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Shutter effect in projection


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#1 Leon Liang

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 04:29 AM

Hi everyone,

I was watching the Hollywood Reporter's Cinematographers Roundtable interview with Roger Deakins, Dion Beebe, Jeff Cronenweth, Matthew Libatique, Benoit Delhomme and Dick Pope, which I highly recommend (https://m.youtube.co...h?v=p2Z4UvAdE7E). At around the 27:30 mark they begin discussing film and digital projection, and Beebe - or maybe Cronenwweth, I'm not sure - mentions how in film projection the black 'frames' caused by the rotating shutter were somewhat comforting and added to the cinema experience, and there is a difference in effect with digital projection due to the absence of the shutter.

I've never really paid attention to this or noticed this, since by the time I started going to the movies a lot digital projection had already become the predominant projection method.

My question is: Do you think the black 'frames' caused by the rotating shutter add to the "cinema effect'? Why/why not?

Cheers,
Leon Liang

Edited by Leon Liang, 16 July 2015 - 04:29 AM.

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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 05:40 AM

How do shutters cause black frames?

 

The entire cinema hall is darkened out when a shutter blade intersects the light beam. Assuming a ratio of 1 to 1 with most theatre projectors (IMAX had about 1 to 2) the audience literally sits in the dark for half a film’s duration.

 

Let’s go to the flicks, as it was said in the beginnings, was not far-fetched. Chicago, summer of 1896, first screenings with the Lumière Cinématographe. It flickered horribly because it had only one shutter blade, opening angle around 220 degrees. Carpentier, the gentleman who built those apparatuses, held a patent on multiple interruption of projection light himself. Second to Mésguich, Lumière’s operator in the U. S., came the Lathams with the Eidoloscope. That machine had a four-blade shutter. It allowed to project at as low a frame rate as twelve per second.

 

Flickering was outdone in 1905 at the latest when the Lumière had sold the entire motion-picture project to Pathé.

 

One could perceive uneven lighting when an arc became instable but that is something different. I’d say the movies were more or less agreeable to watch ever since. Experience differs when the shutter opening angle is changed in a camera.


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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 06:02 AM

It has been suggested that the imperceptible flicker creates a hypnotic effect.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 16 July 2015 - 06:03 AM.

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#4 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 07:31 AM

They used to sneak in subliminal frames of burgers /hotdogs and drinks too just before the break... when films used to have intermissions .. 


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#5 Simon Wyss

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 08:42 AM

Flickerless projection has been in use already in 1896 when William Green designed a single-strip duplex process for John Alfred Prestwich. The beautiful projection machine still exists.


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#6 Mark Dunn

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 09:46 AM

They used to sneak in subliminal frames of burgers /hotdogs and drinks too just before the break... when films used to have intermissions .. 

It's an urban myth. No-one at all  can substantiate the so-called subliminal cut.

Anyway, it was supposed to have been a separate projection, not a cut-in frame.

 

drsmorey.org/bibtex/upload/Rogers:1992.pdf

 

Even Columbo fell for it, supposedly catching out Robert Culp with one.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069903/


Edited by Mark Dunn, 16 July 2015 - 09:50 AM.

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#7 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 07:43 AM

https://en.wikipedia...iminal_messages

 

 

Seems you might be wrong there Mark.. separate projector.. just for subliminal adds.. how would that ever work ..??


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#8 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:07 AM

Nothing in there about selling burgers.

Have you read the pdf I linked to? It's reference 6 below.

https://en.wikipedia...ki/James_Vicary

Vicary mentions using a separate projector, but he never actually did it.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 17 July 2015 - 08:09 AM.

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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:41 AM

It's funny, you really see this phenomena when you watch a movie in film projection and then again in digital projection. Even though digital is generally crisper, each frame is on screen for a longer period of time because there is no shutter. Where a film projector is black>Fame>black>Frame, digital is Frame>Frame>frame, still being reproduced at 24FPS, those black bits are missing.

A well timed film projector, won't have much if any perceivable flicker. IMAX Rolling loop projectors have even less flicker.

I do agree the "flicker" is one of those elements that is missing with digital projection. However, I also feel it's an unnecessary side effect that doesn't "ADD" to the experience. If digital projection looked anything like film projection in color and contrast ratio, it would be OK. However, I have to see any digital projection that doesn't have muted colors and flat contrast.
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#10 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 02:48 PM

Mark, that was one of my favorite episodes of Columbo as a kid! He goes and talks to a projectionist, who teaches him all about reel changeovers and cigarette burns. I loved it.


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#11 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 03:21 PM

Mark, that was one of my favorite episodes of Columbo as a kid! He goes and talks to a projectionist, who teaches him all about reel changeovers and cigarette burns. I loved it.

Just remembered the penny in the reel. When the projectionist hears it fall on the floor he knows it's time to stop reading War and Peace and watch out for his changeover dots.

Speaking of which I have a copy of Stanley Kubrick's letter to projectionists telling them that the dots on reel 3B of 'Barry Lyndon' are 1 foot 9 frames early and to watch out for the hand-scribed 'x' marks.


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#12 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 07:29 PM

Nothing in there about selling burgers.

Have you read the pdf I linked to? It's reference 6 below.

https://en.wikipedia...ki/James_Vicary

Vicary mentions using a separate projector, but he never actually did it.

 

Ok nothing specifically about burgers.. but my point is there is a huge use of subliminal images in a lot of fields.. you almost have to assume it was used in movies .. esp when the studio,s were run by glorified  gangsters .. 


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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 02:44 AM

You mightn't been aware of the subliminal images, but you'd certainly hear a sound change around when the frame was spliced into the print and the soundtrack muted, possibly with clicks from the spices.


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#14 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 03:10 AM

depends when they were spliced in though.. ? 


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 18 July 2015 - 03:10 AM.

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#15 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 03:19 AM

They'd have to be put in as part of the neg cut, otherwise they would have to be spliced into the print.


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#16 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 07:03 AM

do you think you would "hear" one frame at 24p.. 


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#17 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 07:10 AM

You'll hear drop out because there won't be any sound where you've put this frame into the print, assuming you don't hear a click or other audio disturbance in the optical sound.


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#18 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 08:40 AM

presuming its done with the connivance of the studio,s in the first place.. they could easily lay sound underneath before the print .. nes par?..


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#19 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 08:48 AM

If done that stage, you should keep an eye out for it when you watch those old movies late at night, because every print will have it,


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#20 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 09:11 AM

I,ll be watching.. with the aid of a large gin and tonic..   or will that be a burger and coke .. 


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