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NPR pimps for Digital Projection


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#1 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 02:04 PM

In addition to having noisy analog projectors chucked out the projection room window, NPR's vaunted objectivity has been too.

Only David Denby of the terrorist loving NYTimes has anything negative to say about digital projection, & even that's a bit peculiar.

http://www.npr.org/t...storyId=9047637


But who is the "expert" that says a DVD on a plasma screen at home is better than film at a theater?

They're radio people, what do they know about pictures?
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#2 Chance Shirley

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 02:20 PM

Just because someone works in radio, it doesn't mean they're not entitled to an opinion on digital projection vs. film projection.

I understand the digital advantages (cost, durability), but I'll still miss 35mm prints.

And I am curious to see how 4K digital projection looks (if digital cinema resolution ever gets that high).
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#3 Sam Wells

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 02:45 PM

Just because someone works in radio, it doesn't mean they're not entitled to an opinion on digital projection vs. film projection.


I disagree :D

I've seen the 4K Sony, it's amazingly sharp, no soul. Blacks are wimpy, Sony promised to address that with the next model.

So it's "there" in "resolution" but -- I think it would be hard to watch this unwinking thing for 2 hours.

Plus, blacks should 'emerge' not just be dead space - so I believe a shutter perhaps a virtual one would improve this thing.

Dalsa Origin footage on this was technically superb, and kinda dull, the visual equivalent of a violin played without vibrato.

I'm sure I've offended someone.

-Sam
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:41 PM

http://www.npr.org/t...storyId=9047637
But who is the "expert" that says a DVD on a plasma screen at home is better than film at a theater?


I was visiting someone in a hospital and there was a plasma screen on the wall, for the first 20 seconds it lured me in as being something pretty nice, then I started noticing all the artificats. The Zenith plasma screen I was looking at had clipped whites and dead blacks.

I could see however how the overall image would look "better" to someone who just views the screen with the criteria of how bright and colorful it can look.
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#5 Sam Wells

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 04:10 PM

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to create work for something like this.

You could practicaly walk up to the screen and not see artifacts with this thing. Although we're talking about 4K source material from 65mm IPs (I don't know how the IMAX stuff was scanned). And I presume a 4K workflow from the Origin -- well it certainly was not compromised that I could see.

I'd be more than curious how less "oversampled" (phrase continualy used at the demo) material would look.

As _replacement_ for 35mm projection I have some issues, but I'm biased: I'm more interested in photographic textures, tonal values and so on than "workflows".

For works of the past -- there are some things to think about. "Mary Poppins" looked like a facsimile of Tech IB, but wouldn't fool, well me.....

Again, I'm not sure you can "bust" it in traditional video terms, the issues are on a different level, raise questions of intention and history.

-Sam
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 04:31 PM

Rick McCallum said:

"I traveled to 60 cities across America," McCallum says. "I went to small towns, I went to big towns. I went to where ever the films were playing. And I was so dismayed, I was so appalled. I couldn't believe how truly bad it was."

Wasn't the "analog" projectors though, buddy. It was what you were shooting on. . .


. . .

I mean, just the fact that they refer to film projection as "analog projection" shows they have no idea what the hell film even is or how it works. Analog is video tape or video disc or somethign electronic. Film is tri-color or tri-layer or AgX projection, but just lumping 35mm print in as though it were the same thing as shitty cassette tapes or 8 tracks is a travesty. They're really badmouthing a presentation format that holds more than twice the information of a 2K projection and costs a whole heck of a lot of money per print, isnt' it over $1600 for your average movie?

But yeah, all the hype about degredation and loss in quality? Guess what, that's a human being problem, as in human being lack of training or human being making the bone-head decision to process print fiml through the machine at 140 degrees and quadruple the normal rate. Film would look just fine if there were any quality control standards or any qualified projectionists still projecting.

I think NPR shoudl stay down in the audience pit where they belong and keep their big noses out of the projection room they obviously, from readin this article, know nothing about. I mean, where do they think dust and scratches come from, pixie fairy gremlins that come in a can for 2-1000 foot reels as an accessory? If people were taking care of prints and cleaning projectors, you could probably get over 500 plays from a print before it started to develop visible scratches, if you were really compulsive about it maybe 2 or 3 thousand projections and it'd still look fine.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 06:11 PM

> lumping 35mm print in as though it were the same thing as shitty cassette tapes or 8 tracks is a travesty.

Maybe, but it's an accurate travesty. There are plenty of very good analogue tape formats which don't deserve that treatment either, but it's not really about what people want to call it at this point.

> They're really badmouthing a presentation format that holds more than twice the information of a 2K
> projection

It doesn't, not in practice. In truly optimum conditions, a standard 35mm OCN-IP-IN-print path resolves maybe a K and a half, on a really good day. It's obvious when you think about it, and if you actually look at it on projection. 1080p HD is about the same resolution as an average 35mm theatrical projection image.

This is of course where HD-to-35 features get a lot of their resolution shortfall back - making several "OCN"s and printing straight from them avoids a whole resolution-sapping duplication step. But frankly this idea that real world, real life theatrical projection resolves more than 2K is only supportable by people who have never actually gone and looked at it.

4K acquisition to 4K projection will outresolve conventional 35 by a very clear margin, whatever other faults it may have.

Phil
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:48 PM

Having seen some Sony 4K versus 35mm projection tests at the ETC Labs on their big screen (the original Cinerama Theater in Hollywood, the Warner Pacific) I'd say it's clear that 4K projection outresolves 35mm (and this was a print off of the OCN.)

2K projection and 35mm projection are about the same except at really crappy cinemas.

But I'm only talking about resolution. There are other problems with digital projection that they are still working on, like compression artifacts when handling grainy shots, black levels (nowhere near as good as print stock, especially compared to Vision Premier print stock) -- and the Sony 4K projectors are worse for blacks than the 2K DLP projectors -- and the colors can still have problems with oversaturation, although that can be more easily tweaked.

For now, I tend to avoid seeing something digitally projected if it is very dark & grainy; the digital projectors seem to prefer things like high-key comedies and and the more colorful comic book movies, plus the CGI animated features. I would worry about how a gritty movie like "Breach" would look digitally projected.
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#9 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 08:06 AM

I wonder how 4K digital projection compares with IMAX film projection resolution wise......
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 08:17 AM

I wonder how 4K digital projection compares with IMAX film projection resolution wise......


It's more like 5-perf 70mm in clarity & sharpness -- IMAX is three-times the size of normal 70mm. You'd probably want to build an 8K x 6K projector at least for IMAX quality. Maybe four Sony 4K projectors in a quandrant.
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#11 Sam Wells

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 09:13 AM

Maybe four Sony 4K projectors in a quandrant.


Since the Sony 4K is 4 x 2K engines in a quadrant this would be a hexadeca I guess....

-Sam
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