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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » More USELESS nonsense in the world of digital cinema (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: More USELESS nonsense in the world of digital cinema
Brad Miller
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Posts: 17662
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 11-14-2013 02:09 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Here we are folks, yet another example of unnecessary wasting our time.

quote:
CATCHING FIRE US RELEASE

Dear Theatre Operator,
You have received your content for the US RELEASE of CATCHING FIRE.

(This is noted a second time because people in the US can't read the larger bold face text at the top of the page.)

quote:
Please ingest as soon as possible.

On average, it could take up to 24 hours to replace any faulty or damaged hardware or content, so we ask that you schedule a QC Screening as soon as possible after the keys unlock the feature.

Yes that is true. It could take up to 24 hours to replace a faulty drive...but they aren't referring to actually playing the ACTUAL file as a QC! Read on...

quote:
**THIS DCP CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PARTIAL TEST PACKAGE WHICH MUST BE INGESTED IN ADDTION TO THE BASE FEATURE (below) IN ORDER TO PROPERLY QC THIS FEATURE PRIOR TO THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013**
Ok now hold on. I'll let the whole misspelling of the word addition slide, but can someone please explain to me precisely HOW running this PARTIAL test package actually provides a REAL QC of the entire feature?

I'll give you a hint...it doesn't. Keep reading.

quote:
REEL 1 TEST - 5.1 CCAP PARTIAL PACKAGE: R1TestCatchingFire_TEST_S_EN-XX-CCAP_US_51_HI-VI-DBOX_4K_LION_20131106_DLA_IOP_VF

The special QC keys provided to you will NOT function and you will not be able to successfully QC this content prior to engagement without this partial package ingested.

Did everybody catch that? SPECIAL QC KEYS FOR A PARTIAL PACKAGE! Know what that means? Why I'll tell you. YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME QC'ing THIS THING AND SOMEBODY AT THE KEYMAKING COMPANY HAS FOOLED THE STUDIO INTO THINKING THIS IS SOME SORT OF ACTUAL VALID TEST. It proves NOTHING. That's like saying "yeah we just got the new Batman trailer that was encrypted with the feature drive for Hangover 4...so we played the Batman trailer and because that plays now we KNOW that the Hangover 4 will play." Really? Is this ignorance or just stupidity?

Even if the VF file IS referencing part of the actual feature package, that still doesn't prove that the ENTIRE feature is valid and doesn't have a corrupted spot later in the movie that would kill playback. Here's the thing though, this VF package is 18GB, so it isn't just referencing the actual feature DCP, it's a standalone DCP with it's own unique key, which best case senario ONLY confirms that the keymaker has your correct server certificate on file. But that's really only even helpful if your theater is brand new and opening with this movie. I'm pretty sure everyone here has received keys from Deluxe before and its all the same database and certificates. (The only exception here is Fox because they are so un-trusting they make their own keys and I have seen them have non-updated info.)

quote:
Also, please note that you will only be able to QC a portion of the feature. For QC purposes, after a limited period of time (specified by the studio), feature playback will abruptly halt.
Somebody actually please watch this thing and tell me if the playback conveniently halts at a key point to make the viewer leave the auditorium saying "OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG it's so awesome!!!" or if it just "abruptly halts" at a reel change.

quote:
If your sound and picture quality meet standards, please make sure to delete this partial package only from your playlist prior to your first showing.
Now seriously, who would build the playlist for the movie and ADD this to it? For example on a Dolby server it won't even load the playlist if there is a clip within it that isn't unlocked (such as the real feature). I wonder how much confusion that may cause.

Then there is the typical...

quote:
Once you have completed the QC, please email us at ddchelp@bydeluxe.com
...yeah, because the test was SOOOOOOOOOOO beneficial. Ummm, no.

I swear these people MUST get paid by the theater they can check off on each intance of "verifying" they got the drive, verifying they ingested it, verifying they got the key, verifying they ingested the key, verifying the key unlocked the content, verifying they QC'd the movie, blah, blah, blah.

Yet again the question must be asked, where is NATO actually doing something for the theaters amidst this nonsense?

And for those following along, the drives come with the original Hunger Games movie...newly re-packaged...because the original theatrical DCPs weren't good enough. [Roll Eyes]

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Ken Lackner
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Posts: 1875
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 11-14-2013 02:51 PM      Profile for Ken Lackner   Email Ken Lackner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Brad Miller
the drives come with the original Hunger Games movie...newly re-packaged...because the original theatrical DCPs weren't good enough.
What do you mean by this?

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 855
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 11-14-2013 03:13 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This post gave me my nuch needed daily laugh. Classic.

I have someone sitting next to me that I discussed this with and just the whole qc situation/therory they are running with currently and even he(not in the industry) was like "So they want you to QC it, yet the keys won't allow it? So it's all pointless?"

Yeah, basically.

Its even better when deluxe calls and asks if you've QCd it and you just say yes to get them off the phone because you have ACTUAL things to do at 7pm when they call rather than go on a rant on "How am I supposed to QC it when the key is valid at 11a Friday and it starts for the public at noon?" Only for them to say "Oh, I'm sorry about that. So have you QCd it yet?" "NO, ARE YOU RETARDED?!?"

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Jim Cassedy
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Posts: 1537
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted 11-14-2013 04:11 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
O c'mon! Whatta bunch of whiners!

As I recall, the claim was made that once digital cinema systems were forced into
every theater in the country, the skies would blue, birds would be singing and
the world would be a better place for all mankind. Hallelujah!

Digital cinema was never about quality, as some claimed. It was all about CONTROL.

You've given up your business to the digital cinema dictators & gods.
They now control everything you do. They can now control when and what you play,
and even what equipment you must play it on. They watch & log everything you
do and will send threatening letters to those not 'in compliance' with the
New Digital World Order.

Not since the Nazis marched into Poland and France has there been a more
succussful takeover of private industry and art. And you all fell for it.

At least < I > tried to stop it. I put on my best tin-foil hat and wrote to congress.
But they were too busy raising taxes and dealing with nonsense like trying to end
global warming and world hunger to givacrap.

I even wrote to the White House. . and all I got back was a letter from the
President that said: "look, if you LIKE your 35mm projectors, you can KEEP your
35mm projectors....period!" And that turned out to be a lie. And just like another
big fib recently told, what you've got now is probably going to wind up costing
you more than three times as much as what you had in the first place.

You had your chance to stop the nonsense before it started, and you didn't.
SO STOP WHINING! (Sorry I've got to stop now- -my tin foil hat is overheating)

ps> True Story: I know of a theater that recently "went digital". They heavily
advertised their re-opening day. But the equipment didn't arrive in time, and
the entire project wound up behind schedule. The 35mm projector was hastily
pushed back into place and re-wired with clip leads & duct tape and they ran the
first day of their "digital" re-opening in 35mm with a picture that was off-center,
unevenly lit, and an aperture plate that no longer matched the screen size.

- - and yet after the first several shows more than one person came out of the
auditorum proclaiming how much better their "new" digital system picture looked.

Whatta farce!

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John Roddy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 114
From: Spring, TX, United States
Registered: Dec 2012


 - posted 11-14-2013 07:39 PM      Profile for John Roddy   Author's Homepage   Email John Roddy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Funny. The last five or so times I've seen the studios try this, I've always seen follow-up emails on Thursday giving actual keys that unlock the entire feature at around 8 a.m.. Still not enough time for us to do a full, proper QC, but better than the "I can't believe it's not logic!" studios use to think that testing one reel is good enough. I just wish they'd admit it in advance rather than at the last second. That way, we could at least plan for it.

On a side note, I can't think of a single ingest issue we've ever had with a feature that showed up during the first reel. However, I can name several instances where the third or fourth reel ended up killing the entire show.

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Martin McCaffery
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Posts: 2319
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-14-2013 08:34 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think Brad needs to start a Stupid Distributor Tricks thread.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

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


 - posted 11-14-2013 08:55 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Its even better when deluxe calls and asks if you've QCd it and you just say yes to get them off the phone because you have ACTUAL things to do at 7pm when they call rather than go on a rant on "How am I supposed to QC it when the key is valid at 11a Friday and it starts for the public at noon?" Only for them to say "Oh, I'm sorry about that. So have you QCd it yet?" "NO, ARE YOU RETARDED?!?"
That is such a typical phone call. Like I said, somebody is going to have to really prove to me that they don't get paid by the call they make and by the check marks they put on their QC'd sheet. And for what? All because somebody at the studio who doesn't really understand that doing this is useless and forks over the extra money to pay to have it done.

So there is this little app for the phone called Call Control. I HIGHLY recommend you get it and add their phone number to the blacklist. It's the only relief I've found from that nonsense. I think they've finally gotten the hint if it's a regular release not to even try to call. If it is for something unusual like a screening, they know to email and I'm happy to confirm that way.

So speaking of Stupid Distributor Tricks...

How many of you occasionally get a bad key for whatever reason? Maybe you had a server swap or the key got corrupted or the dates are wrong or whatever...you need a new key.

So most of our installs use Dolby servers. I'm not sure if it is this way with GDC, Sony or Doremi because I haven't had it happen in a long time on one of those servers, but on Dolby if you load a key that is "defective" for whatever reason, you can't reload a new key that has the same start and end times. It must be at least one minute different than the original key for it to read it and load. No big deal, right?

Try and explain that to the keymakers!!! What happens every single damn time? "Oh no problem let me remake that key for you...you will have it within 5 minutes."

...and then they just resend THE SAME KEYS. Upon close inspection they didn't remake it at all, much less alter the start or end time by a minute.

Now you have to call back and explain that they just sent the same keys and that they actually have to remake the key and offset the start or end time by a minute. "Oh I'm so sorry, I'll fix that for you...you will have it within 5 minutes."

5 minutes later, yup they made new keys, but they made them for the same start and end times. Time to call AGAIN!

"Why would the start or end times need to be altered?" Well geez, maybe because that's just a limitation of how this works and it's only something you should already know and we shouldn't have to be telling you. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

But while we're on the subject of Stupid Distributor Tricks, let's pick specifically on Deluxe for a moment, how many of you are playing the movie Instructions Not Included?

For those not in the know, Deluxe sent out hard drives and keys for this movie only to find out that the subtitles didn't work. (It's in Spanish.) So then they sent out a revised DCP known as "FTR-2" or "the subfix".

So each week as the previous week's licenses expire, guess what version they send the extension keys for? I'll give you 2 options.

Option A - they send the "FTR-2/subfix" keys
Option B - they knowingly send out keys to the original version that they know damn-good-and-well nobody can use!!!

Yup, option B. Way to go. Now every theater has to call up EACH WEEK and request (or argue with, depending on which Deluxe operator answers) to get the correct "subfix" keys so they can play the movie.

REALLY? I mean, REALLY???

In all fairness, we haven't really had any issues with keys issued from Technicolor in a long, long time. They have always been on the ball and rarely do we have an issue. Unfortunately most keys are going through Deluxe now and I have a feeling their people (and systems) may simply be overwhelmed with the workload.

...but they could cut that workload down if they would stop with the stupid "fake QCs". [Razz]

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Justin Hamaker
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From: Lakeport, CA USA
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 - posted 11-14-2013 11:21 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They did this with the first Hunger Games. To the best of my knowledge the QC package is just a different CPL which uses the same "reel 1" as the main feature. Unfortunately it's only a 12 minute test, so you can't test the whole feature. And since it's only the 5.1, you can't test to make sure they haven't inverted the rear channels and the descriptive audio.

I just got off the phone with Deluxe. The keys for this partial package will be good from Tuesday 11/19 at midnight until Wednesday 11/20 at 8:00am. The regular release keys won't be active until 6:00pm Thursday evening. That means all the theatres running the double feature will not have an opportunity to even test their playlist prior to the 8:00pm Thursday premiere.

This is an absolutely asinine way to do things and will likely result in more problems than anything else.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

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


 - posted 11-15-2013 02:43 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Honestly they should either unlock the content 1 hour before the first legal public showtime or unlock it 48 hours ahead of time.

In the case of Hunger Games 2, they shouldn't have even bothered with this silly "QC test" and just unlocked on Thursday evening at 6pm.

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Manny Knowles
"What are these things and WHY are they BLUE???"

Posts: 4247
From: Bloomington, IN, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 11-15-2013 03:05 AM      Profile for Manny Knowles   Email Manny Knowles   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've never had enough time to test an entire feature.

I do wish they'd at least provide a key that unlocked the actual file for an hour or so. That would be helpful.

I need to see more than just the first few minutes. I need to locate the cue offset. I don't usually go with the studio offset -- and, even if I did, I'd still want to check that.

quote: Jim Cassedy
Whatta bunch of whiners!

You've given up your business to the digital cinema dictators & gods.
They now control everything you do. They can now control when and what you play,
and even what equipment you must play it on. They watch & log everything you
do and will send threatening letters to those not 'in compliance' with the
New Digital World Order.

Not since the Nazis marched into Poland and France has there been a more
succussful takeover of private industry and art. And you all fell for it.

At least < I > tried to stop it. I put on my best tin-foil hat and wrote to congress.
But they were too busy raising taxes and dealing with nonsense like trying to end
global warming and world hunger to givacrap.

So... You went to Washington... and WHINED?

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3681
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 11-15-2013 08:39 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, the idea of sending the full feature and enable only part of it for QC with a special CPL/Key is not entirely stupid. However, I consider it useless for all common relases.

It would certainly make sense for special releases where basic technical issues could be expected, like e.g. HFR, SMPTE DCPs, ATMOS, etc.

However, two different KDMs also carry potential issues in themselves.

- Carsten

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Edward Havens
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Posts: 612
From: Berkeley, CA
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 - posted 11-15-2013 09:56 AM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of the things I like about Disney is that they want you to do a proper QC, often unlocking the films several days in advance.

As for Hunger Games, Lionsgate pulled the same crap with the first one, so it's no surprise they're doing it with this one. I guess it doesn't matter that there hasn't been, as far as I know, a single verified case of any movie that was uploaded to the interwebs being recorded from a theatre QC screening.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-15-2013 10:07 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Someone needs to read section 7.2.3.3 of the DCI specifications.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2319
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-15-2013 10:22 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
7.2.3.3. Test Shows
The system is required to allow the content to be played back for validation and verification prior to exhibition.

Well, they were weasly enough not to say all of the content. I didn't check to see if they define "validation" or "verification". It could be interpreted to mean, "yeah, it's the right movie." Though the title of the section is "Test Shows". I just presume everything they say is meant to be interpreted in their favor.

I do like this spec a few notches later:
quote:

7.2.3.7. Ease of Operation
The Digital Cinema Theater System is encouraged to require only a reasonable level of computer operation knowledge or training for the basic operation of the system. The computer-based user interfaces are required to be simple and intuitive.

As our install is a few weeks from now, I don't know how simple and intuitive they are really going to be. Just judging from some of the stuff posted here, I'm saying they failed miserably. They probably mean, when everything is working perfectly all you have to do is hit a button, or less.

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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1416
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 11-15-2013 11:56 AM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Reasonable level of computer knowledge? Hmmm.

I have dealt with this encryption key nonsense numerous times. Yes, they do typically send out the same exact keys that you already have. I have also seen them simply alter time information within the keys.

As far as quality checks go: They need to give operators reasonable periods of time to check THE entire feature, if the operator chooses to. This would typically be the night before. Allowing a quality check on a separate 'piece' of the movie that involves a different file and a different key - is very stupid.

Anyways..

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