Just saw StarWars in Digital Theatre...quite disappointed... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 12:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I just saw Star Wars Episode 2 at the Colossus Theatre in Woodbridge, Ontario.
While I enjoyed the movie, I felt the picture quality had some serious problems.
(I JUST EDITED THE REST, I GAINED SOME ENERGY)


NOTE... I WAS WRONG...I SAW IT ON DIGITAL TRANSFERED TO FILM

I am tired, as I say the 12am show...so I will be brief.

The first thing I noticed about this, as opposed to film based movies...was that it was somewhat fuzzy and blurry. Thing did not seem as sharp as they could, like some haze was cast over the entire movie. This also manifested itself in that some of the colours I found were dull. Not tha the colours were poor, just that they didn't seem to have as much punch in them as I have seen in other movies.

The other major issue I found was a graininess, especially in darker scenes. In fact, the closest analogy I can give is with JPEG compression...where areas of colour that should be one shade of indiviual pixels that are slightly different. This especially manifested itself in the dark, shadowy scenes of the movie, like when they are in amydala's room at the beginning of the movie....when it is nighttime.

Thirdly, in scenes where bright white objects existed, such as the jedi council with the big bright window,s there was a strange pulsing of strobing.

I will comment later, after I find a non-digital version of the movie.
I assume that this was using a digital projector. so maybe there was something inherently wrong with this projector and not the movie.

I know that this is contradictory to what Roger Ebert said about the digital projection...and more like what he said about the film version, so I may call the theatre to confirm what I was seeing.
Other than that, YODA ROCKS!!!

David Mendicino
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post #2 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 03:48 AM
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Boeing Corp. has installed one for trial in my local theater (I mean 1 PJ in the 20 cinema complex).

I imagine they'll set it up as ideally as possible, as they are trying to sell 'em.

Perhaps your theater's wasn't quite tweaked(?) - or so I hope.

Your encounter is discouraging. I'll report mine when I see it.

Jeff


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post #3 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 06:30 AM
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I just don't think the resolutions of projectors and camcorders are quite there yet for large screen high quality video. The resolution of film is far superior. It just doesn't make sense to record it is low resolution digital and transfer it to higher resolution film.


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post #4 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 06:46 AM
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David,
I saw it last night too, but on film, and saw the same 2 problems you did (the fuzziness and what looked like compression artifacts). Didnt notice the pulsing. Anyway, I'm seeing today on digital so I'll be back with a comparison.

TM

PS - by the way that movie had some of the worst written, worst delivered dialog ever in a motion picture, but *man* were the fight/battle scenes fun!

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post #5 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 07:35 AM
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I believe that the movie was shot in digital, and then transferred to film for the majority of cinemas that are not digitally equiped. Therefore it will be interesting to find out if the artifacts you saw were a result of the digital encoding, or only due to the limitations of the digital projection technology.
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post #6 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 09:57 AM
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Maybe they're degrading the print quality so that the digital projection will look much better by comparison...

1080p and lossless audio. EVERY BD should have them both.
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post #7 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 10:41 AM
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I saw it digitally in a DLP equipped THX Theater (McClurg Court) in downtown Chicago and the presentation was excellent. The resolution was crisp and clean. The blacks were pretty close to the blacks projected from film, but they were not absolute such as those a calibrated CRT projector could produce. Projected film blacks are not really black anyway.

I would highly recommend seeing this in a digital theater equipped with THX sound if possible. For those in Chicago, McClurg Court is the answer.

Tim
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post #8 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 11:32 AM
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I saw it last night at Van Ness 1000 in San Francisco (on screen #2, the DLP screen). I had seen Toy Story II and Dinosaurs on Cinema DLP's and loved them both. I was very dissapointed with the resolution of this movie, projected digitally. The first problem was that I was in the second row, so it was more aparent, but it just seemed like the resolution was too low! Small details in the background were seemingly reduced to 10 or so pixels and looked pretty bad. The poor resolution was particulary noticable on the occasional white subtitles in the form of aliasing. Of course, I didn't really like the movie anyway (nor the first one), but I may be alone in that opinion...

It's also hard to tell if the projector resolution was the problem or whether it wouldn't have mattered anyway since it might have been shot at too low a resolution originally.
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post #9 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 12:48 PM
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DaViD Boulet wrote " Maybe they're degrading the print quality so that the digital projection will look much better by comparison..."

You know, I just got back from seeing it projected digitally (the TI DLP logo sequence was cool) and was thinking the same thing. It was *much* better than the film version I saw last night. There were a modest amount of crawly artifacts, but far less than on the film presentation. The only area the digital exhibition was worse than film was in black level...not the level per se (tough to really compare), but the *detail* in shadow - it was more washed, losing much detail in dark scenes when projected digitally.

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post #10 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 01:37 PM
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Picture was rock steady. But you know your looking at DLP. Jaggies all over the place...curved structures, text, fine detail... all jaggy. It's as if the image is just too big to hide the pixel structure and screen size needs to be dialed down a bit. If they bump up the pixels a bit more then I think the illusion will be fullfilled.
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post #11 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 02:02 PM
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What is the resolution of these digital projectors?


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post #12 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
What is the resolution of these digital projectors?
AFAIK, they are all 1280x1024, with anamorphic lenses.

IIRC, EpII was shot at 1440x800. This isn't really enough for the BIG screen, but hey, you have to start somewhere. If everyone waits to use digital until the tech is mature, it becomes a chicken-and-egg thing. It can't mature if no one is using it.

I'll be checking out the DLP at Pleasure Island soon.

The detail in Phantom Menace on scenery shots was lacking, also, IMO. So, it's hard to say whether it's the tech, or simply the way Lucas did it.

Todd
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post #13 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 02:37 PM
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no ep2 was shot in 1920X1080 P 24 frames /sec.
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post #14 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 03:19 PM
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JVC/Kodak really need to get the QXGA digital projector production ramped up. I don't know if DLP is going to have the resolution to make D-Cinema all it could be.

Mark Hunter
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post #15 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
no ep2 was shot in 1920X1080 P 24 frames /sec.
I don't think so. That's what the camera is (Sony's HDW-F900), but:

1. I've read that horizontal filtering limits the capture to 1440 resolved pixels.
2. I don't think (I'm almost certain here) that they used anamorphic lenses (Panavision's Primo Digital line). As such, it's matted to about 800 lines or so, to the 2.40:1 ratio.

Anyone out there know more about the camera?
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post #16 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 03:58 PM
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w.mayer,

Too be clear it was shot at 1920 X roughly 820. 2.35:1 letterboced onto the 16:9 camera.

milori,

agreed. Weed need more res. Not 10X more like some people feel but the 2X+ advantage that the QXGA projector has would be very useful.

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post #17 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 04:19 PM
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Another thread here states that some of the older digital projectors are actually projecting 1024X768, not 1280X1024, although these XGA pj's are also using anamorphic lenses. Anamorphic or not, regular XGA resolution isn't enough to get all the picture detail contained in even a a matted 1920X820 frame.

So I would imagine that some digital cinema presentations are looking somewhat sharper than others.

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post #18 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 06:32 PM
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I think they should develop a new theater standard in a 1:2 screen ratio with 1200 by 2400 resolution. That would do it. It is too late now, but the world television standard should have been 800 by 1200 in a 1:1.5 format at 60 fps. That would be a good computer standard as well.

In a perfect world DVDs should be mandated to come in widescreen and full screen formats on the same disc and on the same side. With the new DVD technology that is possible, but we are stuck with these weird formats that do not make allot of sense to me. That would mean the letterbox version of movies would have 600 by 1200 resolution if the above mentioned TV standard had been adopted (800 by 1200).

Christopher
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post #19 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 07:20 PM
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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 complaint about resolution and the loss of detail especially visible with smaller background images and the colors were quite muted - they looked accurate but I can't think that anyone would discribe them as "vibrant" as they might have with film.

Good movie though - better than the last one I thought.
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post #20 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 07:39 PM
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David,

just to clarify - Is this theater playing it in Digital? I plan on heading up there some time this weekend (Im in Toronto also), and if its not actually playing in Digital I'll head somewhere else.

Thanks,

Andy K.
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post #21 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 09:42 PM
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aderose,
i saw it at the zeigfeld today and on film last night. the blacks (shadow detail) were much better on the film presentation. much detail was lost in the shadows in the zeigfeld (dlp) presentation. other than that though, the dlp pq was much better.
tm

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post #22 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 09:44 PM
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Man, if those are bad blacks my projector is much worse than I thought.
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post #23 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 09:54 PM
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Just saw the movie tonight on a film based cinema. Althought the movie was great the picture looked very lackluster and 2 dimensional. I noticed several scenes in which the back ground looked like the old painted backgrounds they used to have in the 70's, very....flat and non realistic.
I do not know of any DLP cinemas in St. Louis.

Mark
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post #24 of 119 Old 05-16-2002, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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FOr the person in toronto,
YES it is playing in digital at the colossus,
but ONLY IN CINEMA NUMBER 4!!!
They wen't even playing it in digital on opening night!
It won't start in digital till tommorrow..

George is getting his money out of me, damnit, because I am going to see it at least twice.

Sure the dialog sucked, but it is Star Wars....you gotta love it no matter what, and seeing Yoda fight in a lightsaber battle was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

David Mendicino
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post #25 of 119 Old 05-17-2002, 05:39 AM
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I saw AOTC yesterday (it was film) and it started out great, the picture was clear and awesome but as the movie progressed I saw strobing in some brightly lit scenes in the middle of the movie. I was seeing crawlies, and contrast loss and grainy images during some dark scenes. Near the end of the movie it was noticably out of focus. WTF??? It looked like a really bad transfer that somehow started out well but went to crap by the end. I still liked the movie but the PQ was poor during parts of it. I still can not believe the strobing effect - I thought I was going to see rainbows any moment. LOL! I've never seen film do that before. My wife even notice the crawlies and grainy dark scenes (she did not notice the strobing effect though).
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post #26 of 119 Old 05-17-2002, 08:03 AM
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Mark,

There are no digital cinemas in Missouri. There are a couple in Kansas. Go figure. Art
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post #27 of 119 Old 05-17-2002, 09:08 AM
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I went to see it on opening night in Edgewater, NJ. They were running two film-based shows and one DLP. After waiting in line for two hours to see the 12:02 digital showing, my friend and I (along with about 150 more seriously pissed off patrons) were treated to 90 minutes of slide-show ads while the moron in the projection room tried unsuccessfully to start the movie. At 1:30 in the morning, we were told that they would run a special showing at 2:45 in the standard theater on film, but the digital presentation would not be shown that night. When the angry mob of Star Wars geeks gathered out in the lobby, they started handing out 2 free passes for every ticket stub, along with refunding everyone's food money. All I bought was a bottle of water, so I grabbed an empty bag of popcorn and large nacho tray that I found on the floor, walked up to the counter with it, and got $12. I don't feel the least bit bad about it either.

Being the dorks that we are, we stayed for the 2:45 show--as did most of the other people. We were tired as hell, which hurt the experience a bit, but at least we got to see the movie on opening night. When the big battle started later on, it was obvious, despite all of the fatigue, that we were in a theater full of true Star Wars fans. Yoda brandishing that light saber got HUGE applause.

I went back yesterday to the same theater to try once again for the DLP presentation. I only waited in line about 40 minutes this time, but my heart sank when I saw people from the previous show at 2:00 exiting the theater and lining up at the customer service counter. It turns out that the show started 40 minutes late, so they were all getting free passes. Fortunately, they cleaned up the theater quickly and got us in there, and the movie started right away.

Having seen the film-based presentation first, it was immediately obvious that digital is better in terms of clarity, colors, and detail. The CGI environments that looked cloudy and washed out the previous night now looked crisp and clear. Details on characters' faces were sharp. CGI characters looked more lifelike. There were no stray hairs, scratches, or dropped frames, which gave the whole film a really slick, polished look. Black levels weren't as good during dark scenes though. The scene with Padme and Annakin by the fire was especially tough on the eyes.

Overall, I was pleased. If this represents digital film in its infancy, I can't wait to see it when it really takes off.


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post #28 of 119 Old 05-17-2002, 12:31 PM
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Mike,

I SAW THE STROBING ALSO! IT SUCKED BIGTIME! But it's Star Wars, so it's all okay...

You know what's pretty wierd? Before I got heavily into the HT scene, I would just go to the movies and enjoy myself. Now, I'm looking at the screen, masking, speakers, lighting, etc. I find myself mentally critiquing everything. I hate that!

Oh well, I guess there's no place like home! :rolleyes:


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post #29 of 119 Old 05-17-2002, 12:55 PM
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Some of you have made comments as to how many digital cinema projectors are present in each state. Where do you get this information? How can I find out which theaters employ digital pjs (DLP or QXGA DILA)? Anyone know of any in the Houston area?

Thanks,

Rooney

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post #30 of 119 Old 05-17-2002, 01:09 PM
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Check the DLP site here:

http://www.dlp.com/dlp/cinema/where.asp

TM

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