Would you see "The Incredibles" in digital projection, or on film?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by ScottHH, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    My local theater has The Incredibles in digital projection, and on film. If you had your choice, which format would you go see?

    In this two year old thread, it looks like you would have seen a better presentation on film at a well run theater.

    In The Incredibles thread, a few forum members said the digital presentation was better.
     
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    A few members always say digital projection is better. It never is.

    I chose film; of course, I'm pretty sure the digital projection crapping out because it's unreliable was why the showtime I went to was sold out the first couple times.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    As with most judgment calls, ignore people who talk about "always" and "never". My rule of thumb is to see digital projection, if it's available, for films originated in the digital realm. The Incredibles falls into that category. While, in the abstract, film may have better resolution than current digital technologies, the difference is meangingless when those technologies are the ones used to create the movie in the first place. When a movie is created digitally, transferring it to film can only result in a loss of quality, not an improvement.

    Also, as more and more release prints are generated from digital intermediates, the advantage of film projection even for movies originated on film is going to disappear. I'm not thrilled about this development, but it's the way the industry is going.

    If you find that a particular theater doesn't have reliable digital equipment, then avoid that theater. I've seen several dozen digital presentations at a variety of theaters, and never once has the equipment "crapped out".

    M.
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Yeah, I'm probably being a bit harshly absolute there. DLP's failure rate is pretty bad compared to 35mm, though, and I've yet to see a good argument that digital projection is better for something created digitally aside from it instinctively sounding right. You're always going to lose something going from one format to another, but the ceiling for 35mm is much higher than that for digital.
     
  5. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    It gets a little more interesting:

    I was trying to see if I could learn more about the actual technology they were using in the digital projection, and on Crown Theater's website I find that they are pushing the fact that the movie is on their Odyssey Giant Screen (basically an IMAX screen). I saw Shrek 2 at this theater. I started a thread "Shrek 2: Enhanced 35mm Large Screen Presentation" about it because it was awful--cropped and dark with washed out colors.

    Michael, generally I'd agree with you that answers aren't always so cut and dry, but I won't EVER go see an Enhanced 35mm Large Screen Presentation again[​IMG]. If it's on a regular screen, I'll go see the digital projection, to see for myself (and there were a lot of raves in The Incredibles thread).

    I just called the theater, moviephone has it wrong, it's not digital, just an (IMHO)oversized/underwhelming film presentation. [​IMG]
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    But this fails to take into account projection quality. DLP theaters are held to higher standards than the standard multiplex film screenings; and due to the difference in equipment you don't have the focus problems that you get with film. Once focused the picture stays focused for much longer than your average film projector. The Regal digital projectors are much lower resolution than DLP much less film, yet they aways sparkle compared to the feature presentation because the projection quality of the feature is so incredibly low.
     
  7. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's what I have gather from everyone's responses:

    It seems to me that we have a relatively inferior medium (current digital projection) that is easier to operate and maintain than film.

    A perfect film presentation would be better than a perfect digital presentation, but an average digital presentation is better than the average film presentation.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I look at it this way: The analog film version will be just as good as a digital presentation if (and only if) all of the following conditions apply:
    1. The analog copy is perfect;
    2. The analog copy is perfectly preserved; and
    3. The analog equipment used to displaly it is in perfect (or near-perfect) working order.[/list=1]
      In my experience, none of these conditions is ever true, let alone all three of them.

      Digital projection eliminates items (1) and (2), and you just have to worry about (3). My experience has been similar to Adam's as far as the relative performance of the equipment is concerned.

      M.
     
  9. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    I've seen The Incredibles in digital and on film, and I'd have to say I liked the digital presentation better on this one. Opening night, it's a tough call. But facing a print with weeks of wear and tear, I think I'd go for the digital.
     
  10. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    I saw the Incredibles opening night on film. Then I saw it a week or ten days later in digital projection and the digital projection screening was vastly superior, IMO. The clarity, the details and the colors were all noticably sharper.

    Same goes for Attack of the Clones. Saw it both ways; prefered the digital.
     
  11. RafaelB

    RafaelB Second Unit

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    I've seen both the digital presentation as well as the film presentation and found that the sound in the digital version was way muted with almost no bass yet when I saw the film version the (digital) sound was great.

    The image on the digital projection OTOH was gorgeous.[​IMG]

    R.
     
  12. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    I think there are these advantages to digital projection:

    1. You'll never have scratches and broken prints because the source is always a clean digital format. [​IMG]

    2. The color quality and sharpness are more consistent in digital projection. [​IMG]

    3. Pretty soon, we will have 300 mm optical discs with storage capacity in the 3-4 terabyte range, enough for a projection-quality digital movie with multiple-language soundtracks and subtitling tracks on one disc. That could substantially reduce duplicating costs because you only need to master a few variants of the same movie (mostly for language localization purposes) and of course it's VASTLY cheaper to ship a single disc package weighing at most 1.5 kilograms versus six reels of 35 mm film for a single two-hour movie (with each reel weighing around 13 kg! [​IMG] ).
     
  13. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    That's because Regal considers that crap more important than the actual movie.
    The Incredibles film prints have been sabotaged with CrAP code.
     
  14. Stephen-J

    Stephen-J Auditioning

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    Reuben seems to be right - if it was created digitally, see it digitally. A transfer can't be of a higher resolution than its source...
     
  15. Ryan FB

    Ryan FB Second Unit

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    While it's true that a transfer won't be higher resolution than it's source, consider the following situation:

    A movie studio makes the final render of their all CGI film at 4096x3112 (4k) for the transfer to film. This movie is being shown on film and digital, but the digital projectors only have a resolution of 1920x1080. Which is better?

    Note that this hypothetical doesn't really apply in Pixar's case though, as last I heard they were doing their final renders at around the 2k resolution mark...but I don't know if that's still the case.
     
  16. Shad R

    Shad R Supporting Actor

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    i also saw aotc both ways. i gotta say, the digital is the way to go. gorgeous presentations. also, about the sound, i think that depends on the auditorium more than the medium. aotc sounded awesome in dolby digital 5.1 ex!
     
  17. Stephen-J

    Stephen-J Auditioning

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    Ryan FB - good point. [​IMG]
     
  18. Brandon B

    Brandon B Second Unit

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    Does not apply here. Every print of The Incredibles was created from an original negative from their proprietary laser scanners. THey made 5 of these "original" negatives and all prints were struck directly from them. No interpositives OR internegatives involved. There were a lot more details he discussed about things they do to ensure their movies look as good as possible that make me appreciate them even more as a studio.

    So all issues of poorly setup systems and degraded prints notwithstanding, you would probably get a better presentation out of a well run 35mm system than a older DLP system.

    That said, I sat 25' from a 51' wide screen at the 2K DLP screening I saw, and it was completely stunning. I have not seen many movies look that good. When the theaters get these next generation of D-cinema units out into the real world, it will defnitely be a step up from the poorly maintained film rigs most mall plexes use.


    BB
     
  19. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    So the film prints are two analog generations away from the digital original, whereas (if I've read your post correctly) the digital projection is an exact copy. Assuming the digital projection is at the fully rendered resolution, I don't see how a film print could look better.

    M.
     
  20. Brandon B

    Brandon B Second Unit

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    On your first point, sorry, read your post a little too quickly.



    That's the rub. Almost every DLP system out there right now is 1280x1024, and well under 1000:1 CR. Given that, and a print right off a negative, I think a good 35mm presentation would be better. Have in fact seen good evidence of this in the same theater on the same screen for 2 different films a couple of weeks apart. Both were created from digital intermediates (X2 and Matrix Reloaded), but the former was shown on a recent (but limited to the above specs) DLP system, and the latter was a first generation film print (off the original negative, struck for the cast premiere). No contest for detail, contrast, general quality of the image.

    But since venues for good 35mm presentations probably number well under 100 nation wide, you are probably right, might as well go digital. And when the new generation of DLPs (and hopefully Sony's 4K SXRD units) make their way into theaters, it definitely becomes moot.

    BB
     

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