Q-SYS Level 1 Cinema Training: Cinema Sample Walkthrough Part ONE

Q-SYS Level 1 Cinema Training: Cinema Sample Walkthrough Part ONE


You have arrived! Welcome to the Cinema Sample Design walkthrough! In this video, we’re going to take a nice slow sightseeing trip through the Cinema Sample Design file. You can download this file below, or you could also get it in the Q-SYS Asset Manager. Just go to Tools>Show Q-SYS Asset Manager, and search for Cinema. Once you Install this design to your computer, you can find it by going to File>Open Sample Design, and then select the Cinema sample. This file may get renovated slightly from time to time, so if the version you see looks slightly different than the one we show you, don’t worry. And seriously – pause this video and download it right now! You should have it open on your desktop while you’re going through this walkthrough! Yeah! That way, you can pause the video as often as you like and poke at the design yourself rather than just watch us. At first glance, this schematic may look pretty complicated, especially compared to everything else you’ve learned so far in your Q-SYS training. But I promise it’s not as scary as it looks, once we give you a little tour of what’s happening. However, this is going to take a little bit longer than our normal 5-minute videos, so we’re going to throw in as many groan-worthy movie jokes as possible because… I said so! So hopefully you’re ready and just like us, you feel the need. The need … for sp-ending a reasonable amount of time methodically exploring all areas of this inportant topic at a comfortable pace. The first thing to notice is that this design is built for a single auditorium—one screen. In fact, let’s edit this text field to indicate that this is Screen #1. If you have multiple auditoriums in your venue as most theaters do, then you could copy and paste this entire design to a new Schematic page. You’d have to add new hardware devices of course, but it’s a a good place to start the design of another auditorium. Lookie there, Twins! …. Get Out! But for now, we’re just going to focus on one auditorium, so we’ll delete this one. Alright, let’s get going! We’re gonna dim the lights to get this show on the road, starting with … Inputs. You might have already realized the majority of the inputs are entering Q-SYS via the DCIO peripheral. As we mentioned earlier in this training, the DCIO is an input/output device intended specifically for digital cinema applications. You would typically have one of these per auditorium, located in the projection booth. Let’s open up the DCIO’s control panel. This peripheral can receive 16 audio channels, which will typically arrive as AES3 audio from the media server. While this is the standard method of receiving audio from the playback server, the DCIO also has an HDMI input for alternative content. On a running design or in Emulation Mode, like I am now, you can engage HDMI input by selecting the “HDMI Enable” button, and AES channels 9-16 will toggle to the 8 input channels of your local HDMI source. AES channels 1-8 – they’re still active, but if you need AES channels 9-16 again, you’ll have to re-enable AES—which of course will disable your HDMI content. So what are these 16 AES channels? A standard digital cinema package (or DCP) will always deliver the same type of content on each channel via AES/EBU, based on the channel mapping of the upstream media block. This chart shows the default channel assignment on the DCP according to SMPTE specifications, but it’s not uncommon for people to reorder the channel mapping on the media server. That would obviously rearrange these channels in Q-SYS too, but don’t worry, the software is plenty flexible enough for you to manage that. By default, Channels 1-3 are the left, right, and center channels. Channel 4 is the LFE—or Low Frequency Effects—channel, which is for your subwoofers. Channels 5 and 6 are your left and right side surround channels. Channels 7 and 8 are your assistive listening channels: 7 contains a mix for hearing impaired listening devices, and 8 contains a narrative track for visually impaired audience members. Tracks 9 and 10 are reserved for SDDS which is typically not used any more, but may contain Left Center and Right Center screen channels in a five-channel screen system. Tracks 11 and 12 are important to us, as they contain the left and right rear surround audio. The rest of the tracks are used for motion seat data, Immersive Sound sync data, and sign-language video, which we won’t really get into in this tutorial. Mostly we just care about the 8 channels used in a 7.1 mix and the assistive listening channels. So just like later sequels in a horror movie franchise, you may be wondering why these these channels exist at all if nobody is ever going to want them. But don’t forget that when we use the HDMI input, you’ll need all 8 of these channels, which is why they’re wired in your design. And again, it’s not uncommon for someone to remap their assistive listening channels to AES 15 and 16, for instance, which is why we provided these broken signal tags here so you can easily reroute them in Q-SYS too. The DCIO also has some analog inputs – an XLR input for a local microphone with phantom power, and a stereo line input for other content, both of which might often be used for special events held in an auditorium, like a high school presentation on history. Excellent! These local inputs arrive in Q-SYS via this “Analog In” block. The stereo input actually gets delivered to a custom cinema component called the “Active Matrix Surround Decoder” which will “up-mix” a simple stereo signal into left, right, center, and surround channels, so that your pre-show content (which is typically only stereo) can make use of all your cinema speakers. We’ve also included a two-track Audio Player which might be used for pre-show background music or announcements This Audio Player is labeled NS, or “Non-Sync”, meaning that this audio does not need to be in sync with the picture. And finally there’s a Cinema Pink Noise Generator and Loudspeaker Monitor for testing purposes. This may seem like an awful lot of input channels, considering that this auditorium only has the typical eight output channels. So when we look at these inputs, let’s look at them with the caveat of realizing that they all get funneled through an Audio Router. The Router will distribute each input to the appropriate output channel, based on which format you need for your current content. You can see these outputs are labeled left, right, and center for the fronts, then Low Frequency Effects, Left Side Surround, Right Side Surround, Left Rear Surround, and Right Rear Surround. If you open up the Router, you’ll see there are hundreds of buttons inside that manage the routing of the available inputs to the outputs. Don’t worry, you don’t need to change these manually. Let’s scroll down a bit and look at this Manual Control section. This is a panel with the most common controls you’ll need to engage in this auditorium. On the left there are eight Snapshot Load buttons which will route your inputs in different ways. Let’s enter Emulation Mode to see these at work. You’ll see that the first preset, “FEATURE 7.1”, routes the first 6 AES channels to the Left, Right, Center, Sub, and Side channels, and also routes AES 11 and 12, which are our rear surrounds, to output channels 7 and 8. In “FEATURE 5.1” mode, the only difference is that we duplicate the side surround channels for the rear channels, since 5.1 doesn’t have dedicated Rear surround channels. This is sometimes called “split” surround. This same routing is applied to “TRAILER 5.1” mode, but we’ve also dropped the master fader by 6 decibels to compensate for every overzealous trailer editor out there who thinks their trailer needs to be the loudest thing that’s ever been heard. “In a world full of Events, someone has to handle them…” In “PRESHOW” mode we take those PreShow channels we mentioned from our analog stereo input and send the left, center, and right channels appropriately, and send the sides to all four of our surround channels, while muting our subwoofer. “NON-SYNC” mutes everything except the left and right so we can play content from the Audio Player, and “MIC” routes our microphone to every channel except for your sub, which we mute. Finally, “HDMI 7.1” routes the 8 HDMI channels to their respective outputs, and you’ll notice that this also engages the DCIO’s “HDMI Enable” button. And of course, “HDMI 5.1” will duplicate the side surround channels into the rear channels, just like our FEATURE presets did. If we return to FEATURE 7.1, our DCIO returns to channels 9-16 to AES mode, and we’re ready for our 7.1 digital cinema package. After we’ve routed our inputs into the 8 channels we actually want, we have a couple more things at play here in the design. First, all 8 channels go through a Master Fader. When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the Master. Only a master of level, Fader. Don’t worry, Master Fader is just a standard gain block to make global volume adjustments. You might recall that the the grey dots on these gain and mute buttons mean they’ve been added to the Named Controls Bin for external control, and we’ve also placed them in our Manual Control panel below. After the Master Fader we have a Master Delay if you need to impose any audio delay, and then a couple other options. The Left, Right, and Center channels get sent through a Bypass Mixer. This Bypass Mixer has no effect on the channels – you’ll notice that input 1 goes to output 1, input 2 goes to output 2, and input 3 goes to output 3, with no gain changes. But since these three tracks are the most critical, we’ve built some snapshots that will remix them in different ways in the event that a loudspeaker or an amplifier goes down. So, if there’s a failure on that center output channel, which typically carries the dialogue for the film, we can mix that center channel out to the left and right speakers instead. Or if one of the left or right output channels goes down, you can use this third snapshot to quickly mix all the channels together, letting the show keep going while your technician can work on getting that hardware back up and running. The last portions in this Processing section are down below. First, our Assistive Audio mixes. We’re taking the Left, Right, and Center channels of whatever format we’ve selected and combining them into a single channel that is slightly weighted favoring the center channel— which again, usually has the movie’s dialogue. This is delivered to our HI, or Hearing Impaired outputs, for viewers who are using an assistive listening device. This router allows you to choose between using this track or the HI channel that comes from the DCP. Keep in mind that alternative content and trailers often won’t have an embedded Hearing Impaired track, which is why we’re providing the LCR mix as an option instead. We are also delivering the AES8 signal, which contains the Visually Impaired narration track, to our VI output. Finally, we have some internal meters we can view for any of our channels, and then one more Router that can deliver any of our eight output channels to a local Monitor in the projection booth. You’ll notice that the Hearing-Impaired, Visually-Impaired, and Monitor Outputs are all analog outputs on the back of the DCIO, which can be wired to your local assistive systems or a loudspeaker. The monitor out is a 10 W powered channel, so you can use a passive loudspeaker like an AD-S32T or AD-S4t. And we’ve taken the gain and mute buttons for this channel and placed it in the Manual Control section as well. The last thing to note is that you can also choose to route the “Loudspeaker Monitor” to your … monitor loudspeaker, which might sound a little like word salad. But you may remember from earlier training that every loudspeaker in the design has a “Listen” button that will send that loudspeaker’s signal to the “Loudspeaker Monitor” component. We’ve compiled all the “Listen” buttons in this design into this container here, letting you quickly select an actual loudspeaker channel to route to your local monitor. This is different than listening to the source, because it also contains all the equalization, tuning, and loudspeaker filtering that occurs later in the signal path– so this is a better indicator of what the audio actually sounds like in the auditorium. Okay, so by now you should be comfortable with all the inputs, the processing and most of the Manual Controls that come with this design. But we’re only halfway through! So let’s take a quick break, and then we’ll come back to look at the rest of the design.

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