This movie has, hands DOWN the most technically beautiful picture of any film I've EVER seen. I was so impressed with the staggering overall "quality" (ie, color, sharpness, vividness, depth and realism of the blacks, etc), that I had to actually look it up on google. On IMDB I think I found the reason why. Terrance Malick apparently is some kind of technical obsessive compulsive when it comes to the presentation of his film to an audience.
IMDB "trivia" section on "The Tree of Life":http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/trivia
Critical excerpts from the link:
Terrence Malick wrote a letter of instruction to every projectionist showing The Tree of Life. His requests were:
1. Project the film in 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
2. Set the fader on Dolby and DTS systems to 7.5 or 7.7 (higher than the standard setting of 7).
3. With no opening credits, he asks that the "lights down cue is well before the opening frame of reel 1.
4. Projection lamps should be at "Proper standard (5400 Kelvin)" and that the "foot Lambert level is at Standard 14."
I think that the people who had an advanced quality TV professionally calibrated should check this movie out because it may be one of the few films which were created with the intention of presenting a film properly. More directors should adopt this kind of over-zealous adherence to quality.
As with The New World, Terrence Malick and Emmanuel Lubezki laid down a series of parameters (a dogma) to be used throughout the film:
Shoot in available natural light.
Do not underexpose the negative. Keep true blacks.
Preserve the latitude of the image.
Seek maximum resolution and fine grain.
Seek depth with deep focus and stop: "Compose in depth."
Shoot in backlight for continuity and depth.
Use negative fill to avoid light sandwiches (even sources on both sides)
Shoot in crosslight only after dawn or before dusk; never front light.
Avoid lens flares.
Avoid white and primary colors in frame.
Shoot with short focal length, hard lenses.
No filters, except Polarizer.
In the eye of the hurricane, shoot with steady handheld or Steadicam.
Z-axis moves instead of pans and tilts.
Do some static tripod shots "in midst of our haste"
Accept the exception to the dogma (a.k.a Article E) - Article E however does not apply underexposure of the negative.
I have to say, the resulting film is so true to life and real looking that it blew me completely away. Even if you don't like the art of the film, I think there are people on this forum who would be interested in it for it's technical quality. On a side note. The dynamic range of the sound in this film is STAGGERING. Very wide range from a whisper to a crescendo.