The bumpy road to DCP

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The gaping hole in our projector where the IMS should be.

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The loaner projector doing the work of keeping the screen lit while the main unit is out of commission.

While all projects have their unforeseen problems to deal with, we hit a huge pothole in the road to digital cinema on Friday. As I was testing Casablanca on Friday, it was looking beautiful until about 10 minutes into the movie when it started rapidly looping the same few frames over and over. Uh oh. DCP is supposed to be rock solid. The movies are encrypted and the Studios only unlock them for the actual dates that you have booked with them. This means that testing the movie in advance is out of the question. So here I was on the opening day of a Holiday weekend with a fritzing movie. At first the issue appeared to be a piece of firmware on the media board (IMS) inside the projector. The update was fairly straightforward and applied just fine… then the communication port went down and the projector became unreachable. We sweated over the port settings for a few hours trying to reestablish a link but it just wouldn’t respond to anything. We finally had to break the bad news to all the people in the lobby waiting for a fun Friday night with a great classic. No show, tickets refunded, that inner feeling of frustration and wanting to smash cute things. We were able to get a loaner projector setup as an interim solution, so we were back on the screen for the late show. The IMS board is in the shop for diagnosis and repair. At first it looked as if a software repair was all it was going to need but then the error messages started popping up making it look more and more like there was something physically wrong with the board itself. Since this thing is barely a few weeks old it means that Doremi will be sending us a fresh one from LA. I would love to know what loose solder joint or overheated chip might have caused it, I guess it is a dark fascination. The show is still on with the loaner standing in. The big pretty Barco projector should be relit soon so we can have a bright and shiny December.

Lamp FAIL excitement from the booth

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Star Trek was looking a little dark last night and then the error messages started popping up on the server. So after the show it was time for a little late night maintenance which is when I pulled out this lamp with chunks of glass and metal clanking around. Tonight’s show looks better now that both lamps are on. I am looking forward to converting to DCP this summer so we’ll be running on arc lamps with double the brightness. It is going to make the shows look really great.