Just saw my first Digital Theater!

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Jim Robbins, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. Jim Robbins

    Jim Robbins Stunt Coordinator

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    Carmike Cinemas just installed some new Christie 2000 digital projectors in our local cinema. I just watched "Ice Age 2" and was very impressed. The first thing I noticed was that the image was very well lit. The second was focus being very sharp and very good contrast. The specs on the projector show over 2000H and 1080V pixels with a brightness adjustable from 8K to 23K lumens with a CR of 2000. All I can say is it was the best presention of a film I've seen. Carmike is installing 2300 presently. With newer films coming from James Cameron shot in 3D HD with liquid crystal 3D glasses soon, these threaters will have an edge.
     
  2. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    My first digital theater experience was at the Ziegfield Theater in NYC. I saw Star Wars Episode 3 and it was just incredible. I am not a real movie theater person anymore but when I do go it will be there.
     
  3. Shad R

    Shad R Supporting Actor

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    First Ice Age was my first experience. Then came Star Wars Ep 2,3, T3, and Villiage. Digital projection made the Villiage bearable...barely.
     
  4. TheBat

    TheBat Producer

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    I saw episode 3 in san jose. I was also very impressed.. also had a great crowd. I could notice right away about the picture. Heck even the trailers looked great.
    it was like a 3 hour drive to see episode 3.

    JACOB
     
  5. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Luckily we get many films in DLP in Las Vegas (more and more all the time) and I always seek out those screenings as the quality is so amazing. While many 35mm films in this town look blurry and underlit, the digital versions are brilliant.

    After the excellence of the digital 3-D version of CHICKEN LITTLE, I'm especially keen to see this summer's MONSTER HOUSE in Digital 3-D form.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The only film I've seen in digital was Bubble over at the Kendall Square Cinema. They had to run a test disc of trailers before the film because the projector had just been installed.
    My overall impression was that it was better than the average film presentation but far worse than a great film presentation. I don't know, there was just something missing. Hard to put my finger on it.
     
  7. Brian Sheffield

    Brian Sheffield Stunt Coordinator

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    My local theater is located near Texas Instruments, so I've been seeing digital light projection (DLP) since 1999.

    I've completely lost track on how many I've seen on DLP, but if any film I'm interested in is available in the two DLP auditoriums, that's the screen I get my tickets for.

    The first film released in this format was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I was hooked ever since.
     
  8. Bradley Newton

    Bradley Newton Stunt Coordinator

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    There are two screens in our town now that just went digital. I went to see Scary Movie 4 just to check out the picture quality. The movie was no good, but it looked great! Just like film. Except for no jiggle, wiggle, scratches, cigarette burns, or reel changes. And the sound quality was also incredible. The MI3 trailer was particularly impressive. I was very skeptical going in ...I'm a die-hard film buff and I love the patina of film, but I must admit that I am really, really impressed. Imagine being able to go to the theater and see beautifully restored, high-definition versions of film classics on the big screen. That would be too nifty.
     
  9. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    been digital since star wars ep2. the only problem i have, digital or not, is the speakers are broken and you can hear the audio distortion once levels rise and the speaker coils are actually creating a banging noise against the cabinet it's housed in. so... the audio really kills the cinematic experience for me.
     
  10. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Just curious, none of you are bothered by the screen door effect?

    All of my DLP experiences (more than 10, less than 20, at many theaters in L.A> including the Mann Village) I've noticed it.
     
  11. Bradley Newton

    Bradley Newton Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Carlo,

    I had heard and read about the screen door effect and I was looking for it this afternoon. I didn't see anything that looked "off". I must say I went in VERY skeptical and was looking closely for something to criticize. I worked for years in theaters, building prints, cleaning lenses, tweaking the projectors. I took great pride in the focusing and framing of films when I was employed by the industry and I am hyper-critical of projection when I visit a local cinema. Is it the fact that the DLP projectors installed here are brand new? Has the technology gotten better? Your question is legit and that is a factor that I was considering. The movie looked pretty darn fantastic today, but how will it look a year from now? Do DLP projectors show wear and age the same way that home theater projectors do? If I go back in a year will I see a blurred, darkened picture, with traces of burn-in and screen-door effects? Or will the picture look as bright, smooth, and brilliant as today? I'm trying to remain optimistic. I have been so cynical about this transition to digital but I do believe that it is the wave of the future. I can only hope that the technology continually improves. Again, if what I saw today is theatrical Hi-Def in an infant state, color me very, very impressed. It far exceeded my expectations.
     
  12. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    The only time I noticed that was on my first DLP screening of Episode 2. We got there very late due to traffic (I'd already seen it on film) and had to sit on the front row.

    Every other time I've seen films in DLP I never noticed it, but I usually get there early enough to get good seats.
     
  13. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    I am assuming the screen door effect refers to the brief visibility of pixels in place of fine detail and grain, and I did find it jarring during my first and only DLP projection of Star Wars 3.

    I remain unimpressed. It was at the Colossus north of Toronto, and I just can't help but feel most of this 'improvement' is only a result of the neglect 35 mm receives so much of everywhere else. All too often projectors are simply badly focused, and so of course digital would look superior considering projectionists do not have to change lens between shows. Too many bulbs are left in beyond their useful lifetime.

    Personally I just find the look of film to be vastly superior.
     
  14. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    i heard that these 2k projectors are stretching the resolution for a big screen (250') but that 4k projectors displaying 4k mastered movies are a real treat and is every bit the equal (if not better) than film itself (even 70mm).
     
  15. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    The screen door effect is most noticeable on text, especially letters with a lot of straight, thin lines that run diagonally (like W, M, etc.) but to be honest I can see it on all text. It's brutally obvious if you go to a digital screening where the trailers/previews are also shown from the digital projector. Look at the familiar green screen w/ white letters saying "This trailer has been approved..." Then when you see and are familiar with it, the text in the actual movie will show the same thing (opening and closing credits usually). Luckily, it does not seem to detract from the actual movie, as most movies don't have a lot of text, and the action moves fairly quickly and you don't get a chance to focus on it.

    I have no doubt 4K projectors will help reduce SDE, but it will be nearly impossible to eliminate it based on the technology. The only way I can see to eliminate would be to go to 4K (or higher) and slightly defocus the lens. Or create some form of anti-SDE measure in the projector or chip which would slightly soften the picture.
     

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