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automation question 08 Apr 2003 18:23 #21521

  • Mike
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we have a little 2 screen booth. Did we need automation for that? I feel like I was sold a bill of goods. It doesn't even dim or raise the lights! I mean did we NEED?

Michael Hurley
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Michael Hurley
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Re: automation question 08 Apr 2003 18:43 #21522

  • Ken Layton
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What make/model automation did you get? What functions were in need of automation? Did you also have an electronic houselight dimmer for the automation to connect to?
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Re: automation question 11 Apr 2003 12:58 #21523

  • John Pytlak
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A non-automated two-screen theatre with platters would require only that someone be present to thread up the projectors and start the shows. If you need to change lenses between trailers and feature, or change the auditorium light level, you need to be there for that too. At the end of the film, you need to close the dowser, and bring up the lights. So someone's time in the booth is minimal, but necessary.

Automation takes over those functions, freeing you up to do other things. The savings come in if you can reduce staff, without reducing presentation quality or service.

Even without automation, you should use tension-sensing failsafes on the platter to shut things down if there is a film jam.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 585-477-5325 Cell: 585-781-4036 Fax: 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: automation question 11 Apr 2003 14:58 #21524

  • usfrench
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Mike,

As you know we have a two screen as well. The auto equip was installed new in 2001. I didn't get every option but here is what it does.

When we "push the button", it automatically turns off the non-sync music, turns the house lights to half mast, stops the slide projector and starts every movie function. After the trailers finish it then turns the lights too low. At the end of the film, it turns the lights up to half mast and at the end of the credits it turns lights to full, puts on the non sync music, turns off the projector and platter and starts the slide projector.

We typically don't have to be in the booth at all from statr to finish unless there's a problem.
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Re: automation question 12 Apr 2003 15:10 #21525

In any theatre if the booth is unpersoned(politically correct) then there need to be some form of automation to shutdown the equipment in the event of a film problem and bring up the house lights (In ontario at least the latter is required by law)
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Re: automation question 12 Apr 2003 15:19 #21526

  • BECKWITH1
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Mike,
In our book automation is a necessity as it makes everything look professional. You can duplicate every function if you have a good projectionist, but you can have a bad day, a new projectionist or just something that needs more attention outside the booth and the show will still go on and look professional. We were able to greet people at the end of each film because the projectionist did not have to be standing beside the projector waiting for the last of the film to go through. The equipment took care of shutting the projector down and resetting the theater while he was saying goodnight and smiling at the customers. Worth it in my book.

What I wouldn't give right now for 4 working automations in my 4 plex. We don't look professional and everything is a hassle. Fortunately, the automation is being hooked up in theater 1 this weekend. We have had some late show starts because of trying to put all the wiring in correctly (You would never believe all the wiring disasters that were found when they started tracing down how these projectors were wired up to begin with. There have been some near electrocutions and burned socks because no professional electrician ever wired this building previously.

John is right about those failsafes too. We have had several disasters here including having our customers watch The Hunted burn up in front of them. Failsafes failed. Getting replaced on every projector as we can. We have been lucky that we haven't lost more equipment to some of these disasters.
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Re: automation question 12 Apr 2003 21:47 #21527

  • Ken Layton
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What is the brand/model of automation that is being used?
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Re: automation question 14 Apr 2003 15:27 #21528

  • Mike
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Hi-Tech

Hi-Tech HTA-14 Simple Automation System

Thanks for all the comments and ideas. It is an easy job to do these 2 screens w/o auto but then there's the problem that you can't be gladhanding and smiling if you're doing the lights=non-sync, etc. etc. We do have fail safes in any event. I think I'm a little miffed at our auto as it doesn't do all of the above and it was promised to do so. I think this is an issue with our tech folks.

Michael Hurley
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Re: automation question 14 Apr 2003 17:46 #21529

  • Ken Layton
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Even an old Xetron Maxi-7 or an Eprad Co-operator will switch lights and non-sync stuff and you buy those cheap on the used equipment market. For brand new automations, I'd get a Component engineering TA-10, but they're not cheap. I'm not familiar with "HiTech" brand. Could it be yours is not configured properly? Or maybe your installers were lazy?
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Re: automation question 14 Apr 2003 23:55 #21530

  • Ken Layton
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Ok, I found the website describing your system (www.megasystem.com). Yours is the rock bottom of the line---it doesn't even come with manual overide switches! A Kelmar basic automation probably would have been more suited to your requirements.
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Re: automation question 15 Apr 2003 11:28 #21531

  • usfrench
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We use Kelmar.
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Re: automation question 22 Apr 2003 17:15 #21532

  • Ken Layton
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I've contacted Megasystems and they are sending me manuals for the HTA14 and HTA11 automations. I understand that Megasystems was recently purchased by Ballantyne of Omaha and all manufacturing will be moved to Ballantyne's Nebraska plant.
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Re: automation question 25 Apr 2003 17:55 #21533

  • Ken Layton
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Update:

Well, today I got something in the mail from Megasystems. They told me they'd send manuals for the automation. All they sent me was some sales flyers!
Doesn't seem like they are interested in solving your problems with their equipment. It appears that the automation model you bought won't do non-sync sound switching or slide projector switching.

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Re: automation question 06 Jun 2003 07:53 #21534

  • jimor
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"Fail Safes" are really necessary, but when things go wrong, boy can they go wrong! Here is an example:
Had a memorable experience at the CENTRE in Milwaukee in the 70s when the projectionist invited me into the lower cinema's
projection room carved out of the last rows of seats on the main floor. While watching him start the film on
the platters, an alarm went off in the room signaling trouble with the show in the upper cinema in the old
balcony. So, up six flights of stairs and the balcony and then three flights up to the old projection room we
raced, all out of breath. We came in to find the film piled in heaps on the floor, but the computer had
stopped the platters before too much damage was done. The audience was all black for a black exploitation
film and they were hollering something fierce and pounding on the projection room's locked door. The
projectioist said that he had better get the film fixed quick or the audience would start demolishing the
theater (they had actually ripped seat frames from the floor bolts the last time, he said). He managed to
splice the film and rethread it and pushed the 'start' button and the computer then dimmed the house lights,
started the platters spinning and then the xenon light of the projector, and then opened the curtains. It ran
for about ten seconds when an alarm sounded, the film stopped, the house lights came on slowly, and the
curtains closed. The crowd shouted louder than before. He saw something wrong and adjusted the film and
again pushed the start button, and the platters started spinning, the house lights dimmed, and the curtains
started opening again. This time it ran well for about ten minutes when an alarm sounded from the lower
booth and we raced downstairs while the upper audience glowered at us. It was the same thing there, but
there were only about a dozen people in there for this matinee, so he didn't panic as much. Then the alarm
sounded for the upper theater again, and he cursed and started to SLOWLY go upstairs again. I decided that
I didn't want to see the spectacle again, and wished him good luck and left. He stayed on there for a while, so
I guess he got it all fixed, without getting himself 'fixed'.

Guess this shows the joys of platters in a movie palace and the joys of Fail Safes! (no, I don't know what brands/types of equipment they were using). The theatre is now called the GRAND and is closed and available for purchase or refurbishment. It is described at: www.CinemaTreasures.org under the SEARCH: Grand Cinemas. If opened as the WARNER in '31, from '66 to '82 was the CENTRE, and since then has been the GRAND. This is a gorgeous movie palace that has had its intervening auditorium floor now removed (it was tested for the symphony for acoustics, but the man spearheading the move to purchase/remodeling has left town and the new management of the symphony is not sympathetic) but only awaits someone with imagination and lots of money to reopen it. The city has said that they will cooperate in every way! Building now owned by Marcus Theatres with a 20-year lease to go with the land owner (local businessman who loves the theatre.) Anyone need a challenge? I will be glad to supply info.
Jim Rankin, member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: automation question 13 Jun 2003 10:05 #21535

  • John Pytlak
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Kodak has always recommended tension-sensing failsafes when using polyester film. If tension builds, it shuts the machine down before much film is damaged. Usually placed somewhere between the platter feed and the projector, often on the platter vertical column.

The tension-sensing failsafe is IN ADDITION to the usual film break / film end / cue detector, usually located at the bottom of the analog soundhead.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 585-477-5325 Cell: 585-781-4036 Fax: 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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