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TOPIC: Will digital ever be "film" reliable?

Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 02 Jun 2008 11:04 #18696

  • NSCInemas
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But you would not be giving your customers what they have paid for. Showing a movie with less than the full intended resolution is in my opinion like showing films in a 2:1 common aspect ratio. Movies done wrong.

The point is that with a film projector manufactured 60-70+ years ago you can show a film made today and get the same picture (if not a better picture) than on a brand new film projector. The same does not and will not hold true for DLP. While it may be technically possible to play digital "prints" on obsolete machines it is not giving the customer the full experience that they have paid for.
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 02 Jun 2008 11:52 #18697

  • rodeojack
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But you would not be giving your customers what they have paid for. Showing a movie with less than the full intended resolution is in my opinion like showing films in a 2:1 common aspect ratio. Movies done wrong.

True. However, by that measure, you could also argue that any film shown in other than an ideal "reference-based" setting would amount to the same thing.

Control of the playback environment is lost, once the film leaves the producer's hands. You can do your best to cut apertures correctly, size your screens and masking to standards and fiddle with your lamps until you've got those edges looking great... and still have to contend with acoustics.

...AND, those of us with drive-ins should close down immediately! Nothing up to standards there. We're all doing the industry a huge injustice by merely existing. Curious, that the thousands who visit us each year seem to be a pretty happy bunch.

My point is that many exhibitors, if not all of them, will build non-standard venues, more or less. I suspect that their commitment to "film done right" goes out the window pretty fast, when considering square footage against seating capacity and screen count.

You could also carry this argument over to sound. Exhibitors and studios have always contended with differences there. How many theatres today STILL have only analog sound, not to mention those that have less than a full compliment of properly situated and powered speakers.

Going back; How many installed magnetic playback systems so that, rather than crutch on the tiny analog backup track, they could present mag films, as was intended? The last mag film I ran was "Capricorn One". I was fortunate to work in a theatre that could play it. However, I have no illusions about whether my boss would have declined the booking, if the mag system hadn't worked (or existed).

While this doesn't forgive the practice on a purely technical level, most people don't know how close a theatre is to standards, and I doubt they even care. Unless they have a reference to directly compare with, only a well-trained ear would pick up equalization and level issues. A good eye would be needed to recognize alignment and bulb quality problems AND translate them into a problem with the exhibitor's equipment. You could be off a bit on your screen ratios, and only the most obsessed would notice.


Even Carmike is said to have mixed their new digital sound channels down to fit auditoriums with center/surround or monaural installs.


In the same way that no two home systems sound exactly alike, and the quality of in-car systems varies widely, I think that the majority of the public is deaf and blind to what the producers really intend, buzz, hum and scratches notwithstanding. An acceptable volume level to one may be offensive to another.

So, I would respectfully state that "getting what you paid for" is an elusive, if not a nearly impossible achievement to attain, given that it would be almost as difficult to determine you'd received it.

Doesn't justify anything, really... just makes "film (or digital) done right" a little harder to quantify in the real world... a variable that I think just about everyone allows, to one degree or another.

One has only to look at the nuclear flame wars on other boards, to see how one professional's ideal may not be another's.


[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited June 02, 2008).]
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Re: Will digital ever be "film" reliable? 03 Jun 2008 13:02 #18698

  • NSCInemas
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Well, IMO a theatre that is not built and operated to "THX" type standards are not giving thier customers what they have paid for.

I do realize that we live in the real world and that is an unreasonable deman which would mean a lot of theatres would have to shut down if they were forced to meet that standard. As far as Drive-In's I think they are a different ball game, people go to the drive-in for the drive-in experience which includes sitting in thier car, litening to the sound on an FM radio (or window speaker). There is no reason that a Drive-In couldnt install digital sound, or have a light output of the lower end of the SMPTE standard of 16fl +/- 2fl on center on scope with not more than a 5% drop off on the sides so 14 fl on scope on center would be acceptable.
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