eLivermore.com - By Bill Nale


Livermore Cinema
Page 3 - The Projection Room

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Page 2 - The Theaters
Page 3 - The Projection Room
See Also:
Golden Triangle Construction
Including photos of the Livermore Cinema
under construction

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The Projection Room

8 of the 10 theaters have digital projectors while the other 2 use 35mm film.  Not all movies are available yet digitally.

Three more small theaters will be opening in the spring of 2007.  Those will probably have 35mm film projectors, as many of the art house movies that will likely be shown will not be available digitally.

With the digital projection system, movies are sent on a 3.5" hard drive instead of film.  These are standard hard disks, in an "external" enclosure and connect via USB 2.0 or sometimes 1394.  The movie is downloaded into the main server, which contains twelve 500Gbyte drives in a RAID configuration.  RAID is Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, which provides high performance and high reliability (I.E. any one disk can fail without loss of data).  From the server, the data is transferred to the projector(s) that will show the movie via Gigabit Ethernet.  Each projector has about 1TeraByte of disk storage, or enough for 3 or 4 movies.  This likely is three 500Gbyte disks in a RAID setup.


The Christie CP 2000-S projector along with the equipment racks.  The audio rack is on the left, with the projector computer on the right.  The flexible pipe coming out of the top of the projector is hot air from cooling the bulb.  It is vented out of the building to avoid cooking the entire room.

The projector supports 35 trillion colors, which is 15 bits of resolution for each of the three colors (2 to the 45th power is about 35 trillion)
It runs at 2048x1080 pixels, at 24 or 48 frames per second, progressive scan.
The projector runs on 208 volt 3 phase which is standard power in commercial buildings.
Bulbs for this projector range from 2000 to 6000 watts.  I believe these use 5000W bulbs.
More information on this projector can be found here.

The side of the projector, showing the lens, with the audio rack behind it.

The back of the rack.  The right side is the audio rack, with the Dolby processor at the top, the THX processor next, and power amps below.  The gray cables looped and going off to the right are the speaker cables.
The rack on the left is the projector computer system.


The main server.  All movies are stored here initially, and linked to the projectors via Gigabit Ethernet.
The server contains twelve 500Gbyte disk drives and several Gigabit Ethernet switches.

The disk drive RAID array in the main server.  There are 16 slots here, but I am told there are twelve 500Gbyte hard drives installed.  The two drives sitting on top are disks shipped by the distributor and are being downloaded into the server.  Both are connected via USB.  The left drive using a USIB (Universal Storage Interface Bus) connector and is in an enclosure that could be plugged directly into a rack.  The right drive is in a typical "external enclosure" that you would find at a computer store, and has a USB connector directly on the enclosure.

A distribution disk drive sitting on its shipping container.  This one is actually running, copying a movie onto the server.  (It is the drive on the right in the photo above)
The black cable is from the power "brick" while the gray cable is the USB connection to the server.
Unfortunately, for all of us external hard disk users (home users and movie theaters), the power cable is not standardized.  Every enclosure manufacturer does their own thing.  This means you have to make sure you have the right power brick for the drive.
The movie in this case is 1 hour, 49 minutes, 16 seconds long, and takes 193Gbytes of disk space.
This comes out to about 29Mbytes per second, which is about 50 times the data rate of the average movie on DVD.  Why so large?  The movies are in High Definition, and use much less compression to provide the highest quality picture.  There is still compression required.  Totally uncompressed at 45 bits per pixel would be 2Terabytes for this length of movie.

The movie being downloaded has 5.1 Audio (Left, Center, Right, Rear Left & Right, and Subwoofer).
The aspect ratio is "Flat (1.85)", which is slightly wider than 16:9, the standard HDTV ratio.
The actual format is 1998 x 1080 pixels.
No, you could not plug this disk into your home theater.  The encoding process contains strong security, requiring electronic keys to display the content.

A 35mm film projector in operation on Theater 5.
The film is being fed from the bottom platter and then going to the top platter.
The film is shipped in multiple reels of about 20 minutes each.  These are all spliced together along with movie trailers to form one continuous film.


A second projector is in each theater for advertisements before the movie.
The Livermore Cinema uses adds from local businesses.
The equipment rack here is the audio system for the 35mm film projector.  The top box is a Dolby CP650 Digital Cinema Processor.  The next box down is a THX processor, followed by a series of audio power amps to drive the speakers.


Cinema West