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HD and UHD ( 2K+ ) Digital Cinema
Various topics: HD, UHD (2K / 4K) Digital Cinema acquisition to distribution.


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Old October 27th, 2006, 02:24 PM   #16
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I've seen a couple of digital projections (including full-length big Hollywood
features) in 1K, 2K and now 4K with RED and some other demos. I'll take
digital projection over film. Just today I saw 2 films in the cinema that were
just out 1 day. Both scratches & dust in them a couple of times, not to mention
the change-the-reel blip that I always see now that I know what it is.

Have to agree with the focus though. For some reason cinema's seem to
have a real problem focussing their projectors. Sheesh.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 08:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Lohman
Have to agree with the focus though. For some reason cinema's seem to have a real problem focussing their projectors. Sheesh.
Yeah, really. You'd think they just have to set focus ONCE. The screen isn't moving backward or forward depending on the film...

And I also agree that digital projection of any source material is better than film projection.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 10:32 PM   #18
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Yeah, really. You'd think they just have to set focus ONCE. The screen isn't moving backward or forward depending on the film...
With all due respect, your comment illustrates the problem. These days the poorly trained projectionst/popcorn girl is taught that it's only necessary to focus the projector occasionally. We're lucky if the film gets focused at the beginning of the show, and even then focusing skills are terrible. The projector gate, the lens, and the film heats up over the course of 2 hours, causing the focus to shift. And the vibration of the projector will literally shake the lens out of focus over time. Film projectors are mechanical devices and need frequent refocusing and other adjustment. A movie that's sharply focused at the beginning of the show is frequently slightly out of focus by the end if the focus is not tweaked during the show. These days, I usually sit on a aisle so I can more easily go to complain about lousy focus which has become pervasive. You'd think that at a bare minimum they'd keep the film in focus. What's more important than that? The decline in the quality of exhibition standards in this regard is a real shame.

And digital projection has the potential for greater problems. Right now reliability is only 95% and the projectors and servers are new. What happens 2, 3, 4, 5 years down the road? Digital projection is great but it's no panacea.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 02:06 AM   #19
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Well, there were some attempts to establish certifications for projection, the way we've got for theater sound systems. For some reason, they never went very far. DCI is trying again with digital projection. Hopefully this time it'll stick, and we'll actually have some minimum standards.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 04:20 AM   #20
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I shudder at the thought of the color calibration horrors that await.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 11:27 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Greg Lowry
With all due respect, your comment illustrates the problem. These days the poorly trained projectionst/popcorn girl is taught that it's only necessary to focus the projector occasionally. We're lucky if the film gets focused at the beginning of the show, and even then focusing skills are terrible.
You're absolutely right. I think I didn't quite write what I was intending. I'm the first to complain when the movie starts, and it looks like I left my contact lenses at home. I was simply talking about the setting the projector at the top of the movie, which never seems to get done right. The focus will shift slightly during the movie, sure, but that doesn't bother me nearly as much as starting off completely blurry. That part will be fixed with digital projectors, because there's no moving parts, gate, vibration (well maybe some vibration), but nothing that will radically change sharpness. I'm really looking forward to that.

There will definitely be problems with digital projectors. Everything from burnt out lamps to a blue-screen-of-death crash. And it's gonna suck being the guinea pig audience members while they figure out all the isues with digital. But I'll take my chances with that if it means a print that looks as good as the digital movies projected in the Zigfield in NYC. That just puts conventional projectors to shame!
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Old October 28th, 2006, 11:28 AM   #22
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Hey,
what will be plugged into these new projectors? Presumably current HD tape won't cut it for 4k, so what will be the industry delivery material and its formats/codecs? Is this known?
Thanks,
John.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by John Wyatt
Hey,
what will be plugged into these new projectors? Presumably current HD tape won't cut it for 4k, so what will be the industry delivery material and its formats/codecs? Is this known?
Thanks,
John.
I think they're going to be transmitting content via satellite, if I'm not mistaken.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 11:41 AM   #24
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The Sony 4K projector needs to be outfitted with 4 dual-link HD-SDI input boards.
Each board will get a 2K quarter of the image from whatever can supply this.

If I remember correctly I think the idea was to either use (data) DVD's or
harddisks to deliver the content to the cinema.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 12:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wyatt
Hey,
what will be plugged into these new projectors? Presumably current HD tape won't cut it for 4k, so what will be the industry delivery material and its formats/codecs? Is this known?
Thanks,
John.
At the moment, the movie, trailers, commercials, etc., for both 2K and 4K, are stored on a server connected to the projection system. They're testing live transmission via satellite and data lines to the theaters which will make live events possible. Live transmission of sporting events and concerts in 3D is in the advanced planning stages.

The standards and specs have been defined by the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) which was sponsored by the major studios in cooperation with the major equipment vendors and other motion picture industry stakeholders. The specs are available in a pdf download here: http://www.dcimovies.com/
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Old October 30th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #26
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Thanks for the link Greg. At first glance it all seems designed to keep the "mastering" process too difficult for anyone but expensive specialty vendors. I know this may suit the big distributors who care most about protecting their valuable assets, but it seems like yet another hurdle for the indies. Hopefully it will soon be just a "save as" in FCP ;-)

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Old October 31st, 2006, 12:05 AM   #27
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It's great to see a nice clean DLP image, but somehow, it's DIGITAL the way HD cameras are VIDEO...it's not film to my eye, not as soft and organic looking, I don't like the edges on DLP like high contrast areas....can't really put my finger on what the artifacts are I see..but I don't like them...
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Old October 31st, 2006, 03:48 PM   #28
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The artifacts you're seeing on a DLP are the gaps between the micro-mirrors. They can't but the mirrors together so when you look real close you can see the edges of the pixels. That's their biggest drawback. That said I've seen the Sony 4K up-close and personnel at a demo in Los Angeles and it is impressive. I walked right up to the screen, and at less than inches away still couldn't discern a pixel. These projectors use Liquid Crytal on Silicon (LCoS) in the same diamond shaping that they designed the new CMOS HDV camera. The biggest drawback to the Sony system is the limitation on it requiring 4 inputs to achieve the resolution (4 Dual link HDSDI or DVI inputs cut in quadrants) and brightness for large screen applications. 10K Lumens just doesn't cut it in a big theater. They say an 18K lumen version is on the way though.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #29
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Nice job Paul of bringing critical first person experience to this discussion. DLP, IMHO, has always been a poor knockoff of JVC's D-ILA tech which also has some fill factor and level stepping issues. The Sony LCoS tech, marketed as SXRD, looks like the current best solution, even passing the human visual threshold of pixel visibility from inches away. I am looking forward to using it as my "target" for final display. I have already ordered a Sony VPL-VW50 projector for color grading. It also suffers from limited lumens but as long as the suite is dark and the image no more than 100" diagonal it has a good chance of mimicing what the 4k projector puts out in terms of gamma, density, color bias, etc, since it is the same basic tech. Yes, it is only a 1080p resolution device vs 4k, I will be looking at a much smaller image, etc. but, for $5K, it sure seems like a good, real world option to me.

When Mike Sowa from Laser Pacific was discussing the 4k digital intermediate he timed with Vilmos Zigmond for "Black Dahlia" at the HDExpo on Thursday he talked about their suite. They use a Christie projector on a 33' by 13' screen for color grading with a LUT profile to match the properties of the release print stock specified for the project. Must be nice, but can you imagine the cost. The uncompressed files they scanned off the Super35mm Kodak 5218 took up some 12 TerraBytes. The color grading was done on Lustre (which is big bucks). Obviously, we have left "indie" territory.

The point of all this is that when the final screening solution is digitally based it becomes possible to leapfrog a lot of expensive issues in post so that "indies" can deliver "near studio quality" to the screen. Of course you will still want a talented colorist and a powerful color color grading solution - hey Apple, how about an affordable version of Final Touch by NAB!

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Old November 4th, 2006, 06:25 PM   #30
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Make no mistake... film projectors are destined for the museums. It is just a matter of time. The trick is for the future of this industry to maintain it's soul. The "look" of movies has to feel right. We acknowledge this in our work.

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