What are local "cheap" theatres showing these days? Film? 2K? 4K? - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 08-14-2014, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
BuGsArEtAsTy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: AVS Forum
Posts: 7,128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
What are local "cheap" theatres showing these days? Film? 2K? 4K?

I remember when I first saw Attack of the Clones as a new fangled digital projection. I was less than impressed. It was bright, and didn't have the blown out images of crappy prints, but it looked pixelated and lacking detail.

Then I watched Guardians of the Galaxy tonite. It seems like digital projection has matured to a large extent. I actually don't know if that theatre was digital or not (and the sales girl had no clue what I was talking about when I asked), but it sure didn't seem like it, or else it's the best print I've ever seen. Normally when I went to theatres, the prints were presumably Xth generation copies, because they almost always looked subpar, even for big blockbusters. We all know that 35 mm film can have a lot of detail and resolution, but the prints I saw in the theatre often looked worse than Blu-ray presentations at home.

Now the reason I say it seems like digital projection has matured is because I chose NOT to go an UltraAVX theatre (which I believe are all 4K), just the "cheap" 2D presentation of the movie, which I'm guessing is 2K projection, but probably better calibrated and brighter than before. But 4K or 2K, I don't care. I am just glad it looks better than it did a few years ago. There are still some problems, but it's nonetheless a noticeable improvement, and probably good enough for the vast majority of viewers out there.

Or maybe I'm just biased because I've seen too many overly dim 3D presentations, and 2D just looked better because it wasn't so dim, I dunno.

Now at the risk of sounding like an idiot, I will ask, is my theatre actually a digital 2K (or 4K) theatre? Or was I actually looking at a very good print, and all my above comments are bullcrap? I went to the Coliseum at Scarborough Town Centre in Toronto. As mentioned, it was not the UltraAVX theatre, but their "regular" much cheaper 2D theatre. Note that this theatre complex isn't a low end one by any means, but it's not a flagship theatre complex either.

Oh and the seats were relatively comfy too. Sound was fine, not stellar, but more importantly the sound levels were comfortable and not overly loud, unlike what I've encountered in some IMAX 3D theatres.
BuGsArEtAsTy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 Old 08-14-2014, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
BuGsArEtAsTy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: AVS Forum
Posts: 7,128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
P.S. I was sitting about 1/3rd of the way back from the front, and in a few spots of some scenes I saw what looked like pixelation, which is also why I think it's 2K digital.

However, I suppose a 2K source on a 4K projector might look basically the same.
BuGsArEtAsTy is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 08-15-2014, 08:33 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Josh Z's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Planet Boston, source of the spice, Melange.
Posts: 20,226
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 417 Post(s)
Liked: 397
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.

Josh Z
Writer/Editor, High-Def Digest (Blog updated daily!)
Curator, Laserdisc Forever

My opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers.

Josh Z is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 08-15-2014, 04:26 PM
AVS Special Member
 
wuther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,443
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 119 Post(s)
Liked: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuGsArEtAsTy View Post
Now at the risk of sounding like an idiot, I will ask, is my theatre actually a digital 2K (or 4K) theatre? Or was I actually looking at a very good print, and all my above comments are bullcrap?
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.
wuther is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
BuGsArEtAsTy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: AVS Forum
Posts: 7,128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuther View Post
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
IMAX 3D Digital
UltraAVX 3D
"Regular" 3D

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.

Last edited by BuGsArEtAsTy; 08-16-2014 at 05:38 AM.
BuGsArEtAsTy is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 07:50 AM
AVS Special Member
 
wuther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,443
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 119 Post(s)
Liked: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuGsArEtAsTy View Post
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.
I am more inclined to believe that is fault of the theater setup and the projectionists. You are also comparing made for stereovision flicks to traditional film. Old fashion film makers do not worry about shadows getting that much detail while productions shot for stereovision need everything to be bright otherwise the stereographic effect is lost.

Some people made the same complaints about Skyfall but since it was luckily not shot for stereovision the film makers did not care.

I am sure you will think 'what about a BD I saw?', the home video format has always over brightened the transfers and it still continues too for the most part. Horror films for instance were never meant to have much shadow detail since it makes the film less scary and sometimes comical but that does not stop whoever does the color grading from increasing brightness because they think that is what consumers want.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuGsArEtAsTy View Post
- 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.
I think the problem is more AOFC was a early digital production and effects heavy locked at 2K that does not hold up that well when it come to artifacts.
wuther is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
BuGsArEtAsTy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: AVS Forum
Posts: 7,128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuther View Post
I am more inclined to believe that is fault of the theater setup and the projectionists. You are also comparing made for stereovision flicks to traditional film. Old fashion film makers do not worry about shadows getting that much detail while productions shot for stereovision need everything to be bright otherwise the stereographic effect is lost.

Some people made the same complaints about Skyfall but since it was luckily not shot for stereovision the film makers did not care.

I am sure you will think 'what about a BD I saw?', the home video format has always over brightened the transfers and it still continues too for the most part. Horror films for instance were never meant to have much shadow detail since it makes the film less scary and sometimes comical but that does not stop whoever does the color grading from increasing brightness because they think that is what consumers want.

I think the problem is more AOFC was a early digital production and effects heavy locked at 2K that does not hold up that well when it come to artifacts.
That makes sense and I do believe it is partially the fault of the theatres but it is perhaps a combination the fault of the print and the theatre.

I remember trying to watch Hero in a cheap theatre simply because it was conveniently located. It was unwatchable. My friend and I walked out if the theatre. We went to another theatre and it was much better.

I am obviously not a projectionist but I do wonder if digital makes it easier for n00b projectionists. Not the great equalizer as it were but perhaps it helps, and you're starting from pristine source too.

Remember I am talking about the cheaper secondary theatres in complexes.
BuGsArEtAsTy is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 08:33 AM
AVS Special Member
 
wuther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,443
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 119 Post(s)
Liked: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuGsArEtAsTy View Post
I am obviously not a projectionist but I do wonder if digital makes it easier for n00b projectionists. Not the great equalizer as it were but perhaps it helps, and you're starting from pristine source too.

Remember I am talking about the cheaper secondary theatres in complexes.
The digital medium for projectionists is more idiot proof I imagine but it can be still be messed up. One cineplex dp I went too had a terrible blur that I noticed on it's in-theater advertising and it persisted onto the movie that was shot in digital so I do not know what the excuse was.

You are still at the mercy of the theater setup however. Lately I noticed they do not turn the lights all the way down which hurts not only the atmosphere but makes the film harder to see. One also had a loud air conditioning going on and it's lobby was baking hot

One great thing about the good ol days is that mobile phones did not exist back then so there was less people talking or looking at bright screen of a hand held device.

Last edited by wuther; 08-16-2014 at 08:48 AM.
wuther is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 08-17-2014, 03:35 PM
AVS Special Member
 
coolscan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked: 104
Digital projection has improved vastly since 2002.
To compare Attack of the Clones projection with todays camera sources and projectors is no contest.

Attack of the Clones was one of the first shot digital movies on one of the first HD TV cameras, Sony CineAlta HDW-F900 and the digital distribution was 1280 x 1024 (the resolution of the first DLP cinema projectors) projected anamorphic 1.9:1.
Effective resolution was barely above DVD, and this was before DVD got better, so on a big cinema screen i couldn't look good.
coolscan is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 08-20-2014, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
BuGsArEtAsTy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: AVS Forum
Posts: 7,128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolscan View Post
Digital projection has improved vastly since 2002.
To compare Attack of the Clones projection with todays camera sources and projectors is no contest.

Attack of the Clones was one of the first shot digital movies on one of the first HD TV cameras, Sony CineAlta HDW-F900 and the digital distribution was 1280 x 1024 (the resolution of the first DLP cinema projectors) projected anamorphic 1.9:1.
Effective resolution was barely above DVD, and this was before DVD got better, so on a big cinema screen i couldn't look good.
Fair enough, but the main point of my post is that many of the cheap theatres look a lot better than they used to because of modern digital 2K. Prints, despite having the potential of excellent quality, just didn't. It may be print quality, and/or it may be improper setup and projectionist inexperience, I dunno, but the bottom line I'm pleasantly surprised by what I've seen in the cheap theatres these days.

In the past I've actually been afraid to go to 2D theatres because the quality was so mediocre.
BuGsArEtAsTy is offline  
Reply Movies, Concerts, and Music Discussion
Gear in this thread

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off