LOTR -- image quality in theater below HTPC DVD quality???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaViD Boulet, Dec 20, 2001.

  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Saw LOTR yesterday at noon.

    GREAT movie. I won't go into that right now because I want to address a quality issue that has me wondering.

    I was sitting rather close...in the front 1/3 of the theater. My viewing angle was a bit wider than the 30 degree we hope for with good projected video in HT.

    The image was soft and blurry. Close-ups looked good, but many scenes...especially distance shots of the hillside or landscape showed very obscure detail. In fact, I kept thinking to myself "Self, I've seen better detail rendering from DVD on good HT projection systems".

    Many of the motion shots during battle scense etc. were VERY blurry and you literally could not discern any detail whatsover until the camera stopped moving. Was this an artifact of the film projection process or was it inherent in the source in the studio?

    It's really got me wondering now what I'm being critical of in many DVD transfers. Things I would have thought were MPEG2 related or "filtering" related to aid in compression look a lot like what I was seeing here in projected film. I'm sure if I sat father back, getting closer to a 30 degree angle of viewing the image would have sharpened up a bit. But even so it really has me wondering what is the "real" image supposed to look like? What does the source-print or negative look like that these theatrical prints are struck from?

    I'm wondering what sort of DVD this will make. What will those blurry/messy motion pans look like on 720x480 MPEG2 DVD? Will they look horrible? Or will the DVD possibly look better if many of the problems are actually in the final theatrical print the theater gets and the DVD can use a better source?

    thoughts?

    -dave

    p.s. Oh...one more thing. This movie ended WAY to early for me...I could easily have sat there another hour. I hope when the DVD comes out we'll have added scenes galore...and I hope we have the option of watching them incorporated into the film and not just as an "extra" on the side!
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I saw the film yesterday afternoon with my wife and her best friend and her mom.

    We all agreed that the blurriness you describe was there. We concluded that it might be a side-effect of CGI scenery instead of real scenery.

    Thoughts on that idea?

    I agree that it might be problematic on DVD, if it's a problem in the theater. I hope that this is paid attention to; if it's a result of CGI then perhaps it can be re-done in a manner that allows the DVD to at least not look worse than the theatrical presentation.

    I have to say that the movie was fantastic; I'm unsure of how they could have done a better job (and here is not the place to debate it; I'm simply commenting on the impact of this "blurriness" issue vs. the overall film).
     
  3. Colin Chisholm

    Colin Chisholm Auditioning

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    I saw LOTR twice yesterday, once at 12:01am and again at 6:15pm at two different theatres. The first showing was excellent but the second showing at one of my favorite theatres was awful. The image was never quite in focus (despite my complaints to a supervisor during the film) and was very dim.

    I believe that the second theatre was using an under-powered bulb in the projector. Focus was an issue as well as a darker and less detailed picture. In the introduction of the film the battle sequences were blurry and indistinct.

    I never would have known the difference and assumed, like you, that perhaps something was wrong with the film but the theatre you see the film in really can make all the difference in the world.
     
  4. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    I also saw it at a Noon showing on Wednesday. I sat about two-thirds of the way up the stadium seating, not really close. I was very slightly above the vertical center of the screen, exactly centered horizontally.

    I saw the same thing you did. I thought there was a definite softness and lack of detail in many scenes. In addition, I thought some of the colors were a bit too muted, but it's hard to know if that's the way it should be or if the projection light was the wrong brightness, etc. All in all, I kept thinking that this will probably look better on DVD on my Pioneer Elite.
     
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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  6. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    It's sad to 'hear' these comment's after 'everyone' was raving about the trailer's on DVD [and I on the Blow VHS LotR trailer!]. I've also been impressed by the trailers on my monitor with cable. Lot's of detail [hair] and good depth [3D effect]. However I have not looked for the 'promblems' the two of you have found.

    Is this film a film?

    Or shot with digital camera's?
     
  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Ed, it's a combination of film and CGI (very good, I might add).

    You made me think of something. Does anybody have the 16x9 trailer on that Rush Hour 2 DVD/whatever? Can somebody watch that anamorphic trailer on a good progressive-scan system (projection or HD preferred) and let us know if the burriness during motion is there as well?

    I might have to get Rush Hour 2 just to get the trailer to ease my mind until August comes and we get the DVD.

    BTW, are you all as hopefull for a longer "director's" cut on DVD as I am???

    -dave
     
  8. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Although I love films, I hate film. A beautiful medium, just way to fragile. To store or project. Of coarse we just trade analog artifact for digital. But digital artifacts are forever. Did that come out right?
     
  9. William Ward

    William Ward Supporting Actor

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    After seeing the trailers on the Rush Hour 2 DVD and a couple times on HDNet, I immediately thought the projector was out of focus. The panning shots were blurry. The action scenes were a bit better. The close-ups were fine. I don't see the blurriness on my setup with the anamorphic trailers.

    reference: Mitsubishi WS55807 and JVC XVS-62SL Prog. Scan DVD player.
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Thanks Will,

    that's just what I was hoping to hear!
     
  11. Jim Robbins

    Jim Robbins Stunt Coordinator

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    I have seen many films ruined by poor quality prints and theaters with dim lamps (bring back carbon arcs). I expect the DVD to be better in every way with the exception of resolution and the reason being the DVD is likely made from a master negative or a high quality technicolor print.

    I wonder if any 70mm road show prints were made?
     
  12. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    As noted above the blur may well be due to CGI shots.

    Does anyhone know how this film was shot? I know its a 2.35 movie but was it shot anamorphic or is it (shudder) Super35? If its the latter, it would explain the poor projected picture quality IMO.
     
  13. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Although Will said that the quality of the 16x9 trailer (on DVD) and the trailers on HD-net did not show the same blurrinessin motion that he noticed in the theater.

    You'd think that CGI would help render the pans *clearer* since the computer is animating each frame one at a time with no worries about shutter speed etc.
     
  14. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    Most movies that I see in the theater never seem to be focused as well as when I watch them at home on DVD. I have seen some better than other, and I believe that it's in the hands of the person running the projector. I doubt that this movie is blurry due to CGI alone, my guess is that it's the setup of the projector.
     
  15. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  16. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I notice this effect in every movie I see whether in the theaters or on a home video display. Look for it in your home theater and you'll see it, and be sorry you started noticing it. [​IMG]
    There is a name for this effect, I hope someone knowledgable brings it up here.... If you want smooth movement, the frames/sec has to be doubled or tripled (the faster the better). The effect is even worse on an interlaced monitor like my large NTSC rear projector. But not much worse.
    It drives me crazy.[​IMG]
     
  17. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    I'm not just talking about the motion "judder" you get with 24 fps (doubled to 48 frame rate)...I'm talking about something that looked like (literally) the minute the "camera" panned, it was like someone took the lens of the projector and turned it two rotations out of focus!...then, when the motion stopped, it was like they turned the focus back on.

    Weird!
     
  18. Michael St. Clair

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  19. Jeff_Hunt

    Jeff_Hunt Stunt Coordinator

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    I noticed some of the blurriness myself, but I was also subjected to the worst presentation of a film I've yet seen. Especially on opening night. I just have to rant about this. I'm going to enter spoiler-land here, so don't read on if you don't care to hear about it.

    I've seen the movie three times now at two different theaters. One theater did a special midnight show, this was excellent. Sound was good, picture was good, everybody is happy. I did notice some of the blurriness, but I don't think the theater could have done better.

    The next day (yesterday) I went to a different theater to watch it again. The first thing I notice is what appears to be a significant amount of wear and tear on the movie, lots of scratches and such. Then, in the scene on Weathertop, the film gets mis-aligned somehow and we're watching the top half of the movie on the bottom half of the screen and vice versa (what is this and what is it called?). This continues for several minutes, it brought back almost right, still missing a tad from the top of the screen, but, oh well. Then, and I don't remember exactly when it showed up, for the second half of the movie a series of light brown blobs scrolled down the right side of the movie screen. These were only really noticible in lighter scenes, but they were terribly distracting. To top it all off, there were two nasty scratches in the dead center of the screen, so we had look at that the whole time.

    After a bite to eat we went back to see it again, same theater (we had already purchased tickets in advance) different auditorium. Right off we know we're in for a bad time when the slope of the theater floor is backwards!! The people in front of us were higher up! We find out the movie is being shown in multiple auditoriums at this time and move. Whew. Movie starts, and the previews are painfully loud. The actual movie turns out to be at a great volume level. Text appears on screen, "Hobbiton - The Shire" or something like that, but the bottom of it is cut off! We're missing about a foot off the bottom. Great. I also notice we're getting a nice reflection on the screen because someone left the light on the projector room. Yippee. My friend goes to complain. I think they turned down the light a little, but I could still see the reflection when the scene lighting was just right. Then, at the same exact moment in Weathertop, the screen splits again. ARG!!! They fix it a little faster this time, but geez!!! So throughout this I'm at least enjoying the sound. It's pretty good, I'm pretty happy. I'm getting really excited because the scene with the Balrog is coming up and that should sound great. As the Balrog steps onto the bridge, the sound dies. All surround sound gone, only one speaker down in front is working and it sounds like it's playing at about 1/3 the original volume. Crap. Right as Gandalf falls into the pit, the sound resumes normal operating levels.

    I'm never going back to UA's Perimeter Pointe theater. Ever.
     
  20. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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