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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » NEC Series 1 subtitle issues (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: NEC Series 1 subtitle issues
Antti Nayha
Master Film Handler

Posts: 258
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 02-28-2013 04:04 PM      Profile for Antti Nayha   Email Antti Nayha   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I’m looking for experiences in using a Series 1 NEC’s in a festival setting – that is, running lots of subtitled international DCP’s of varying authoring quality.

Given the amount of ”indie” DCP’s that arthouse film festivals tend to receive, I tend to try and standardize the D-Cinema equipment across all venues as far as possible to prevent any nasty surprises regarding compatibility. For me, this usually means going exclusively with Series 2 DLP projectors, Dolby DSS200 servers and Cat 862’s, since that’s what most cinemas already have in the country.

In a couple of months I’ll be doing a festival where one of the venues has a NEC NC1600C projector pre-installed. I’m not entirely comfortable with this, particularly as the same unit straight out refused to play the subtitles on one festival DCP last year. The projector logs mentioned a ”SubtitleError--Send Setup-Font error” and then an ”SubtitleError--Internal comm error (DSP)”. It seemed like a standard-issue 24 fps Interop DCP and dcp_inspect reported no errors, but regrettably I never got a chance to inspect it any further. Anyway, the subtitles worked just fine in another venue where an identical DSS200 was connected to a Series 2 Barco instead.

Later it turned out that the NC1600C wasn’t running the latest software (doh!), so this might have been the cause. However, I’ve heard about other subtitle problems even with mainstream DCP’s and the latest software. These are related to out-of-memory errors and they’re apparently different issues from what I described above. Needless to say, those reports haven’t made me any more comfortable.

With a Doremi, I could render the subtitles in the server, but sadly that’s not an option.

Of course, my festival location is extremely remote, and both budget and pre-festival testing time are limited. I’m just trying to decide if I should go through all the budgetary and logistic trouble of temporarily replacing the NC1600C with a rental Series 2 machine just to get through a five-day festival…

Care to share any war stories to help me with the decision? And/or any hints for identifying possible problem DCP’s beforehand?

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3277
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 03-01-2013 02:32 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe you should better rent a Doremi so you have a real choice. Cinecanvas is a nightmare, even under controlled conditions. In a festival situation...

- Carsten

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Antti Nayha
Master Film Handler

Posts: 258
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 03-02-2013 05:41 AM      Profile for Antti Nayha   Email Antti Nayha   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, Doremi does offer a few features that are useful to festivals… In addition to subtitle rendering, I particularly like the way you can swap out the RAID disks without any OS hassle (since the OS resides on a separate SSD inside the server).

Sadly, that’s not really an option for me due to budget and logistical issues. Finland is 99.5% Dolby, so I can get a good deal on a bunch of rental DSS200’s – not so with Doremis, which would have to be shipped from abroad for starters. And as mentioned, I like to standardize on a single server/mediablock model across venues anyway.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3277
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 03-02-2013 05:51 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Unless NEC knows any specific firmware combinations that are known to work better - you're out of options. Not likely to happen, since so far NEC has been pretty clueless regarding these problems anyway. So, other than using the latest firmware...

It's not 'just' the projector firmware, CineCanvas has some internal limitations that the person compiling the subitles need to know. It is not likely that this will be the case for festival DCPs. It's the general problem with quality control under these conditions.

The best you can possible do is to give the machines as many restarts as possible under festival conditions - which certainly are not many...

I would love to hear your resume.

- Carsten

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Antti Nayha
Master Film Handler

Posts: 258
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 03-02-2013 06:24 AM      Profile for Antti Nayha   Email Antti Nayha   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Carsten Kurz
It's the general problem with quality control under these conditions.
Talk about it. I’ve also encountered festival DCP’s that work just fine on a Dolby DSS200 but exhibit various problems on a Doremi. Most recently, I saw a festival DCP where the subtitles were running at a different speed from the picture – but only when played back on a Sony.

It seems to be slowly getting better, but the situation still reminds me of the Web back in the 1990’s. In some ways it’s worse, as the DCP’s are never honestly labelled as ”best viewed on server X and projector Y”… [Roll Eyes]

Regarding the ”out of memory” errors: I’ve found out from some colleagues’ experiences that some Series 1 machines have an official 640 kB limitation for the subtitle file, but in real life they’ve encountered problems with large sub files even before their size reaches that limit. RAM expansion cards are available at least for NEC, for a hefty price of course.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11749
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 03-02-2013 06:33 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Note, on a Dolby DSS200 server, starting with 4.4.2 (CAT 862 software 4.4.0.50), if CineCanvas is lost/dropped, the server will attempt to restart within 30-seconds.

TI version 15 is supposed to improve CineCanvas handling. Though I have not had particular problem with TI 14.

TI 15 is part of the NEC 2.11 software (Series 1)

From the TI 15 release notes:

New / Changed Functionality in DLP Cinema(R) Release 15.1
=========================================================

ARM_Main_App.bin 15.1(268):
1. SMPTE (428-7) Subtitle Support Added (15.0)
2. SMPTE (430-11) Presentation List Support Added (15.0)
3. Updated for latest SMPTE 428-7 (15.1)
4. Image error causes overlaping text fixed (15.1)
5. em Sufix is optional in Space, Size, Offset attributes (15.1)

DSP_Main_App 5.1(181)
1. SMPTE (428-7) Subtitle Positioning Support Added (5.0)
2. Preliminary RTL support Added (5.0)
3. Panorama Integrated for RTL support (5.0)
4. FontFusion 5.0 Integrated for Panorma (5.0)
5. Font attribute change in Super/Sub script (5.1)
6. Ruby text in RTL (5.1)
7. Italic RTL text truncation problem Fixed (5.1)
8. Multiple shadow colors in RTL (5.1)
9. Mixing shadow/border in a line in RTL (5.1)
10. Char spacing in RTL (5.1)
11. Aspect adjust/Anamorphic Scaling in RTL (5.1)
12. Last few pixels cut in RTL text with some fonts fixed (5.1)
13. For RTL text, shadow and Italic are towards left (5.1)
14. Huge Font size text causes memory leak. Fixed (5.1)

TI_MAIN_DDP1000_V1.26(141):
1. Interval time keeper was moved out of the Vsync interrupt handler and placed into the main loop to reduce the amount of processing time by the handler.

2. Separated the call to the RDRAM read function between the master and slave ASIC so they occur at different locations within the Vsync interrupt handler.

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Antti Nayha
Master Film Handler

Posts: 258
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 04-29-2013 07:01 AM      Profile for Antti Nayha   Email Antti Nayha   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Antti Nayha
I’ve found out from some colleagues’ experiences that some Series 1 machines have an official 640 kB limitation for the subtitle file
I just noticed that dcp_inspect now reports an error if a font file exceeds 640 kB.

Is this a new feature? Perhaps something that Wolfgang added after reading this thread? Anyway, thanks! [Smile]

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Wolfgang Woehl
Film Handler

Posts: 31
From: Munich, Germany
Registered: Apr 2012


 - posted 04-29-2013 01:13 PM      Profile for Wolfgang Woehl   Author's Homepage   Email Wolfgang Woehl   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Antti, it has been a very active 2 months for dcp_inspect, indeed. You want to make sure to run the most recent version these days. Update by running digital-cinema-tools-setup every now and then.

Fixes and features include
  • closer asset checks (resolutions, sample rates, bps etc.)
  • naming convention checks
  • checking naming claims with actual composition timeline parameters
  • non-DCI resolution hints
  • DCSubtitle sanity
  • subtitle font validation, subtitle font glyph completeness (all glyphs required to render all subtitles available?), actual font names info and, yes, font sizes hints
  • improved intrinsic duration // entry // duration checks
  • Doremi TB 65 hint
  • options --hash-limit and --logfile
  • whitespace in asset filenames

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2496
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 04-29-2013 02:35 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve, I had to upgrade a DP3000 with TI 14 to TI 15 which was refusing to show subtitles on 4.5.x

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11749
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 04-29-2013 09:46 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't doubt it...Dolby 4.5 seems more particular about various CPLs too.

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Aleksandar Obradovic
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 125
From: Belgrade, Serbia
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 05-02-2013 05:51 PM      Profile for Aleksandar Obradovic   Email Aleksandar Obradovic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Antti,

If you wish i can talk to one of my friends in Belgium for rental D-cinema equipment which will suit all your needs. They have Barco/Christie series 2 projectors and dolby/doremi servers so you can combine whatever you want (Probably they have others also but i have to ask). They also can give you great support for all other d-cinema jobs you have. It is dcinex (Liege based d-cinema company).

BR Alexander

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Antti Nayha
Master Film Handler

Posts: 258
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 07-16-2013 02:34 PM      Profile for Antti Nayha   Email Antti Nayha   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK, the festival is happily over. We ran twenty DCP's (both 24fps Interop and 25fps SMPTE, most of them subtitled) with the NC1600C and had zero problems this time.

I had the projector's software updated to latest versions. However, the DSS200 was running 4.3.9, and the service company responsible for this venue didn't like the idea of updating that unless absolutely necessary. Apparently they were worried about possible problems running a DCI Dolby software together with a series 1 NEC projector. Since it's not possible to downgrade back to 4.3 in case of such problems, I decided to agree with them.

I wonder how long they can keep using non-DCI-compliant software, though... they're not under VPF, but presumably there will be problems with new studio DCP's at some point.

Thanks to Wolfgang's recent update to dcp_inspect, I was able to spot one DCP where the subtitle font file was larger than 640 kB. Since I found out about this two months before the festival, we simply didn't schedule any screenings of this film at this venue. It played back just fine elsewhere with Series 2 projectors and DSS200's with 4.4.2 software. (Although I suppose I could have re-authored the DCP with a smaller Arial.ttf file.)

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Mohd Ridzuan
Film Handler

Posts: 25
From: K.L , Malaysia
Registered: Jul 2012


 - posted 10-23-2013 11:50 AM      Profile for Mohd Ridzuan   Email Mohd Ridzuan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello guys,

i had a subtitle issue on my 2 halls which using combination Nec series 1 with dolby DSS200 and another one also NeC series 1 with dolby DSS100. There were no subtitle at all for the film Thor. using the same content on another hall running by GDC server it show nothing problem with the subtitle.

1.Can anyone help me to rectified this problem.

2. What is the latest version firmware for NEC series 1 combination with the latest version firmware for dolby DSS200 and DSS100. Which firmware is the best results?

Warmest regards

Wan

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11749
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-23-2013 12:54 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Make sure your Dolby software is at least on 4.3.5 (9). Make sure your NECs are up to date.

If your NECs can handle "TLS" Cinelink 2, then 4.4.2 (10) will have the best subtitle performance.

Also, verify that the Arial.ttf font is in each reel of the DCP (check it on the hard drive itself).

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Mohd Ridzuan
Film Handler

Posts: 25
From: K.L , Malaysia
Registered: Jul 2012


 - posted 10-23-2013 01:04 PM      Profile for Mohd Ridzuan   Email Mohd Ridzuan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Steve,

Now the issue happened to my another Nec but this time its Series 2 combination with GDC server. Is it a contents problem or projectors?

Beside that, like Barco we can just try out the cinecanvas function by pause n play on the control panel if the subtitle is not running. If there any function like this on Nec? Do you know what is the latest update for Nec as mine is 2.01. Is it the newest?

Thanks again

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