Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Old 08-04-10, 05:15 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 927
Received 33 Likes on 23 Posts
Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Like a lot of theatres, my local multiplex offers the choice to see certain movies projected in either tradtional 35mm or digital (for a price). Aside from movies in RealD 3D, I have never seen a movie projected digitally in a theatre. Is it really worth paying extra to see a movie projected digitally instead of traditional 35mm? Thanks to anyone that replies.
Old 08-04-10, 05:18 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Not at all. A properly taken care of 35mm print will nearly always beat out DLP projectors. If your theater has a good track record of keeping 35mm prints clean and in focus, don't waste your time or money with DLP.
Old 08-04-10, 05:27 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 927
Received 33 Likes on 23 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by Blu Man
Not at all. A properly taken care of 35mm print will nearly always beat out DLP projectors. If your theater has a good track record of keeping 35mm prints clean and in focus, don't waste your time or money with DLP.
Thanks for your advice, Blu Man.
Old 08-04-10, 05:40 PM
  #4  
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Formerly known as "Solid Snake PAC"/Denton, Tx
Posts: 39,239
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by Blu Man
Not at all. A properly taken care of 35mm print will nearly always beat out DLP projectors. If your theater has a good track record of keeping 35mm prints clean and in focus, don't waste your time or money with DLP.
this...35mm all the way. Hell BD still isn't up to quality of a 35mm. But..we're getting closer.
Old 08-04-10, 05:49 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 45,326
Received 1,021 Likes on 812 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

DLP cost the same here as 35mm, I prefer DLP as I don't usually go out opening weekend -- DLP sustains its excellent quality for the duration of the run, something that is not true of most 35mm. Add in cigarette burns and other problems (color washout, dust, scratches, etc; ) and I tend to avoid 35mm if it isn't in the first few days in the cinema. Of course, I see a huge variance in the quality of digital depending on the theater.

I do agree though, 35mm easily trumps digital when it's pristine (and will always trump in actual resolution).

Last edited by RichC2; 08-04-10 at 05:59 PM.
Old 08-04-10, 06:06 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 927
Received 33 Likes on 23 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by RichC2
DLP cost the same here as 35mm, I prefer DLP as I don't usually go out opening weekend -- DLP sustains its excellent quality for the duration of the run, something that is not true of most 35mm. Add in cigarette burns and other problems (color washout, dust, scratches, etc; ) and I tend to avoid 35mm if it isn't in the first few days in the cinema. Of course, I see a huge variance in the quality of digital depending on the theater.

I do agree though, 35mm easily trumps digital when it's pristine (and will always trump in actual resolution).
If they cost the same, I might consider DLP as well, but where I live, to see something digital costs the same as a ticket to a 3D movie.
Old 08-04-10, 09:38 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,033
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Well, like it or not, digital is replacing film. I'll give film 10 years or so before the big chains are strictly digital.

Too bad about digital costing more here you live. I take it that you are outside of the U.S.?

I don't think digital costing more has ever been the case in the U.S., and I don't think there are many, if any, theaters in the U.S. giving you a choice of digital or film anymore.
Old 08-04-10, 10:41 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Abob Teff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Not necessarily Formerly known as Solid Snake
Posts: 29,241
Received 1,243 Likes on 854 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Another vote for 35mm as long as you get there early in the film's run. Having worked in theaters and managed theaters I am very picky when I actually go to a theater. Unfortunately I've had too many bad experiences in Springfield with extremely poor presentations. Now I try to go digital if I don't go to another town.

X2: Presented in glorious MONO sound! When I complained, the "projectionist" (and I use that term VERY loosely) went up and fuddled around ... for 10 minutes I listened to the sound pop from mono to stereo and right back to mono. Finally he just cranked up the volume on the mono track. They refused my offer to fix the problem and wouldn't give me aspirin for my headache.

Batman Begins: Not a presentation issue, but I'm going to throw this in anyway -- they sent us to the wrong auditorium. We were running a few minutes behind, so we didn't think too much about it when the movie was already on. When it ended 45 minutes later we were a little pissed.

Quantum of Solace: Advertised in 5.1 DTS ... ran in stereo. Corporate apologized, woo-hoo.

Alien vs. Predator: Drove across town, spent a little more for my ticket at the "new" theater. Went to the first showing on Saturday of opening weekend and reel 2 had a massive green scratch (gouge!) through the whole reel. Ask a projectionist, when you get color in the scratch it is bad ... very bad. What burns me is that the print was only on it's 5th run-through (Thursday staff preview, 4:00, 7:00, and 9:00 on Friday, and then this showing).
Old 08-04-10, 10:44 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 927
Received 33 Likes on 23 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by Jon2
Well, like it or not, digital is replacing film. I'll give film 10 years or so before the big chains are strictly digital.

Too bad about digital costing more here you live. I take it that you are outside of the U.S.?

I don't think digital costing more has ever been the case in the U.S., and I don't think there are many, if any, theaters in the U.S. giving you a choice of digital or film anymore.
I too agree that in ten years or less all the big chains will be strictly digital, especially considering how much cheaper it is supposed to be. Anyway, I don't know why, but my multiplex only recently started offering the choice between 35mm and digital, and right now, three of the movies that they are playing have the 35mm and digital choice, and another movie is offered in 2D and 3D. Of course, the digital version is considered a "Premium" experience, which costs more. Despite the increase in ticket price, I still don't know why my theatre would want to offer two versions (35mm and digital) of the same movie, instead of adding different movies. And actually I do live in the US, but I live in a university town, so they charge extra for everything.

Last edited by Sub-Zero; 08-04-10 at 10:50 PM.
Old 08-04-10, 11:07 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by Jon2
Well, like it or not, digital is replacing film. I'll give film 10 years or so before the big chains are strictly digital.
Looks like Tarantino will be retiring a few years early.

It's sad but true, digital projection is slowly replacing 35mm prints. All the greatest cinematic experiences in my life have been on 35mm (save for Avatar), it will really be shame when it's gone. But strictly in terms of image quality, aside from the "future" debate, 35mm is still the best in regular theaters.

But there's the flip side, filmmakers will be shooting movies on 35mm for years and years to come.
Old 08-05-10, 05:41 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Lower Beaver, Iowa
Posts: 10,521
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

The problem with 35mm is that there are too many variables. In theory, a "pristine" 35mm presentation would be ideal, but in reality most people aren't going to get that experience.

To begin with, a 35mm release print is, what, three generations removed from the negative? And with thousands of prints being made, they're duplicated at high speed. Color balance is far from perfect.

With digital, the release version is much closer to the camera negative. Color timing is close to flawless, and there is no wear and tear the way there is with projectors.

And now many theaters are installing 4K projectors, which are even better than what we have now.

I hate to say it, but for most people watching movies at their local multiplexes, digital is likely to provide the better experience in a real-world situation.
Old 08-05-10, 02:50 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Reviewer & TOAT Winner
 
Alan Smithee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: USA
Posts: 10,435
Received 331 Likes on 250 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Biggest problem is that there are so many idiots in the theater business that a very small percentage of them can actually do 35mm right. Digital runs more by itself so there's less chance of it screwing up (though the first DLP movie I saw was spoiled by a dirty window!)
Old 08-05-10, 02:58 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by Mr. Salty
To begin with, a 35mm release print is, what, three generations removed from the negative? And with thousands of prints being made, they're duplicated at high speed. Color balance is far from perfect.

With digital, the release version is much closer to the camera negative. Color timing is close to flawless, and there is no wear and tear the way there is with projectors.

I hate to say it, but for most people watching movies at their local multiplexes, digital is likely to provide the better experience in a real-world situation.
Digital does not have more accurate colors then a film print. Not because of the digital information that is provided on the hard drive, but because of the limitations of digital projectors. DLP replicates millions of colors, but not enough to completely replicate the master print. Film doesn't have a set limit of colors to work with, it can replicate the original print to the highest quality possible.

A DLP image simply has no character, and the colors look bland compared to 35mm. I've never seen a film projected digitally on the big screen and said "Wow, that looks amazing!". I've always thought "Meh." Plus the black levels just feel totally off, 35mm blacks are perfect.

But your right, it's a gamble with film. You'll either get a perfect print or shitty one. That's why you have to know your local cinemas track record. Mine consistently has beautiful prints, and not just on opening weekends. But, DLP images can still have issues. Just like with Blu ray, some transfers are great, some not so great, so if you have an eye for a good image your still taking a risk by seeing a movie digitally.
Old 08-05-10, 03:11 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 12,628
Received 277 Likes on 212 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

There's no difference in admission price for 2-D digital or 35mm in any of the theaters in Manhattan I go to. Sometimes the showing I want to attend is in DLP only, so I have no choice other than to attend a different show, which I won't do because I go to the movies so rarely these days that if I don't see something I want to see at the exact time when I can see it...then I simply go home and I never see it. Not that I've seen much this year that was that good that seeing it in 35mm would have made a difference. SALT, I guess, I would have preferred on film, but that's it.
Old 08-05-10, 04:02 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Lower Beaver, Iowa
Posts: 10,521
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by Blu Man
Film doesn't have a set limit of colors to work with, it can replicate the original print to the highest quality possible.
The problem with film, though, is that the color shifts during the development process, depending upon temperature variations of the developer, as well as how much film has been put through a particular batch of developer.

This was a problem, for example, when it came to making release prints for "Pleasantville," which had a lot of black and white. Because of the B&W, the color shifts were more glaring from one reel to the next. Your brain tells you you're seeing B&W and you don't realize the film has a green cast to it. Then the film would switch to a reel that had a magenta cast and the difference jumped out at you.

The filmmakers had to evaluate the color shift of each reel, then hand assemble release prints by trying to match reels that had similar color shifts.

You don't get that problem with digital.
Old 08-05-10, 04:40 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: currently Philly originally from Puerto Rico
Posts: 2,893
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

Originally Posted by Blu Man
Digital does not have more accurate colors then a film print. Not because of the digital information that is provided on the hard drive, but because of the limitations of digital projectors. DLP replicates millions of colors, but not enough to completely replicate the master print. Film doesn't have a set limit of colors to work with, it can replicate the original print to the highest quality possible.

A DLP image simply has no character, and the colors look bland compared to 35mm. I've never seen a film projected digitally on the big screen and said "Wow, that looks amazing!". I've always thought "Meh." Plus the black levels just feel totally off, 35mm blacks are perfect.

But your right, it's a gamble with film. You'll either get a perfect print or shitty one. That's why you have to know your local cinemas track record. Mine consistently has beautiful prints, and not just on opening weekends. But, DLP images can still have issues. Just like with Blu ray, some transfers are great, some not so great, so if you have an eye for a good image your still taking a risk by seeing a movie digitally.
This has been true for me to now if I bother going to a theater I will ask if its on film or digital.
Old 08-05-10, 05:33 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
 
bunkaroo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chicago West Suburbs
Posts: 16,391
Received 201 Likes on 134 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

The audio is always way better in a DLP showing though. So if the PQ is almost near what the 35mm is like, I'd go DLP just for the sound upgrade. A big theater is exactly where I want to hear lossless.
Old 08-05-10, 05:39 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
tylergfoster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,540
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Re: Is a digital projection at a theatre really that much better?

35mm showings of movies may have more character, and I don't need to see the classics that play specially on weekends in digital, but if it's a new movie I would go digital every time. There is a new all-digital theater in my area and I go out of my way to go there every time. That said, I wouldn't pay extra for the privilege. I see plenty of movies at the dollar theater in 35mm on well-run prints and they look just fine, but I think DLP blows 35mm out of the water.

The other great thing about DLP is that you can click one button and transfer the print to other screens. Whenever there are midnights at this theater and one sells out, they just click up a 12:01 and a 12:02, etc., in a different auditorium.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.