- IT and IP – The Computer-Centric World
Instead of opening a bag full of reels and sitting down to splice everything together, we take delivery of files. The files may come on a hard disk, they may come over a satellite feed. Somehow they have to get to a main storage unit, then moved to the play-out server, where they can be composed into a play list, previewed, and played.
The good news is that you don't have to wear gloves to handle digits. You do need to make certain that they don't get dirty, that is, corrupted. You do need to know how to match up the Security keys too, but we will cover Security in the next segment.
In this course we will take a bold step into the tiny fluctuations of magnetic forces that hold changes between there and not there, what we call 0 and 1, and how they somehow hold all that magnificent light that we will eventually see on the screen.
- Bits and Bytes
For the last few thousand years people have been counting with numbers that are based upon the typical number of human fingers. In clever-talk it is known as Base10 or, Base 10. During the Tower of Babel times, they somehow counted with Base60...don't ask us how.
It's Base2, the binary system that we are concerned with now.
- Converting Analog to Digital
We frequently do things. Once or twice a day we wake up or sleep. We go from here to there. We change states, for example, from hungry to full.
The Cheshire Cat can change her state from here to there pretty quickly. But most of us do things a little at a time, a gradient of sorts. We get a little hungry, a bit more hungry, distractingly hungry, and up the scale.
Computers don't have that luxury of gradual states. By their nature they combine a bunch of "on or off" states to achieve something. If the color, for example, needs more detail than the computer can deal with, have fun deciding on a new computer.
- Depth, Flow and Compression
People get confused about technology, and entertainment technology is no exception.
But as laser discs and VHS tapes gave way to DVD, and DVDs are now giving way to Blu-ray – film is giving way to DCPs and confusion is ensuing.
Well, perhaps confusion is the wrong word. Complete non-comprehension is better. Because the description of 2K (at 2048x1080) looks close to 1080p (1920x1080), some think that the twain is meeting. The latest generations of Blu-ray discs specs say they can, in theory, support even more bit depth than a DCP.
Let's look at this subject since it explains a lot about the technology of getting bits to look like colors.
- RAIDs and Servers
But what replaces all those canvas bags with reels and reels that need to be spliced and unspliced? What replaces the platters of film with loops running across the ceiling so I can get the movie playing in 5 theaters at once? And why is everything an acronym in digital cinema?
The SMS and the RAID. The Screen Management System and the Redundant Array of Independent Disks.
It should be obvious that digital cinema technology is not difficult. It is just detailed. And the details were mostly waiting in the IT world for a few pieces to come together. Next to the projector, the server and RAID technology are the main components of the basic system.
- The Network
- Ethernet and Routing
- The OS - Unix/Windows/Mac
- The NOC
- Satellites and Fiber