well. For someone learning as they go... good luck.

Once the systems are all running, you can expect to be either unemployed or selling popcorn.
There's no reason to work your ass off to save the company the cost of having professional installers do the work - it won't mean SFA to them when layoff time comes (and it IS coming). Maybe you can get a "booth manager" job and do the ingesting and playlist prep plus routine maintenance but you better get an employment contract signed before you count on it. Even this will mean most of your hours will be floor/concession work - a digital booth is essentially unmanned: ingesting, prep, and maintenance take very few hours a week. It's cheaper for them to train a few of the managers how to do it - "manager" just means unpaid overtime to the bean counters.

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