[opendtv] Digital cinema

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2012 18:42:19 -0500

John Shutt wrote:

> People "expect" a film to have a certain "look," and when it doesn't
> then they are so distracted by the different look that they cannot
> suspend disbelief and get lost in the movie.

I don't know about the details of how these movies are being projected, but I 
was excited to notice, on a recent weekend, that our local Regal cineplex had 
converted its theaters to the Sony 4K digital system. I thought it was maybe 
just one of the theaters, as a test or something, but no. Every one of the 
theaters we've been to, in that same Cineplex, had apparently been switched to 
digital at the same time.

Very nice. Unlike the "pre-show" material, which tends to be more or less 
SD-like, so you can see individual pixels, and is also (I guess) 1.77:1 aspect 
ratio, the main event is very sharp, very stable, high contrast, the usual 
1.85:1 or 2.35:1 aspect ratios, and really good sound.

> Even SD 480i video from broadcast quality cameras was sharper looking
> than feature films. (As an aside, my proof: Look at any movie that
> has a television clip shown onscreen. The "video" has the same
> softness as the rest of the movie, and definitely softer than normal
> video would look.)

The funny part is, when they now show DTV "clips" in a movie. I couldn't help 
but point this out to my wife. The "TV image" is, finally, wide screen, but 
they insist they have to draw these phoney raster scan lines, way too far 
apart, to make people believe it's TV.

> Which is why the company Filmlook came into existence, and why their
> process is used for most electronic cinema productions today,
> including most television series.

They may be using this. What I did notice right away was the quality difference 
in the Regal Cinema lead-in, just before they put the movie on. Back in the 
silver halide days, I guess this lead-in was spliced to the beginning of the 
movie? Now, the lead-in is digital 4K, like the movie, and is way more 
wow-effect than the old one was. Actually, that was my first tip-off that 
something was new in the theater. Much sharper lead-in, much sharper sound, 
than the previous one was, even though the graphics show the same thing (sort 
of a roller coaster ride, on 35mm film, in space).


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  • » [opendtv] Digital cinema - Manfredi, Albert E