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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to know if someone could explain to me why a movie shown in a theater never seems to look as good as movies in HD look. Where is the quality being lost?
 

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Bad print processing, misadjusted optics, overstretched bulbs...
 

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A quality pristine 35mm print can be quite stunning to watch. Unfortunately unless you live in LA or New York it can be quite difficult to find a theater that actually has the capability and maintainence level to achieve a good image. Most theaters get lousy prints and are run on misadjusted and/or bad equipment by people who also work the popcorn machine, or worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kram Sacul /forum/post/0


A quality pristine 35mm print can be quite stunning to watch. Unfortunately unless you live in LA or New York it can be quite difficult to find a theater that actually has the capability and maintainence level to achieve a good image. Most theaters get lousy prints and are run on misadjusted and/or bad equipment by people who also work the popcorn machine, or worse.

Where in NY is there a theater that has stuff look as good as HD? I can't think of one that I have been to thats as good as HD. The Zeigfeld probably comes close.
 

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Consider the size of the screen you're viewing on. A 35mm film print has to be projected on a screen much, much larger than anything you'll have at home. Projecting HD video onto the same size screen will be a lot less impressive than what you see on your smaller screen at home.
 

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I sit just over one screen width back at home so this translates to the front 1/4 of the seating in a commercial theater (not IMAX), No theaters I go to except IMAX look as good as HDDVD in my home. I'm guessing it's just poor focus, inconsistant prints, poor care of prints ,poor projection overall. Even the digital presentations don't look as good as my home.


Art
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've thought about that, but some small theaters have screens that are maybe 2-3 times the size of my screen, but doesn't film in theory match up to a resolution 3-4 times that of HD?


Also I have friends that have owned theaters and we have taken dvd's and blown them up on expensive digital projectors (meant for theaters) and we really can't see that big of a difference between a DVD and 35mm print when its blown up that big (Note I'm not saying there isn't a difference because there is, but the difference isnt' as dramatic as it is between DVD and HD).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chap /forum/post/0


Also I have friends that have owned theaters and we have taken dvd's and blown them up on expensive digital projectors (meant for theaters) and we really can't see that big of a difference between a DVD and 35mm print when its blown up that big (Note I'm not saying there isn't a difference because there is, but the difference isnt' as dramatic as it is between DVD and HD).

If that is true, I would say the theaters need to move to 4Kx2K digital cinema FAST. Otherwise, they are doomed.


Gary
 

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1) I belive the prints we see in theaters are 3 generations of copies away from the original camera negative. Presumably the HD masters are scanned from earlier generations.


2) The movement of the film through the projector at 24fps usually results in less than perfect alignment of each frame to the next. This reduces effective resolution.


3) in my opinion, the theoretical resolution of film is just that -- theory! Perhaps it's true for the camera negative when shooting a static scene. But that's not representative of typical movies.


I'm not too surprized to hear that DVD shown with a theater's digital projector looked fairly close to 35mm. We're now in a very strange environment where our home equipment, even inexpensive gear, can provide an equivalent or superior quality image compared to almost all movie theaters.
 

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Do any of you go to Ultrastar? They are 100% DLP, digital goodness. My wife and I don't go anywhere else anymore. The PQ is jaw dropping.


Also, I used to be a projectionist (15 years ago). Those prints take a beating. You would be surprised at the condition in which we received the reels prior to splicing and building. Through the course of the showing of the films they might take a beating too. Misfeeds, stress from tension arms, heat from the bulbs all have an effect. I have seen a whole reel of film dumped on the floor in a waist high pile of spaghetti because the receiving platter wasn't spinning. I had to untangle and have the film back on the next platter before the next showing started. It was a mess.


Personally, if I don't wait for the movie to come out on DVD, HD DVD, or BD I will only watch it at a theater with a digital projector. Bad PQ is too distracting to me now.
 

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Good post, good question. I was watching Mel Gibsons latest film in a theater and all the time I was saying in the back of my mind, "This looks dull, dim and out of focus," and "I'll bet this will look good on HD DVD." I still try to see certain films in a theater but man they sure are dissapointing when it comes to PQ.


Another question that should be asked is when was the last time you saw good PQ in a movie theater! Me, I can't remember.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbug /forum/post/0


Good post, good question. I was watching Mel Gibsons latest film in a theater and all the time I was saying in the back of my mind, "This looks dull, dim and out of focus," and "I'll bet this will look good on HD DVD." I still try to see certain films in a theater but man they sure are dissapointing when it comes to PQ.

Keep in mind that Apocalypto was shot on video, not on film.
 

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I live in New Hampshire and the theaters in my town are so particularly bad.


If you want to enjoy a film you go at least 20 miles to the next town over.


I saw HappyFeet with my kids and it was about the worst ever movie going experience (not just because of all the singing and dancing.)


There is talk of tearing down the local multi-plex and rebuilding it somewhere else and I suppose that may help.


I miss the Sony Metreon in San Francisco,.. Movies there looked great.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z /forum/post/0


Keep in mind that Apocalypto was shot on video, not on film.

Meaning that they had to transfer to film. So like SW Episode II and III, if you don't watch them in a digital theater, they look worse than a good movie shot on film.


Correct?
 

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i just watched "children of men" and while there was a nice image on screen it was definitely not tack sharp like hd dvd. not even close.


it made me wonder if hd dvd was "too sharp".


even the opening logo which is always razor sharp on new releases was fuzzy in comparison.


another thing i noticed is that the masking around the screen had picture info in it if you look hard enough. i covered about 5% of the image (lost).


akin to about 5% overscan for a tv which many complain about. it made me think if theaters were doing this all along maybe directors take that into account and frame with the expectation of a bit of cut off.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sketcha /forum/post/0


Meaning that they had to transfer to film. So like SW Episode II and III, if you don't watch them in a digital theater, they look worse than a good movie shot on film.


Correct?

Depends on the digital projector they use I guess.


I recently saw Casino Royale at the theatre where the world premiere of Return of the King was held (Embassy Theater in Wellington, NZ). As Peter Jackson is one of the owners or trust members, you can imagine the gear and presentation in this theater is first rate. And it was. Not commenting on the movie itself, I found the picture and sound presentation to be superb - something I doubt you could ever get in a HT setup. But of course this could be an exception rather than a norm. And there was an idiot who both answered and started talking on her cell during the movie before being hushed out of the auditorium!


Larry
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lchiu7 /forum/post/0


Depends on the digital projector they use I guess.


I recently saw Casino Royale at the theatre where the world premiere of Return of the King was held (Embassy Theater in Wellington, NZ). As Peter Jackson is one of the owners or trust members, you can imagine the gear and presentation in this theater is first rate. And it was. Not commenting on the movie itself, I found the picture and sound presentation to be superb - something I doubt you could ever get in a HT setup. But of course this could be an exception rather than a norm. And there was an idiot who both answered and started talking on her cell during the movie before being hushed out of the auditorium!


Larry

I didnt know there were bad, digital, movie theater projectors.


Seeing Episode II and III at Century in San Jose was simply incredible! Massive screen and just an incredibly clear, beautiful picture.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Hampton /forum/post/0


I live in New Hampshire and the theaters in my town are so particularly bad.


If you want to enjoy a film you go at least 20 miles to the next town over.


I saw HappyFeet with my kids and it was about the worst ever movie going experience (not just because of all the singing and dancing.)


There is talk of tearing down the local multi-plex and rebuilding it somewhere else and I suppose that may help.


I miss the Sony Metreon in San Francisco,.. Movies there looked great.

I saw Happy Feet on a Christie CP2000 2k DLP projector, best picture I have ever seen in a theater, simply stunning.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chap /forum/post/0


Just wanted to know if someone could explain to me why a movie shown in a theater never seems to look as good as movies in HD look. Where is the quality being lost?

LOL Have you seen the morons working in theaters nowadays?? The absolute worst and lowest level of service in every sense of the word. Blows me away, actually.
 
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