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Old February 17th, 2009, 06:48 AM   #1
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Saw a Movie on a Professional Digital Projecter

It was awful. All I can say is it didn't feel like going to the cinema. Sure, film has a few scratches here and there. But Digital projectors are too clean. They also have their faults. The red green and blue colours are separated when you flick your eyes across the screen.

Has anyone else gone to a theatre and watched a movie on this sort of projector?
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:59 AM   #2
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Yeah, and it depresses me to no end. It feels like a DVD. Why go to the movies to watch the same thing as you could see from the more comfortable environment of your own home. I never realized how the jumpy look of film made the image look more alive. No doubt the camera companies will start offering that as a feature like the ridiculously overused 24p. If you look close, you can see stairstepping, at least at the digital movie theater in the mall near my house. Sigh, why don't progress and quality ever go hand in hand in the long run? Seems like everything was better made in the past, even if modern houses, electronics and other items are much more practical today.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:54 AM   #3
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Glynn, What kind of projector was it? I find the comment odd since so many post houses use 2k Christies or similar to work out grading and editing.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:08 AM   #4
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I don't go to the movies often anymore so it's possible I don't have the frame of reference I need anymore, but I rather like digital projectors/projection. I saw Pirates of the Carribean 3 in digital, and I didn't see anything wrong with it. I wasn't so much paying attention to things that would give away it's...uhm...digitalness... but I was rather impressed with it as a whole. Maybe you just got a bad movie or bum setup? Just my $0.02.

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Old February 24th, 2009, 07:37 AM   #5
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Went to the local multiplex last week to see 'Slumdog', expecting the usual presentation standards - dim/dark image, poor focus, tramlines/dirt/blemishes on the print and noticeable gate weave.

Instead I saw a brilliant, vibrant in-your face digital presentation that was just sensational, with non of the above film projection problems - even the surround sound was far superior.

Only a 70mm or Imax presentation.could have been better and the only fault I could see was slight noise banding in the shadows.

Its revived my interest in going to the movies again instead of watching Blu-rays or HD TV at home.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Neal View Post
Went to the local multiplex last week to see 'Slumdog', expecting the usual presentation standards - dim/dark image, poor focus, tramlines/dirt/blemishes on the print and noticeable gate weave.
.
I must say that I haven't seen much of those issues in recent years. Perhaps it's because the local cinemas are pretty new and the international block release of films has tended to reduce the number of used prints being brought over from the USA.

Even our art house has pretty new projectors and its old 1950s jobs have been retired a few years ago. You do still get not so good art house movie print, but these tend to be the older films.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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"dim/dark image, poor focus, tramlines/dirt/blemishes on the print and noticeable gate weave"

I agree. That's a definite problem when you see a movie projected with film. Can't win, I guess.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
Why go to the movies to watch the same thing as you could see from the more comfortable environment of your own home
Well maybe because going out to the movies is an "event" and it gets you out of the house, in the same place with other people, reacting to what happens as a group. Yeah, I know all the problems with rude audiences, dirty theatres, etc, but watching a movie in your living room is just not the same kind of thing.

I find this kind of a sad direction that we've taken in this country, especially since 9/11, and I don't think you can blame it on the quality of digital projection. We are much more insulated and don't want to interact with others as much. Since I earn my living in live theatre (opera), I am acutely aware of this.

I suppose there's not much we can do about it; truth is, I'm not so different myself. I live out in the middle of nowhere and watch most of my movies at home on a 46" LCD screen. But every now and then I still enjoy watching a movie in the theatre with a friend. In this case it's really more about sharing the experience with somebody else than about the technical aspects of the medium.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 10:35 AM   #9
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I don't want to sound like a wanky film buff stuck in the past. But I prefer to see 24P from a Reel projector. I found watching the films on digital, slightly off-putting - in addition to the RGB separation with quick eye movements and high amounts of grain on certain bright colours.
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Old February 28th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
Well maybe because going out to the movies is an "event" and it gets you out of the house, in the same place with other people, reacting to what happens as a group. Yeah, I know all the problems with rude audiences, dirty theatres, etc, but watching a movie in your living room is just not the same kind of thing. ...

In this case it's really more about sharing the experience with somebody else ...
Boyd, I agree with your summation 100%. It's extremely well observed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glynn Morgan View Post
I found watching the films on digital, slightly off-putting - in addition to the RGB separation with quick eye movements and high amounts of grain on certain bright colours.
Hi Glynn.

I'd love to know the answer to the question that Perrone asked you earlier, concerning the type of projector and system used to play this movie. What was the name of the movie and which cinema did you view it in? (Hopefully you don't mind sharing this info.)

I've seen digital projection on state-of-the-art systems (Sony 4K projector - wonderful!), a DCI-spec system (very impressive) and even one which was played from a Standard Def DVD through a digital projector (the visual quality was not very good at all, but the content was riveting).

Each one was a "professional" showing to paying public, which would therefore make each projector a "professional projector". But there is a world of difference between each projector (the last one I mentioned might have used an SD projector, not even 720p!).

The truly professional standard for digital projection today is DCI-spec (DCI = Digital Cinema Initiatives, a company formed by the major Hollywood studios to formulate digital standards befitting high-end Hollywood movies plus effective anti-piracy measures).

DCI-spec requires a specialized projector (2K minimum as far as I know), a high-quality codec (JPEG 2000) and a specialized server/player to feed the movie to the projector.

Quite a few Aussie cinemas only have 720p projectors (at best) plus some have servers which can only play back the movie in MPEG-2 which, of course, is a quite aggressive codec that can add undesirable artifacts to the movie prior to even reaching the projector.

I don't think you're stuck in the past at all. I just suspect the server and projector might be the things which were stuck in the past. (Not DCI-spec.) That's why I'm very interested to know the name of the movie and the cinema.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 01:45 AM   #11
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It was in a Nova cinema, in their smallest room. I payed full price for the ticket. However, I saw another film recently on their larger digital one, which was pretty easy to get over watching (grain only was noticeable a few times) I would not be surprised if it was 2-4K aswell.

However I think I still prefer a well set up newly printed reel projection
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:47 AM   #12
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Thanks for the info, Glynn.

The Nova was actually the cinema where I said in my earlier post, "the visual quality was not very good at all".

And I still suspect it was only an SD projector (as I also mentioned in my earlier post).

So your original comment now makes perfect sense to me. No arguments here!

But hopefully the Nova and other cinemas will be modernizing to DCI-spec equipment (both projectors and servers) over the next couple of years.
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