Originally Posted by Josh Z
Almost certainly, what you saw was digital. 35mm is being rapidly phased out and is pretty much entirely gone from the major theater chains. And the current state of 35mm distribution/projection is so poor that you definitely would have known you were watching a film print by the abundance of scratches, frame jumps and a terribly soft picture.
Whether it was 2k or 4k, you'd have to ask theater management.
Thanks. The other thing I've noticed with many film prints in the cheaper theatre rooms is a lack of shadow detail. On really bad prints, shadows were just seas of black.
Originally Posted by wuther
Could you rephrase your questions, perhaps in bullet form? Your post is all over the place.
I do not get where you get your 35mm thoughts from, any problems (like out of focus) is most likely because of a poor projectionist manning the helm.
No, see above. I think the problem is not only that we get inexperienced projectionists, it's that we get crappy prints.
Bullet point version.
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was unimpressive as a digital projection, when it first came out and in the theatre I was watching in. I saw it at the flagship downtown theatre of the biggest city in Canada. It was "punchy" but actually appeared pixelated. I think I saw some screen door as well. Perhaps the resolution was too small for the theatre I was in, but digital projection seemed immature in that instance.
- However, almost invariably at that time, the prints in the cheap theatres sucked, for all sorts of movies. No shadow detail, and sometimes faded looking. And yes soft (for whatever reason). It didn't matter which complex I went to. I think it's because the prints were copies of copies of copies. The only times I could get have decent ones was when I went to the most expensive theatre rooms in a complex. I'm guessing they reserved the best quality prints for specific rooms where they charged more.
- Not liking 3D, I decided to watch Guardian of the Galaxy in one of the "cheap" 2D theatres in a theatre complex, foregoing the UltraAVX 3D presentation in that same theatre complex, and foregoing the IMAX 3D presentation in other complexes. Despite being the cheap 2D theatre, I was impressed by what I saw, enough to think that digital projection has matured for 2D presentations.
I did see in a few scenes a little bit of pixelation (sitting relatively close to the screen), but it wasn't bad, and I'm sure most people didn't notice it. However, the brightness was appropriate, and the detail was good. Because I saw that pixelation I think it was 2K, but overall I didn't mind. Sure, 4K will be an improvement to eliminate pixelation, but quite frankly, I'm not convinced an upgrade to 4K is needed for a budget minded theatre, esp. if the screen isn't huge for the number of seats.
- The reason I generally avoid 3D (unless it's a movie like Gravity) is because I often get headaches. Also, I've been less than impressed with some previous blockbuster movies. Some had serious screen door effect, and many were horribly dim. I don't know if that has improved for "regular 3D", but I didn't see any of that for Guardians of the Galaxy in 2D. Perhaps 2D actually is advantageous in this regard then.
BTW, there are actually four levels of 3D locally, within close driving distance:
IMAX 3D Digital
And then historically, 2D in the cheaper rooms got shafted with crappy prints. But not now.
Maybe all of this happened a long time ago, but I don't get to the theatre for big blockbusters much these days ever since we had a kid and my wife often doesn't want to see the blockbusters anyway. So, in the last few years I've either watched the IMAX presentations on special nights out with friends or else stayed at home and watched the Blu-ray when it came out.