I must admit that I am thrilled to have Mike Babb on board at Sköll.
In our effort to do 3d HDMI the Kosher way (IMB) coupled with a single projector Passive system, plus adding 2 to 3d conversions (and by the way I showed Mike Indiana Jones in 3D to and he was absolutely thrilled and loved it in every way- kind of cool since he works for the man but I digress)... ...on the first deployed P-series (with it's insane color potential to exploit -at least on DCI), mixing components from competing manufacturers (Doremi-Dolby) which do not co-operate with each other much; in a nutshell, it is the most bleeding edge potentially bug ridden scenario a custom installer may want to deal with in the video realm. As I say, not for the faint of heart.
Don't get me wrong Ray Callahan is also a fantastic digital cinema tech and Skoll is his account forever, but me being as they say in Spanish: "prepotente" high-handed pedantic but-head during times of high pressure, Ray likes to concentrate on the commissioning issues in a sequential order and does not like being told what to try on the fly, like I may suggest. These guys need to be focusing on their tasks and cannot be listening to my thoughts while concentrating. Ray tells me firmly, Peter I will fix it, and he does. The problem was he was not available on the weekend and I was not about to stop. When I broke the news of bringing Mike to Ray, he did not like it and told me he would send me the "FINAL" bill. So again like a few days before that I raised my voice to dramatize a point in general but that it came across highly offensive to the super-duper-best in class installers from Advanced Home Theater (for the consumer side of things), my actions disrupted the installation for a couple of hours.
Essentially due to the crossover nature of digital cinema which is a highly manual operation (typically by a projectionist) and the home theater which nowadays can be stored in a remote closet and have no user interaction,our equipment positioning schemes in the rack CLASHED.
I want the equipment positioned where I (a 52 year old operator) can have the displays and buttons easily accessible and legible without having to hunch over or squat, they on the other hand are dealing with my flat wire Wireworld hdmi silver and platinum ($20k worth of video cables) -these cables don't turn easily sideways to go from left to right rack and back.
Thus following their high standards (really beautiful wiring sculptures to behold) they positioned all the HDMI sources under the display vertically to terminate the wires at a neatness standard reminiscent of NASA. The problem was THE DIGIMEDIA switcher was now 9 inches off the floor, how was I to switch the display in the monitor 65 inches off the floor and see what the heck I was doing? Besides I broke both my knees dancing techno many years ago, and never had surgery so squatting and turning my neck 165 degrees is out of the question. So I slept on it and rather than saying good morning I came with my voice raised saying "we have conflicting ergonomic outlooks on this this rack, and I am the user, and I need this and that".. As I said... pedantic , high handed and totally out of order.
That approach did not help me at all.
That being said -that is why I like Mike Babb so much- he is such an enthusiast and is so excited of being able to be on the ground floor of this exciting new SUPRA HIGH PERFORMANCE CROSSOVER DCI/HOME THEATER Industry - we are de facto creating. Which we are -right?
Yesterday I was able to bluntly unload my feelings about two things to him and he enthusiastically responded to the effect "we will do it exactly as you say" which is music to my ears in this time of insurmountable technical odds and sky rocketing costs.
So his mixture of enthusiasm/knowledge/and thick skin fits me fine and he is the man to install all future moons of Saturn's overseas (including EUROPA- the greatest home theater of the 21st century- in the house below by the most famous first woman high architect ) hopefully with the collaboration of the Advanced Home Theater tactical crack team on the consumer and wiring side as well. With this team in place IMAX be warned, you will have a very tough act to follow. Better get the lasers humming-otherwise you do not have a fighting chance.
Incidentally: Coastal the highest end builder in south florida will be doing the very first IMAX Home theater with Theo Kalomirakis. I wish IMAX well, catch me if you can.
But back to Mike...
Mike was showing me the advanced features of the communicator Post software with on the fly gamma adjustment. I thought that he meant my "secret sauce" Depth Fx look up tables, but no he was talking about straight gamma. What Jim Burns was doing at Wolf a few years ago. Looked similar anyways.
We were trying different things on different 3D sources and by the way: DCI 3D will never be the same again once we apply Depth FX today. If Cameron has a negative impression of my manipulations of the 3d realm which he chastised for five minutes at Cinemacon he is really going to get pissed this time with the depth fx treatment of Avatar in 3D-which we used to fix the "C_cqS_qing softness of the Avatar Blu-ray
) The directors intentions, i will allow one button for that setting and it will be the most accurate rec 709 on the planet, but I shall devote 40 other buttons that say IN BOLD: SCREW THE DIRECTORS INTENTIONS.
And now that, has made me many enemies on the west coast. Oh well take a ticket and stand in line. Just kidding but see this article about European tech startups beating Silicon Valley
For twenty years working with international captains of Industry on and off has forced to cultivate skills in the home cinema arena that address specific regional European je ne sais quoi's in the way of implementing the best in American Technology without imposing the ONE SIZE FITS ALL that CEDIA cranks out en Mass, and that the British (Free Mason) Home Theater Designers (just kidding a la Monty Python oh mighty powerful Dark Knights- but please don't slash mi tires again-just kidding again -peace). If the American Home Theater is shallow the British now control the bulk of the installation in Europe. We are talking about a manufacturers rep that can not have a phone conversation with the manufacturer it represents during normal Business Hours. That is the biggest thing CINERAMAX has going for it it's strategic geographical location to implement the best of American Technology to the more progressive clients in Europe and beyond. Yet the bulk of the work in Europe is still done by the British that exploit the common language to have headquartered CEDIA in the UK. These guys are looting massive amounts of european high net worth clients converting us list prices straight digit for digit to Pounds rather than adjusting for the .6 factor.
There is one company in the UK whose name is "audio thought" or something similar that are The Francis Drake in the sea of home electronics today. $750,000 to do 15 speakers and six tv's and a Crestron in a London Flat.
The owner of the flat plain told me, I have never seen thieves like this. Me neither.