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Old 11-28-2019, 09:52 PM
Fear Itself is offline
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Apparently, modern digital theaters don't have surge supressors.


I took my mom out to see the new Tom Hanks movie tonight. Three quarters of the way through the film, it froze, then went black. We waited several minutes, then another patron went out to find out what was happening. She came back and said there was a lightning storm outside that caused a power surge that stopped the digital projector. They were unable to restart the movie, and offered free passes for another day.

So what is it about a digital projector that prevents it from resuming a movie after the power surge? It was projecting a still image when we left. At least in the old days, when the film broke, they could tape it back together and restart the movie.

Technology. Bah.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 11-28-2019 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:29 PM
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I don't know if you are or not, but many people confuse power surge with power outage (or brownout). It's not uncommon for people to say they had a power surge when the lights flicker or go out of a few seconds*.
A true power surge, especially if it's caused by lightening may very well have fried the electronics in the projector.
And let's not rule out the possibility that it wasn't a power surge or a power outage, it's just that something broke and that's the line their using because, honestly, the actual reason doesn't matter. The fact is, they're not going to finish the movie and this puts the blame on an external source.

Besides, even in the old days, back when you could retape a broke film, you'd still have problems if, say, a power surge blew out their last bulb or caused a motor to fail.

*Yes, a power surge could blow some fuese/reclosers upstream causing you to lose power for a few seconds, but that should prevent surge at the local level. IOW, if that happened, the projectors aren't suddenly going to get a 100kv for a split second.
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Old 11-29-2019, 01:12 PM
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They shoulda got the ushers to just act out the rest of the movie for the audience.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
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[...]Besides, even in the old days, back when you could retape a broke film, you'd still have problems if, say, a power surge blew out their last bulb or caused a motor to fail.[...]
In my theater days back in the late 80s, we never had issues with power surges. Not once.
We did have power failures, broken film, and ... exploding bulbs.

The latter was quite an experience: light bulbs in modern projectors are scary monstrosities made of Coke-bottle-thick quartz and filled with high pressure xenon gas.

Here's a 2500 watt Osram bulb.

When they go, they don't just stop lighting up...they explode like hand grenades.
The inside of the lamp house has a robust metal enclosure to capture the shrapnel when one explodes. When this happens, it scares the snot out of the projectionist.

Our projectors had vertical lamp houses, meaning that the bulb was held vertically in a salad-bowl-shaped reflector, with a super fancy dichroic mirror turning the beam 90 degrees at the top, so it points through the projector. Whenever one blew, the top electrode inevitably smashed that very-expensive mirror at the top, so I couldn't even put in a new bulb and get things going.

Swapping bulbs out was a long process requiring protective gear and steady hands.

On the other hand, at my peak, when I heard a broken film alarm, I would run and grab a splicer, splice the break, rethread the projector, and start it back up, all within about 30 seconds.

Regardless of the cause of the problem, I always carried a pocket full of free passes--these were like magic for easing customer dissatisfaction in almost all situations.
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:23 PM
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They shoulda got the ushers to just act out the rest of the movie for the audience.
Based on the OP's location, we could call live-action sweding "Flavortowning".
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:34 PM
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They shoulda got the ushers to just act out the rest of the movie for the audience.
Pretty sure you could get Tom Hanks to do it. He does every other damn thing!
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:52 PM
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Isn't that pretty much what Rocky Horror was about?

We had a whole crew of ...curious... people who came in on Friday night to act out the entire movie in front of the screen while the midnight show was going on.

I'm certain that it makes absolute sense to those who have seen the film, but I never did watch it, so this seemed quite bizarre to me.
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:28 PM
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Sort of related but many grocery stores don't have backup generators. If the power goes out for a while, they lose all their frozen and cold food.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:38 PM
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Power comes in three phases, 120 degrees apart so the sine wave gets evened out--the AC comes from the wall, hits the rectifier, gets turned into DC, and goes out to the very expensive bulb.

One night, one of the three phases failed on the pole outside the theater. Now what gets hooked to what is random, but the lamphouses need all three phases to work. We had houses where the projector shut down, the lights came up. Other houses were in the dark, as the emergency lights had power so they didn't come on. Other houses were somewhere between the two. The part that really sucked was we were in a vacation town, and I had just returned from the bank dropping off the night deposit. I could hand out passes without a problem, but nobody was getting a refund--all I had was $250 in the safe.


If you want to see a really big bulb, the drive-in's take a 7000 watt monster. Close to $1300. Lasts 1000 hours. Going past the rated hours increases the odds that the bulb will detonate.

The quartz envelope is not radio opaque, so if it goes up in your face, you can look forward to a long time with the surgeon fishing chunks out. Faceshield, ballistic jacket, special gloves, and wait till the bulb was cold. I looked like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man when it was time to change the bulbs.

Last edited by The Vorlon; 12-01-2019 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:44 PM
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Oh, and with the anti-piracy setups they have today, not only does it take forever to boot the projector, if it looses contact with the server in the booth for any reason it shuts down. At least there isn't any head wraps from failing microswitches--when one failed, protocol was to change all 31 in the theater. Sleep was for wimps!
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
They shoulda got the ushers to just act out the rest of the movie for the audience.
Damn it, Janet (slut!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by minor7flat5
Isn't that pretty much what Rocky Horror was about?

We had a whole crew of ...curious... people who came in on Friday night to act out the entire movie in front of the screen while the midnight show was going on.

I'm certain that it makes absolute sense to those who have seen the film, but I never did watch it, so this seemed quite bizarre to me.
Eh, speaking of . Nah, the cast doesn't act out the film, the cast complements it with funny comments, encouraging audience participation, leading the audience in song or dancing during the musical parts, do little skits during the boring moments, shout joke setups that the movie people finish etc...
The audience is also expected to participate - for example it's customary during that song for the first few rows of spectators to shout "Fuck the back row !" at the 4:05 mark, to which the guys and gals in the back row respond "Fuck the FRONT row !" "Fuck you harder !" "Fuck you longer !" etc...

It's good, lewd fun.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:39 AM
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I am curious about how digital movies are delivered to theaters. Does the theater receive a complete file of the movie, which they play over and over at the correct time? Or is it more like streaming video from a cloud server located remotely that delivers the movie to the theater at the scheduled time?
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:13 PM
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Hard drive gets delivered to the theater. Projector tells the mothership how many times the movie was shown. Lot easier than apeing 100lbs of film cans upstairs.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
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They shoulda got the ushers to just act out the rest of the movie for the audience.
Better yet, Feel around!
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
...Eh, speaking of . Nah, the cast doesn't act out the film, the cast complements it with funny comments, encouraging audience participation, leading the audience in song or dancing during the musical parts, do little skits during the boring moments, shout joke setups that the movie people finish etc...
The audience is also expected to participate - for example it's customary during that song for the first few rows of spectators to shout "Fuck the back row !" at the 4:05 mark, to which the guys and gals in the back row respond "Fuck the FRONT row !" "Fuck you harder !" "Fuck you longer !" etc...

It's good, lewd fun.
Sounds like they were having a blast while I was down the hall watching Pink Floyd's The Wall.
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