The Producers and Directors all believe that if they make their vision come to life – make their story into a movie – it will be shown in a way that allows the audience see and hear what they created with the same splendor they realized. Were they wrong?
If something is managed properly, then there is control over the quality of the items being delivered, and assurance that the end user will be satisfied. Quality Management | Quality Control | Quality Assurance
Some say that a movies sound is 50% of the movie. So, it better be good, eh?
Sound has nuance. Picture has a thousand words for nuance. Let's learn some.
Your picture and sound equipment get calibrated according to a schedule that management thinks is appropriate for your facility – sometimes in 6 month or 12 month or 18 month intervals. But we all know that things happen in between. With the right tools, you can become the judge.
Some of our customers use the large speaker systems to know what the actors are saying, some read the words with special "closed caption" equipment...some listen to special tracks on headphones. The equipment is called Accessibility Equipment. We have to understand it and test it to make certain our customer gets the best experience possible.
Life happens in real time. Sometimes we read about it. More rarely, we are there. And after, we wish that we could have practiced a little bit before being thrown into it.
During the first minute of the Faces DCP, the screen shows a black background with a blue bar going across the middle. After a while the black background goes grey on one side.
You’ll notice when you look at the two ends of the blue bar now that they look different. One side is more solid blue, one side is a softer blue. Of course, in our minds we know that the color didn’t change on the screen. Yet, in our minds is where the change is happening.
When the background goes back to solid black, the bar looks solid blue from end to end again.
One of our goals is that we can walk into the auditorium with the task of judging the colors of the on-screen picture. We want to attempt a judgement of whether the picture quality in an auditorium is correct.
In order to do this, we have to be aware that the Human Visual System can be tricked.
Perhaps that is the wrong way to say it. Actually, the Human Visual System uses tricks to get around the limitations that it has.
One example of the limitations is the number of color sensors we have in the eye. It seems a lot that we have 100 to 120 million sensors squeezed onto the surface of each eye. But only about 6 million are sensitive to color. On average, 4 million are sensitive to red light, 2 million to green light, and only a few hundred thousand are sensitive to blue light.
The very weird part is that all the red sensors, and all the green sensors, are packed into one little tiny area of the eye called the fovea (which means ‘pit’ in Latin.) No blue sensors, no rods – which are the sensors that we use when it is dark – nothing that get in the way of the high precision sight in the center of our vision. …and only at the center of our vision.
Anything that is in the cone of sight of that fovea is very precise.
After you read the next 2 sentences, look at the word ‘pit’ in the sentence above. Then, without moving your eyes, try to tell what is above or below. You will notice a lot of ‘out of focus’.
It is difficult to control the eyes, to keep them absolutely fixed on a point. Without knowing, and without any effort on our part the eyes are constantly scanning back and forth and up and down.
By now, you may have noticed that one of the paragraphs below is in the color green and one is in the color red. If you go back up to the word ‘pit’, they will stay green and red for a few seconds, but as you keep your focus on the word ‘pit’, the colors will disappear. Go ahead, try it.
The major idea behind the two Faces Test DCPs is that the Human Visual System and the Human Hearing System work magic. To test the picture in your auditoriums, we have to somehow get around that magic.
One part of the magic is that people’s eyes adjust to different light levels. We have the ability to see in dark moonlight and in bright sunlight. We can see great detail in our center vision, and we can notice very small motion in our side vision.
The eyes and the brain work together to give the best image possible in different circumstances. We call the combination “The Human Visual System.”
We hear sound in a similar way. In a quiet room we can here a fan or even a mosquito that is 3 meters (10 feet) away. In a loud kitchen, we can hear voices that are softer than the loud pots and pans. (Well, sometimes.)
We certainly can’t hear that mosquito among the kitchen noises. And we can’t see a dark cat go by in the shadows if there are headlights on the side of our vision.
Usually this magic is a great thing. It is an automatic process that protects the eyes, yet lets us see through an incredible range of light in the right circumstances.
But it also means that when we see leaves of green and fields of rice waving in the wind, we presume that the clouds are white and the sky is blue …but they might really be grayish white and a light shade of blue.
This especially happens in a movie theater. The sun or reflections that we see outside are hundreds, even thousands of times brighter than a projector can display on the screen. Yet, we believe it is bright white. And that is what matters to the audience.
But we have to check that the projection system is giving all that can be expected, not wimping out or giving too much of one color or not enough of another.
Sound is the same way. It is a rare person who can hear a tone and accurately say with certainty, “That is the note ‘E’ below middle ‘C’ on the piano for example, or how soft it is or how loud. All we can say is that it is soft or loud in comparison to something else.
Our purpose is to test the system, to see if it has the right amount of light (and sound). How do we get around this amazing capability of the Human Visual and Hearing Systems?
One thing that people can do very well is determine if faces look right. So, your editor went to a photo sharing site and dropped a bunch of faces on top of each other and made a movie for the projector (called a DCP – a Digital Cinema Package). We think it turned out to be a very interesting way for you to judge the quality the projected pictures on your screen.
And, like the other DCPs, there are also clean and distorted and muted tones – high and low notes – to judge the quality of your sound. Oh~! and let’s not forget the subtitles.
Watch it in your auditoriums several times. Pretty soon you will get a feeling that some face is too green or the expected white isn’t actually white. But, you won’t be certain. Watch and listen more. Pretty soon you will be certain.
Have someone download the DCP and install it on some projection systems. The DCP is at: Faces1 – 2K The passcode is QA_b4_QC
Here is a quicktime version of the Faces1 DCP – Have fun, and tell us what you think. With your help we can make a system that helps you tell the tech what is wrong and eliminates the complaints of the audience member.