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Qube XP-e?


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#1 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:45 PM

Hey all; I have a big question for all of you. So pretty soon we'll be showing a film and the theater happend to have a Qube XP-E server thing. it's been recommended that we look into showing off of that. At the moment the footage exists as a ProRes HQ as well as a HDCam master; just curious if any of you know an easy and quick, and prefferably cheap, way to get from the ProRes into something the Qube can handle and show. I am asking on behalf of the producers who are pretty intent to display it off of a BluRay or a DVD if the Qube falls through. Any help would be much appriciated, either shoot me a PM on here or simply reply to this threat. A link to the manual is here and while I understand a bit of post I must admit this specific instance kinda is leaving me up ____'s creek.

http://www.qubecinem...m/downloads.htm
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#2 Freya Black

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:17 PM

Hopefully someone will drop by and post a nicer answer.

In their absence tho I strongly suspect you are stuffed. If you had easy access to the server I bet you could work something out but these cinema servers tend to be very closed systems. In fact I understand it's normally quite expensive to make digital prints believe it or not!!!

I would be inclined to go blu-ray. I've watched films on cinema screens off dvd and actually it looks way better than you would expect! Blu-ray should really be something in theory.

I actually get quite excited by the idea of red ray for this reason, it seems the perfect thing for playout in cinemas and film festivals. If it works and ever sees the light of day that is.

Other than that, could you play off a laptop computer?
What inputs does the video projector have?

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Freya
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:24 PM

Laptop is a possibility; but the issue would be how to interface that with their audio systems as well as issues I would worry about about the resolution we'd be spitting @ the projector. Again, I haven't seen the projector yet, but I'm fighting to get in there ASAP (Friday).
They want to try it off of a DVD, but I mention to them, again, that if they don't know how to get a deck into their chain I doubt they'd know how to get a DVD in there as well. And, apparently from others HDMI which is the only input I know they have, causes audio to loose sync...
I know how much a proper digital print can cost; but I'm thinking, this can't be that hard of a thing.. it's just files and formats... and I know for a fact I can spit out JPEG2000, so I wonder if the issue is just working out the container format... I'm also curious if this thing does a conversion of it's own.. as apparently it ouputs MPEG-2 4:2:0 and 4:2:2... as well as Windows Media 9.... I think it's just an issue of making up the proper XMLs to go with whatever else I throw in there... Ugh, the stresses Freya, the stresses!
Btw, I still need to recut my damned reel ;) i did just finally settle on a song for it.. so not it's time to lay that out.
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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:42 PM

I know how much a proper digital print can cost; but I'm thinking, this can't be that hard of a thing.. it's just files and formats...


I'm inclined to agree with you! The server is almost certainly a computer running a fairly conventional OS. There's a chance the codec will be something weird after all it has to play out very high definitions. However I suspect if you could create the right files and wrappers you might be able to get it working. The trouble is you won't have access to the server too much. What you might be able to do is get access to a film that is already encoded and take that home and reverse engineer it. I suspect this won't be fun however you go at it.

Bad news about the HDMI as that would be the obvious nice way. I'm surprised to hear it loses sync, sounds poor.

Do take a good look at what ways there are to connect there any make sure you are clear on them all. It would be good if you had a plan B in case things go wrong, even if it is a DVD player.

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#5 Freya Black

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:47 PM

Just thought, isn't there some sort of high resolution dual HDMI or something that exceeds HD res? I might be making this up but if there is then maybe the projector is expecting that and not normal HDMI.

I don't actually know what I'm talking about tho, so hopefully someone else will join the fray! ;)

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Freya
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:50 PM

Plan "B", for Bourbon.

Actually plan B atm is probably working off of a laptop with ProRes HQ files, though the audio could be quite problematic.
I e mailed Qube, hopefully they'll get bck to me. There are also programs to make the full DCI complaint JPEG2000 assets, but they're costly... God, why must Film be so simple and anything even remotely related to "digital" so complex...
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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:02 PM

Plan "B", for Bourbon.

Actually plan B atm is probably working off of a laptop with ProRes HQ files, though the audio could be quite problematic.
I e mailed Qube, hopefully they'll get bck to me. There are also programs to make the full DCI complaint JPEG2000 assets, but they're costly... God, why must Film be so simple and anything even remotely related to "digital" so complex...


I read the manual which was surprisingly mostly in English. I got a bit worried when they talked of encryption keys but it sounds like it can play non encrypted content too. Tracks can be as basic as an avi file but I suspect that the playout system will only play compositions and not tracks, you could always try.

Also as it is a windows system you could also see if you can bypass the playout software and just play an avi into the projector. There must be a windows driver for the projector so maybe you can get a media player to output to it! Maybe the driver is in some way hard coded into the playout software but I have this feeling it won't be.

If you are lucky the stuff to create compositions may be installed on the server by default. Perhaps so cinemas can add local adverts. You will have to check it.

When you go to check it out suggest you take plenty of files both as MXF and .avi in more than one likely codec.

There is analog audio output but it is a d socket. However it might be converted into something more normal at the cinema end who knows!

Good luck! :)

love

Freya
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:10 AM

Well, after speaking with the people at Qube, who are very helpful, it looks like the only way to do all of this is the very expensive packaging for DCP... with all the XMLs and such needed for it to playback. It's really backwards, says me, that we have this technology that can't just understand how to play a file loaded onto it. Grantes, I know there are all kinds of encryption and useful metadata in the XMLS, but one would think someone would've thought up a way to open up the D-Cinema experience so as to make more money... theaters soliciting local commercial spots from local places to screen before a film and all that, all living on the same servers.. but alas no. Ok, I'm rambling.. looks like it's time to look into blu-ray!
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#9 Russell Richard Fowler

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:09 PM

The DCI specs for a DCP package is becoming an international distribution standard since it provides studios security and control.....300 - 400 systems are being installed monthly.

Many 2K (or 4K) Digital Cinema projectors + server have an Alternative Content Scaler (ACS unit / box) to allow other sources such as a Blu ray or HDCam to be displayed other than using the server. Sound can be patched in to Pro-logic non-sync or 5.1 digital input of the cinema sound processor which is another box not part of the QUBE server....sometimes there is delay caused by a system scaler or satellite feed so avoiding audio from the HDMI cable is best. If you can not get a proper DCP encoded package of your film best to source to an external device (Blu ray / HDCam.....and VERY last resort, your computer) than to get involved with the programming / ingesting your content on the QUBE.

Advertising in Cinemas are usually contracted to a specialized vendor and is run on a separate video system or is DCP encoded to run on the QUBE type server.
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:45 AM

I wrote a little mini-screen-server application for a local independent cinema here. They had a not-quite-DCI compliant but still pretty respectable 3-chip DLP projector and I put together a system that used the libavcodec and libavformat libraries and would thus play more or less anything you could throw at it by way of a file.

Why am I not surprised to find that the multi thousand dollar solution is, er, how can I put this...

...worse?

Yes it is very very very expensive to get a DCP made, no there is not really a good reason for this. Michael Most will of course have a million reasons why it's impossible to even consider creating a DCP packager that would run on a desktop PC at an affordable pricepoint, but I promise it isn't.

P
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