Last updateSat, 25 May 2019 4pm


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. 

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.


Film is dead and badly done CGI is dead and it is about time that badly done 3D be dead too. In the future, that will mean 24fps shown as 96fps (triple flashing the same picture) is dead and it won't mean replacing it with 48fps double-flashing. 

As we learned at the 2012 SMPTE/NAB DCinema Days event (or whatever they are called now), there are problems with 48fps that are alleviated at somewhere above 52fps. Jackson's representative (Phil Oatley, the post group head of technology from Park Road Post) said that 48 was chosen because they didn't know if 60fps was achievable in the exhibition field, so they stuck with what seemed do-able: 2X the frames and the data rate. 

Even at that, Warner Bros. wasn't sure enough of the field changes to trust that audio tracks for the blind or visually impaired wouldn't negatively affect the movie, so were left out of the HFR mix. (Captions with 3D are still a different Pandora's Box.)

But 48fps was shown to the SMPTE/NAB attendees to be the wrong choice by Dr. Marty Banks (of the Visual Space Perception Laboratory at the University of California – my tax dollars at work~!) Presumably Jackson is in too deep to change from 48. But there is no news that anyone else is going to follow. The next announced HFR (besides Hobbit II) will be Avatar II's 60fps, and the script isn't written for that. 

So film is unwatchable and thankfully dead. HFR as announced will be a rare jewel – though wouldn't it be nice if Disney/Pixar/Lucas were to surprise us. Katzenberg announced at CinemaCon 2011 that we should expect new chips from them that will dramatically change computation time in production and post...maybe that will bring more/better as well.

That leaves exhibition. It was relatively painless to get to 48fps. 60fps is a different story. Will a doubling of the datarate to 500mb/s suffice? Testing remains, but at least there is time to do it. Perhaps now there will be some backing for the www.image.matters.pro road show. Image Matters Powers High Frame Rate Digital Cinema Quality