AVS Special Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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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.:
"Don't forget that a significant contribution made by the use of high-end cabling is emotional. Knowing that you have the best available causes the listening and viewing to be that much more enjoyable. Observable improvements make it even better."
-From a post on the audio video improvements forum