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TOPIC: Digital maintenance costs

Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 01:28 #16511

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I'm been sitting on the sidelines during this long and interesting topic, keeping my thoughts to myself. I do believe that digital is the future, and maybe even the near future. How "near future" is defined, I don't know... 3 years, 5 years, or maybe even 10 years. What I will do when that time comes, I don't know... probably make the switch, whatever the cost. Having been in this business for 40 years, and having saved and invested, I'm in the fortunate position that when that day comes, all I'll need do is write a check. However, even though I'm in the position to do that now if I want to, I won't. I'll wait until ditital has proven itself. I like 35mm film. I like working with it, and I'm totally comfortable with it. It's not a question as to which puts forth a better image at this time as I think they are pretty much the same at this point. It's the reliability that I am concerned about. I don't want to have only a 99% success rate. In over 37 years of running my present theatre, I have never lost a show, that's 100%, so why would I want to drop to 99% with digital?

What has brought me into this discussion is the comment:"Do you mean to say that you can operate 35mm projectors for 20 years, for multiple shows per day, and never replace a single sprocket? The intermittent movement alone will blow out at least once or twice. Current 35mm is hardly maintenance free, why would you expect D-Cinema to be any different?" by TRANSIT. I have never lost, repaired or replaced an intermittent in either of my 1945 Simplex E-7s yet. That's over 23,000 showings. I want to see digital do that. Yes, I have replaced a few sprockets over the years, and a few gears as well. I probably replace at least one gear every 3 or 4 years. But since I have 2 projectors, the show continues to go on.

Since I'm 2nd run, it looks as though I won't get any help from VPFs, so I'm pretty much on my own anyway. If I join CBG, I'll get used equipment which will certainly be less reliable by that time then present 35mm, so why should I go that route. And why is this VPF program based on whether you're full time first run? Shouldn't it be based on what you gross, or better yet, what you pay in film rental? As a booker myself, and a member of Rentrack, I see the figures. There are hundreds of full time first run theatres that don't gross what my subrun theatre grosses. In fact there are many 2, 3 or even 4 screen locations that don't gross on all of their screens what I gross on my one screen, even to the extent that their film rental at 70% doesn't come close to mine at 35%.

Is it fair that I'm not eligible for VPFs just because I'm 2nd run when I earn the studios a higher return. Of course not... but as is often the case in this business, that's just the way it is.
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 09:52 #16512

  • rodeojack
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Great observations, Burney...

And...
that's just the way it is.

Boy... have I heard THAT a few times!
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 12:19 #16513

  • reelman
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Roxy- GREAT, GREAT response. The savings in this whole digital "revolution" are for the studios not the exhibitors(either large or small) Basic projection costs will skyrocket with digital and reliability and obsolescence will become bigger issues than with 35mm.

However one goes about getting digital, the costs involved will certainly be a barrier to some. 38,000 U.S. screens will shrink by several thousand I would guess over the next 10 years.
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 12:31 #16514

  • slapintheface
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The savings in personel will be about $30,ooo - 50,000 per multiplex and the pic is always the same 1st day 6th week!
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 16:53 #16515

  • RoxyVaudeville
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by slapintheface:
The savings in personel will be about $30,ooo - 50,000 per multiplex <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

How does someone come up with those figures?

In this neck of the woods, the megaplexes (the largest are 16 screens) use one projectionist for all screens. In some cases they are also managers with other duties. Who is there to cut? The only savings I see is on build up and tear down of shows. What is the most amount of new shows that have to be replaced each week... usually from two to five. The amount of time needed for build up is one hour and tear down 1/2 hour for each, therefore 1 and 1/2 hours for each show changing x 5 shows (using the max) x $10.00 per hour equals $75.00 each week or $3,900 per year. The service contract on only two projectors is more then that, so it's a loss situation.

For us small guys who often are our own projectionist, there will be no savings in dollars at all, only in time.
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 17:27 #16516

  • Narrow Gauge
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How much will we save on shipping fees. I would think there would be significant savings in this department. Anyone have estimates? I will have to run the report but I know its in excess of 2000 per year for traditional film.
Lower shipping costs should help offset some of the extra costs from d-cinema.
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 18:09 #16517

  • slapintheface
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my theater has always a manager and projectionist...manager will now do both for mne the savings will be about $31,000. plus shipping fees..per year with a perfect picture every time!
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 04 Nov 2007 18:15 #16518

  • slapintheface
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Roxy thats why i said multiplex....

shows times are set for the week in advance by the manager......no ONE NEEDS TO BE IN THE BOOTH EXCEPT TO TURN THE POWER ON AND OFF!
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 05 Nov 2007 12:01 #16519

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With digital maintenance fees of 2000 per screen per year 7 x 2000= 14000 in costs.

Savings-payroll- 4000.00
shipping - 4000.00
current maintenance fees for 35mm-3500.00

The way I have it figured this is an increase in costs of 2500 per year for my 7 screen cinema. Does this seem accurate?
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 05 Nov 2007 16:35 #16520

  • reelman
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Are you figuring shipping costs of hard drives if that is the provided solution?

I know Digiservs model calls for satellite distribution but Access/IT is shipping a physical medium if I am not mistaken.
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 05 Nov 2007 16:47 #16521

  • rodeojack
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With digital maintenance fees of 2000 per screen per year 7 x 2000= 14000 in costs.

Don't forget to add the cost of new bulbs. The Christie program covers installation of two bulbs per year, though you have to buy them. They'll bring their own along, or they'll install yours if you've got them in the booth when they arrive.
current maintenance fees for 35mm-3500.00

You're paying that per screen? Does that include bulbs?
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 05 Nov 2007 18:30 #16522

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I pay about 3500 per year for 7 screen-this does not include bulbs. Do the bulbs in digital last as long as 35 mm. How much is the shipping of the hard drives?
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 05 Nov 2007 20:11 #16523

  • rodeojack
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Do the bulbs in digital last as long as 35 mm.

The last I knew for sure, digital was pretty hard on bulbs. The Christie maintenance agreement with Carmike includes 2 changes per year. In 6 months we were putting around 1800 hours on our lamps. That's not a lot, unless you're burning 4,000 to 7,000 watt bulbs at full power. 7kW bulbs only have about 700 hours to full warranty, so a larger machine might go through these things faster than a comparable 35mm machine might.

I know they've made improvements in the light paths of these things. Whether that's translated into better lamp life, I don't know.

I've also read (several times) that wandering in a xenon bulb's flame is more noticeable with digital, so you might not be able to bleed these bulbs the same as we've been able to with film.

If you use 7kW bulbs, you already know that they don't hold up as long as a 4k bulb. Here at my drive-in I get 4 years out of a Christie 4k bulb easy. After 2 years with the 7k screen I'd be 75% to 80%ver warranty, so with a $1,800 glass reflector in there, I tend to feed bulbs to that screen more often!
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 13 Nov 2007 01:35 #16524

  • cinequip
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With regard to lamp life in Digital, I can tell you of one customer that has 3 machines. We converted him to standard xenon lamps (not the narrow gap - high pressure D-cinema lamps), and he's been getting typical long life on the lamps. The standard lamps don't give the same brightness, but in moderate to smaller screens that isn't an issue. As Jack pointed out, while the current crop of D-Cinema machines often require 6k HP lamps, the new .98 chip machines are more efficient and run 2-3k lamps for most applications - and single phase 220v. The big boy 3-phase 6kw machines will only be used in large screens over 45' wide and drive-ins.

In terms of what maintenance is required, DCI suggests twice a year PM with filters and reflector cleaned, lamp align, check high current connections,and shoot colors. We are quoting max one hour per machine for this service. The $2500-3500 per year, PER MACHINE maintenance cost that you have to buy with an integrator is a *tad* high for that service only. Of course that also includes emergency service, but still, that's a lot of service. I would prefer to go with cost as needed.
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Re: Digital maintenance costs 13 Nov 2007 10:35 #16525

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Thank you very much for your educated response, cinequip. It has been hard to find out what exactly is needed for D-cinema PM's.

As far as filters go, some machines have LED's that indicate when it's time to change filters. Have you found that there is still life left on filters beyond the point where the LED comes on?
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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