I've had a chance to screen Step Up 3 as my first-ever 3D experience in my own home theater. This 3D review might be a good read for those folks still be on the fence about 3D, or perhaps useful to those considering their first-ever 3D front projection system. Keep in mind this is just my initial impressions and could well change as I get more experience with the format. And I also realize that one must really watch more than a couple of hours of 3D to do a fair evaluation but despite that it was an interesting two hours and I feel confident I have a solid first impression.
Extremely limited really. Aside from a underwhelming experience with Toy Story 3 "In 3D" at my local cinema Ive not really seen a proper 3D presentation until this projector was added to my personal home theater. Along for this presentation was my girlfriend, Christina, who had never seen a 3D presentation of any kind. So Ill be sharing both of our impressions throughout...
Them Damn 3D Glasses!
The JVC 3D glasses that came with the RS60, IR model PK-AG2-B, were initially real head-pinchers. Made me a little nervous having to bend out the semi-flexible arms to make them just comfortable enough strapped to my average 7 1/2 hat-sized noggin. Christina, on the other hand, found hers perfectly sized right out of the box. Didn't seem right to me but whatever. While the glasses seemed reasonably light weight I did find that hanging them about half-way down the bridge of my nose made for the most comfortable viewing position. Having gotten the pinching under control, and the face placement just right, sadly I still didn't find that the glasses were completely forgotten. If only they were more similar to my Maui Jim Ho'okipa sunglasses, we'd be all good. Christina had always scoffed at the idea of having to wear glasses (neither of us wear prescription glasses) just simply to view a movie. I had always agreed and I've always considered it the single largest drawback to current 3D technology: 3D should be glasses-free! Unfortunately I think true 'Glasses-Free 3D' is a long ways off, technology wise. After having the glasses on her face for two continuous hours I asked, "So, were the glasses as annoying as you thought they would be?" And with a smile on her face she replied, "No, actually, they weren't nearly as bad as I thought they would be. I'd still rather not have the glasses but they weren't that big of a deal once I got into the movie." And I think that sums it up for me as well, while glasses-free 3D would be great I still doubt its a big deal for most rookie 3D viewers.
I research, I research a lot before I pull the trigger on any home theater purchase. This habit is simply based on two facts; a mild case of OCD, and then just plain geography. As a small town dweller I can honestly say I never have a chance, ever, to actually examine gear before I make a purchase. I've accepted my unfortunate circumstances but it does leave me hopelessly scouring the internet for every scrap of information I can find, reviews are read multiple times, and extensive notes are always taken. So you can bet this recent upgrade involved umpteen hours of research followed by fear and heartache. I ended up with the finest projector JVC made for the 2011 model year: the DLA-RS60U3D. The screen: a 16x9 format DA-LITE 106" High Power with an additional 12" drop. And finally a substantial change in install: a low shelf mount rather than a high ceiling mount.
Viewing Experience - Bright As A Penny
I enabled 3D in my Oppo BDP-93 blu ray player, for the very first time, and then set my screen size to 106". On the RS60 I made some setting changes also; opened the iris all the way, changed my color profile to "vivid" and switched the lamp to high. One catch to this particular projector is it does require a warm up period, so only after a customary half hour of operation did we start any 3D viewing. I was surprised I was getting brightness comparable to my 2D settings which was iris closed all the way and the lamp on low. Most all of the reviews I had read stated that brightness would be an Achilles heal for this projector and that would be the case for both 2D, and especially, 3D performance. Now maybe its my High Power screen thats enjoying a proper retroreflective install, or perhaps even my conservative 106" screen size, but I was thrilled to find that the brightness was perfect for 3D viewing! The first test had been passed, it was plenty bright enough, and it would seem that I even had some room to spare as my lamp ages and dims.
Viewing Experience - Cross Talk, I'll Have To Get Back To You On That One
Frankly, I saw the dreaded "cross talk" problem once during the entire movie. I didn't note the exact time but it was, literally, for about a second. My eye picked it up immediately, though Christina never said a thing. In my research I had heard horror stories about this issue and, in addition to dim performance, it was a genuine concern for me. I temper this glowing first impression with the numerous reports I have read about animation being the true test of a projector's 3D prowess. From what I have read some movies are more prone than others so Ill be checking out some other titles before passing a final judgement on just how distracting cross talk can be. I'll follow up if I find cross talk to ever be an issue but, as of now, Im happy to report that my first movie was all but cross talk free.
Viewing Experience - The Effect
While the presentation from Step Up 3 was flawless, I must admit that I was disappointed at the lack of "pop-out." Images had great depth into the screen, and looked very natural, but there were only a hand full of scenes that had images popping out of the screen towards the viewer. In this particular movie the first dance competition was the most stunning. The female dancer standing directly in front, and very close to the camera, reaching towards the camera with her red gloves elicited a response from Christina, "Honey, she's trying to touch me!" Having avoided any smart replies to her loaded statement, I did agree that it was the coolest thing we had seen up to that point. I was surprised that with the fast motion of this movie that I didn't see any motion blur or smearing, the presentation and effect was natural and error free.
When All Is Said And Done, Well Almost...
ts still too early to tell but this one movie gave me a great taste of the things to come. I had fears of dim and cross talk filled performance, or worst yet headaches or nausea associated with 3D. The only complaint that I had gotten from Christina was that she felt like she was sitting too close to the screen, like being in the first row at a commercial cinema. This struck me as strange as technically our 14' seating distance is greater than recommended for a 106" screen. I tend to disagree with her but I am grateful I didn't go with a bigger screen size, 106" seems just about right for our seating distance. 3D is not as good as I had hoped but it does provide a new experience that really must be seen in person to be appreciated. I also learned that one of the biggest mistakes you can make is judging the merits of 3D based on a commercial cinema experience. Frankly, my little home cinema destroyed the experience I had with Toy Story 3 at my local cinema; brightness, contrast, and effect all seemed vastly improved. Though ultimately my hardware choices were made for the best 2D experience $4,000 could buy, I do know that going into the future I will have no problem spending a premium on 3D movies. 3D does add to the experience in a way that's just not possible with 2D.
Type A 3/10/13