Last updateSat, 21 Mar 2020 12pm


Introducing – Tools for Cinema Quality Assurance


Cinema Test Tools for the Non-Technical Manager 

Cinema Test Tools is a free resource for the cinema industry, tuned most particularly for the non-technical manager. The tools include several DCPs, all with interesting means of testing the sound and picture quality for the interested by lightly trained staff. The lessons on sound and light are written to provide a foundation to communicate with the technician who must respond quickly and well to the information that they discover.

The key is a free Online Managers Online Walk Through Checklist that correlates with the many DCPs. It helps bring an understanding of the many nuances of the auditorium's situation in a straightforward way. 

The feet hitting the street. This is where it all plays out.

Immersed Soundly | Laser Precision | CinemaCon 2015

Digital Cinema comprises an enormously broad sweep of technologies. The amount of nuance that must be de-layered to make intelligent decisions is daunting. A simple example: the fact that the new laser projectors can create 3D movies on low-gain white screens (paragraphs of nuance in just that phrase alone), means that woven screens can be used which would also benefit the audio from the speakers behind the screen.</p>

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<p>Yet again, the industry is at a transition. In past transitions, when a company was able to show that an up-until-then unachievable standard could be met, the studios clamped down on the deliverables that went to the older equipment. MPEG was ubiquitous, then JPEG was shown and within a year the MPEG deliverables were verboten. The change in security keys, the anti-ghosting prints....</p>

<p>Wouldn't that be something if the studios said, "At this time next year, all DCI movie prints will be mastered at the SMPTE standard level of 48 candela per square meter."</p>

<p>Post-Digital Era indeed~!</p>

<p>The laser systems at CinemaCon will have the new pitch of being commercially installed. Both Barco and Christie have their super ±60,000 lumens systems in the field, with announcements for many more. NEC launched their 6,000 lumen system for the smaller screens to similar success.</p>

<p>The amazing angle on new projector installs is that they are being made – except for rare cases – without the VPF deal. One manufacturer made 20,000 cinema-centric digital sales in 2014 according to their yearly prospectus.</p>

<p>Last year at this time Christie was still using a screen that had shakers attached to the rear to de-harmonize speckle. It will be interesting to see how they have progress from that technology. They also seemed to back away from the pitch that there would be any electricity savings due to the costs of cooling the lasers. Enquiring minds...</p>

<p>Christie's laser links come from this sentence of their promo:</p>

<p style="padding-left: 30px;">The Christie Freedom laser illumination system platform includes the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Christie CP42LH"><strong>Christie CP42LH</strong></a> for Cinema, the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Christie D4K60LH"><strong>Christie D4K60LH</strong></a><strong> </strong>for Pro Venues, and the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Christie Mirage 4KLH Promo"><strong>Christie Mirage 4KLH</strong></a> for immersive environments.</p>

<p>Christie also wants to be regarded for their contributions to the Dolby Laser Projector offering.</p>

<p>It might be that Barco will try to immerse their laser pitch with evolutions of the Auro and pre-auditorium entry and full surround systems that they showed last year. Instead of brisking people back and forth they will be showing several features in several different of the Caesars Ballrooms. As a line from their PR says:</p>

<p style="padding-left: 30px;">Visitors will be treated to hands-on demos of the world’s only laser projector capable of showing 4K 3D content at 60 FPS, Barco’s multi-screen, panoramic movie format, Barco Escape (powered by Alchemy-enabled projectors), and other innovative sight, sound, and engagement solutions designed to fascinate audiences while driving increased profitability for exhibitors.</p>

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<p>DTS will be making presentations of their DTS:X MDA system at the theater at the Palm. The pleasure of being Open Source will continue to be as compelling as the fact that the systems works for the companies who loathe to make hundreds of 'prints' for each movie release.</p>

<p>And that leaves the elephant in the room. With several pre-show announcements for their complete cinema package and a willingness to allow the chains to continue with their branding in association, Dolby is also ready with a working message about a working set of products.</p>

<p>Good luck to us all. Sounds like a lot of perfection will be on hand, and a lot of nuance to dig through to see it work its magic in a mutually beneficial manner.</p>

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<p>For years the standard for light levels of movies was set at 48 candela/square meter, which is about 14 foot/lamberts. The tolerance is ~10 candela or 38 total, which is about 3 foot/lamberts or 11 total.</p>

<p>Meanwhile the amount of light coming through the usual 3D system was said to be 3 or 4 foot/Lamberts or 11 candela/square meter. And, typically in the technology biz, cool and clever solutions often come at the tail end of a transition. The argument in this case is that MasterImage has a new and very intelligent light/mirror system and RealD has new screen technology that removes some of the problems inherent with high gain screens.</p>

<p>Systems like these can bring the light to levels approaching the lowest levels of the standard, which looks best only if the print was mastered for the level measured at the eyes.</p>

<p>There are some who will say that 8 foot-Lamberts is enough for 3D for some magical reason (pointing to an ISDCF demo done in 2005), but it is untested, and pointedly, that isn't the standard either. Demonstrations of Hugo and other movies at 48 candela/m2 are brilliant, but not too brilliant.</p>

And Over In This Corner...CinemaCon Interesting 2015

15 years ago, the digital projector buzz started. An entire category developed around how to make it work. Substituting film were servers, so we learned about HD-SDI connections and IP, with security thrown in to keep it interesting. The obvious satellite distribution took another decade to package well enough.

In fact, it was the entry of companies like Hughes Satellite during the early 2000's that seemed to validate it all and when they failed after a few quarters to get the momentum required, it was a lesson. Since then there have been a few similar notable and less notable disappearances, but more important (and perhaps interesting) have been the entries who have morphed while working toward success, consuming millions in refinancing and continued attempts.

There are others which have morphed into their strengths, CinemaCon itself being an example. And it is at this years CinemaCon that we will see new and old pressing their stories.

Read more ...

MDA Immersive Audio Demo'd, and Openly (Patently?) More

Accolades to the Editor's Guild for allowing Mel Lambert to pursue the evolving world of immersive audio in this, his second instructive article on the topic. Accolades to Mel for fitting so much audio and corporate and engineering community nuance into the editorial constraints of a timely article.


Mel's first article on the topic, for the Editor's Guild Magazine CineMontage;

CineMontage - Motion Picture Editor's Guild Magazine - May/Jun 2013 – Prepare for Sonic Immersion

Let's just dig into one aspect of this topic which wasn't developed in Mel's technology and politics article. A guidon was raised in the immersive field last year that used the adjective Open with different nouns, but the fluttering flags seem to have settled on "Open Standard". The subject hasn't been much explored…perhaps because too many engineers had to send their BS detectors off for recalibration, if only to check why so many simultaneously went off. Just to inspire simultaneous interest, with pictures and arrows on the back, an interesting patent document is attached below: Patent WO2013181272A2 - Object-based audio system using vector base amplitude panning - Google Patents

What means Open Standard?

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[Update] EU Cinema Numbers – UNIC 2013

More numbers to parse…the North America numbers will come out at CinemaCon time, but they are slightly up generally (in spite of two big but disappointing movies), just as these EU numbers are slightly down year-to-year, after a good couple of years previous.

Interesting to see the factional nature of the continent in terms of local content and digitalization.

Business-model-wise, where the North America market gets to rely upon upgrading Series One systems and the breakout of laser-driven systems, the EU has 15% of the market to install or see go away…plus Series One and laser upgrades.

Please find the full report and press release attached and on UNIC's website.

We have asked for the obvious information that would round out the statistics on pages 7 and 8 and hope to update this article when UNIC responds.

[Update] And here are the answers: total number of screens across all UNIC territories is 30,206. On page 7 of the report, that would be all the countries listed, less Russia. (See DGT Online Informer No. 101 - 3 February 2014 - for more interesting numbers).

The number of screens per million is changing due to some late additional data: 57 screens per million instead of 62. The population figure used in the data is: 524 million (all the countries on the list, except for Russia.)



Jeesh: The Berlinale was an excuse for Media Salles to introduce a whole new set of numbers.

DGT Online Informer No. 102 - 8 February 2014 -

Europe starts 2014 with more than 30,000 digital projectors, a growth rate of 21%

According to the initial figures available, the number of screens equipped with either DLP Cinema™ or SXRD™ technology has risen to 30,402, with a 21% increase compared to 1st January 2013, when there were 25,084.

Europe thus starts 2014 with around 84% of its screens having converted to digital. This is a slightly lower penetration rate than the world average, which touches on 87%. Instead, there is a more marked difference compared to North America, where digital projectors are installed on 93% of screens.

Of the over 30,000 European digital projectors, around 72% are to be found on the six leading markets (France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia), which, including screens not yet converted, account for around 68.5% of European screens.

There is a lot more data at the link...

DGT Online Informer No. 102 - 8 February 2014

Naming Convention #9

After a great deal of effort, the latest version of the digital cinema Naming Convention has hit the streets. Look at ‎ early in the week for the official update from Version 8.3

Also look at the ISDCF site page Digital Cinema Versions for the latest in projector and SMS software and firmware version numbers.