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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old October 11th, 2003, 06:07 AM   #1
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Death to Film!

I went to see Kill Bill last night (which was awesome, and very very violent) and I got pissed. For some reason the top of the frame would go out of focus sometimes and then the right edge of the screen was not aligned right (it looked as though there was still image way over on the left that was not pushed over properly.) The thing is, the Christie digital projector showing commercials looked better then the film projector. Iíll be glad when film is completely dead.
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Old October 11th, 2003, 08:52 AM   #2
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Sadly, killing film won't solve projection issues of this nature. Hiring attentive projectionists will. Typically if you complain to your theater manager, he will thank you for your complaint and give you a free movie pass.
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Old October 11th, 2003, 09:10 AM   #3
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These days, the theater manager is the projectionist. That's part of the problem.
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Old October 11th, 2003, 10:05 AM   #4
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My whole thing is that film projectors are more finicky then digital projectors, just because film projectors are more complex on a mechanical level. As for Kill Bill, it was the most violent movie that I have ever seen in a movie theater, and very entertaining. I highly recommend this film.
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Old October 11th, 2003, 10:20 AM   #5
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No. Digital projectors are more finicky. If the film projector is "aimed" right and in focus, you're done. In addition to that, the digital projectors need color balancing and have other issues.
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Old October 11th, 2003, 10:46 AM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Belics : No. Digital projectors are more finicky -->>>

I suppose this is a complicated question without a simple answer. We are using a 10,000 lumen Barco SLM R-10 projector to show DV footage on a 40' wide screen for a production right now. They have not been "finicky" at all. You have to do the color balancing, contrast adustment, image size and focus adjustments initially, but after that there doesn't seem to be much more to do and the results are very consistent. We have a backup projector in case of a failure (like a blown lamp), and also have redundant hard-drive based (Doremi) video decks feeding the projector. As a further backup we can run the projectors directly from firewire output on a laptop running Final Cut Pro.

So once this was all setup and configured the hard part was over. Another laptop running some show control software by Dataton cues up the tape decks and opens and closes the projector shutters. It's very simple to operate and has been completely reliable.

So personally I think digital projection has the potential to be more reliable than film. It's like everything else digital - you can have multiple backup copies, all at the same quality as the original. You can also transport these copies easily (either physically or via network). None of this is easy with big, heavy film prints, and when a film breaks you have to physically splice it. You can also have a projection system with multiple levels of redundancy that are not possible with film - you aren't going to run two simultaneous film projectors as a backup for example.

As the cost drops on these big projectors and as they get more reliable it seems inevitable that they will make their way into more theatres. The images coming out of these Barco's - even with DV footage - is really quite impressive. I only wish we could have afforded to go the HD route on this production where we could have utilized the full 1280x1024 resolution of the projector.
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Old October 11th, 2003, 11:14 AM   #7
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When I was a kid, we used to see trailers showing the projectionists' union logo that read "This theater hires professional projectionists..." </lament>
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Old October 11th, 2003, 11:19 AM   #8
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Naturally there are many mechanical problems typical to film projection that aren't present in DLP projectors, but optics maintenance and proper focus and (in some cases) matting seem to be becoming a lost art despite the fact that these issues never completely vanish with digital projection.

Some theaters hire THX to consult on their audio system rigging but never re-equalize the exhibition space and never bother to hire TAP inspectors back to do calibrations and maintenance. In such a way, a theater's audio system, regardless of how modern when installed, can over a period of years come to perform yuckier than a properly cared-for antique system.
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Old October 11th, 2003, 01:54 PM   #9
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As for the projector not being adjusted properly: I saw "Open Range" last weekend and it was shifted to the left of the screen so it went off on that side and the right side faded at the edge (not to mention the constant howling you could hear whenever it got quiet)

As for "Kill Bill": I saw it at a sneak peak earlier this week and none of us liked it (six guys). My roomate said "I never thought I say this but the movie was too violent for me". And that was coming from someone who loves Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive" and all things zombie/vampire/ect. I think the problem is that there isn't any real story/plot other then the bare minimum to said someone on a murderous gory rampage. The only reason I can figure that people are calling it a great film and trying to laugh at it is senseless and they don't know how else to respond.

To quote a great man and his tiger:

Calvin: Isn't it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor? It's weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense.

Hobbes, walking away: I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense, we couldn't react to a lot of life.

Calvin, now alone: I can't tell if that's funny or really scary.

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Old October 11th, 2003, 04:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Iíll be glad when film is completely dead
Silly that you should write this, since film is still going strong, maybe even stronger these days. When DV is used from time to time or some of the time, it ends up be transferred to film; even if DV is of a much lesser quality. :)
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Old October 11th, 2003, 07:56 PM   #11
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Did you see the new HP commercials for their digital cameras. The commercials are done on film. :)
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Old October 12th, 2003, 09:37 PM   #12
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For those who have a subscription (free) to the New York Times online site, there is an interesting article on digital theater conversions titled, "Digital Projection of Films Is Coming. Now, Who Pays?" in today's edition. It's probably also in the print edition.
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