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Author Topic: Technical Details of Fathom Events
Lincoln Spector
Film Handler

Posts: 46
From: Albany, CA, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

 - posted 03-23-2012 08:05 PM      Profile for Lincoln Spector   Author's Homepage   Email Lincoln Spector   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi, folks. I'm new to this forum. Consider me an interested amateur.

Does anyone here know tech details on those special events done in movie theaters these days.

Wednesday night, I attended a special screening of Casablanca at the local AMC multiplex, presented by Fathom (they do operas, etc.). The image quality was well beneath what I'd expect from
DCP. You'll find my comments about it at

So I'm wondering exactly what I was watching. I'm guessing it was something that was highly compressed, then sent over satellite.


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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2481
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-23-2012 08:30 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Linclon, welcome. I actually posted a link to your comments earlier in the Film Yak forum:;f=8;t=005531;p=12

So the admin's may move you over there, but maybe we can get an answer for you.

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John Thomas
Film Handler

Posts: 75
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Sep 2011

 - posted 03-23-2012 08:35 PM      Profile for John Thomas   Email John Thomas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The projector for our Fathom events is one of these:

The projector is capable of 1080p, but I'm not certain whether or not the content is 1080p. The content is run from a Dish Network receiver/DVR, so yes, compression is definitely a factor.

I would expect that as AMC goes fully digital and ditches the "preshow" projectors, you would see more Fathom events run on the Christie's and Sony's (for better or worse) that they're deploying.

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6539
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-23-2012 08:53 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you want to present the Met Operas, forget about Fathom and go with ByExperience.

They don't use Dish Netowrk equipment. They have their own satellite and they use better equipment. The signal and picture are noticeably better. They do broadcast in 1080 and Dolby Surround.

ByExperience is a direct partner with the Met. They are not a subcontractor like Fathom.

The down side is that you'll have to procure and set up your own equipment and you have to maintain it yourself, too. Fortunately, it's not that expensive. They have vendors where you can get all the equipment. It's not really THAT expensive. I think the receivers are $500 apiece. (They ask you to buy two for redundancy.) Dishes are a couple-few hundred a piece. (Again, two for redundancy.)

They have a hotline that you can call in for tech support and they'll help you as much as possible.

If the dish blows off the roof, you have to get somebody to fix it. However, I think they have a list of contractors you can call. (Mercyhurst uses a company called Cleveland Satellite.)

We started out with Fathom events but, after the first year, we went with ByExperience because their terms were much better.

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Edward Havens
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 614
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Mar 2008

 - posted 03-24-2012 03:37 PM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Now that Fathom is starting to program more 3D events, we now run all our Fathom (and pre-show) content through our 2K DLP projectors. The difference in image quality now is amazing.

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Aaron Garman
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1470
From: Toledo, OH USA
Registered: Mar 2003

 - posted 03-24-2012 04:39 PM      Profile for Aaron Garman   Email Aaron Garman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I too saw the Casablanca event. It was run through the Dish system, and you're right: not as a good as a true DCP. I don't remember if Lord of the Rings was a Fathom event, but those did run off of a DCP and looked pretty awesome.

Our local cinema does run everything off of their 4K Barcos.


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