Back from Star Wars in DLP - home projector questions...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg Robinson, May 19, 2002.

  1. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I had the pleasure last night of experiencing Star Wars at my local multiplex in Texas Instruments DLP projection and THX sound. The WOW! factor was through the roof! My questions are surrounding DLP and home projectors. This was my first time watching a DLP projector and I'm wondering:

    Was the projector at the theater for Star Wars just a high-end model available to consumers today? Or was that an elite model/something that's only available to theaters and MUCHO-expensive? I could not get over how amazing the picture looked! Even the trailers (Matrix 2, MIB 2, Minority Report) looked INCREDIBLE!

    Secondly, I've read a bit about the "rainbow effect" that effects some viewers. I didn't notice anything the whole night - does that mean I'm "immune" or have projectors overcome that nasty side-effect as the technology has improved?

    Finally, is there anything out there right now under $5k that is considered the king? I'm looking to finish my basement into a theater and I need to start planning. Ideally I'd want a 100" screen, maybe 120" if the projector could handle it. I have a max of like 24' throwing distance. Thanks everyone.
     
  2. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    The theater DLP installations tend to go for around $75,000-$150,000, depending on what kind they have. The rainbow effect is virtually nil on the theater installations due to the design of the color wheel and related components. To really see if you are sensitive to the effects of it (I am), try an inexpensive consumer DLP unit with a black and white movie.

    Under 5K, there are lots of choices, though I don't know what 16x9 DLP units are in that range. I have a Studio Experience 13HD 16x9 LCD projector and I love the picture it puts out. I got it for around $4000 direct from Studio Exerience.
     
  3. Christian Dolan

    Christian Dolan Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, DLP cinema light engines are three-chip designs , and thus do not have color wheels or any associated color wheel artifacts, like the rainbow effect. Also, they are typically driven by Xenon-arc lamps, which are far more powerful than anything you'd find in the home market (actually, the lamphouses for both film and DLP cinema projectors look very similar).

    -Christian
     
  4. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    This is what they use:
    http://www.dlp.com/dlp/cinema/Specs.asp?mid=144
    For under $5k, there are 2 great choices:
    The HP XB31 XGA native DLP with 1800:1 on/off contrast, 1500 lumens.
    The new Infocus LS110 with the new 3.3 firmware. The older 3.0 version wasn't as good, and there were both hardware and firmware changes made. It's a single chip DLP as well, with two native resolutions, 800x600 (4:3) and 858x480 (16:9). Boxlight buys it from Infocus and slaps their nameplate on it as the Cinema 12SF (Studio Experience does the same). I'm not sure if the 12SF has the newest changes in the colorwheel and firmware though.
    You have quite a throw distance there. You're going to need a projector with a pretty long throw lens included to be able to fit it in your budget.
     
  5. Chris Juzenas

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    I also just got back from watching Star Wars EpII at the DLP theater in Vally View Ohio, I was VERY disappointed. The picture was very dark and hard to see in low light scenes, also the blacks were not true.

    I saw the film version on Thursday and was MUCH more impressed with the film version. Could just be me, or the theater which I saw it in, but if this is the future I am saddened.

    This viewing also makes me question my wish for a front projection theater room....
     
  6. Marc Rochkind

    Marc Rochkind Second Unit

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    Comment on Chris's post:

    I think the jury is still out on DLP vs. film. I don't have a lot of first-hand experience, but have heard varying reports, which leads me to believe that there is a variation in the quality of DLP projection from theater to theater, just as there is for film.

    Also, for DLP, the choice of screen is critical. Perhaps this theater used DLP but kept the original screen. (Just a wild guess.)

    Anyway, for HT, the choice is not between film and DLP. For FP, it is usually between CRT and DLP. What's more, there is at least a 2:1 price difference, and often even 3:1 or 4:1.
     
  7. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    DLP theaters do vary quite a bit. Much of it has to do with the bulb choices. If you don't have a high enough wattage xenon bulb in there for the screen size, you're not going to be happy with the picture.

    For HT, I think that LCOS/DILA is a very viable option in the front projector market. In fact, LCD's with MLA technology have really cut down the screendoor difference as well as the contrast difference between LCD's and DLP's. Throw in LCD's tendancy for better colors (when comparing products of the same price range) and no rainbows, they're becoming an attractive option as well.
     
  8. AaronNWilson

    AaronNWilson Second Unit

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    How would the picture quality of episode 2 being presented in theaters compare to it being presented in a hometheater on a D VHS like the JVC model?
     
  9. Chris Juzenas

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    Thanks Marc and Gabriel for the comments. I agree with both of your comments, and my thoughts about questioning FP for the home was out of frustration for the theater screening of the movie. I would bet that they did not change the screen or use a high enough bulb...

    However, with that said, I would like to hear about Dells new entry into the DLP market. At $2500 it has a great price and some specs that seem decent, but I am looking forward to hearing from a member that has the correct setup for the projector.

    With some of the options of FP being WAY to prohibitive in cost for me, so think I will have to go the DLP route if I wish to do a large screen dedicated HT.

    Since I have another theater in Ohio with DLP I may be driving down there and give it a go. Thanks again for the comments.
     
  10. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Another point in the difference between home/business DLP versus Digital Cinema DLP:
    DLP chips for the Digital Cinema market are the "Black Chip" DLP chips, which have a higher native contrast ratio (due to less stray light coming off of the chip itself.) Black Chips, because of this lower reflectivity of the rest of the chip are actively water cooled. According to some reputable people I know in the projector industry, for a manufacturer to be able to get into the "black chip club," they need to pay TI a... 'cover charge' - to the tune of something like $10,000,000.
    There are a number of other relatively minor differences between the units, but the big differences are summed up in: 3 black chips, external lamp house, better optics, and often times a direct digital input.
    Leo Kerr
    [email protected]
     
  11. Dalton

    Dalton Screenwriter

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    As far as DLP vs film where Episode II is concerned, I saw the film version twice at two new cinemas near my house then went up to Framingham,MA and saw it in DLP. The DLP was FAR SUPERIOR to the film versions i saw. I guess they have a good DLP projector in Framingham. I agree with Roger Ebert, the film version was pretty bad. The only thing i thought was wrong with the DLP was the black level wasn't quite black enough. It was not a major drawback for me though because the rest of the movie looked absolutley awesome. The theater was handing out a questionarre on DLP for the audience to fill out and i gave it pretty high marks overall. It can only get better in the future so i look forward to seeing Episode III in DLP.
     
  12. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    I think that Dell's new 3100MP is actually a rebadged Optoma 735, though I'm not positive. The specs aren't exactly the same (in fact, the contrast is spec'd much lower on the Dell). If it is, it's a great product for the price. If not, and Dell's quoted 280:1 on/off contrast is correct, then it's probably pretty unusable for home theater.

    Personally, I think the NEC LT154 at $1800-2000 deserves a look.
     
  13. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I can't wait for 3 chip DLP to hit the consumer market but I can see $10k+ prices in my imagination. Anyway, it's good you have a 24' max throw but you won't need 24' but closer to around 12-14' for the typical projector.
     
  14. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    wow - thanks everyone! great info all around. sorry i haven't been back sooner to comment. (forgot to have emails sent on replies). On the subject of my throw distance - it can be anywhere from 5-24' - i just listed the max I had available. I've heard good things about that new InFocus 110. Though history would indicate that as the price barrier gets lower, I'm going to see LOTS of great competition in the market over the next 1-2 years. I think I'll wait until the room is ready (hopefully by Christmas) and then see what's out there. It would also appear that the DLP model used in theaters is a TAD out of my price range. [​IMG]
     
  15. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    You could sell your house and use it for a downpayment on the cinema's $100K+ dlp system. [​IMG]
     
  16. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    The new LS110 with the 3.3 firmware (also comes with a bit of changed hardware) is supposed to be absolutely excellent for the price.
    If you're really crazy, why not sell the house, lease the kids, and put a downpayment on a JVC QX1 priced at $220k + lens. [​IMG]
     
  17. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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  18. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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  19. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    One thing to remember is not all of the digital cinemas may have the (relatively new) black chip. I don't believe any are old enough to be XGA (all are SXGA right now I think), but I don't think all of them are utilizing TI's black chip which has remarkably better contrast (over 1000:1 compared with 400:1 or so on older chips). Just as there are differences in film projection, there are definitely differences in 3chip DLP's.
     
  20. Chris Juzenas

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    Chuck, You are correct that the movie was pristine other then that, and that was truly cool to see. However I had just come from a pristine film version the day before so with the exception of the reel change dots it was a clean picture.
    As time goes on the DLP version is obviously going to remain pristine, but it was the contrast that really caught me off guard. I guess if I had been used to a DLP setup I would have expected that and then been surprised if they had the Black Chip others have talked about. (And boy do THEY cost a lot [​IMG])
    I will be seeing it again soon in film version and I will have a refresher between film and DLP. I may change my tune after this next viewing. Yes, I can be swayed to the dark side, or gray as the case may be. [​IMG]
    Although this thread is supposed to be about home projections and not the theater, I sure have learned a lot about DLP systems. Thanks all.
    BTW, this makes my 60th post in almost 3 years!! I guess you could officially call me a lurker.
     

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