A movie lover's plea: Let there be light
Many theaters misuse 3-D lenses to show 2-D films, squandering brightness, color
By Ty Burr
May 22, 2011
As if rising ticket prices and chatterbox patrons weren't enough, moviegoers in the Boston area are being left in the dark thanks to the regular misuse of the lenses on new digital projection equipment at many of the region's major theater chains. But almost no one at the theaters or their corporate headquarters is willing to talk about it.
A walk through the AMC Loews Boston Common on Tremont Street one evening in mid-April illustrates the problem: gloomy, underlit images on eight of the multiplex's 19 screens (theaters 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, and 18, to be specific). These are the auditoriums using new digital projectors that are transforming the movie exhibition business, machines that entirely do away with celluloid. The "film" comes in the form of a software file, and the projector pumps it onto the screen at high intensity.
Why, then, do so many of the movies look so terrible? This particular night "Limitless," "Win Win," and "Source Code" all seemed strikingly dim and drained of colors. "Jane Eyre," a film shot using candles and other available light, appeared to be playing in a crypt. A visit to the Regal Fenway two weeks later turned up similar issues: "Water for Elephants" and "Madea's Big Happy Family" were playing in brightly lit 35mm prints and, across the hall, in drastically darker digital versions.
The uniting factor is a fleet of 4K digital projectors made by Sony -- or, rather, the 3-D lenses that many theater managers have made a practice of leaving on the projectors when playing a 2-D film. Though the issue is widespread, affecting screenings at AMC, National Amusements, and Regal cinemas, executives at all these major movie theater chains, and at the corporate offices of the projector's manufacturer, have refused to directly acknowledge or comment on how and why it's happening. Asked where his company stands on the matter, Dan Huerta, vice president of sight and sound for AMC, the second-biggest chain in the US, said only that "We don't really have any official or unofficial policy to not change the lens."
... Lots more at http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/arti...ark/?page=full