The current pandemic has placed critical pressure on the global cinema community with the exhibition sector in most major markets being forced to shut down as governments seek to prevent the spread of the virus by limiting mass gatherings and social interactions. The London-based trade group Cinema Technology Community has offered steps to take to safely close movie theatres and what measures should be taken when reopening once the COVID-19 crisis passes. These recommendations should be checked with your local installation and integration partners.
Shutting Down Equipment
In regard to digital cinema projectors, leave the projector’s uninterruptible power supply (UPS) powered with the projector in “standby” mode. Doing this will help to keep the security certificate in your media block from being lost which will result in being unable to play encrypted content without a new media block. Exhaust fans should be switched off and any dampers closed. Lens caps or other protective coverings may be placed on the outside of lenses to keep airborne dust and dirt from settling on the glass. Best practice varies considerably and CTC recommends obtaining specific instructions relating to your projector from either your integration partner or product manufacturer.
3D systems should be powered down and filters where possible slid or moved away from the projector lens. 3D filters should be covered where possible.
As for digital cinema servers, leave the server’s uninterruptible power supply powered with the server in standby mode. This will ensure that your integration or service partners are able to gain remote access to assist should you encounter any problems. Ensuring your servers remain in standby mode will also ensure that the security certificate in your media block remains valid the result of which would be the loss of ability to play encrypted content without the addition of a new media block. This is especially important for Series 1 projectors.
Similarly, leave any audio rack or control system uninterruptible power supplies powered with any connected equipment in standby mode in order to avoid losing any settings or tuning data. If the audio rack is powered off each night then this can be done,
Where possible, all equipment should be powered up weekly for between one and two hours to ensure that equipment remains operational and to ensure the complete charging of UPS batteries. While the temperature inside the cinema can be reduced due to the unoccupied status of the building, minimum temperatures in the booth or auditorium should not fall below 10°C/50°F to protect components in all equipment.
Film systems may be powered off. Exhaust fans should be switched off and any dampers closed. Xenon lamps can be removed and placed in protective packaging however these can be left in place. Lenses should be placed in a protective covering and stored in a clean environment. Where your projection system uses an anamorphic lens, this should remain installed and covered with a lens cap or other protective cover.
Prior To Commencing Operation
In some instances, it is advisable to power up equipment in multiple phases in order to avoid large peak voltages. A recommended order for powering up should be projector, server and lastly the audio rack. While it is understood that all cinemas are likely to be deep cleaned prior to re-opening, it is essential that residual dust, which may have built up is removed from the auditorium. Places where dust is likely to affect optimum viewing performance include port glass and screen.
It is essential that a rigorous plan for testing and re-calibrating equipment is in place and carried out fully prior to re-opening to ensure that systems have remained operational and movies can be shown. With closures for an uncertain amount of time, it is possible that key delivery messages for certain titles may expire and need renewing. This should be checked in advance of re-opening.
This is a working document and will continue to be updated accordingly. CTC welcomes suggestions related to this essential topic or others from across the industry and we aim to provide support and guidance where necessary. Updates can be found on the CTC website at www.cinema-technology.com.