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Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

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Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

Old 01-01-23, 04:46 PM
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Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

I worked for ten years in the theater business mainly as a film projectionist and we always took pride in a bright image, being bright enough to light the auditorium on its own.

Since the switch to digital, most presentations Iíve seen have been severely lacking in brightness, and it seems the larger the screen the more of a problem it is- our local IMAX has often been too dark with both film and digital. I saw the new Avatar last night at a new theater with a laser projector, and while watchable it was just not bright enough to justify paying a premium price. If this is the best the latest technology can do, then the industry is in trouble.
Old 01-01-23, 05:43 PM
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Re: Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

I can't remember a time when I've seen a movie in a modern theater where it was too dark. There were certainly some bad ones back in the day (like those "three screens in a mall" setups).

I primarily see movies at the Alamo Drafthouse but also Marcus and AMC.
Old 01-01-23, 06:00 PM
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Re: Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

I remember when I saw AVATAR on opening night back in 2009 at a Manhattan multiplex and I kept wondering why the image was so dark and the 3-D effect so minimal to the degree that it caused eyestrain trying to watch it. I even got up from my seat and walked up the aisles and throughout the auditorium (in front of a sold-out house) trying to see if the 3-D improved from a different angle. It didn't. I came on this forum afterwards and asked if anyone could explain that and someone pointed out that if the projectionist used a 2K bulb instead of a 4K bulb that would be the result, that 3-D movies needed more powerful bulbs. It astounded me that Cameron and Fox did so little quality control that no one bothered to check the projection at theaters in such a big movie-going town (back then at least) on opening night for their biggest release probably ever. Of course, it made no dent in the ultimate boxoffice gross so I guess most audience members didn't care, so why should Cameron and Fox? Still, I've never understood that and I wonder how many potential moviegoers who might have gone to see AVATAR 2 are staying home because of bad projection on AVATAR. Not that that will make much of a dent this time either.

Of course, I can't make any comment on projection today since I've only been to a theater once in the past year.
Old 01-01-23, 06:06 PM
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Re: Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

Yes, the problem is rampant. Either the brightness on the projectors is set too low, or the bulbs are not being replaced when they begin to dim. And it's not strictly a digital problem. The theater where I experience the most problems with brightness is also the last theater near me that projected film and they had just as many problems then.

When I saw Wakanda Forever, the underwater scenes were almost completely black. I'm still not quite sure what Namor looks like.
Old 01-01-23, 10:16 PM
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Re: Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

Roger Ebert wrote about this topic
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Old 01-01-23, 10:26 PM
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Re: Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

I stopped going to the Cineplex in Niagara Falls, because more often then not the picture was so dark and murky, I knew it couldn't be right. I'd go outside and ask to see the manager and complain, and then miraculously, a couple minutes later the picture would brighten, obviously something being adjusted in the projection booth. The fact that is so easily fixed whenever I complain makes me assume this is being done on purpose, for whatever reason, I don't know and don't care. After going through this to see Many Saints Of Newark, I've never gone back again and never will. The local theatre here in town is terrific,. In three years, I've never had an issue with the brightness quality of the picture here.
Old 01-01-23, 10:38 PM
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Re: Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

Originally Posted by GuessWho
I think I remember that article being talked about here in the past. The Dolby Cinema and IMAX that I usually go to are definitely bright enough. I've seen a couple random movies at a local Regal that seemed dark, but was probably just because I'm used to only going to premium screens these days.
Old 01-02-23, 06:14 PM
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Re: Is it just me, or is the picture at many theaters too DARK?

Every AMC and Cinemark in my area is guilty of running their bulbs dim. Most of these places are run by teenagers/20-somethings who just look at you like you're a crazy person when you try to explain the issue.

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