Myths about DLP, film and the Galaxy

Discussion in 'Dallas/Ft.Worth, TX' started by Flix, May 6, 2002.

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  1. Flix Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002

    Hi everyone. I am the guy in charge of projection at the Galaxy. I was wondering where the gang was holding camp this year and I am a bit surprised to find out the Legacy was chosen. No doubt this location was chosen for the DLP projector. Allow me to post some facts to dispel some of the false rumors floating around between DLP cinema, real film and the Galaxy, including the early performance on Wednesday at 12:01am. Nothing listed here is opinion. This is all fact that can be easily proven with documentation and proper test equipment. I have no reason to bullshit you, for my current 2 night a week position at the Galaxy is for personal satisfaction and I do not receive any more monetary compensation whether the theater sells out every show or sells only one ticket.

    A Texas Instruments DLP "digital" projector has a MAXIMUM resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels. (That is probably about what your average 17 inch home computer monitor is capable of displaying.) Even this figure falls far short of the native 1920 x 1080 pixel display of current HDTV. The image detail native to a standard 35mm 4 perf film frame is 4096 x 3426 pixels. Thus, 35mm motion picture film is far above and beyond the capability of any "digital cinema" projector.

    Lucas videotaped Episode II in a prototype video format with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. To achieve a "scope" aspect ratio for theatrical exhibition, he shot his scenes in full frame 1.33 aspect ratio and later cropped out the top and bottom of the picture to form the scope aspect ratio. Thus, the final resolution for Episode II at it's highest level is 1920 x 800.

    Now let's go back to the DLP projector. The word "digital" means it must be perfect, right? Nope, sorry to disappoint you. As it stands, DLP projection can not even reproduce the resolution of the original footage for Episode II. Do you notice the increase in resolution from a VHS tape to a DVD on a 27 inch television? (As a comparison, native VHS has a horizontal resolution of approximately 240 lines at best. DVD is around 400 lines.) If you can see the difference from a VHS to a DVD, that's not even twice the resolution increase, and only about a 160 line increase. Going from 1920 wide source material and reproducing it at 1280 wide is losing a substantial mount of data! Thus, the ONLY way you can see ALL of the detail is on film. Yes, good old fashioned and far superior FILM. Again, sorry to disappoint you, but these are the cold hard facts.

    Lucasfilm has performed various DLP tests and has announced in booking negotiations that no theater can run Episode II on a screen that is larger than 45 feet wide. The reasoning is because DLP can not shine enough light onto the screen and the pixels become unacceptably large and distracting. His preference is for screens in the 30-40 foot width range. This can not even come close to the two mammoth 80 foot wide screens at the Galaxy (screens #5 and 9). However, real motion picture film is easily capable of filling this size screen and looking damned good, as anyone who saw Episode I at the Galaxy is well aware of.

    George Lucas has personally stated that "sound is 50% of the movie". The Galaxy has the best and most powerful Lucasfilm THX sound systems around. The Legacy does not. Cinemark will not spend the money for THX certification, THX design, or THX calibration. I have heard their sound systems as well as performing TAP reports for Lucasfilm at this theater. Their sound systems are a big disappointment. Adding insult to injury, the Cinemark auditoriums were not designed with the sound baffling of the Galaxy, and as such there comes a limit to the volume level in which they can reproduce the film at without disturbing adjacent auditoriums or introducing distortion. As such, Cinemark does not play their films at the reference standard fader setting and calibration that George Lucas mixed this film at, for these and other reasons. The Galaxy suffers from none of this, and for those of you who experienced Episode I at the Galaxy, you know
  2. Jedi_Jarvis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2001
    star 4
    That's great and all, but the post houses are having to work overtime cleaning up the digital artifacts in the film prints right now.

    DLP wont have any artifacts in it.

    I'll go check it out on the large screen at the Galaxy later, but I want my first experiance to be like when I was a kid, and 70mm, and THX was introduced for the first times. I know DLP has been around for a while now, but for me its kinda not official till I see SW on it.
  3. Kurgan1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2000
    star 3
    Hello, Brad! :)

    I understand that you're more technically adept than many of us here, but I really have to disagree about the DLP thing.

    Every presentation I've seen on DLP has been far superior than that of regular film. Every image has much more clarity, brightness, and vibrance of color than the film counterpart.

    And upon seeing the DLP showing of the Episode II trailer, I have to say that it blows away everywhere I've seen it on film, including the Galaxy.

    Perhaps I don't understand the technicalities of the technology as well as you do (I'm not a projectionist, afterall), but we're really not making this up about the DLP looking far better than film. Film just looks muddy and too dark compared to digital.

    I understand that there are technical aspects that are there, but I'm sorry, the digital projections that I have seen are far superior to any that are done on film, by leaps and bounds.
  4. THX_Jedi FanForce Chapter Rep

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2000
    star 4
    The picture looks far better to me on DLP than film. That's my determining factor.

    :cool:
  5. Flix Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002
    Jedi Jarvis, you are absolutely 100% wrong. The artifacts come from the "digital" material, not the film. Film does not have the artifacts Lucasfilm is currently dealing with. It never has. It might interest you to know that all of the trade screenings were done last week on film, not DLP video. The reason for this is that even though the movie originated on video, it took less time to make a good film print than it is taking them in compressing the data to be able to run them on the various DLP machines without too many artifacts...and they still aren't ready. THAT is where the artifacts are coming from. Please get your facts straight, as many people believe whatever they read whether it is true or not.

    Hey guys, go wherever you want, but the facts remain and I posted them as I assumed there would be an interest in such things. (I guess I assumed wrong.) Film has been around for 100 years with improvements in film stocks all the time. DLP video has been around for only a couple of years with only one minor improvement to date and has a long, long way to go until the day when it can match film. I have seen comparisons and even though the DLP looks pretty darn good, the film always wins. If you're happy with what you see regardless of the format, that's all that really matters. Enjoy the flick wherever and however you see it.

    To quote The Matrix "Ignorance is bliss". ;)
  6. Jedi_Jarvis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2001
    star 4
    Well, I asked specifacly to clear that up, and the problem is coming from transfering the digital to the film prints, like I said the DLP cuts are perfect. The transfer is creating alot of artifacts that Lucas didnt expect.

    This is straight from the guy's mouth that is in charge of the post house that is doing the transfer. He said when GL saw the transfer two months ago, he flipped his lid and they have been working overtime to fix it.

    The prints that are being shown right now are the ones they finished first obviously, but that dosent gurantee, that every print has been fixed by now.

    I hope they get finished, and i'm sure they will be by the ship date, but I want to play it safe as possable.
  7. Flix Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002
    I ask with interest to know which post house is doing the transfer, for the members of my board will be extremely interested in hearing about it. Nevertheless, all of the trade screenings were booked in DLP theaters with the full intention of being shown in DLP, but film prints had to be sent in at the last minute because the DLP was NOT ready. I got this straight from an employee of Lucasfilm who was dealing with it. Maybe BOTH are true and the film prints did not look good enough, but the DLP looked worse, so they went with the lesser of two evils. We'll have to try and find out, but I know 100% that the DLP is not ready.

    By the way, Deluxe labs has not been given the official print order (at least of about 3 days ago) and as such have not started to make the prints. Also, there is no way to "fix" prints. They would have to fix their negative and then strike prints from that.
  8. Kurgan1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2000
    star 3
    Rumor has it that the reason the DLP prints may not have been ready is because they are adding an extra scene to the DLP prints. Apparently, Lucas was filming as little as two weeks ago at ILM for extra stuff, so that may be why.
  9. Jedi_Jarvis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2001
    star 4
    Yep, Kurgan, I heard that also.

    and I cant say the name untill the 16th, because I promiced I wouldnt tell anyone what he said. (I know its a cop out)

    Um... OOOPS! ;)

    But either way, he also said, that if anyone could get it handled in time for the premier, it would be GL. Simply because he's the only man rich enough to pay over time to all the post houses.

    LOL!
  10. stone Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2000
    star 2
    whatever.

    all i know is what my eyes tell me. and my eyes like [read: prefer] DLP to standard grainy film projection.

    all the films i've seen in DLP that were originally created as digital works [toystory2, monsters,inc, ice age, etc] look far better in DLP than in anything else.

    but let's take Flix's 1024x768 17" monitor anaology:

    if given the choice of a standard CRT 17" Trinitron vs. a 17" flat screen LCD of the same dotpitch and viewable, i would choose the LCD every time. simply because it looks 1000% better than CRT tube can EVER do.
  11. Loudox Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Hey Brad! It's Daniel Louzau. Glad to hear from you on this board to set things straight. I recognized your expert analysis long before I saw your name on here. Unfortunately, your reputation in this forum as the GOD of all things movies has not been achieved yet. Just to let everyone know, I have known Brad for 12 years and this guy knows more about film then all of us put together. He is an "expert" and has also invented film products which our used by movie-houses world-wide.

    Oh and Brad, Kyle and I picked up these infamous 12:01 Wed am tickets, so let us know what the scoop is

    Thanks!
  12. Darth_Simian Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Allow me to correct one of your facts, Brad....

    Lucas shot AOTC in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (identical to a true HDTV image), and then cropped the image for a 2.35:1 presentation. McCullum explains this process in an 'American Cinematographer' article.

    It was NOT shot in a standard NTSC 1.33:1 ratio.

    Re-check your "facts."

    -Darth Simian
  13. Vijay Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2002
    I was there at the Galaxy on opening day for TPM, and have also watched the trailers for AOTC in DLP at Legacy and there is no comparison: DLP just looks better. I've now watched 4-5 movies on DLP and the only drawback was occasional pixellation on still shots. This more than makes up for the fact that every tradional film image I've ever seen "flickers" (i.e. comparing the sides of the image to the theater walls will reveal movement in the image). I did not see the same for DLP. I also think the colors look brighter than any film I've seen. Just my $.02.
  14. Nabooty_Call Former RSA / Obi-Wan Impersonator

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2000
    star 5
    Ditto. I've seen a film copy of Ice Age at the Galaxy and a digitally projected copy at the Legacy, and the digital copy is much better for your visual impact.

    Ice Age was much more rich and enjoyable when projected digitally. In fact, the next time I went to see a film stock movie, I was distracted by the grain that was highly visible...like watching an old vhs tape compared to a dvd.

    The trailers for even the animated kids' movies like Hey Arnold! were much more compelling on the DLP screen, so rich they almost looked 3D.

    In fact, since I'd paid just to check out the DLP version of the Episode II trailer to compare it to the film stock version (and believe me, it's much more vibrant and has a lot more depth and detail on the DLP...), I was ready to leave after seeing it, but stayed just to compare the two versions of Ice Age. DLP looked much better.

    We also got to see the ShoWest presentation (8 minutes of AOTC footage) and an animatics-to-full version short at Celebration 2, and again I was floored by the depth, clarity, and vibrance of the images.

    Ultimately, everyone has to make up their own mind regarding how they're going to see this film...but I've not heard even one person say they prefer film stock over digital projection copies of any digital film.




  15. Beren Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 1998
    star 2
    I live about thirty minutes north of Houston, found out that the Cinemark Legacy in Plano had a DLP projector back when Planet of the Apes came out. Out of curiosity, my wife and I took a trip up good old interstate 45 one Saturday and to make a long story short, have fallen in love with dlp technology. I have now seen four movies at Legacy. If I am willing to drive three hours to see a movie in dlp, then there is a reason other than hype. I don't care about all your facts about film resolution, I know what my eyes tell me, and dlp is absolutely stunning. Flix you remind me of all the laserdisc fanatics who proclaimed the superiority of laserdisc over dvd when the new format hit the market. I own both, and even from the beginning, dvd was better than laserdisc. But to each their own, I will be in Plano on May 16th however.
  16. krwade3 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2000
    star 2
    FLIX didnt you Loose your THX Certification.......... :D

    Red 5 out
  17. Flix Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002
    Darth Simian,
    Yes, that was a typo. I meant to type 16:9 but was picturing a miniDV format from an earlier discussion that day in my head. That still does not change the bottom line numbers.

    Krwade3,
    No, the Galaxy has not lost it's THX certification. Where do you guys come up with all of this stuff? There is far too much assumption and gossip on these boards.

    I can tell that I as well as the real facts are not welcome here. I spent half an hour last night looking through the posts on this particular board and it is astonishing how much incorrect information there is. There is a reason for everything, but I think I've hit the end of my willingness to spend much more time here. Clearly there is no interest.
  18. scudknight Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2000
    star 3
    Hey Flix, thanks for the information on the Galaxy. Your knowledge on the subject is overwhelming. I may have use for you sir. My email is scudknight@hotmail.com

    As far as seeing episode 2, I've thought about it, and my buck is going to initially go with the Galaxy. Now before you guys start acting "biblical" or "prophetic" - it's just that I love the Galaxy. I actually get excited about going there. I can't say that about any other theatre. The customer service has always been great, and its houses great in sound and film quality. Thats the place I want my kid to see it at. I won't be making trips to DLP every time a new movie comes out, and as far as it is concerned, you don't get a cookie for seeing in a slightly newer format. You could go to best buy to check out an hdtv with a great movie on it, but I'd rather sit at home and watch it where I'm comfortable. 'sides half of the people watching it now have to wear glasses anyway. :)
  19. Mithrandir Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 1999
    star 1
    What needs to be said here is that this organization?s choice to line-up at the Legacy this time -- as opposed to the Galaxy ? has to do with a specific arrangement/relationship that was made between Cinemark Entertainment/Atomic Entertainment (the SciFi Expo people)/and the DFWFF. It was an offer the current leadership of this group (which I am no longer a part of) could not take lightly and made a quick yet intelligent well-formed business decision. We have a very close/strategic relationship with Atomic Entertainment for whom we do a lot of work and coordinate a number of activities. Atomic Entertainment is working very closely with Cinemark Entertainment (and has worked with LFL in the past) to put together a very special showing of AOTC at the Legacy the weekend of the premiere. DFWFF will be working very closely with Atomic Ent. that weekend at both their SciFi Expo "25th Anniversary of SW" Celebration in Plano and at their showing of E2 at the Legacy. The DLP situation was a small factor in our lining up at the Legacy, but the bigger picture is the one concerning our arrangement with Atomic Entertainment and Cinemark Entertainment.

    This decision in no way has any reflection on what we think of the Galaxy --- which is an opinion that is held in very high regard. (Obviously, with many statements singing it's praises in this thread alone) The decision to choose the Legacy over the Galaxy this time was a very hard one to make by many members of this organization and took some convincing at our meetings, but most --- if not all -- understood the importance of the decision and respected it.

    Many of us plan on seeing E2 at the Galaxy many times over. The Galaxy holds a very special place in all of our hearts and consider it home. However the line-up and the premiere week/weekend will be at the Legacy in large part because of specific business decisions that were made to help benefit this organization in the long run.

    To reiterate, we spent the last three years yelling from the rooftops that DFWFF will be at the Galaxy for E2 and that was the ?party line? up until just weeks ago when this opportunity was presented to us that was too hard to pass up

    Hope this helps.
  20. stone Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2000
    star 2
    i love the galaxy, in fact i plan on seeing spidey for the first time there today. [i was in indy all weekend @ C2 and havent seen it yet]

    however i still want to see the 12;01a showing in DLP @ legacy of AOTC
  21. robertwolf Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2002
    This thread illustrates the problem with the DLP format - theaters aren't maximizing its potential, to say the least. If you're going to project with DLP, then develop the technology so that it can be projected onto a mammoth screen with the best sound.
    There is no denying that the superior quality picture (at least to the eyes of a non-projectionish) is with DLP. But, is the overall experience any better? That's a tougher question, and if the overall experience (screen size, sound, etc.) isn't much better, then why would a theater chaim fork out the money to install this new system that only a relatively few (compared to the overall number of moviegoers) people truly care about. I know, I know - I'm going to see posts saying "well, I care, and I would drive 3,233 miles just to see a movie on a digital screen." That's great and more power to you, but you're not the average moviegoer that a theater is trying to attract.
    In order to make it profitable to have such a system, the AVERAGE (i.e. not movie "geeks" like myself and others) moviegoer is going to have to specifically want to see a movie on a DLP screen. The average moviegoer wants a bigger screen (otherwise, the UA Galaxy wouldn't be successful) and good sound. If that is something that DLP theaters aren't willing to offer, then a strong picture quality just won't be enough.
    Granted, I'm not a huge fan of the UA Galaxy (although I was there for the midnight showing of Episode 1), and I much prefer the Cinemark Legacy from a purely aesthetic point of view, but all things being equal, I'm not the average moviegoer, either.
  22. bombastard Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Oh my god,, does it really matter all that much?? You ae going to be happy to see it no matter what, on DLP, atthe galaxy, or even at your local roach infested dollar cinema. To me it's about the quality of the experience, not the quality of the print. If the film breaks,, then I will raise hell ( I am aware that DLP does not have this problem, no need to point that)

    DLP supporters, go see it at the legacy and have fun,, same for my people at the galaxy,, no reason to start a grudge match!

    If there was a choice when EP I came out between DLP and traditional celluloid,, I know I would have still been dissapointed!
  23. Kurgan1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2000
    star 3
    Thank you! We're not in competition with anyone here. Everyone just wants to see the movie and many of us have differing opinions on where we want to go. That's great! If everyone in Dallas went to one theater, it wouldn't be all that pleasant, now would it?

    So please, go where you want to go and enjoy the film! :)
  24. krwade3 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2000
    star 2
    My People... There is no My. You are you and thats that. We arent a select group of people that is saying you can only see it in DLP. No we are saying the if you are going to see it, see it in the best possible way. The way it was RECORDED.

    I Saw EP1 at the Galaxy and I loved it. I have heard the The quality of Galaxy has degated. I dont doubt that, because that area is losing money and up until a few weeks ago we were going to the Galaxy. No I wouldnt be happy seeing it in a dollar theater with roaches. What makes a film even better for me is seeing it with friends. Not a booming sound system or a 72 foot screen.

    And its not how big your tool is, but how you use it.... :D

    Red 5 Out
  25. f1ct10n Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2002
    Watching the Ep2 trailer in theater 13 on DLP was the best thing i've ever seen in a movie theater so far. I have never seen anything so crisp and clear before. When watching the preview's, I was shocked how clean and green the little preview rating thing was, there were no specs, flicks, or marks at all, anywhere. All stock film movies look worse, not that I know how good DLP can be.

    You can say there is no different, or it isnt worth it, but in my opnion, DLP is 10x better then normal stock film. Maybe my eyes are messed up, but I would go with amazing visual quality over a larger screen any day of the week.

    You think Galaxy is a better theater, fine, go ahead. But dont tell people they are wrong in saying they think DLP looks better. You have to admit, you are more then a little biased. I bet the manager of the Legacy theater would paint a much different picture entirely.
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