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"Finding Nemo": Digital vs Film projection

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Dan C, Jun 11, 2003.

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  1. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer Thread Starter

    Location:
    The West
    Film is dead. We hardly knew ye...;)

    While in Denver last weekend my kids and I had the opportunity to compare film and digital versions of "Finding Nemo".
    First we saw the film version at a United Artists theater on Colorado Blvd. That venue is superb, only a few years old and in excellent shape. The print was clean and basically near mint. I could make out slight grain in the release print so I knew that the projector was sharp.

    The following day we saw the movie projected with the new DLP by Texas Instruments at the United Artists theater downtown.

    WOW!:eek: Bright, sharp, no film shake or dust.
    But it's the picture that stunned. It was literally like removing a cheap "soft focus filter" from my eyes. The colors were stunning, details popped out but didn't distract.
    I looked for any digital artifacts and I might have spotted just slight break-up for a second or two during the film. I think I saw one of the character's fins sort of pixelate, but maybe I didn't. That was only the one time there was anything to distract. Certainly far less annoying than even a slightly worn print.

    Even the film sourced previews were impressive. One could easily see the tight grain structure of the original film in the preview of the "Freaky Friday" remake. The graphics were done in digital post production.
    Actually, my guess is that most theatrical films go through a digital conversion for post and then are put back onto film for release. Why not just keep it digital and show it on a DLP? (Of course I know the answer, these things are expensive as hell!)

    I'm curious to see a "live" digital movie projected on DLP, but my guess is that original film sources might still be superior until the digital camera technology evolves a bit more. Just a guess, I could be wrong.

    I'm impressed, I really am. I can't wait for this technology to take off and become the standard.

    Film is dead...

    Dan C
     
  2. JohnG

    JohnG PROG Nation!

    And now you can buy a DLP rear-projector TV's for the home (Samsung).

    These are good times for video-freaks!

    I haven't seen Finding Nemo yet, maybe this Sunday (Father's Day) but when I do I will insist on a DLP theater.
     
  3. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer Thread Starter

    Location:
    The West
    If you can find a DLP theater I highly recommend going out of your way to see it there.
    You should love "Finding Nemo". It was just as good the second time around. :)
    Dan C
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Dan, your initial post appalls me!

    I sincerely hope you're wrong!
     
  5. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer Thread Starter

    Location:
    The West
    No doubt that a pristine Technicolor print struck from the original three strip negs will have it's own special magic. These days most theatrical releases are a few generations removed from the original source. That can't be a good thing!
    Part of me hates to admit it, but this is easily one of the best theatrical presentations I've ever seen.
    The IMAX versions of "Fantasia 2000" and "Beauty and the Beast" were better, but those are limited and expensive events.
    The possibility of DLP becoming the standard in all theaters is, well, pretty darn groovy. :)

    Dan C
     
  6. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    It's true, Steve. DLP can really blow away film.

    I had the same experience with the the DLP vs. film showing of "Attack of the Clones". Saw it first in DLP and was really impressed. I was looking for every imaginable flaw. DLP amazed me with it's steadiness and consistancy of colors. Saw the same movie a few days later on 35mm. What a letdown. Shakey (compared to DLP), softer (in a bad way), and without snap. A very dull look that was no fun to watch after seeing what DLP can do.
     
  7. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Zero/Zero Island
    I think the first film I ever saw on a digital projector was Disney's Dinosaur in 2000. I was astounded! Some of the backgrounds, in particular, looked absolutely real. For animation, at least, digital is the way to go!
     
  8. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    Jimbo, that's because the background plates in Dinosaur *were* real. They shot as much as they could on film in locations all over the world and composited CGI dinosaurs in later.
     
  9. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Zero/Zero Island
    Ah-ha, that would explain a lot! How'd I forget that little detail?? :eek:

    Well, they did a great job, anyway! :thumbsup:
     
  10. lv70smusic

    lv70smusic Senior Member

    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    So far the only thing I've seen in a theater using DLP is "Attack of the Clones." Unfortunately I was stuck sitting in the first row, due to the crowded theater. I will say this: I would MUCH rather watch a film if I'm forced to sit close to the screen. The lines I could see were distracting throughout almost the entire film. I left the theater thinking that the picture was probably impressive at the right viewing distance but definitely not close up.

     
  11. Joseph Kaufman

    Joseph Kaufman New Member

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    DLP looks great with digital-source material like FINDING NEMO, but....

    I've seen a number of features shot on film projected digitally, also some experiments with higher-rez projection that are ongoing in a large old theater on Hollywood Blvd. that's closed to the public. They're using new chips that are about twice as sharp as what's in theaters now.

    In both the lower and higher rez versions, shot-on-film material looks "clean" but otherwise falls well below the quality of a good film print. The color is dynamic, the image bright, but lacking in subtle gradations. I find it noticably fatiguing to watch. Kind of like early CD sound, which was "precise" compared to less than the best analog, but lacking in inner detail.
     
  12. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    I wanted to see the Star Wars on a DLP somewhere in our area, but I have no clue if Detroit even has one. (I go to the theater maybe once every year or two....usually for Pixar films. ;) ) I'm guessing Star Theater might have one, possibly in Southfield. :confused:

    I would say that if a movie were created in digital, it could be best displayed digitally. But to convert a well-made print of a film to digital just doesn't seem right.

    I know independent theater owners have mixed feelings about it...should have my friend Mike check in here and give his thoughts on it. IMHO, it doesn't pay for smaller theaters to invest in it yet. Like all technology, the quality will improve and the price will fall as time passes. Some have hinted that the technology is "not quite there", but that doesn't mean that I *don't* want to see it. Pixar's DVDs are excellent...I would expect a DLP showing of the movie to be no less. :)
     
  13. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    Shoot.

    I went to the www.dlp.com website, where you can apparently search for DLP viewings of current films. The closest I found to me was a theater in Valley View, OH (near Cleveland), about 113 miles away.

    Too bad. Star Theater in Southfield and another theater up in Birch Run showed Star Wars in DLP.

    Film it is. *sigh*
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    Rudy,
    The new Emagine theater in Novi has digital projection capability on at least one, maybe two, screens .

    The sad thing is that if 35mm film prints were created and projected with a little more care, digital projection would not even come close. Considering the state of theaters and labs today, though, it does often look preferable to film even with some obvious artifacting. It's very analogous to the state of most LP pressings in the 80s that made CDs sound pretty darn good by comparison.

    Regards,
     
  15. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    Ken: I just e-mailed the manager of Emagine up in Birch Run...I'll see what he has to say. :) Maybe I'll luck out and they'll have it playing there or in Novi.
     
  16. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    They actually charge $1 extra for the digital screenings. I saw Daredevil there projected digitally and was a little surprised by this. Good luck!

    Regards,
     
  17. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    I can part with the extra dollar if it's something like Finding Nemo. ;) I can see it anywhere on film--this would be special.
     
  18. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer Thread Starter

    Location:
    The West
    Aw Rudy, I drove 300 miles to see it! 113 ain't nothin'. ;)

    I mentioned the previews shot on film. I liked the way they looked, but previews usually have a different look than the final prints. I would like to see a film-sourced feature shown on DLP to see if I like it. But what small samples I saw I really liked. :thumbsup:

    Personally I think film technology has hit the "wall" and digital will eventually be better in every way. Even if the print is well made, these non-Union projectionists/popcorn makers/ticket takers/custodians in the chains these days don't do them justice. :rolleyes:

    Dan C
     
  19. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    True, 113 miles ain't much, except when you only have a few hours in one evening to go see the film. ;)
     
  20. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    If timing is critical, keep in mind that this film is an hour and 40 minutes with a ton of trailers attached to it. It's a bit longer than the typical animated movie these days. I made a tactical error by ordering the large diet coke at the concessions before the film. :)

    Regards,
     
  21. proufo

    proufo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bogotá, Colombia
    I have met newspaper-publishing supervisors that miss lead...

    There'll be always film for those who want it, as there are still today 4x5 and 8x10 plate film for bellows cameras.

    I have to admit that I still find highly exciting the process of scanning film. It feels almost like developing film or prints in a darkroom.

    But nothing beats the convenience of a digital camera, and there lies the future.
     
  22. Joseph Kaufman

    Joseph Kaufman New Member

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Don't forget that DLP has to be focussed just the way that film does, and has to be illuminated by a lamphouse the way that film does. If and when DLP becomes the norm, it will be as subject to bad projection by the candy counter guys in every way that film is with the exception of wear on the print and framing.
     
  23. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    Some (many?) theaters don't even bother to clean the film before projecting it. It's no wonder that I've thought most recent films didn't look all that good in the theater, which is why I prefer waiting for DVD. Perhaps all the mediocre handling (dirty film, focusing, dirty or old projection glass, etc.) adds up by the time it hits the screen.

    But despite that, if a classic film ever shows up locally at a big screen, I usually want to go see it just for the theater experience.

    And Ken--I usually don't even get a drink at the theater. ;)
     
  24. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    Some good points here!

    For taking photographs, I like both formats.

    With film, I have one of my 35mm SLRs loaded with print or slide film, and will take the time to use a tripod to set up a perfect shot. And I'll get back some nice results from the developer in a couple of weeks.

    With digital, I can be my own digital darkroom, with Photoshop as my assistant. Shadows too dark? Adjust the levels of the midtones. My daughter looks a little jaundiced? Go to color balance and kick the yellows down. A wee bit fuzzy? A little "unsharp mask" goes a long way. Now if I could only afford to get the new Canon EOS 10D. ;)

    Both are a pleasure to use in their own way, and I forsee using both in the future. 35mm film is still readily available. And digital is still making leaps and bounds in resolution and storage capacity.

    George Lucas shooting the 2nd Star Wars film in all digital caused some controversy. But someone has to pioneer the process. It could very well be that today's digital filming (heh) and projection techniques are equal to CD quality in an SACD world today...but maybe a decade or two from now, it will begin to rival film's extremely fine detail.
     
  25. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    Yeah, but I bet you didn't know that Emagine is the only movie theater in the area with a liquor license (I kid you not). :)

    Regards,
     
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