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. 

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

Harkness Holiday Present

Testing for quality is a tricky thing, both as a subject and as a verb.

As a subject it isn't sexy. It is rightly in the domain of a rare group of specifically trained techs, and awash in the pool of compromises. To know the area is to know several SMPTE documents, many which are in flux or other states of magic. 

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New Harkness Darkness Challenge

The technology that has replaced film projectors is quite elegantly stable once set up properly. Most modern digital projectors have a circuit that can nudge the amperage to the bulb as the bulb inevitably losses its dark sucking capabilities, attempting to keep the light level consistent. And since the human visual system is extremely adaptive and forgiving, but most responsive to light level, this gives a fighting chance to a somewhat dumb machine that otherwise does an amazing job.

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[Update] QC the Screen – Harkness Webinar

The Harkness Webinar showed the functions of their updated Apps, which are extensive and well-done. The details are now there which can take care of many potential points of failure that keep screen luminance from being consistent monitored.

The most valuable might be the Digital Screen Archiver. It isn't a secret that people don't test often enough, and when they do test the record keeping isn't as usable as it should be. A year later and this App is quite complete, with a number of subtle features and great interface to the other two systems. Using it with the Screen Checker can have a profound impact on quality control…which is best done before the customer sees the problem.

Digital Screen Checker - The low-cost digital luminance meter for 2D and 3D Cinema

Digital Screen Modeller - 3D Real-time rendering tool for digital cinema design and equipment

Digital Screen Archiver - Secure data capture and storage tool for iOS and web which allows cinema operators to manage light on screen

Make certain to see the webinar the next time that it is available.

See also:

CinemaCon 2013: Maturity Brings Discussions of Quality in Digital Cinema

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

More Quality Assurance From USL

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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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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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