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TOPIC: Will digital ever be "film" reliable?

Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 18 May 2008 01:06 #18681

  • Narrow Gauge
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I am still hearing that the reliabity of D-Cinema is not even close to approaching the reliability of film. When will we see these machines become more reliable. Please no NATO propaganda about how D-cinema is the best thing since sliced bread.
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 18 May 2008 01:09 #18682

  • slapintheface
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The carmike by me never ever has a problem and the pic is great.....sorry ....
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 18 May 2008 10:57 #18683

  • NSCInemas
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My concern is that film projection has basically stayed the same for over 100 years. You can run a film made 50 years ago on a projector made today, or run a film from today on a projector made 50 years ago. With D-Cinema I fear the technology is going to keep evolving making current equipment obsolete and making a huge investment become worthless over night the same as all other computer equipment. Also, now Disney wants theatres to install thier own proprietary system or not be able to play certain disney movies what happens when the other studios follow suit? Are you going to need ten different systems in one multiplex?
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 18 May 2008 16:06 #18684

  • Tom Watkins
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Disney wants what???....If D-cinema is to take hold the film studios have got to stop screwing around and there needs to be one standard for all.

I too fear the technology issue. Every 6 months some company is coming out with something faster and better while the old systems start to stew....try finding any support for a Windows 3.1 machine or better yet try to find anyone in the world still using Windows 3.1.....That was only 15 years ago folks.

My DTS 6AD is in that catagory. Just learned that DTS will no longer service or support it. I know everything has a life span and every machine ever made can't have replacment parts forever BUT....with digital, the technology moves so much faster that the window to being obsolete is really short.

I bought the top of the line 16 gig iPod Touch only to see a 32 gig version come out only a couple of months later, arrggggg....

Would we be in a situation where we shell out 100K per screen for digital and 2 months later "they" come out with a "better" system that make our systems crap? It will happen and I think we all know it. It's just a matter of when we all have to bow to the pressure of the studios when they stop supporting 35mm.

I have no doubt this conversion frenzy will kill off many independent theaters as the risk in digital equipment will be too great.

Awesome point about running a film made years and years ago....we can still run it! Try sticking a Windows 3.1 game in your Vista computer....if you can, since floppy drives are a thing of the past too!! LOL

Just my .02 cents worth
Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton Maine
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 19 May 2008 08:02 #18685

  • Transit Drive in
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A few comments.

Under most circumstances, the actual equipment hardware does not become obsolete, the "software" does. Update the software, and the equipment runs fine. If necessary, you can also "upgrade" the equipment hardware to keep it running smooth by adding more memory or a larger storage device.

A 16 GB Ipod still works perfectly fine, it just does not store as many songs. So you can only listen to 5,000 songs while you're jogging, instead of 10,000. You might as well throw the damn thing away, it's worthless!

Also, a floppy drive will still work fine with any brand new computer. They don't come as standard equipment, but you can add one internally or externally very cheaply and easily, if you have the desire to do so.

Software is another thing, since games designed to operate on Windows 3.1 are unlikely to function well, if at all, on Windows Vista. However, the game might have an updated version designed specifically for Vista.

I do not fear the digital cinema equipment being sold today becoming obsolete in 10 or 20 years. I expect it will require periodic upgrades to remain functional. I anticiate those upgrades in software or hardware will not be frequent, or a tremendous burdon.

Rick

[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited May 19, 2008).]
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 19 May 2008 10:20 #18686

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Under most circumstances, the actual equipment hardware does not become obsolete, the "software" does. Update the software, and the equipment runs fine.

I have to disagree with this. As the technology improves older hardware will become obsolete. Processing power, and The number of mirrors on the D-Cinema chips, are the two biggest issues. If they are able to double the number of mirrors in say 5 years how could you play a digital print on a current DLP machine that is twice the resolution of what that machine can output?

It is like trying to use an old 386 or 486 PC with todays operating systems and software, or using your old external devices. SCSI, and other communication protocols are no longer supported now with USB, and fire wire making those deivces obsolete.

The other issue is say you have a current DLP and in five years they have better chips and faster processors by the time you upgrade the processor, memory, DLP chips, you will probably also have to uprade the power supply, and cooling fans. You in effect end up spending a fortune and have a new machine in an old box.
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 19 May 2008 23:10 #18687

  • Ken Layton
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And don't forget that alot of the modern circuit boards will be soldered with that trouble-prone lead free solder. Just think of the shows lost due to "tin whiskers".
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 20 May 2008 07:52 #18688

  • NSCInemas
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Thats true Ken. Thats another issue there are some PCB's (Printed Circuit Boards) that they cannot manufacture anymore due to the new laws regarding lead. It makes me wonder what they are going to ban next and what other products will become obsolete and unsupported due to some PCB's becoming unavailable. It really sux to tell a customer that they have to toss out a peice of equipment that has worked fine for years and would work fine for years to come except it requires a new PCB that is now unavailable.
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 22 May 2008 14:31 #18689

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Changing to lead-free (RoHS) doesn't equate to obsoleting a board. The same design can be manufactured using lead-free solder (the new standard is, in many cases, Immersion Gold over Nickel, or ENIG) that was previously manufactured using solder with lead. All the Engineer needs to do is call out ENIG on the fab dwg (Gerbers) and it can then be made lead-free. Not a big deal in most cases.

However, I completely agree with Ken in that lead-free solder is too new of a product to fully trust it yet. Lead solder has been proven over decades. Just wait until the tree-huggers demand a replacement for silicon!


[This message has been edited by Cinemateer (edited May 22, 2008).]
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 22 May 2008 15:55 #18690

  • NSCInemas
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Well, I can tell you that there are dolby PCB's and products that are no longer available due to this and other EU rules.
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 23 May 2008 09:10 #18691

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It's possible that Dolby's PCB's are no longer available for related reasons, like component obsolescence. IC manufacturers are constantly obsoleting components and replacing them with updated versions, creating nightmare situations for designers. More often than not, it's easier just to re-design a PCB than go through the headache of trying to make a new IC fit into a current design. If an IC is not RoHS compliant, then it would be replaced by one that is. So even though the PCB itself can easily be manufactured according to RoHS standards, the components themselves may not.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 24 May 2008 13:31 #18692

  • rodeojack
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Obsolescence and reliability have always been bugs of mine. Over here, we HAVE had theatres with tangible percentages of lost shows. Very recently, two screenings of two separate 3D films had to be scrapped because of equipment problems. In one case, the theatre had a 35mm backup, and we watched that. In the other, we left without seeing the film... the first such experience in my memory.

In conversation with several managers and owners in our area, I note that those with combo theatres worry far less about whether their film machines will run when they hit the start button. For how long should those concerns be reasonable, if warranted?

Obsolescence? Well, Rick does have some points about that. I still have a Win98 machine here, which I run for a specific purpose that I don't get with XP (no Vista here!). If your machine was happy with the software you fed it 10 years ago, and nothing changes, there's no reason that machine should need changing. If YOU decide you need jazzier software, or the studios, for some reason, change the content, maybe you might need periodic upgrading.

What I don't see in any case is a digital projector humming along for 30 years, like you can get with a film projector.

A lot of people, including myself, make as much hay as possible over the ongoing cost commitment you'll be making with digital. But the game is still young. Every new innovation is expensive at the start. I don't think we'll see the drop in cost that we did with consumer products like DVD, CD and VHS, but some do make the comparison. In any case, if getting into this game was less expensive than it is, the ongoing cost to own it might be less painful... which is why I suspect waiting for a while is still the way to go. Why should any of us want, or need to get into this before Regal or AMC? Let them take the financial hits... they can handle much more than we can. After things settle down around them, I'd bet we'll have a better handle on the future we'll really have to work with.

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited May 24, 2008).]
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 24 May 2008 23:26 #18693

  • Ken Layton
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Let's not forget that with film equipment, you're not having to buy all new equipment every two years due to obsolescence or format changes like with the video stuff. Many of the theaters have 20 to 50 year old film projectors happily cranking away day after day with minimal investments and simple maintenance.

With video projection, how can you make any money when you have to keep buying equipment all the time?
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 25 May 2008 10:26 #18694

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Not to mention that with the DLP machines you have to use larger sized Xenon Lamps than with a film projector to get the same light levels on the screen, and you also have to change then out a lot earlier than with a film machine. Those lamps are costly and start to add up quick!
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 02 Jun 2008 00:29 #18695

  • Alan_G
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NSCInemas wrote, in part: Processing power, and The number of mirrors on the D-Cinema chips, are the two biggest issues. If they are able to double the number of mirrors in say 5 years how could you play a digital print on a current DLP machine that is twice the resolution of what that machine can output?

You'd be able to play it the same way a 1080P video source is displayed on a 720P HDTV. The video is down-converted on the fly.

[This message has been edited by Alan_G (edited June 02, 2008).]
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