Last updateThu, 21 Dec 2017 2pm


Introducing – Tools for Cinema Quality Assurance


Cinema Test Tools for the non-Technical Manager – Post Installation Quality Assurance Has Begun

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 Managers 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. 

Artist's Intent Exposed~! See it here first. Where? In the cinema, the temporary home provided by exhibitors.

Captioning CinemaCon 2013–CineTech Geek

James at Cine Tech Geek has a major project on captioning and accessibility in the works. It is quite ambitious as should be an incredible summary of all that the dcinema industry and the various clients have been through and need to know for the future.

Part of that effort is this series of YouTube videos from CinemaCon 2013.

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CinemaCon 2013: Maturity Brings Discussions of Quality in Digital Cinema

Wherever one looks at CinemaCon 2013 there is the smell of Quality Control in the air. Examples:

Jack Cashin, President of USL – famous for their test and measurement systems as well as quality systems for the deaf/hard of hearing/blind/partially sighted audiences and multi-projector movie distribution systems – is awarded the Ken Mason Inter-Society Award. They introduced a QC system last CinemaCon.

Highlands Technologies introduces the QALIF Calibration system [QALIF  Digital projection System Measurement Tool] and arranges for West US distribution with Charles Flynn of Digital Test Tools (+1 818 877-6149) — See attached presentation

Harkness Screens introduces iPad apps – Digital Screen Modeller and in particular the Digital Screen Archiver – will assist in changing people's view of their valuable data as well as helping projectionists keep track of reality. — See attached press releases

...and last but not least...

RealD is showing the new "Precision White Screen" technology that the spoke about at last years SMPTE October event. If they can make a screen that not only broadens the sweet spot of 3D movies but is more efficient then they can do the industry a great deal of actual good.More on this after the demos. — See attached press releases


Although some say that new audio systems are just a way to fill the coming income void resulting from a market that is now nearly digital saturated, in fact with larger ceiling'd rooms there is a need to fill the room better. Technology has moved on from the simplicity of the 1990s' and Atmos and Auro are taking advantage of new potentials of faster chips and algorithms that were impossible last decade.

For a decade the industry was fighting to just handle the influx that the digital transition kept piling on them. Now post-installation can be discussed.

Gone and Back Again–Return of The Hobbitses

48fps HFR. OK, that happened. Maybe it will happen again, but if Peter Jackson has any choice he whould probably do what instincts (should have) said to do originally: Go for 60. He should certainly insist that any exhibitor showing the movie in 3D upgrade and show the movie in HFR. 

I saw The Hobbit the first time in 3D 24fps and craved 48 during every scene with anything but slow movement...and should have known it would shine in slow movement times as well. It is as if the editor isn't paying attention, making cuts at the wrong places and smearing everywhere. Film is dead. We don't need the magic of judder and weave and unsaturated colors. We are not all Hollywood insiders who get the watch actual first-run prints in ultra-tweaked theaters. And we don't need an imposed anachonism frame rate, especially for the tricks that 3D plays on the vision system.

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Post-Installation Cinema Test Tools; USL LSS-100 and DTT Digital eXperience Guardian

Post-Installation Quality Control for the Cinema Auditorium is finally getting some tools fit for the modern digital age. Two companies are putting network products into the sector which, up until now, was only filled with multi-thousand dollar test rigs or hand held units. (No smear intended on the new Meyer Sound X12 and Harkness Screen test devices released in the last 6 months – both are nice hand held units and fit for their purpose.)

First, the USL LSS-100 Light & Sound Sensor measures sound pressure level, luminance and chromaticity from its mounted position on the back wall of the theater auditorium. The 2 degree spot measurement is transmitted to the user as XYZ and x, y points and CCT, with great precision. The audio section measures C weighted pink noise, giving the level in the room in tenths of a dB.

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HFR, New 'Silver Screen' and 2 Hobbit Projectors

HFR will finally be presented to a public audience during the Hobbit release in Wellington on 28 November. But that's not all.

They will see the movie with 12 foot Lamberts of light (what most of the world calls 41 candelas per square meter) courtesy of a dual projection system designed by Christie.

And, they will watch it on a newly introduced "polarization preserving screen" that was described at the October SMPTE meeting during a presentation by RealD. It is described as having no hot spot and 40 degrees of Half Gain Angle (HGA) on a 1.5 gain screen. To compare, the typical 'silver' screen used with passive stereoscopic 3D systems has an HGA of 23 degrees using a 2.5 gain screen. 

Lest it is forgotten, the technical reason for 'silver' screens is that they hold the polarization required for passive 3D systems. The gain comes for other, not enough light to the eyes. But since most people in the cinema sit near or beyond the half gain line where the typical 3 or 4 ftL emission is already down to a mesopic 1.5 or 2 and growing progressively less, the HGA of 40 is phenomenal. If the center seats are actually seeing 12, those 20 degrees away will be seeing 6. (Of course, that brings up the topic of what the movie was mastered at, but we'll let that be a different article. Any volunteer authors?)

When the SMPTE Tech Event presentation papers are available, look for High Performance Polarization-Based-3D and 2D Presentation. For now you will have to be satisfied with the patent document: 

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Latest Buzzword – H.265

MPEG standards can be ignored in a Motion JPEG world, if all we need to do is pass DCI and InterOp and SMPTE compliant hard disks with movies from one place to the other.

But somewhere along the way, the swirling heap of new technology ideas ends up as a connector or interface in your hands and you must do something about it. The latest, as we see from CES articles is HEVC – High Efficiency Video Coding.

The back story is that MPEG 2 was nice for its time, but its time was the beginning of modern microprocessors; small pathways for minor amounts of data in a world used to 'good enough' – NTSC anyone?

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More Light on HRF

Regal Cinema has put up a page giving a few answers about HFR – High Frame Rate, in this case, high frame rate 3D. "This innovative format presents the picture in 48 frames per second (fps), which is closer to what the human eye actually sees." 3D only. ...another option for each consumer's taste...

It doesn't offer a compelling reason, as if they are holding back their cards. "It brings more structured and saturated light to the eye" is probably too much. Explaining that Cameron and others are choosing 60 frames is bad form, since the Hobbit group chose 48 for a valid reason.

I think I'll ask for some of the Sony closed caption glasses to compare.

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The technology of exhibition explained; from media players and projectors, to memory and local storage, from satellites and devices for the hearing and visual or read it here.

Uncountable little pieces of experience add to a wealth of knowledge that should be shared for the betterment of the community. Please contribute.

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

Digital, though costing more, allows for more variety, sometimes at a lower cost and a better return. That variety is called "alternative content."

Building auditoriums for the Arts is a tradition from the Greeks. Projection has since been added.