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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Alamo Drafthouse Denver did it again - wrong AR (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Alamo Drafthouse Denver did it again - wrong AR
William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 187
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 10-10-2018 03:19 PM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
On its grand opening night, the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Littleton, Colorado erroneously showed the 2.35:1 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from DCP at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

Last night they managed to do the inverse, they ran a showing of the 1983 film Videodrome, which is 1.85:1, with the image masked by the projector and flush to the bottom of the screen at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

I don’t even know how that happens, apparently the Sony 4K projectors have the ability to zoom and mask DCPs regardless of the intended AR?

I should’ve known from the beginning, as the entire preshow also ran in scope and you could see where the top and bottom of the frame was cut off.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3775
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 10-10-2018 03:58 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Every DCI projector is able to show any DCP in the wrong aspect ratio. It's an operator thing. If you had complained immediately, it would have been a single button press to correct it, while the show was running.

- Carsten

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7035
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 10-10-2018 04:09 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Either the DCPs were wrongly tagged, or someone misread the ISDCF aspect ratio tag in the DCP name when building the playlist. I suspect the latter, given the low probability of receiving two mislabeled DCPs in quick succession.

I played a DCP of The Good, the Bad... several times when I worked at the Egyptian, and do not remember its aspect ratio tag being wrong.

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Jarod Reddig
Master Film Handler

Posts: 377
From: Hays, Ks
Registered: Jun 2011


 - posted 10-10-2018 04:27 PM      Profile for Jarod Reddig   Email Jarod Reddig   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But Carsten these days without projectionists if you complain during a movie all you get out of it is missing part of the film from having to get out of your seat.

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William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 187
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 10-10-2018 07:26 PM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In this case, Alamo “did not have a projectionist on duty,” just the manager.

Ironically what happened is half way through the preshow, the aspect ratio of the masking moved to flat and you could see the scope picture being projected onto the masking.

I complained and they said they would look into it as they said it was “just the trailers.”

I complained a second time when the movie started with the masking still in flat and the projector showing scope.

I ran out and complained a third time and the manager moved the masking into scope position.

I should have checked which was correct, but I had already missed the first six minutes of the movie. :-(

When I called today and complained it was the projection that was in the wrong AR, the manager apologized (but didn’t offer to comp food or anything), he just said he’d notify “the projection team.”

Note the screening of TGTBaTU I referenced was during their grand opening about five years ago.

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Frank B. McLaughlin
Film Handler

Posts: 73
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Dec 2011


 - posted 10-11-2018 06:46 AM      Profile for Frank B. McLaughlin   Author's Homepage   Email Frank B. McLaughlin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lets face it - there are two "truths" here: 1) can not hire some kid off the street and say "you are one (projector operator)" and 2) the people who know both film and projection (be it via film or video) are in extreme short supply.

How much did Alamo save by not having a qualified person tending to the product being sold?

If quality is desired then it will have to be paid for.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2353
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-11-2018 08:58 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But, but, but... the whole selling point of digital (and platters before that) is now you can leave the booth unattended!

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Sascha F. Roll
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 104
From: Berlin, Berlin / Germany
Registered: Sep 2015


 - posted 10-11-2018 09:50 AM      Profile for Sascha F. Roll   Email Sascha F. Roll   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Reminds me of a customer a few years ago before he opened his new small three screen arthouse cinema: "We don't need projectionists, all the work will be done from the front desk via WiFi".

Shortly after they hired a guy who did nothing else than testing Bluray and other alternative media content, creating DCPs, doing Laptop presentations, maintaining the equipment... as a full time job!
(And AFAIR he was always busy...)

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7035
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 10-11-2018 10:33 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In some of the mainstream multiplexes I service, the job title of projectionist is making a modest comeback. Their duties are ingestion, KDM wrangling, playlist construction, first line maintenance (e.g. cleaning air filters) and troubleshooting, and in some cases non-projection building maintenance (e.g. front-of-house IT). They usually don't have a projectionist on duty all the time the place is open and playing movies - typically office hours Monday to Friday, plus Friday and Saturday evenings. But it looks like theater owners are finding out that the routine operation and first line maintenance of d-cinema systems might involve less skilled labor than 35mm, it still needs some.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 10-11-2018 01:33 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
But, but, but... the whole selling point of digital (and platters before that) is now you can leave the booth unattended!
I managed the UA Berkeley for 5 years in the 90s and we were a manager-operated booth. (There were only 3 managers total on staff.) During the week there was one manager on duty and weekends there were two on duty. We threaded, set timers and then went downstairs. Rarely were we there when the shows started and often we would set the timer and not even return to be able to check on the film until it was over and had tailed out.

How often did we have problems? Almost never. And by that I mean I can't think of a time it was ever a threading error. The problems we would have is silly little things like a dimmer triac failing so we would have to flip a breaker off and on for house lights for a couple of days until the tech brought the replacement part out, or perhaps an exciter lamp burned out. Regardless it was always equipment failures when it happened, and again it was EXTREMELY rare.

Masking was completely manual with 2 ropes to pull (one for each side), and because the Strong turrets were a joke, we simply locked them down and operated them manually. How many presentations ran in the wrong format? I'm sure with the hectic schedules there was probably a show that started with the wrong lens or masking 2-3 times a year, as we would commonly sell out 7 of the 8 auditoriums on the weekend shows, and during the week when there was only one manager on duty, we were traditionally understaffed due to corporate restrictions. Had that been a digital booth with motorized masking though, the odds are virtually zero that it would have ever happened because we would have built the playlist, QC'd the show and then not had to deal with it.

How many prints got scratched in those 5 years? To my knowledge, zero. There may have been one along the way as management staff changed, but I can't recall any print getting scratched. Because we were beta-testing FilmGuard at the time, I can honestly state we didn't even have any sort of dust buildup on the reel changes or anything...and this was back when we would play a movie for up to 9 MONTHS!

It's really all about the operator, their training and a serving of common sense.

BTW here are photos of the booth taken back then.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2353
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-11-2018 02:07 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And if all (even most) theatres were like that, the world would be a nicer place. [Wink]

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1974
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 10-11-2018 02:38 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Brad Miller
How many presentations ran in the wrong format?
I still remember playing One Hour Photo. The writing on the heads all said Scope (lab printed, not a sticker or tape), the reel wrappers had S written on them.

It's obviously a scope movie then, so I built it up with scope trailers, put in my scope lens and aperture (no automation here) and started the movie for the first time on the Friday. Walked into the auditorium to stand at the back for a couple of minutes at the beginning as I usually do. The feature starts and gosh, it looks strange. Because the movie is flat! So I had to stop the show and go and change the lens and aperture to flat, rewind and restart the feature. All of which probably took about ten minutes to do.

That's the first and only time I've ever run a movie in the wrong format. But it was printed right on the film so I took their word for it and hadn't put it on my light box to check it for myself.

Lesson learned, but I never did come across another one that was mis-labeled like that.

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William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 187
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 10-11-2018 05:34 PM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Today most theaters would just let the feature finish running and would just come anyone who complained.

I know it’s harder to tell with digital because it’s far less obvious but I believe I was the only one among 50 or so that noticed Videodrome was wrong; I was even the only one to complain about the masking.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1974
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 10-11-2018 05:44 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How is it less obvious? If everyone is short and fat (or tall and thin) it's the wrong format. I don't see why it would look any different in flat or scope with digital than it does on film.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12445
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-11-2018 05:56 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, digital doesn't distort the picture. At least on our system, if you run a scope picture on a flat setting, it'll just float the scope picture in the middle of the screen. If you run a flat picture on the scope setting, it'll cut-off the top and bottom, so people's heads might be cut-off somewhat but otherwise you'd never notice. So I can see why your average moviegoer might not even see anything amiss.

The same thing happens on a lot of TV settings at home, and you know how people tend to overlook that kind of thing.

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