By Gregory Davies, Marketing Manager at Arts Alliance Media
The macro (noun), or macro pack, refers to a collection of automation cues [commands] which are placed into a content playlist to perform an audible, visual or auditorium change during a movie performance.
A macro for ending the movie, which included two automation cues; ‘Switch Lamp Off’ and ‘Turn Auditorium Lights On’, was added to the CMS’ movie content playlist.
In a climate where operational efficiency has never been more important, the macro is the latest innovation harnessed by Arts Alliance Media to help drive theatres towards total content automation and auditorium control.
But, to truly understand the acute existence of the macro, we must first place ourselves in a familiar scenario.
Position yourself at home. It’s evening and you’re preparing to sit down, relax and watch a movie. With the click of a few buttons on a universal remote-control, you’ve turned on the television, switched on the sound bar, dimmed the lights, and closed the curtains. The room is primed.
Now imagine that same scenario without the universal remote-control, instead having all those desired room preferences integrated within the movie you’re watching and apply it to an auditorium built to facilitate the biggest blockbusters of the year. No buttons, all automated, and ready for you to take your seat. This is the job of macros, the essential ingredients in playlist automation.
In the latest update of Producer, the Circuit Management System designed to manage an entire circuit from a single dashboard, Arts Alliance Media have constructed an interface which enables exhibitors to apply three macro variants; standard, dynamic and group macros, to their playlists.
What are they? How do they differ? And how does Producer manage them? Well, let us explain.
As described in the case of the universal remote-control, standard macros are essential for controlling your auditorium. Whether you’re preparing for the movie to start or to end, specific auditorium commands are actioned using the standard macros’ individual automation cues, which are placed alongside content segments in your playlist.
For example, if you were preparing to play a movie at your theatre, you would start by adding a ‘Show Start’ macro to your playlist. This macro might include the ‘House Lights Off’, ‘Lamp On’ and ‘Douser Open’ automation cues. Likewise, you would also add the ‘Show End’ macro to the end of your playlist, which would include the ‘House Lights On’ and ‘Lamp Off’ automation cues. Once created, that playlist can then be distributed throughout your circuit. It’s that simple.
Dynamic macros on the other hand are a little more progressive.
Unlike standard macros, which prepare the auditorium for content, dynamic macros are used to aid feature content’s cinematic impact. The difference here is that dynamic macros are added to content segments in the playlist, not placed alongside it, meaning you can utilise settings such as volume or lighting while the movie is playing to magnify the experience of your audiences.
However, the height of macro innovation doesn’t end there.
Completing Producer’s radical repertoire of macros is the group macro, the most advanced variant of the three and the next step towards total automation. Why? Because when placed alongside content in a playlist, the group macro will detect what the next piece of content is and automatically apply the next required cues.
This means you can now play content with multiple ratios all within one playlist with complete peace of mind. So, if you wanted to smoothly transition from flat adverts, to scope trailers, to an IMAX feature, you can, ensuring simple, time-efficient content scheduling.
In a world where circuit-wide efficiency becomes ever more crucial, the three macro variants each offer a flexible solution for maximising resource and reducing human error while truly epitomising the calculated workflows at the heart of Producer’s latest software update.