Before I start this section, I would like to ask for anyone who has experience of dealing with alternative content, if they would be so kind as to send me their experiences, tips and any general knowledge they may have to me, so that I can share it here with others who are going to be faced with similar situations in the future.
One of the biggest advantages to having a digital projector in a cinema is it’s ability to be able to screen, what has become known as alternative content – this can be anything from video, DVD, computer presentations or even sports or music events.
Arqiva Satellite & Media: have produced a document called ‘Going Live!’ and aims to be an objective, non-promotional, easy-to-read, informative and non-technical overview of digital projection of live event content in cinemas. It looks at the market opportunity, the current state of digital cinema set-ups, and help projectionists ask prospective digital cinema suppliers the right questions to ensure they get the best set-up for their specific requirement. You can download the PDF version of this file from here.
This alternative content can be a tricky thing to deal with – where as once there was one format – film, there is now hundreds of different formats and variations within those formats. Below are some useful links and information which will hopefully help when dealing with alternative content.
There are a number of useful tips to manage alternative content:
- Get as much information about the event as you can as far in advance as you can, then double check this again closer to the event.
- Make sure you prepare what you have been asked for with your own test setup material and that it is working as you expect.
- Check the content you are given, looking for information relating to aspect ratio, cues, format etc – its good to note these down.
- Have plenty of cables and connectors available so that if something unusual turns up you can connect it or if something breaks you have a way of dealing with it.
- Understand your equipment and it’s setup – this will help with problem solving and being able to find work rounds if there are other problems.
- Go on the multimedia projectionist course run by the BFI
- Read and understand the links and information provided below.
Below I have listed some useful tools and applications which may help with setting up the alternative content.
Video Monitor Test Patterns
If you are setting up for alternative content it is good to understand about test patterns either for video/dvd content or if it is from a computer. This allows you to see if you are getting the best possible picture. The following links are either for tools or further information on testing and resoultions.
- Resolution Test Patterns
- Video Test Bench Monitor Test Pattern Generator
- Joe Kane Productions
- Video Monitor Test Pattern Tutorials
- Techmind LCD
Everyone is use to the aspect ratios associated with film, and the ways in which to identify them, but it it is not always so easy in the digital world.