1080x1920 not good enough for Roger Ebert - AVS Forum
Digital Projectors - Under $3,000 USD MSRP > 1080x1920 not good enough for Roger Ebert
chrisreeves's Avatar chrisreeves 09:28 AM 05-15-2002
We have so many different forums now that I posted this in the HDTV programming forum as well as the Major Money Digital Projector Forum (we all know which one that is, he he). Forgive me for the cross-posting. But I thought this was interesting so I wanted as many people as possible to be able to see it.

The following is an exerpt from Roger Ebert's Chicago Sun Times review of Star Wars, Episode II. Leaving aside the wooden dialogue, in this section he is discussing the resolution, or lack of it. He saw the movie on a film transfer. It will be interesting to see if he changes his mind after viewing it projected digitally. I know I'm going to see it both ways just out of curiosity.

"But I felt like I had to lean with my eyes toward the screen in order to see what I was being shown. The images didn't pop out and smack me with delight, the way they did in earlier films. There was a certain fuzziness, an indistinctness that seemed to undermine their potential power.

Later I went on the Web to look at the trailers for the movie, and was startled to see how much brighter, crisper and more colorful they seemed on my computer screen than in the theater. Although I know that video images are routinely timed to be brighter than movie images, I suspect another reason for this. "Episode II" was shot entirely on digital video. It is being projected in digital video on 19 screens, but on some 3,000 others, audiences will see it as I did, transferred to film.

How it looks in digital projection I cannot say, although I hope to get a chance to see it that way. I know Lucas believes it looks better than film, but then he has cast his lot with digital. My guess is that the film version of "Episode II" might jump more sharply from the screen in a small multiplex theater. But I saw it on the largest screen in Chicago, and my suspicion is, the density and saturation of the image were not adequate to imprint the image there in a forceful way.

Digital images contain less information than 35mm film images, and the more you test their limits, the more you see that. Two weeks ago I saw "Patton" shown in 70mm Dimension 150, and it was the most astonishing projection I had ever seen--absolute detail on a giant screen, which was 6,000 times larger than a frame of the 70mm film. That's what large-format film can do, but it's a standard Hollywood has abandoned (except for IMAX), and we are being asked to forget how good screen images can look--to accept the compromises. I am sure I will hear from countless fans who assure me that "Episode II" looks terrific, but it does not. At least, what I saw did not. It may look great in digital projection on multiplex-size screens, and I'm sure it will look great on DVD, but on a big screen it lacks the authority it needs.:

chrisreeves's Avatar chrisreeves 09:43 AM 05-15-2002
Hmm, Ebert changed his mind after seeing it digitally, here's the link:

DRS's Avatar DRS 02:22 PM 05-15-2002
I'm driving 4 hours round trip on Sunday to see it in DLP--can't wait!

I better not see any rainbows ;)
avdoc's Avatar avdoc 08:44 PM 05-15-2002
If anyone has a list of the digital venues or link please post. I'm sure myself and others would appreciate it.
DRS's Avatar DRS 09:04 PM 05-15-2002
Originally posted by Diseaseboy
4 hours? There is a DLP projector at a National Amusements theater in Springdale, OH. Isn't that right near Cinci?
Yes, that's the one. 4 hours _roundtrip_
Flashman's Avatar Flashman 07:17 AM 05-16-2002
4 hours? I'm just 1.2 miles from Disney's DLP theater... one of the first ones... going to see it Friday morning at 10am.
Houtech's Avatar Houtech 07:18 AM 05-16-2002
The Texas Instruments site only gives theater locations that use their system. You can also go here:


to find the theaters using the Boeing system.
JPinTO's Avatar JPinTO 09:08 AM 05-16-2002
DLP in cinemas! Oh, my eyes are aching just thinking about the rainbows! :D
Wireless's Avatar Wireless 09:26 AM 05-16-2002
No color wheel, no rainbows on 3-chip cinema DLPs
JPinTO's Avatar JPinTO 12:30 PM 05-16-2002
Originally posted by Wireless
No color wheel, no rainbows on 3-chip cinema DLPs
aderose's Avatar aderose 08:23 PM 05-16-2002
Just saw it digitally projected at the Ziegfeld in NYC. I'm sure it was digital because there was a TI DLP clip at the beginning of the movie. I've only just started to pay attention to picture quality in theaters (since I got my own PJ - which was about a month ago.) I'm no expert but I thought the blacks were really black - there was one very dark scene with R2D2 on the wing of a damaged fighter jet - it only lasted a few seconds but the spectrum of blacks was very apparent.

I have the same complaints about resolution and the loss of detail especially visible with smaller background images and that the colors were quite muted - they looked accurate but I can't see how they could be described as "vibrant" as they might have with film.

Good movie though - better than the last one I thought.
Mancubus's Avatar Mancubus 01:09 AM 05-20-2002
I've been in L.A for the past week (leaving on Tuesday) on business and I took some time out to see it on one of the many cinemas that are showing it in this area. I ended up seeing it at the Galleria Mall in Sherman Oaks on the corner of Sepulveda and Ventura.

My impressions of the picture were mixed. The colours were great, contrast was good, the blacks were black but not CRT black. The picture did exhibit some pixelization i.e. rough edges on some of the text/captions. Also, I did find my eyes were a little strained during and after the film and I was still able to see rainbows. Yes, you read that right, I was able to see rainbows. It wasn't as easy to see as on a Piano or LT150, I had to look hard for them but I found them easy when shifting my eyes back and forth (I was sitting very close) on some of the darker scenes. As for the movie itself...I thought it was ok, not worthy of the hype at all IMO.
Phat Phreddy's Avatar Phat Phreddy 03:39 AM 05-20-2002
I would have to say that you must have convinced yourself of the rainbows or seen another effect...

3 chip DLP has no color wheel... Colors are solid and consistant not pulsed to make the correct color... This form of DLP can not produce rainbows !!!

I dont know what you saw but it must have been something different..
dxb's Avatar dxb 05:17 AM 05-20-2002
Saw the film in Randolph, MA at Nat Am. Showcase in DLP.

High brightness images were great! Sharpness superb, but blacks----no.
Low brightness scenes lacked significant contrast, everything seemed to be viewed through a gray haze.

This is convincing me more and more to go with a gray screen for home.

Interestingly enough, the trailers and DLP intro clip were also on the digital projector and the black levels on these seemed MUCH better. Could it be in the 'film' itself? Did ILM err in the production somehow??

Maybe it was just my sensitivity; or maybe no real low light scenes in the trailers, mostly high brightness colors on black backgrounds that tricked my eyes re:contrast.

DRS's Avatar DRS 05:55 AM 05-20-2002
We drove near Cincinnatti yesterday and my impressions were bright scenes were exceptional although screen door was most evident during these situations and those with subtitles. The overall dark scenes (i.e. the ones not in space, example is the prison chamber with the energy field) lacked detail because of low black level and basically were just not satisfying. The screen we watched it on had one hot spot and that was very distracting.

Like dxb I wonder about the DLP intro clip. My thought is those clips are in the PJ's native resolution where star wars is not.

Finally, I have to wonder if a normal live action film with little to no CG would have been anywhere near as satisfying--I highly doubt it.

p.s. we sat in the third row back of the stadium seats, I would guess about 3/4 of the screen width away. The screen was about the widest I have ever seen, it took up an impressive amount of my field of vision.
Mancubus's Avatar Mancubus 10:59 AM 05-20-2002
I would have to say that you must have convinced yourself of the rainbows or seen another effect...
I know what rainbow is and I know what I saw at the theater was rainbow. A distinct red/green/blue outline on the edge of objects when moving my eyes quickly across the screen. Again, it wasn't apparent with bright scenes, but on dark scenes I could clearly see rainbows when I was looking for them.

Keep in mind that I am also sensitive to the flicker of a 60hz monitor and with my eyes, I can actually see a standard light bulb flickering with the AC current.
kenfab's Avatar kenfab 11:10 AM 05-20-2002
Does anyone happen to know the refresh rate of these 3 chip DLP's? Is it 60Hz? If so, perhaps Mancubus may not, buy the strict, color-wheel/AVS definition of the term have seen "Rainbows", but did indeed see a "Rainbow-Effect" due to the sensitivity of his vision. I too am ultra sensitive to the 60Hz flicker of any PC Monitor, so I would have to whole-heartedly believe Mancubus is seeing something that many may not.

ScottAvery's Avatar ScottAvery 11:47 AM 05-20-2002
I saw it on film on Wednesday night's opening, then DLP Friday night. I preferred the film version due to black level/contrast issues.

The DLP version may have been sharper with a more 3-D appearance, but the lack of detail on dark scenes was very distracting. The scene that stood out the most was the fire-side chat between Anakin and Amidala. When seeing it on film, it was obvious that Amidala was dressed in a racy black leather outfit that would have tempted the young Skywalker. On digital, I had a completely different feeling about the scene since I couldn't really see the details. I'm glad I saw it on film first .
cpc's Avatar cpc 12:17 PM 05-20-2002
I saw it on film and it was fairly good. I was very observant because I caught this thread before viewing the film and I didn't notice a problem. I did notice what looked like a scan line in one shot, but upon relflection I realized it was a window pane opening or closing or something. I noticed only one shot where STAR WARS EII's "digital"-ness was possibly more evident and that was a scene where I saw a character and some dark background and for some reason, there was definite noise in the dark area. Otherwise, the film presentation was fine.
John Kotches's Avatar John Kotches 03:00 PM 05-20-2002

Rainbow occurs because all 3 color primaries are shown in rapid succession on a 1-chip DLP.

On a 3-chip DLP, the light source is split 3-ways by a prism into seperate R,G,B and reflected back where they are recombined with a prism for projection. All 3 color primaries are present simultaneously.

I' m not doubting your visual acuity -- perhaps another mechanism is in operation?

chrisreeves's Avatar chrisreeves 10:00 PM 05-20-2002
I too saw rainbows on a 3-chip DLP showing of Star Wars. I had to induce them by flicking my eyes around but I could do it.
Phat Phreddy's Avatar Phat Phreddy 02:43 AM 05-21-2002
Can you see this effect with LCD ?? The same technique [to produce the image] is in effect there too so you should be able to..

How about normal film (after all one constant colored light is being projected in each case)...

ceru's Avatar ceru 03:16 AM 05-21-2002

Saw AOTC via DLP projection at Century 22 (in San Jose CA) and must say it was rather enjoyable. However, I hope this is not the state at which we will be accepting digital projection. Blacks weren't even inky film black. I thought it was hard to make out some of the finer detail because of poor contrast ratio. I don't think I'm the most critical video enthusiast out there but the movie was definately still watchable.

What did get my attention was the incredible sound that they had set up. It was a very immersive experience for me and a couple of my friends who said the same thing. Overall, a worthwhile experience, but digital projection still has a ways to go before they even think about phasing film out.
EricN's Avatar EricN 02:17 PM 05-21-2002
Mancubus wrote:
Keep in mind that I am also sensitive to the flicker of a 60hz monitor and with my eyes, I can actually see a standard light bulb flickering with the AC current.
Unless you installed a half bridge rectifier in your house wiring, any "flickering" from an incandescent bulb would be at 120Hz (with 60Hz AC)

I am aware that some people have problems with a 60Hz refresh rate when viewed under fluorescent lighting, but this is because you will see a strobe effect at the difference of the two frequencies (60Hz line current will never quite match a 60Hz refresh). Incandescent or natural lighting removes this problem.

If you can see incandescent bulbs flickering, you either have voltage fluctuations in your house electricity (get a quality line conditioner for your HT equipment ASAP) or it's all in your head.
chrisreeves's Avatar chrisreeves 04:10 PM 05-21-2002

I can see the effect on my CRT. I'm wondering if it has to do with imperfect convergence on both my CRT and the 3-chip DLP that I saw.
kenfab's Avatar kenfab 04:10 PM 05-21-2002
Originally posted by EricN

I am aware that some people have problems with a 60Hz refresh rate when viewed under fluorescent lighting, but this is because you will see a strobe effect at the difference of the two frequencies (60Hz line current will never quite match a 60Hz refresh). Incandescent or natural lighting removes this problem.
I beg to differ. I am well aware of PC CRT Monitors using a 60Hz refresh rate under just about *any* lighting condition, whether it be under flourescent at the office, or under natural or incandescent lighting at my house. I can spot it within seconds...

chrisreeves's Avatar chrisreeves 04:14 PM 05-21-2002
Also Phat, note that it is not anywhere near as dramatic a rainbow effect as one a single speed DLP like the LT150
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