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TOPIC: Second Generation Red LEDs

Second Generation Red LEDs 06 Jul 2003 09:52 #21570

  • muviebuf
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I first installed the Component Engingeering reverse scan with red LEDs in both my projectors back in February 1998 when I heard that cyan tracks were immanenent. (Of course five years later this has yet to happen). I was also lured by the promise of better sound quality and seperation (this much was true) and by assurences of reduced maintenence and a promised 10,000 hour life of the LEDs.

Well as far as maintence went the opposite was true. Before the LED install I would have to balace my A-chain every six to nine months. With the first set of red LEDS it was every two to three months as the voltage kept dropping and would have to be boosted. At my annual usage rate (roughly 1,000 hours per projector) I had anticipated that I should have gotten 10 years out of the first LEDs. Instead because of the dropping voltage which necessited that they be boosted, I only got 4,000 hours and replaced them last year.

Well the second set of LEDs has now been in a little over a year. Major Difference. The new ones are rock steady and there has been no change or drop off in the voltage or the A-chain alignment at all. Every time I test the A-chain it reads the same as the date of install.

Proving once again those old adadages - (1)there is always a shake-out period with any new piece of equipment that you install and (2) never be the first on the block to be try anything new unless you are willing to be the guena pig for the test shake-out and willing to take a loss if the idea proves not to have longevity.

BTW, as an illustration of NO. 2 above the people who bought SDDS are going to wish they hadn't when Sony stops maufacturing and support of this equipment at the end of this year.

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited July 06, 2003).]

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited July 06, 2003).]
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 06 Jul 2003 22:49 #21571

  • outaframe
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HELLO BUF <> I am not familiar with this particular brand of LED replacement for exciter lamps, but this sounds more like you were having drift in the power supply output, rather than problems with the LEDs themselves... Did you also replace the power supply when you installed the newest LEDs?... A very slight increase in current will shorten the lifespan of a LED, and if there were drifting output in the power supply of the original LEDs, it could account for the shortened life... Also, there seems to be a lot of variation in quality and brightness amoung LEDs, even those which are rated equally by the manufacturer... "Be not first by whom the new is tried, nor last to lay the old asside," is supposidly a quote from Henry Ford, and was the favorite saying of a very successful and accomplished dentist I once knew... But contradictory as this may seem, this same old dude bought a new 1936 Cord (revolutionary front wheel drive automobile) and drove it for about 25 years... Go figure!

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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 07 Jul 2003 09:38 #21572

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Outaframe - The power supplies were new and came as a package when I bought the LEDs. In fact I got a seperate independent power supply for each projector (and I had the same problem on each of the two different projectors).

The explanation from the dealer is that at the time there was a whole lot of what they termed as inferior or bad batch LEDs. All I know is that it was not as advertised.

What I was also commeting on was my falling for the Chicken Little marketing (The Sky is falling; the sky is falling - if you don't get these you won't be able to play the cyan tracks. What I understand is that now cyan may not ever come into being.) Thats not to say I would not have eventually upgraded - but I generally (especilly in this business) have an aversion to being the first on the block to try anything.

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited July 07, 2003).]
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 07 Jul 2003 10:50 #21573

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HELLO AGAIN, BUF <> Yes, as I understand it, LEDs are not consistant and run +/- specs from batch to batch... However, in this case I'd guess you were just unlucky because the batch yours came from were probably also used in hundreds of products besides exciter lamp replacement, and the latest LEDs you are now using are probably closer to the intended design specs... RE: being first to jump on the bandwagon of the "new"... How many times do we see the first of a product being superceded, almost immediately, by an improved model or modification, but the early run of the product is sold until stock is exhausted, and then a retrofit or modification is made available (at our expense)... That's just the way manufacturers do things!... RE: new technology being introduced in the movie industry, then abandonded... Man, the rocky road of history is littered with the burned out hulks of this stuff: original Cinemascope 35mm w/magnetic sound, 1950s 3-D, 1970s attempt to revive it, Sensurround, 30 fps projection, just to name a few... About the only good thing that can be said about most of these was that they could be retrofitted to the standards adopted in 1936, which are still in place... Maybe Old Henry had it right all along, and that it pays to sit tight and see what happens!...
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 07 Jul 2003 12:48 #21574

  • John Pytlak
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I've heard through the grapevine that there will be a 100% cyan dye track release from a major distributor in a few months, definitely before year's end. In other words, you MUST have a red LED reader to play the analog sound. Details should be publicized soon on the http://www.dyetracks.org website.

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: Second Generation Red LEDs 09 Jul 2003 12:32 #21575

The LED's used in reverse scan readers are specifically manufactured for Dolby Labs and then sold by them to the actual reader manufacturers. THey are not a device from another industry
One of the major contributions to the short life span was the original preamps with the readers had a low gain and as such the LEDS had to run at a higher current
The newer preamps and the oldones usually get modified when the new LED's is installed allow the LED to run at a much lower current level and as such prolong its life
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 09 Jul 2003 15:18 #21576

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HELLO GORDON <> Despite what Dolby may say, I suspect the LEDs they are using are actually the best of the batch from large runs which have had additional inspections and are within Dolby specs, rather than being specifically manufactured FOR Dolby... Given the number of these things that are made, and the relatively insigificant number of scanners that will ever be made, even world-wide, this seems only logical... Something along the line of "THX Certification."... I don't doubt that Dolby supplies the LEDs to all the reader makers, but it just seems unlikely that they would be a one-of-a-kind LED... Just a thought!
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 10 Jul 2003 01:39 #21577

  • Ken Layton
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Still plenty of theaters in my area using good old exciter lamps.
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 10 Jul 2003 02:44 #21578

  • outaframe
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HELLO KEN <> Well, it's beginning to look as if unless you want to go back to playing silents, you're gonna hafta become part of the red light district... Nice, the way we get a choice in the matter, isn't it!...

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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 10 Jul 2003 09:31 #21579

  • Ken Layton
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Steve Guttag ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) will give you the real scoop (with no bs or marketing hype) about cyan soundtracks and LED readers. I would suggest talking to him.
He tells it like it is.
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 10 Jul 2003 10:25 #21580

  • John Pytlak
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The advantages of cyan dye tracks are not "BS" or "marketing hype" -- the need to redevelop silver in the analog soundtrack area is a major source of waste and remakes by the lab, and is environmentally undesireable:
http://www.dyetracks.org

The development of red LED reader technology finally has allowed the development of cyan dye tracks, and a growing majority of theatres have installed red LED readers.

The reason the conversion to cyan dye tracks has not happened sooner is that the Cyan Dye Track committee is sensitive to the concerns raised, and working with all parties to address them for the benefit of the entire movie industry.


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: Second Generation Red LEDs 10 Jul 2003 11:39 #21581

Outoframe said "HELLO GORDON <> Despite what Dolby may say, I suspect the LEDs they are using are actually the best of the batch from large runs which have had additional inspections and are within Dolby specs, rather than being specifically manufactured FOR Dolby"

I have actually talked to one of the two manufacturers who makes them and they are made to Dolby's specs not a off the shelf product for in fact they are an array of micro led in two lines the width of the track being scanned

As for Mr Guttags comments he is only one single voice on the issue and the conversion will ulitmately happen and will probably get the push from enviormentally concieous europe where as in the case of france they for all intents and pureposes mandated the conversion
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 10 Jul 2003 13:57 #21582

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HELLO AGAIN, GORDON <> OK, since it is an ARRAY of sub-mini LEDs packaged together to a certain size and specification, it makes sense that Dolby would be the sole customer... But I'd bet the family jewels that the individual LEDs are made by the thousands, and have a multitude of uses... Not trying to beat a good horse to death here, just put things into logical terms!...
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 10 Jul 2003 17:01 #21583

I understand that these types of arrays are made for many companies to their specs for things like barcode scanners and such.
There are actually 29 micro LED's in the array Dolby has designed in two rows.
One of the features of Dolby's is that it is a very specific wavelength of emited light as well
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Re: Second Generation Red LEDs 18 Jul 2003 12:15 #21584

  • John Pytlak
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As I noted here on July 7, the first release with cyan dye analog tracks is on its way. Woody Allen's "Anything Else" from Dreamworks opens on September 19, 2003.

T-Minus 2 months and counting!

Here's the "Hollywood Reporter" article:

DreamWorks Leans to Green with New Soundtrack
Tue July 15, 2003 10:13 PM ET
By Sheigh Crabtree

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Woody Allen once joked that he is "at two with nature," but when his latest film opens in September, the prolific filmmaker will find himself communing a little more closely with Mother Earth.

That's because the next entry in Allen's celluloid canon --"Anything Else," starring Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Jimmy Fallon and Jason Biggs -- will be the first film released with what is known as a pure-dye cyan analog soundtrack.

Cyan soundtracks eliminate the use of caustic chemicals used in traditional soundtracks by skipping the silver application process in the print manufacturing phase, which enables a significant reduction in the amount of water needed to produce the soundtrack. If all U.S. film release print manufacturing converted to cyan tracks, the savings would be equivalent to
the drinking water needs of a town of 75,000 people for a year, according to the theatrical audio gurus at Dolby Laboratories who are behind the new print process.

The introduction of cyan dye analog soundtrack has been under discussion for nearly a decade but has had trouble finding a champion among Hollywood's major studios. That is until the environmentally conscious executives at DreamWorks SKG, where Allen is wrapping up his four-picture distribution deal, decided to take up the cause.

DreamWorks distribution chief Jim Tharp and operations head Mark Christiansen cited three reasons why the studio decided to embrace the new lab process on Allen's latest picture.

"It's much more environmentally clean; the film has much better overall quality due to a decrease in chemical splash; and 'Anything Else' is not set for an ultrawide run, which makes the conversion process more manageable,"
Christiansen said.

Indeed, the introduction of new or innovative elements in a film print adds an element of risk to the already-arduous task of keeping films unspooling without a hitch in America's multiplexes. Should a picture's audio cut out during a screening, movie fans are likely to become more than a little
agitated.

Case in point is a "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" digital cinema screening in New Jersey in May 2002. A prototype digital cinema projector broke down during a midnight screening and the police had to be called in to manage an angry crowd.

While nowhere near as technically complex nor as problem-prone as early d-cinema screenings, cyan dye analog soundtracks will play only in those theaters that have installed red-light readers into their projectors.

It is estimated that 85% of the projectors in the United States are now equipped with red-light readers, and the members of the National Association of Theater Owners have agreed to equip all of their theaters with the device this year. But it is those theaters that have yet to convert that still remain a cause for alarm among Hollywood distribution execs.

Ted Costas, Dolby's local cyan dye soundtrack evangelist in Hollywood, put it pretty simply. "The only theaters that have not equipped themselves with red-light readers, domestically, are those holdouts that have been waiting for a reason to switch, which we now have," he said.


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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