Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara
Well, here's the question:
For film lovers, is the plasma look preferable to the film look one gets in a first run theater? Doesn't sound very accurate to me...
I'm a film lover (have been a film lover all my life, have been in the film business many years, shot, edited tons of film etc). In fact, I think it's my film background that has, ironically, actually made projection something of a harder sell. To me projection set ups had always looked like video blown up trying to pass as film. As projectors have gotten better, and as source transfer methods improved, it has gotten closer to looking more like film. But I still get the "video-projected-on-a-screen" vibe from a lot of front projection. I think HD-DVD and Blu Ray is going to help with this niggling problem (and does so pretty well from what I've seen so far).
But the best front projectors really can give me the taking-me-back-to-the-cinema-vibe, which I see as their greatest strength.
Plasma to me is a different animal. I find plasma, being a direct-view technology (along also with it's greater brightness capability), produces a different "look" to images than projected film or projected DVD/HD.
So it's not going to reproduce that film-vibe in the same manner as a projection set up.
It *can* accurately reproduce the basic elements of film, in a way much like CRT direct views could (excepting lowest black levels). And a lot of people always felt CRT tube sets could reproduce the most accurate, "film-like" images out of tube sets/flat panels.
With my ISF'd settings, I'd never mistake a filmed image for one shot on video.
But at the same time, as much as I love film, it's the very difference of the plasma images from a theater that acts as a sort of compensatory charm, for it's smaller size.
To me (and not a few other folks) images on the plasma can just seem more "alive," more dynamic, richly vibrant and mesmerizing in it's own right. When I watch a front projector, I'm expecting it to re-create the look of film and can get disappointed when I notice the difference (the digital nature or video-vibe). Whereas I don't have that type of expectation for plasma so much, and just enjoy it for it's vibrant take on images - giving movies I've seen all my life on projection a sort of new "life" and aliveness.
I'm not sure I actually want my front projection to re-create a plasma-like image (I haven't figured out if that's what I want), vs a film-like image. But I can say the closest I've ever seen to the plasma look came from the Sharp projector described above.