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Movies in 3D


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#41 of 105 OFFLINE   Todd H

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Posted May 24 2011 - 12:29 AM

I'm personally done paying extra for 3D. Gives me a headache and I can never see what's going on that well thanks to the reduction in brightness. Plus it just feels like nothing more than a gimmick. To each his own.

#42 of 105 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 24 2011 - 08:41 AM

Ben, appreciate your thoughts here.


In regards to the article you posted about cinemas dimming the picture unnecessarily - I agree that's a problem, but I don't think that's the fault of 3D in and of itself.  I think it's a problem with low standards and laziness at the theater.  For many years, theater owners have turned the bulb brightness down under a mistaken and discredited theory that doing so would make the bulb last longer - so dim 2D projection has been a problem since way before this 3D rebirth began.  But I'd agree that there's no excuse for leaving the 3D filters on the projector when showing a 2D film.  However, I'd only make the additional point that when people complain about 3D being dimmer when they put the glasses on vs. taking them off (as Roger Ebert, a critic whose work I highly respect) says, that they're making an unfair statement.  Of course it's going to be brighter without the glasses.  When a film is being finished and color-timed/corrected for release in theaters, they do the color correction separately for the 2D and 3D versions of that title.  Because the filters on the 3D glasses and projector attachments do dim the picture, they adjust the 3D "digital print" accordingly, tweaking the brightness and color scheme so that watching the 3D version with glasses should have the same brightness and colors as watching the 2D versions.  I'd absolutely agree, and I know I've experienced this firsthand, that some theaters still have their projector bulbs turned down too low - but that's not the fault of the filmmakers, that's the fault of theaters not doing their jobs right (something which happens in both 2D and 3D screens).  If you go to see a 3D movie and watch it with the glasses, and then walk across the cinema to see a 2D version of the same film without glasses, the levels of color saturation and image brightness should be identical.  If you look at the 3D screen without the glasses on, the image will be brighter on the screen itself than on the 2D screen (or should be) because they're supposed to be correcting for the light loss that occurs when putting on the glasses.  If the theater is doing their job right (and I realize that's a big "if" these days), a 3D film should not feel dim in the slightest.  My experience of recent 3D films screened in IMAX, like Avatar or Tron Legacy, was glorious - the brightness was what it should have been and the colors were what the filmmakers intended.  Fortunately it would appear that the people who run the IMAX theater near me actually care about doing their jobs right.  I'm just trying to make the point that I don't think it's fair to blame the 3D process in and of itself, or the filmmakers that use it, for the shortcomings of the theater.  Afterall, if you go to see a 2D movie and it's being shown with crappy projection or the sound is screwed up or whatever, you don't blame the studio, you blame the theater.  I think more of the blame in these cases needs to be shifted to the people projecting the movies and not those making them.  (I realize this may be splitting hairs at this point.)


What I'm trying to say here is that, I wonder how many people who don't enjoy 3D may feel that way because they've only seen it done very poorly and not living up to its potential - and if that's the case, my experience tells me that the theaters are as much to blame if not more than the filmmakers using it.  Theaters these days seem to do a crappy job with the technical presentation anyway, and I'd agree 100% that a crappy 3D presentation is far more noticeable, distracting, and unenjoyable than a crappy 2D presentation.  In the year 2011, none of us should have to deal with bad projection, but unfortunately, it's a reality that just doesn't seem to want to go away, and for that I blame the theater owners.


For Harry Potter in 3D - yes, both Parts 1 and 2 were shot at the same time, although they started postproduction on Part 1 before Part 2 (that's where the bulk of the time is spent in films like Harry Potter, not so much the principal photography as the post work).  I was just trying to make the point that with the release date locked in on Part 1, the 3D conversion work they had done was not up to the standard that the producers and studio thought it needed to be to be enjoyable for the audience; so rather than put out something that looked especially crappy, they just decided to skip 3D for Part 1.  That Part 2 is being released in 3D indicates, I think, that they had enough time to get the results they wanted this time.  Based on their decision to not release Part 1 in 3D, I have to believe that if Part 2 wasn't looking right in 3D, they would have skipped it there too.  (For what it's worth, I thought the use of 3D during the end battle sequence in Harry Potter 5, which was seen only in IMAX theaters, was pretty spectacular.)


Jackass 3D - well, I don't know what to say about that   I've never been a fan of Jackass anyway (so I'm not the right person to make an objective judgment here), but I've always thought Jackass was a very gimmicky, sort of "look how stupid we can be on camera" sort of thing - so in a perverse way it made sense for them to use 3D - "more stupidity! in more dimensions!"  Doesn't appeal to me in the slightest, but I get what they were going for.  Probably the audience that enjoys Jackass thought it being in 3D was cool.


Regarding that very disturbing YouTube link you showed - wow, and not in a good way.  But most of the chains are now converting to digital projectors, so the idea of one print being used to go through a dozen or more projectors at once is becoming less and less of an issue - I can't remember the last time I went to a multiplex and saw an actual 35mm film print.  For at least the past year, it's been all digital at the places I've gone to.  I'm not a huge fan of digital replacing everything, but there's something to be said for it being harder to abuse and destroy than a 35mm print.  If theaters are going to continue to fire projectionists and have 10 year olds run the projection, digital is probably safer for everyone.


Finally Ben - I absolutely agree that there shouldn't be an extra charge for 3D presentations.  Or, if they insist, maybe sell the glasses to you once for 5 bucks, but then that's it - so the ticket price is the same, and you just have to bring your own glasses each time.  That seems a reasonable compromise.  I believe RealD is going to start offering prescription glasses with their filters built into it.  I'm someone who always wears glasses anyway, so I've never been bothered by 3D glasses because I'm used to wearing glasses anyway - but I can imagine other people who wear glasses being frustrated or uncomfortable wearing a second set over their prescription ones.  So I like the idea that I could get a pair of glasses to keep that had both the filters needed for 3D and my prescription in one set of lenses.  But that's besides the point - the 3D surcharge is ridiculous.  If filmmakers and studios are serious about their desire to portray 3D as an artistic choice rather than a cashgrab, I agree that they should be making an effort to keep theaters from charging more for 3D showings.  You don't pay extra if a movie is in Color vs. Black & White, Surround Sound vs. Stereo, or 2.35:1 widescreen vs. 1.85:1, and those are artistic decisions to make films in those ways - it should be the same with 3D.


Last summer, the Film Forum in NYC did a 3D film festival showing a ton of the 3D films from the 50s, including Dial M For Murder and House Of Wax.  The dual 35mm projection was crisp and bright, the 3D effect was as good or better than what RealD usually offers, and best of all, they didn't charge a single cent extra compared to their 2D showings.  They took the attitude of, we're showing movies here, we charge X amount of dollars for a movie, a 3D movie is still a movie, therefore we will charge our regular price for it.  I wish the commercial multiplexes would do the same.  I think eventually we'll get there - it may take a few years for them to realize that while some people like 3D, no one likes paying extra and will thus skip going to the movie entirely for it to happen - but I think there will come a time when 3D is either offered at the same price, or maybe with a one time "purchase of glasses" charge.


So I guess, to answer your final question, 3D yay or nay - I give it a qualified 'yay'.  3D shouldn't be for every film; the choice for making a film in 3D should be up to the filmmakers, and those who use it should use it in a way that doesn't seem cheaply done or unnecessary; and 2D projection should always be offered for people who either can't see in 3D, feel physical discomfort from the experience, or just flat out don't like it.  (And, for what it's worth, I don't feel it's my business to ask someone what their reasoning for not wanting 3D is if it's not something they offer - it's a personal choice, and really an opinion/preference thing, and I don't think it's wrong to have a preference different from mine - in other words, I'm never gonna try to tell people who don't like 3D that they're wrong.  Some other 3D advocates in general would do well to adopt that viewpoint.  No one who prefers 2D should be forced to defend their opinion on the subject.)  I'm a huge fan of 3D when done right (or at least, what I would consider to be "right"), but I don't ever want to see 3D replace 2D - I want it to be something that coexists peacefully, that's an option that filmmakers are free to use or not use.  Filmmakers shouldn't feel forced to use it, and cinema-goers shouldn't feel forced to see things that way.  Hopefully, once the newness of the thing wears off (and it seems like that's starting to happen), studios and theaters might consider adapting some of these points I've made for how and when to use or not use it.



#43 of 105 OFFLINE   Cassy_w

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Posted May 24 2011 - 11:07 AM

Josh, the dim picture via keeping the 3D lens in place for 2D films is way way way worse than the dim picture of the past with the bulb turned down. I have never, even experienced anything like what I am now seeing here in New York City. It is disturbing and makes most films unwatchable. Any dark scene at all is reduced to a black blob of nothingness and when I complain, I am told "the film was made that way." They lie to your face. When I told them they obviously had not removed the 3D lens, their faces went white with shock. This is going to kill any chance for the masses to see films with a quality presentation and the top DIRECTORS and ACTORS need to stand up in unison and demand that it stop immediately, otherwise we are doomed. Then there is 3D, which I despise with every fiber of my being. 3D is typically too dark. Even the once great Ziegfeld Theater is now ruining their showings. Their 3D showings are so dark that I cannot see anything a third of the time and have stopped going. The last 3D movie I saw there was impossibly dark. On the way out dozens of people were saying, "This theater sucks' and "Why pay $17 if you can't see the ****ing picture?" yeah, why?! Josh, I saw DIAL M FOR MURDER in 3D at the Film Forum. First of all, the screen was small. It was duel projection, so of course it will looked amazing. Most 3D theaters are not duel projection and because the screens are larger, there is not enough light. How can the Ziegfeld Theater show 3D via one projector on their massive screen? They can't! Not without making the picture as dim as a swamp at night. For years I went to the movies at least once a month, every single month, and in the summer months every darned week. This year I have gone four times and hated three of the experiences. One 3D and two in dim to the point of being impossible to see 2D. The one experience I can speak positively about was FAST FIVE in IMAX (real IMAX, not LieMax). That was amazing. IMAX is never dim. This weekend I am going to the movies and hoping to God that it isn't crap. At this rate, I will not be going to the movies for anything other than IMAX screenings. Hollywood is pushing me away. Oh yes, let me add... 2D showings of 3D films are always put on the smallest, crappiest screens. The 3D showing is in the big THX approved house that seats 600. The 2D showing in the 150 seater that has a busted subwoofer. That is a horrible fact. I have experienced it again and again and that is why I no longer see any film in 2D that is also shown in 3D. I also don't go to the 3D showing, unless it is in IMAX. So again, Hollywood is forcing me to stay away from the movies.
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#44 of 105 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 24 2011 - 04:10 PM

Cassy, I disagree that all 3D projection has to be dim.  I also think that television has altered our perception (as a mass, not you specifically) of what kind of brightness we should expect - nowadays TVs in general are advertised with the brightness turned up way too high, and even the standard settings that they come in the box with are far brighter than what is necessary.  Yes, there is more image on a negative or on a print than what is visible with a TV turned up all the way - but unfortunately, I think we've been conditioned to demand that every inch of the frame be as bright as possible, and that the value of shadow and light as been somewhat lost or at least under appreciated.  At any rate, I haven't experienced the fatal darkness that both you and Ben have described.  I know I don't have the best eyesight in the world - that I have to wear glasses 24/7 is proof of that - so I don't know if it's a matter of us seeing the same level of brightness and having a different opinion on it, or if one of us is seeing a brighter picture and the other is seeing something projected too dim.  Would be interesting to get a bunch of us in a theater together to evaluate these things together and see where the opinions fall. Regarding the Ziegfeld Theater, a place I used to love - I know that they used to have a projectionist that worked every screening, and that that person has since been reduced to only the first showing of a film.  In other words, they only pay the guy to come in and set up the projector on the first day (if that; they don't for all films) and then it's up to the management (who haven't been trained in technical matters) to run it for the other showings.  So I think it's impossible to make a determination on whether their projector is capable of throwing enough light on the screen, because the people that would be most qualified to run the theater aren't given a chance to do so. As I've said before - I think a lot of the problems that people have complained about with 3D really have nothing to do with the 3D medium in and of itself, and have everything to do with low standards by the people running the theaters.  Because 3D is a little more complicated to project than 2D, when corners are cut in 3D showings, the effects are much more drastic than when corners are cut in 2D.  And I think that right there is a bigger problem than 3D in and of itself. Cassy, I say this with respect for your opinion and do not mean to sound offensive or know-it-all - but you mentioned that you despise 3D "with every fiber" of your being - that, to my mind, would mean that perhaps you're not the most objective person when it comes to talking about the 3D experience.  As a fan of the 3D effect, even when it's cheesy, I acknowledge that I'm not the most objective person either.  But whether the divide between people who like 3D and those who don't is 50/50, or 80/20, or anything in between - I think we can both agree that accomodations should be made for people who feel either way.  It's probably not fair that 2D versions of 3D films are often shown in smaller screens than the 3D versions - on the other hand, if the theater perceives there to be a greater demand for the 3D version, I can't fault them for putting the 2D version on the smaller screen if that room's capacity better matches the number of people that are coming to see it in 2D.  But when theaters are showing a crap 2D presentation - I don't think it's fair to blame the entire 3D process for it - I think it's more fair to blame the lack of standards in projection that have become common place in recent years. I'd also say that my experience in NYC hasn't been exactly the same as yours, regarding whether the 3D filter is kept in place for a 2D film, but it's pretty easy to know for sure - simply walk to the back aisle of the theater before the screening and look for the extra filter with the RealD logo on it.  If it's there, that's the case, if not, then the projector is turned too low to begin with.  At any rate, I don't think every person who works at a theater intends to lie to your face - maybe I just want to believe the best in people, but I think it's more ignorance and a lack of understanding for the product they show rather than any specific brand of malice.  If a projectionist only comes to the theater once a week to look at things, it's not fair to expect the people making minimum wage to understand the technical details that your or I might.  I would suggest that these are the instances when it makes sense to write a snail-mail letter to the theater - send one copy to the management of the theater directly, and another to the chain.  Note which screening you saw (send a photocopy of your ticket stub if you can) and describe the problem as best you can, but in a polite and respectful way.  A snail mail letter is given more weight than a forum post, an email and a phone call combined - that may not be fair, but that's the way it is. I could go on and on forever, and probably bore the crap out of everyone here reading - I'll do my best not to (though I think my rants may be the best sleeping pill ever invented).  I think that the case for quality projection or improvements needs to be made, but I think when people say things like people need to stand up to fix this "or we're all doomed" just is too much hyperbole, and gives the people at the top reason to dismiss our opinions as being those of a few whackjobs instead of paying attention to what we have to say.  In the end, as much as I love movies (and I know I love them more than most), it is at the end of the day just movies, and bad projection will not doom the entire human race.  (I'm not trying to say that you meant it literally.)  But I think it's important to keep these things in perspective, and by that, I don't mean to accept crap, but just to be measured and professional in your response instead of being filled with hyperbole.  Believe me, when something's wrong, my first instinct is to yell about the injustice of it all, and then I need to remind myself to take it down a notch. I'd also say that Hollywood isn't pushing you away from theater-going - I'd say that low standards in theaters are what are pushing you away.  I think it falls upon us, all of us who are aware of bad projection when we see it, to spend the extra few minutes at the theater to seek out a manager and (politely) demand a refund for a sub-par screening.  I think it's up to us to go the extra mile and write to the managers of these theaters and the CEOs of the companies that own the theaters to make our cases.  One person writing a letter won't change much, but when a trend is begun of people sending in letter, where they're written in such a way that it's obvious it's not just one crazy person complaining to hear the sound of their own voice, these things will get investigated and looked at.  But if we come across as the one irrational cranky person in a crowd of 500, it becomes a lot harder to make our case heard.  So what I'm saying is, if you see a film of any type shown in a theater with a busted subwoofer, politely inform management and ownership and insist on having your money returned to you.  If you can prove projection is too dim (for instance, noticing the 3D RealD filter still on the projector for a 2D film), insist that you be given a refund.  I'm all for the power of voting with your dollars, but I think simply choosing not to spend your dollars doesn't make an impact; showing a theater that you had been willing to spend money but now what it back because they didn't provide a quality experience, that's how to make the point.  But I don't think it's Hollywood that's keeping you from staying away from theaters - I think it's theaters that are keeping you away from theaters.  In my opinion, most of the problems you describe have nothing to do with the filmmakers and studios producing the work, and everything to do with those who are exhibiting the work.  But I also wonder, and I say this with respect, that if you despise 3D period as you've mentioned, that there probably wouldn't be anything that anyone could do to make you enjoy a 3D film - and that's totally fine - but if that's the case, it's not fair to blame the medium as a whole.  There's a difference between personally not liking something and that something being dogshit.  If you don't enjoy the most properly projected 3D experience, that's your right and I would never argue against it - but if you enjoy properly projected 3D but feel that you're not getting that in most places, I don't think it's fair to blame 3D in and of itself when really the problem is bad projection, and I think the only way it gets better is if you argue your point in a concise, respectful manner, every time you experience something that's done sub-par. Anyway, to sum up - if, when faced with a bad theatrical experience, if we just go home and complain online at unrelated boards that we didn't like something, that won't have the slightest effect on the problem.  On the other hand, if we're willing to put in the time to both ask for a refund at the end of the film and send an old-fashioned snail mail letter to the local theater manager and the nationwide ownership of the chain, that will send a better message that's harder to ignore than just walking away pissed off will do.  A big part of the reason theaters get away with substandard quality is because people by and large don't demand better.  Theaters are a business - and they'll provide whatever product they think they need to provide to make money.  As long as they feel that what they provide is "good enough", they don't have incentive to change and do better.  I'm saying, clearly you're passionate about film and projection standards - I am too - so let's put the same effort we put into complaining to each other into informing theaters about the issues we have.  (Heck, I'd even say CC a copy of your letter to the head of whatever studio made the film you had an issue with the presentation of so they know that their films aren't being exhibited properly.)  That's what I do when I have an issue.  I wouldn't recommend anything I wouldn't do myself.  And, while my efforts may not have saved the world as we know it, at the least I can say that I usually end up with my money back when I've seen something done in a crappy way.  That, in my (not so) humble opinion is how you make a difference.  I think it's unfair that the burden falls on us to try to get these problems fixed, but because we care more than most, we have to put more effort into it than most - it's not fair, but that's how it is.

#45 of 105 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted May 25 2011 - 01:13 AM

Originally Posted by Cassy_w 

Then there is 3D, which I despise with every fiber of my being. 3D is typically too dark.


This is an engineering problem, not something intrinsic to 3D. It will be fixed eventually. Unfortunately, it may take a decade for the theatrical solutions to become widely used.




#46 of 105 OFFLINE   shanewatson001

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Posted May 25 2011 - 01:42 AM

Movies in 3D is a newly or latest directed by director. Those all 3D Movies shows a symbolic purposes for the attracted to each other.



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#47 of 105 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted May 25 2011 - 02:20 AM



Originally Posted by Cassy_w 

Then there is 3D, which I despise with every fiber of my being. 3D is typically too dark. Even the once great Ziegfeld Theater is now ruining their showings. Their 3D showings are so dark that I cannot see anything a third of the time and have stopped going. The last 3D movie I saw there was impossibly dark. On the way out dozens of people were saying, "This theater sucks' and "Why pay $17 if you can't see the ****ing picture?" yeah, why?!


Josh, I saw DIAL M FOR MURDER in 3D at the Film Forum. First of all, the screen was small. It was duel projection, so of course it will looked amazing. Most 3D theaters are not duel projection and because the screens are larger, there is not enough light. How can the Ziegfeld Theater show 3D via one projector on their massive screen? They can't! Not without making the picture as dim as a swamp at night.



The Felt Forum projected a 35mm print of Dial M For Murder onto a silver (aluminized) screen in double-interlock. The silver screen has a luminosity, light and color register on it, not unlike a computer monitor. 35mm film, a left eye and a right eye projected in double-interlock, and a silver screen. The results can be breathtaking.


Yesterdays' 3-D films were shot on 35mm film and projected on 35mm film.

Todays' 3-D films are captured on digitally and projected out of a digital projector.

The difference in technology is matched to the difference in projection that you saw at the two theaters.


The Ziegfeld projects digital files onto a flat matte screen. The screen has no luminosity, and the brightness of the digital files is dim, dim, dim. Many theater owners are slow to acknowledge that digital 3-D projection requires special skills, a projectionist manning the projector, personal attention, calibration, and a certain brightness. The Imax company is a class act and always on top of their 3-D capture and projection. But many owners of standard theaters and theater chains were tricked into paying millions of dollars for a new 3-D technology that turned out to be a bag of goods, as they say. Digital 3-D projectors just aren't good enough.


Digital 3-D looks infinitely better played on a home computer or home TV. That's where it belongs.


Dial M For Murder could have been projected on a screen as big or bigger than the Ziegfeld's and it would still look good. In will also convert to digital 3-D for home computer or TV viewing perfectly well. It will always look brighter, sharper, deeper, and have finer resolution than the digital 3-D BECAUSE IT IS 35MM FILM.



#48 of 105 OFFLINE   Cassy_w

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Posted May 25 2011 - 06:29 AM

Josh, honestly, it seems you avoided all of the points I made and basically towed the studio line. Telling me I am not objective is really disappointing. I can only shake my head in disbelief.

Can you not see why I despise 3D? I went into with great detail. Other than IMAX, the image is so insanely dark that you cannot see anything. The only 3D experiences that have been positive have been at an IMAX theater. I enjoyed AVATAR a great deal. In IMAX. Where it was astonishingly detailed, with an image that was never too dark to see. That was my first experience with a feature length film in 3D and I was floored. I thought it was a game changer.

When I saw it on a normal screen two weeks later, it was unwatchable So dark as to be muddy. Months later it was ALICE IN WONDERLAND and then the unforgivably ugly looking CLASH of the TITANS (and we all know that was a rush job). CLASH was shown at the Ziegfeld and looked unwatchable. We walked out halfway through. ALICE was so-so. At times it was so dark that my kids were squirming in their seats, unable to understand why they couldn't see the picture. It was hell.

Time and time again I have tried to see a 3D film, only to be disappointed with the presentation. Last year I walked out of two showings and asked for my money back. So far I have not viewed a single solitary non IMAX 3D showing that was bright enough (other than the very special screening of Dial M for Murder). In every case, it was ridiculously dark.

If someone can PLEASE tell me a theater in NYC, other than IMAX and LieMax, that shows 3D films on a large screen with enough light for it to be seen, then tell me. PLEASE TELL ME, so that I can go back to the movies. You will need to tell me the name or number of the screen. Note I said on a large enough screen. A 20 foot wide screen is pathetically small and not worth the $17 price tag.

It's not every day that you get to go and see something that looks amazing, as TRON at the IMAX did. TRON 3D on a huge and bright IMAX screen is a wonder to behold. Most of the film is dark, but you can still see what is going on, clearly, as long as you see it in an IMAX theater. My kids went insane for it.

As opposed to THOR in 35mm, where they kept saying they couldn't see anything.

Now I don't care how cool the technology is. If the theaters are refusing to show it properly, then there is a very serious problem that makes all the technical wonder of 3D useless.  Even worse is it is now ruining 2D films because of the lens issue. We have a theater chain actually making it their corporate policy to ruin 2D showings!

And trying to say that I am used to a bright picture because my TV is too bright is just insulting. It's like you are a politician, spinning around the issue.


First of all, my set, a 65 inch Mitsubishi with 9 inch guns, is properly calibrated and after a decade, has not a hint of burn-in. It gets tweaked yearly and because it still works perfectly, we have not gone for a newer technology. I am an educated consumer and understand these issues. Trying to dismiss my post by saying I just want an image that is improperly bright boggles the mind. Never before in the history of going to the Ziegfeld Theater had I seen an image that was too dark. Not until this 3D came along. Why does a theater as regal as The Ziegfeld not have duel projection? Their screen is enormous. It should be a must.

Secondly, prior to 3D we were not having some of the problems we are seeing. From time to time I would go to a theater and see a film that was too dark, but those screenings are actually BRIGHT compared to what happens when a 2D film is projected through that 3D polarizer. Or when a theater has a very large screen and their lone projector is simply not putting out enough light for a 3D film (ala THOR at the Ziegfeld).

You ended your post by complaining that people go online to talk about what happened. But you ignored the fact that I stated I have complained to the proper company people, but was flat out lied to my face by the management. I'm a girl who weighs about 115 pounds, is soft spoken and highly respectful. I do not throw tantrums or yell and scream. I explain myself clearly and to the point with the managers and not once have I ever received the truth.

With every complaint I have received one single response: "The film was shot that way."


That is lie and they know it. When I try to talk technical with them, they do whatever they can to end the conversation and get the heck away from me. I have written both AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas and in both cases, received a canned letter in return that did not even address the issues at hand.

I should also mention that I always see a film within the first four days of release. I do this so as to avoid any additional problems that crop up. Normally I attend a film the first day it runs, as I did with THOR. Actually, we saw the very first showing of THOR.

Your entire take on the issue seems to be that nothing is wrong, other than the consumers are complaining. When people tow the party line, that is a serious problem. The masses may not care that they cannot see the film and most often, they are just too lazy to get up and complain. They drove, parked, paid their dollars and do not want to miss part of the movie. When it is over, it takes too much energy to complain. I cannot tell you how many times I have been to a movie where the image was completely screwed up, or an anamorpohic lens was on a flat film etc. etc. only to find not one person willing to get up and complain. It has always been left to me to do it. It's ridiculous.

Last night I talked to my brother, who lives in NJ, about this. He went to see the latest PIRATES movie at his beloved Ziegfeld and was horrified at how dark it was. The man took the train into the city, paid to see the film and was given a dim, muddy showing that management said was "normal.' The manager also told him they have not ever received a complaint about their 3D showings being too dark.


Really? Not ever? How about a few weeks ago when I complained to the manager about THOR?

This is what we are up against.

Josh, I may sound a little angry here and I am. I tried to explain myself properly, but feel like you just dismissed me. I would appreciate it if you did not. The reason I took the time to post here in the first place was because of your highly detailed responses in this thread. I thought we could have a dialog. I was not expecting to dismissed, told I was not objective and compared to Joe Six Pack who wants his screen in torch mode.

Last thing... I should mention that many 2D showings I have experienced at AMC theaters were just fine. HANNA looked terrific at the 34th street AMC. I was very impressed. Picture and sound were top notch. That was on their best screen (the other great screen there is their LieMax, which is fine for 3D, but still cannot compare to true IMAX).

This weekend I will be seeing HANGOVER 2 at that same AMC theater (though I've no idea what screen it will be on) and will report back here.

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#49 of 105 OFFLINE   Bob_S.

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Posted May 25 2011 - 08:54 AM

Not really sure if I want to get involved with this discussion but you asked a "yay" or "nay" from people so I'll have to say "yay". Took my whole family to see Pirates 4 in 3d and everyone enjoyed it. I've seen maybe a handful of 3d movies since Disney's Christmas Carol came out and haven't had one bad experience, this includes my family as well. I do see where the picture is slightly dimmer while wearing the glasses but I've never had trouble seeing what was going on. Sure it's a gimmick, but I like it. I agree with just about everything Josh has said. I just don't understand all the negativity. All the theaters I've been to whatever film was shown in 3d was also shown in 2d.

#50 of 105 OFFLINE   Cassy_w

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Posted May 25 2011 - 09:10 AM

Bob, you are lucky. Not all theaters show a dim picture. But many do and so far, other than with Imax, we are getting a picture so dark, so dim that it ruins the experience. You cannot understand because you have no experienced it. I have two kids. A family of four paying $55 for tickets plus $20 in snacks, we should get better. The 2D screens tend to be ridiculously small compared to the screen that has the 3D version. I call it the basement syndrome here in NYC. The 3D version is on the big screen upstairs, while you have to go downstairs to the tiny little screen in the basement to see the 2D version. Mono sound, subwoofers that are broken, all around family fun. :( 3D films we saw in 2D include TO STORY 3, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and TANGLED. All were put in the tiniest little houses, while the 3D versions were in the large auditoriums. TOY STORY 3's screen was dirty and stained, the sound was screwed up and the place just smelled. The other two had similar problems, though not as extreme. And as I stated in my post above, anyone in NYC that knows of 3D screens that are not dark as as alley at night, please, by all means say where they are. Fill me in. Referring to NON-IMAX.
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#51 of 105 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 25 2011 - 07:00 PM

Cassy, I'd like first and foremost to apologize for any offense taken from my post - it was not my intention to insult you or diminish your complaints.  On the contrary, I think we're in agreement about a lot of things.  I realize I could probably have worded some things differently, or better, made the distinction at times when I was intending to be more general in some of my comments as opposed to being critical of you.  For instance - when I mentioned that people today have become used to artificially bright images because of modern televisions - I really did not mean to suggest that you were used to overly bright images, but that the public at large has become that way.  I realize I could have been clearer about how that comment was being directed and I apologize for making it seem as if it was meant specifically as a judgment against you.


It would also seem that I misread your comment when you said that you "despise 3D with all of your being" - but I hope you can understand the reason I might have misinterpreted such a comment.  When someone says that they despise 3D as strongly as you stated it, at least in the way I read it, it came across as if you were saying that you didn't enjoy the 3D effect at all - which I'd never criticize anyone for feeling that way.  The only point I was trying to make there was that if you were a person who didn't like 3D at all, you probably wouldn't be as objective about it as someone who didn't feel as strongly.  (I will be the first to say that because I do love 3D, I'm not the most objective person either when it comes to the format.)  From your later posts I'm more clear about what you were saying and what you meant, but in my initial reading and response I confused your point.  Again, I apologize for misinterpreting what you were saying, but in that specific instance, I think it was an understandable mistake on my part.


I don't think of myself as someone "towing the line" with corporate statements - I certainly do not work for any of the theater companies you mentioned, or any theater at all for that matter - I was just attempting to give my two cents and opinion on the matter.  Anyway, I think "lying" might be a strong word to use when talking about what a manager relays to you (your statement that the theater manager said no one else complained about the picture quality) - I don't think any customer service manager in any business, especially a corporately owned business, is going to volunteer that other people complained.  If I were on the receiving end of that conversation, my takeaway wouldn't be that I had been lied to - my takeaway would be that the manager told me all he or she could tell me.  And, as you've pointed out with being the only person in the theater to complain about the wrong lens being used for the wrong type of film (and I'm that person too, believe me), the number of complaints might be so low as to simply not register in the mind of the manager long-term.  I'm not saying you're wrong to be upset - far from it - but I don't necessarily see the same degree of malice that you do.  That's just a difference of opinion between us, and I'm OK with agreeing to disagree there.


The other point I want to make about customer service is that the people who work at theaters these days as customer service managers often are not trained in any way with the technical elements of filmmaking.  I've met the manager at the Ziegfeld, a theater that I like going to (though I've never seen a 3D film there, so I cannot comment on their 3D presentations).  What I can tell you is that the manager there has a background in customer service, not in theater technology, so when that manager is unable to speak to you in technical terms - if you're thinking about the same person I am - she just doesn't have that background to do so.  Now, that's a big freaking problem to put it lightly, but I don't think that's specifically a 3D problem - I think that was a problem that began when projectionists started getting laid off in droves 10-15 years ago.  Anyway, I don't think that you're polite is the reason that you're not getting the truth; if the manager thinks the film was shot that way, he's not trying to lie to you.  Since most theater managers today are customer service managers as opposed to people with technical backgrounds, their knowledge is limited.  I don't think it's right that that's the way things are, and I think your complaints do deserve a better audience, but I also fear that on most days, there's simply no one working at the theater who's qualified to get into a technical discussion with you.  I want to be absolutely clear - I think that is a disgraceful situation.  But all I was saying before is, I read your post as saying that you hated the existence of 3D for introducing these problems, when it's my opinion that those problems existed before 3D came back to cinemas.  3D may make them more apparent, but I view it as a theater management issue and not a 3D issue.  Perhaps I'm just splitting hairs here on this point.


I stand by my opinion that complaining to in-house theater management won't make much of a difference, and that the only way that there's even a chance of having the issue looked at is to write directly to the CEO of whatever company owns the theater.  It's been my experience that people in the customer service departments are often not fully informed to the issues and aren't authorized to do more than send out a form letter, even if they'd like to go into more detail.  However, I've noticed through past experiences that writing directly to the CEO (even if it's not read by the CEO) does seem to get the attention of people who are better able to respond.  That may not always be the case.  For years, abysmal projection has become the accepted practice, so your complaints or mine are probably part of an extremely small minority of complaints.

I'm guessing the Ziegfeld doesn't offer dual projection because the only system currently in use is the IMAX system.  RealD has become the multiplex standard, for better or worse - I just don't think there's an "off the rack" projection system they can buy that will offer a dual projected image.  The reason RealD has been as successful as it has (in terms of number of screens installed, not in terms of quality) is because it's only one projector - which means that anyone can operate it.  Dual projection is notoriously more difficult to use, which makes it unappealing to any place trying to cut down on labor costs.  On the other hand, RealD comes in, provides the attachment to the projector, the glasses, does all the work, and only asks for a percentage of every ticket sold to a RealD film.  That's why it's everywhere.  My intent in stating this is not to defend the practice or to take away from your point - I was merely trying to give my perspective on why things are the way they are.  Not to apologize on behalf of the people making these decisions - far from it - but my opinion is the more I understand about how they run their business, the better informed my arguments and suggestions can be.  I think the problem with the Ziegfeld these days is - I don't know how to properly articulate this other than to say, they don't have a full time projectionist anymore.  They have a guy who is a projectionist, but is only present for when the Ziegfeld hosts movie premiere screenings.  Their projector may be just fine - the problem may be more to the fact that a professional isn't working there (even on the first day for some films) to make sure it's set up properly.  That is a very big problem, but the only point I'm trying to make in pointing that out is, I don't think the problem is the technology in and of itself - I think the problem is the people who are using or misusing that technology.


One more thing about RealD - the RealD spec requires the screen to be silver, not white - so if you happen to walk into a cinema where you see a white screen as opposed to a silver one for a RealD screening, I'd complain to RealD as well.  RealD has an interest in their technology looking good, so when something like that happens where the theater might not be using the equipment under the licensing agreements they're contracted to, that's something they may take more seriously.


Regarding 2D showings of 3D films - I wasn't saying that it was OK to show them in crappy rooms.  Ideally, there shouldn't be a single crappy room in a multiplex.  All I was saying was, from a business point of view, if there's a lower demand for the 2D showing, in my opinion I understand the decision to show that 2D version in a smaller room, reserving the larger room for the showings getting the larger audience.  I think it's that way with pretty much any business, though.  I really don't mean to be dismissive of your feelings or condescending in any way - I just, I guess, I don't understand what you'd expect a theater to do.  If they have a room that fits 100 people and a room that fits 500, and the 2D version sells 85 tickets and the 3D version is selling 350 tickets, it seems a no-brainer for how that's going to go.  If the 2D showing was selling out and the 3D showing was playing to an empty room, I think most theaters would probably switch up which is playing where if that trend continued for that film.


In regards to Pirates 4 specifically, I just saw that tonight in IMAX - and it was muddy and dim.  In most cases, I'd agree that it's more likely to be bad projection than bad filmmaking - but in the case of Pirates 4, that does appear to be how the film was shot.  It was not a good looking film, technically speaking.  I don't believe any of the major principles involved in making that film had worked on a 3D movie before that was actually shot with 3D cameras, and that may be more of the reason there.  The director didn't appear to utilize any of the depth 3D can offer, and only threw some pointing swords at the screen a few times.  But I think this may be one specific case where it was just a dim film.  I don't mean to say that to take away from any of your points - I just think in the case of this film, it looks like crap - seen in the best of circumstances (a true IMAX presentation), I thought it looked like crap.  It's the only IMAX 3D film I've seen in a true IMAX 3D theater that looked dreadfully dim.  (The 3D previews that played beforehand looked fine - bright and vibrant.)  If that's how it looked on the best screen, I can't imagine how poor it would look if it wasn't getting the proper amount of light at other screenings.


For multiplex screenings in NYC, I usually wind up at the AMC in Times Square as well as the one on 34th Street.  In my experiences there, the RealD image brightness has been fine.  I've seen some films in RealD there that I had previously seen at the true IMAX theater, and based on my initial IMAX experience, the levels of brightness and color seemed about the same - off the top of my head, I know I saw Avatar, Tron Legacy and U2 3D in both the real IMAX theater and in RealD at either or both of those AMC theaters.  Now, I realize that doesn't mean that they do a perfect job all the time - I can only talk about what I've personally experienced, and in those theaters, I haven't had issues.  And just so it doesn't seem that I'm being too nice to AMC - I have seen a couple RealD presentations at their Lincoln Center location (where the real IMAX theater is as well), and I did notice the brightness being too low the couple times I saw RealD projected films there.  I fear that with projectionists not being kept on staff to supervise every showing or even to set up a majority of the showings, and with technicians not being kept on staff to monitor light levels daily, to check if the projector bulbs are still good or need to be replaced, etc., it's going to continue to be a hit-or-miss thing.  The only other thing I can add to that is that I do complain when I feel I've gotten a substandard presentation and while I don't expect my complaints to result in the problem being fixed (how could they fix it if no one on staff understands what I'm saying?), I've never had an issue with getting either a refund or free passes to use for another film at a time of my choice.  At 5'8, I'm not exactly an imposing figure, and I don't yell or scream - but when I have complained, I've always gotten my money back.  I've never had a manager refuse to give me a refund or at least free passes (and in those cases, I've gotten two passes for every ticket I purchased).  At the two AMC theaters I've mentioned that I frequent, while some of their screens are smaller than others, neither theater has a basement, and I've never seen a stereo film being played in mono there, and I've never sat in an auditorium that I considered to be unclean/smelly/dirty.  I don't know what to say to explain the differences in experiences we've had.  It seems like there's so much potential for these things to be hit-or-miss, especially with the lack of trained personnel onsite, that I find it completely believable that I might have ended up there on the good days and you might have ended up there on the bad ones.  I would say that theater going should not be hit-or-miss, and that we even are having this discussion indicates that something is seriously wrong with movie theaters in America.

With all of this said, in my personal experiences, I often have not found 3D images projected via RealD to be too dim.  I simply have not experienced the issues that Cassy has - the majority of films I saw in RealD were bright enough for me to be able to see what was going on, and for films that I later saw in 2D at home (or on other screens), I felt that the brightness was comparable between the RealD showing and the 2D showing.  That may be that I've just gotten lucky in terms of theaters or projectors or what staff was on duty or whatever else.  It is not my intention to dismiss her complaints - I'm simply saying that I have not had the bad experiences that she has had.  I can't explain why I've had good experiences and why she's had bad ones.  I can only talk about the experiences that I've had, and in my personal experiences, the majority of 3D screenings I've seen have not been problematic.


I apologize to everyone here for the length of this thread - I felt it necessary to write all of this because I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I agreed or disagreed with Cassy, why I have the opinions I have, while also making it clear that I respect her opinions and in no way meant to be dismissive or condescending to her.  I know firsthand that there's nothing worse than feeling that someone hasn't been listening to you, or feeling that you're being condescended to or dismissed, and I truly apologize for giving that impression.  That was not at all my intent, and I will try to do better in my comments here to make that clearer in the future.  At the end of the day, I think the biggest area of disagreement is that I don't see most of these problems as being "3D problems" - I see them as being problems with the theaters and the way theaters do business.  Is that splitting hairs at this point?  Maybe.


Cassy, even if we've gotten off on the wrong foot here, I welcome the discussion, and I'm glad we have a place like HTF to have these discussions.  I hope we can agree to disagree on the things we disagree about, continue to discuss things together that we both see as issues, and continue conversing on this thread or others that we both might end up participating in in the future.    I never want to be someone where when you see my name on a post, you think "crap, I don't want to participate in this thread cause that guy's a jerk".  I really do appreciate what you said about wanting to be a part of this discussion in part because of my lengthy responses - to me, that's really the best compliment there is, and your kind words on that really do mean something to me.  Thank you for sharing them.


By the way, slightly off-topic, but in line with my thoughts if I was in charge of the universe, etc. - I don't understand how studios can spend $200 million to make a movie and not care about how theaters show the film.  There are no more projectionists today, and that's a tragedy - the projectionist used to be viewed as the final link in the filmmaking process, the person who's sole job it was to make sure that what the filmmakers intended was being properly presented to the audience, and it's a disgrace that that position is no longer valued.  Digital photography has not resulted in cinematographers being told that their services are no longer required - digital projection should not have resulted in that either.  I'd love to see a studio take more action.  I'd love to see, for example, Warner Brothers sending a letter to all theaters they send films to, saying, "We're going to be spot-checking your locations this spring to make sure your projection quality is up to standard, and if we find that it's not, we will not send the new Harry Potter movie to any of the theaters you control."  I can't imagine any studio actually doing that, and unfortunately, I think that's what it would take to have projection standards raised to where they should be.



#52 of 105 OFFLINE   Cassy_w

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Posted May 26 2011 - 07:20 AM

Josh, I appreciate your comments and fully accept your apology. How nice not get into a war with someone online.   Normally when people disagree they start screaming at each other, which is why I rarely post. It's better to just not bother. So thank you. I also should have been more specific as to exactly why I despise 3D so much. It would have helped had I been clear that I loved AVATAR and TRON in IMAX 3D. I encourage you to go to the Ziegfeld and check out their 3D screenings. How I wish you could have seen THOR there. You would understand what I mean. The likely issues with that theater are its screen (white and not silver?) and the fact that it is so massive in size. No single projection system can deliver enough light, in my view, to make it worthwhile. If the screen is the correct type, then it will have to be only the light output. This afternoon I will look up REAL3D's website and see if I can find some contact information. What I am certain of is that most screens out there are white and not silver and, just as important, most lamps are still being kept low, even on 3D showings. That is just a recipe for disaster. Later this summer CAPTAIN AMERICA opens and my kids will revolt if they cannot go. I'll try the AMC at 34th street and hope for the best in regards to 3D. But it will be my last shot at non-IMAX 3D What a shame it won't play in IMAX. TRANSFORMERS 3 is going to be in IMAX 3D and I will be there, with my kids and my husband, paying the insane costs for tickets opening weekend. Thankfully that film was actually shot with 3D cameras and so far everything I have seen tells me it makes a huge difference. Yes, I know, I am weird. How many girls like action movies. Sue me. My favorite film is John Woo's THE KILLER, followed by SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE.
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#53 of 105 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 26 2011 - 08:29 AM



[quote]Originally Posted by Cassy_w [url=/forum/thread/279826/movies-in-3d/30#post_3815605]



#54 of 105 OFFLINE   Cassy_w

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Posted May 27 2011 - 03:09 AM

That female manager you encountered sounds like the female manager I spoke with after th screening of THOR that made my eyeballs bleed. Blu-Ray superior to a print/ I think I would have slapped her.

I actually email REAL-D last night, just figuring why not, and this morning received a nice response with four free movie passes. I'll use them to see a 3D movie with the kids, but I am wondering if they will actually do anything about the problems at the Ziegfeld and elsewhere. I'll still write a full on letter this weekend.

EDIT: Let me add to this. I just researched and found that 60% of the money from PIRATES 4 was from 2D screens. The public is rejecting 3D more and more.

And here is Ebert, talking about that article in the Boston Globe...


http://blogs.suntime..._the_light.html


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#55 of 105 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 27 2011 - 11:36 AM

Awesome about the free passes, Cassy! I wonder if the higher 2D gross for Pirates 4 had other factors in addition to a rejection of 3D.  For instance, the film wasn't promoted as being special or must-see in 3D the way Avatar or Tron Legacy was.  Additionally... in my opinion, all of the 3D trailers sucked and made the 3D seem as unremarkable as it turned out to be in the film.  I think people are willing to give 3D a try when there seems to be a good reason for it, but none of the Pirates trailers in my opinion made it seem special.  As I said in the Pirates thread, it was the most 2D-like 3D film I've ever seen.  The disaster that was Clash Of The Titans (which I actually thought was alright in a really cheesy/wasn't expecting too much kind of way - of course when a backlash is that bad, expectations get so low that just seeing a picture on the screen seems acceptable after the hype) actually seemed more 3D than Pirates 4, and that's saying something. Yeah, the Ziegfeld manager.  I feel sorry for the projectionist, it can't be easy to do your job when your boss turns down a brand new 35mm print in favor of a Blu-ray disc.  (2K or 4K digital file, at least that I'd understand - a consumer-level disc - wow.)  I know they do a lot of premieres, and from what I've heard, when they do those, the projectionist is there for those showings, but not only that, a representative of the film's distributor supposedly comes by earlier in the day to look at the projection.  So at least the bigshots and celebrities are seeing things the right way... but I think this is the danger of the corporate mentality when the theater is only a tiny part of the parent company's total business.  From a bottom-line standpoint, they figure, it's cheaper to higher people with backgrounds in managing concession stands or fast food restaurants or retail than it is to hire people trained in projection.  I don't wanna get into a big discussion about the role of government in consumer affairs, but... you know you need a license to serve food at a theater and have to meet health and safety standards?  Or that you need a license to serve liquor in a bar?  Imagine what it would be like if you needed a license to manager a theater or operate a projector.  Imagine if that was a requirement imposed on theaters that someone there actually had to be trained in using the equipment.  Then again, it's sad that I ever need to imagine someone needing to force them to do their jobs properly.  (And maybe the biggest shame in terms of laziness/effort?  I could probably take my light meter, stand in front of the screen, measure the light output, go upstairs to the booth, adjust the settings on the projector, recheck the screen with the light meter, and have it fixed in ten minutes.  I would volunteer to do this if it meant I'd get a better experience.)

#56 of 105 OFFLINE   Cassy_w

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Posted May 28 2011 - 03:13 AM

Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg 

I could probably take my light meter, stand in front of the screen, measure the light output, go upstairs to the booth, adjust the settings on the projector, recheck the screen with the light meter, and have it fixed in ten minutes.  I would volunteer to do this if it meant I'd get a better experience.)



Now here is my theory. Their screen is simply two big for the projector they have, which cannot throw enough light. Last night I attended a gathering and brought up 3D. In probing I found that everyone liked 3D on small screens but that on larger screens it tended to be dark. I really truly believe the culprit is the projector and the bulb inside. Not enough life = mud.

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#57 of 105 OFFLINE   tbaio

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Posted June 11 2011 - 03:21 AM

Good God!  Some of the posts you folks write up are longer than a Tom Clancy novel!!!  Cassy, with all the $ you're spending, go the extra distance over the GW Bridge to either Edgewater or Paramus & check out a 3-D movie there.  The screens and seating are up to par.  Also, be sure to watch a movie which was shot in 3-D; not that post conversion crap (Priest, Pirates 4, etc).  Good hunting.

#58 of 105 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted June 11 2011 - 05:35 AM



Originally Posted by tbaio 

  Also, be sure to watch a movie which was shot in 3-D; not that post conversion crap (Priest, Pirates 4, etc).  Good hunting.


Pirates 4 was shot with six 3D rigs, using RED cameras modified by Panavision in order to allow the use of Panavision lenses. At least, that is what I found when I did a search.


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#59 of 105 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted June 11 2011 - 06:11 AM

Pirates 4 was indeed shot with 3D equipment - it was just shot very poorly!

#60 of 105 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted June 11 2011 - 06:32 AM



Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg 

Pirates 4 was indeed shot with 3D equipment - it was just shot very poorly!


I haven't seen P4, so you will have to define what you mean by poorly shot. Do you mean it was poorly shot because it lacked the requsite number of gimmicky "poke out" effects that a lot of 3D fans seem to expect? Or was it poorly shot because their was little to no foreground to background depth of field? The last 3D film I have seen was KFP2 a couple of days ago. My biggest problem with theatrical 3D is the loss of brightness and colour saturation due to the glasses.



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