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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Compare 70MM with 4K in San Francisco (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Compare 70MM with 4K in San Francisco
Geoff Jones
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 524
From: Broomfield, CO, USA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 11-30-2018 09:02 AM      Profile for Geoff Jones   Author's Homepage   Email Geoff Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Castro Theatre in San Francisco will be showing 2001: A Space Odyssey next month and they will be alternating between 4K digital projection and a 70MM film print on their "huge" 44-foot-wide screen.
quote:
FRIDAY DECEMBER 28 through TUESDAY JANUARY 1
SPECIAL PRESENTATION ($14/$11)

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY — The 70mm / 4K Challenge
Fri, Sat, Sun 1:00 (70mm), 4:30 (4K), 8:00 (70mm)
Mon 1:00 (70mm), 4:30 (4K)
Tue 1:00 (70mm), 4:30 (4K), 8:00 (70mm)

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of this seminal film, Warner Bros. Pictures released an “unrestored” 70mm print of Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking science fiction epic. A true photochemical film recreation, this print was struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative with no digital tricks, remastered effects, or revisionist edits. This anniversary also brought the release of the film in a 4K restoration. To wrap up 2018 and ring in 2019, the Castro will be screening both restorations daily—choose your preference, compare, discuss! The odyssey stars Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, and the soothing voice of Douglas Rain (RIP). (1968, 142 min plus intermission, 70mm 'Scope/4K DCP ‘Scope)

I wondered if they'd be running the 4k dcp through a 2k projector like so many theaters, but according to the article below they upgraded to 4k after their 2k projector suffered from a stuck pixel.

Bayflicks.net:
quote:
The Castro now has 4K projection

JULY 22, 2014 ~ LINCOLN SPECTOR

Top technology has been an important part of the Castro‘s appeal for a long time. The theater was, I believe, the first rep house to get Dolby stereo, digital sound, and DCP-compatible digital projection. I believe it’s the only local rep house that can project 70mm film, and one of only two that can handle 50’s-style,dual-strip 3D.

And now they’ve added the digital equivalent of 70mm film–4K projection. 4K projects four times the resolution of standard 2K. I’ve never seen a side-by-side comparison of the two, and I’ve heard conflicting opinions from experts on this. But I suspect that the difference is significant, especially if the film was shot in a large format and if you’re sitting close to the screen (as I usually do).

Last year, I was delighted to learn that the Pacific Film Archive had a new, 4K projector. But the PFA has a small screen–too small for an immersive experience. Not so with the Castro’s large screen.

Back in May, I wrote about a stuck pixel that marred the Castro’s digital screenings. At the end of that article, I disclosed that I had "emailed my Castro press contact about this issue, but he could only give me information off the record." Now I can tell you what he told me: that they might simply fix the problem, or they might instead upgrade to 4K projection. Today, he revealed that "We have completed installation of the 4K projector."

I am, of course, delighted.

When can you see the new projector in action? The Castro will screen Double Indemnity off a DCP tomorrow night, but that one is probably 2K (although I honestly don’t know). However, they’ll be screening The Leopard in 4K on August 24, and Lawrence of Arabia that way August 30 and September 1. Both films were shot in large film formats (Technirama and Super Panavision 70 respectively). I suspect that both films will look great in 4K projection.

If anyone here attends, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Little Falls, N.J.
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-30-2018 10:00 AM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I saw this summer's 70mm release five times at five separate theaters, and I have seen the 4k version as well. Visually, the 4K version is demonstrably superior to the unrestored 70mm version on several levels. So the real question might be, how does each version make you feel? You may get nostalgic tingles (as I admittedly did) watching the film, and then you might be suitably impressed (as I admittedly was) by the restoration. Trying to argue which is truly the better format, though, is a fool's game. It's all very individual, and that is why I think the Castro screenings might be just stirring the shit, as much as I would be interested to hear the comments.

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Geoff Jones
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Broomfield, CO, USA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 11-30-2018 10:20 AM      Profile for Geoff Jones   Author's Homepage   Email Geoff Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fair enough Mark, but I have to ask: Did you watch both formats on the same screen? And if not, were the screens the same size? Were you sitting roughly the same distance away?

IMO, the neat thing about the Castro Theatre Format Shit-Stir is that all of the other variables are equalized.

[Smile]

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Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Little Falls, N.J.
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 - posted 11-30-2018 10:40 AM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I didn't to that, no, but I must respectfully disagree with the "same screen" argument. All sixteen of the 70mm prints from this summer's release had the same worn-film issues that were inherited from the printing inter-negative: tears, negative dirt, blown out highlights, bad color timing in spots. The 4k FotoKem-Warner restoration repairs all of these issues. I don't know if everything being equal in screening venues is really going to tilt things one way or another, IMHO. The 70mm prints will still have issues, as cool and as film-romantic as they may be to watch.

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Brad Miller
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From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
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 - posted 11-30-2018 11:17 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
You also have to take into account a new 4K digital projector vs. an unknown level of performance from that old 70mm projector. Also will both formats be projected at their industry standards of brightness? Could someone skilled with the 70mm projection system get more performance out of it (and I don't just mean some random tech who can make them run). Does the print copy they will be running have any damage on it (not negative damage, but physical projection print wear)? Heck they could be using an Osram bulb in the 70mm projector making the flicker effect from the 70mm projection really bad. (The light optics in a digital projector will mostly mask that effect.)

I highly doubt it will be a truly fair comparison.

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Aaron Garman
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana USA
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 - posted 11-30-2018 02:21 PM      Profile for Aaron Garman   Email Aaron Garman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As much as I love film, given the realities of the situation, the DCP will likely look "better".

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 11-30-2018 06:02 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We did something kind of like this here a few years ago. At the time, we watched a) a reel from a then-current 70mm Warners 2001 print, from the old IN, b) a reel of an original 70mm print made from the camera negative (the print was completely faded), c) the then-current Warners DCP, and d) the then-current Blu-Ray.

The DCP was horrifyingly bad--worse than the Blu-Ray, even. Clearly, it was poorly made and hopefully will never be seen again.

The then-current 70mm print was considered to be best-looking overall (by far), but it was significantly softer than the original, faded print. An incredible amount of detail was lost in the IP/IN process.

This was, of course, an unscientific process, and the BR and DCP versions at the time were bad examples of what those formats can do.

Curiously, over the past summer, when I got to do some screenings of a new 2001 print, I invited a theatre-owner friend of mine to come to see it. He was familiar with the film, having played it in his theatre in 35mm many times, but had never seen it in 70mm. Somewhat to my surprise, he was not terribly impressed by the improvements of the 70mm format. Go figure.

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Stephan Shelley
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 - posted 11-30-2018 08:28 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can assure all that the Castro has a Christie CP 4230 4K projector with Dolby DSS 200 server with Cat 745 IMB. I was part of the team that installed a few years back. It replaced a Christie CP 2000 XB projector and DSS/DSP 100 server.

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 12-01-2018 03:17 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How is the audio for this being done? Is the original Todd-AO mix (five stage channels, mono surround, no LFE) being played with both the 70mm and digital versions, the f***ing abysmal 5.1 remix with both, or Todd-AO with one and 5.1 with the other?

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Stephan Shelley
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 - posted 12-01-2018 03:57 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They do not have Le and Re. So 5.1

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Terry Monohan
Master Film Handler

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From: San Francisco CA USA
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 - posted 12-01-2018 05:16 PM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The no volume tiny surround speakers at the Castro Theatre will not do justice to either the 70mm film or the 4K DCP 2001 showings.
The small square box speakers were used when they were put in from the Alhambra Theatre in SF many years ago.
They have no bass or even treble, very flat If you can even hear them.
We have heard things will change soon at he Castro SF but not before the 70mm/4K demo for 2001.
The brand new combo pipe/electric organ that is going in will have large surround speakers with good sound for movies and the organ.
To bad It won't be ready for 2001.

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 12-01-2018 10:24 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually, not very good surround speakers wouldn't be that much of a problem for authentic Todd-AO mixes. There was only one channel of surround, and it was only used very sparingly, to provide a non-directional ambience boost: "dead track" such as a bit of an echo for scenes in large rooms, for example.

Not having the left and right extras is a bigger problem, and a huge pity. Todd-AO sound did not follow the Dolby rule of all dialogue coming through the center channel. In the meeting scene on the space station towards the start of the movie, for example, an actor's voice pans from L > LE > C > RE > R as he paces across the room. Dialogue between two people at opposite sides of the frame come from L and R. All of that subtlety is lost in the 5.1 remix. I get that they had to do a 5.1 mix for consumer media and theaters that don't have LE and RE (i.e. most of them), but the audio mix is such an important part of that movie, that I'd personally rather see a digital projection with the Todd-AO audio than 70mm and 5.1.

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 12-04-2018 10:51 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Will the admission price entitle the purchaser to see two screenings? If not, the staggered showtimes make this seem like a cash grab since it'll require interested parties to see it twice in order to do the comparison. And it's not even a fair comparison, in my opinion, since, among other things, the two versions aren't of the same generation.

Too bad the Castro can't/won't alternate between the two versions in a single screening, which reminds me of a great format comparison I attended that did just that: a special industry screening of Clint Eastwood's "Space Cowboys" where the odd reels were projected on film and the even "reels" were shown digitally. (Or maybe it was the other way around.) This was in 2000 in L.A. at the former Hollywood Pacific.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 12-05-2018 01:24 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Giant 44 foot screen??? [Eek!]

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 12-05-2018 07:14 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wouldn't the only way to do a sort-of valid comparison be to set up a synchronized split screen presentation where both sides are set up to spec by a skilled technician?

The only decent comparison I personally have of 4k vs. 70mm is the Soarin' ride at Epcot. The old Soarin' was IMAX 48FPS (with the California film) and the new version is 4K laser (I think Christie and unknown frame rate) but a different film.

The 4k laser is brighter and more uniform light. Resolution seems equivalent. At least from the very close viewing distance there are no noticeable breakdowns in resolution or visible pixel grid. However the IMAX film version definitely had a more organic "feel" to it. Also the IMAX lenses compensated for the curved screen. The new lenses don't and, if you aren't sitting dead center, things get crazy, distracting curves.

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