Saturday, 5 May 2012

Bradford National Media Museum

On the 4th of May, me and two of my friends went to Bradford's 'National Media Museum'.

(Outside the gallery entrance.)

It's the third time I've been now. The other two times I came were with two different colleges.
We only had an hour left to see everything by the time we got there.
We went in and spoke to one of the staff members there, asking if we could have a tour in the cinema projector rooms.
He sorted it out for us and took us there:

(Pictures of films and regular and a digital projector.)

Once there, we asked the projector people questions.

Cinema Machinery:

They explained how the projector machines worked: 
  • The digital projector has a 4000 W light bulb inside, but can utilize a 6000 W bulb if necessary. 
  • The 4000 W bulb is equivalent to that of a football stadium flood light.
  • The digital projector is worth £100,000 and their smaller projectors are worth £50,000.
  • The 'Christie' projector model brand is the first of it's kind currently being used in the UK.
  • The mirror in the digital projector is worth around £5000.
The movies that get shipped to the gallery are on a hard drive. I think they said they then plug the hard drive into the digital projector and then they've got the film saved on it. Not too sure, I could be wrong about this fact.
When asking them what else they've done and do, they said they used to connect the Xbox to the digital projector. They'd then would use the control pads, and they'd literally play an Xbox game on the cinema screen.
They used to do this so kids could have a go too, but they've stopped doing that now.
I asked them if they've attempted to do this with a Nintendo Wii. They said no because the resolution of a Wii is half that of an Xbox. This made me laugh.

I also asked if the grey circular tubes on the projectors were used to stop them from overheating. I think they said they act more like an extraction fan. The projector sucks in cool air faster than a hair dryer, and the grey tubes take away any hot air.

We were then showed an Audio Processor. Like the 'Christie' projector, they said the Audio Processor is the first model in the UK. The company that makes these audio precessors were called DTS (who deal with DVD/Blueray sound). They're now called Datasat:
It is being used on a trial basis at the moment. They said that the audio it churns out sounds 'crystal clear' and they showed us.

(The trial basis Audio Processor, Datasat)

They then went on to show us a depressurized bulb commonly used in the projectors.

(Pictures of a depressurized projector bulb.)

It's huge! When I saw it, I thought it looked like a prop or something used in the film 'Thor'.
It's quite heavy too. It feels like your holding a hefty baton or something.
It has to be placed in a case because if it were dropped, they said and I quote 'it would be like a shot gun going off in your face. If the shards went in your eyes, you can forget trying to see again.' 
'The shards could go straight through you to the back of your head'.

We were told that some people who worked for an Odeon cinema, tried to destroy a similar bulb by putting it in a bin and throwing a brick on it. There was a boom and the glass shot out the bin like a cannon, reaching higher than some buildings before falling back down again and hitting the colleges below.

The life span these bulbs have are a couple of months if that they said, so they get replaced a lot. They mentioned they recently bought a new bulb offline.
One of the bulbs in the digital projector has been in use for 144 hours already.
They said the bulbs 'are worth turning on if they're going to be on for more than one hour'.
The bulbs themselves are 'the most expensive, consumable part of the projector'.

After viewing the projector room on the ground floor, we then went to the IMAX projectors on the 5th floor.
The film there were enormous! The projector worker said they run on a 'Plata system' which means, whilst a film is being played, it's also being rewound. So once the films has finished, he could play it again in a few minutes. I was astonished, because they look too big to even begin the process of being restarted.

(IMAX films ready and waiting to be used.)

(IMAX projectors.)

These images below are of a giant machine that deals with the sound for the IMAX films. I can't remember if he said this was an audio processor or audio amplifier. I think it's a processor. 
Anyway, the projector worker said that in most cinema complexes, there are six sound amplifiers for them. In an IMAX cinema, there are twelve.
He also mentioned that when there are loud 'boom' sounds in the IMAX cinema, the projector room vibrates like a little bit of turbulence on a plane.

(Sound machines.)

There was so much more the projector worker wanted to tell us, but we had ten minutes left to see the rest of the gallery!
My friend managed to convince one of the security guards to let us see the animation floor before they closed for the night. We ran around with our cameras getting a bit trigger happy.
We said thank you to the security guard and the projector worker for the tour. They said we should come back again earlier to see more and we said we would.
The projector worker gave his number to my friend so we can ring him up for a tour earlier in future. She rang the gallery hours before we went there and no one picked up; but the projector worker said he would arrange it for us to see more of the gallery next time we visit.
It was a really good day, I certainly had a right laugh. I would definitely go again.

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