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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » D-BOX rant (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: D-BOX rant
Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2523
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 09-21-2013 07:54 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not sure if this is in the right forum, but since D-BOX is a Digital technology, I suppose it will fit [Wink] .

A whole new multiplex opened in the vicinity of my home. Their premium XD-branded theater features the whole shebang: a respectable Dolby Atmos install, huge (unfortunately) silver scope screen (but no masking), dual (for 3D) 4K projectors and... a few rows of D-BOX seats.

I've recently seen Riddick in this theater, which besides being a generally stupid movie, also doesn't have an Atmos soundtrack and is just a lousy 2K release. But, it does have a D-BOX motion code...

Since this movie couldn't benefit from all the important gizmos in the room, I decided to give D-BOX another shot. My first one was about two years back and I didn't like it back then... It looks like I didn't miss much, because I still don't like it. Quite the opposite, it's a distracting fad.

The first problem isn't really a D-BOX flaw, but those expensive premium semi-massage seats were installed way back in the theater, which negates the effect of the massive screen and the "added immersion" that D-BOX promises. I guess they were placed there, because having a bunch of shaking people in front of you will be rather distracting.

Then there is the realism of the movements of those chairs... The whole thing feels very artificial, especially the vibrations, it all feels a bit like the force feedback of a cheap game controller.

And then the biggest flaw of all: the motions and vibrations often are just stupid gimmicks that defy all sense of realism. The whole thing is being sold as some kind of motion simulator experience. But in a motion simulator (think of Star Tours), the motions are there to simulate the vehicle you're in. But a movie isn't a simulation, it's a story in picture and sound, usually with many different camera angles.

In addition to that, if you have long legs, like I do, you will have your feet on the ground most of the time, which negatively affects your experience even further.

In an effort to give the customer "value" for the large amounts of extra bucks he/she paid for this experience, every action on screen will yield some kind of stupid movement of your seat. Riddick farts, your seat will vibrate, somebody punching someone else in the face, your seat will make some random kick.

Conclusion: D-BOX will make your movie experience a total suckfest

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12392
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-21-2013 08:38 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree wholeheartedly, and my entire D-Box experience was a convention demo. We sat in the back row of a 3-row block of seats, and the people's heads moving and weaving in front of me about drove me bananas, and that was just during a couple of trailers. I can't imagine sitting through that crap for a whole movie.

The smart way to install DBox would be to put the seats in a row across the middle of the auditorium, and put an aisle behind those seats. Then put a wall at "head height" right behind the DBox seats, so the movements of the people's heads would be blocked by that wall for the people in the back half of the house.

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Connor Wilson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 189
From: Sterling, VA, USA
Registered: Jan 2011


 - posted 09-25-2013 08:38 PM      Profile for Connor Wilson   Email Connor Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have only seen 3-4 films in D-Box so far. It varied from suck to okay. Out of my experiences, Real Steel had the best motion code and Harry Potter 7 pt2 had the worst. Maybe D-Box hasn't reached its full storytelling potential yet, but right now it's a gimmick.

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Jarod Reddig
Master Film Handler

Posts: 376
From: Hays, Ks
Registered: Jun 2011


 - posted 09-26-2013 04:28 AM      Profile for Jarod Reddig   Email Jarod Reddig   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ive demoed D-Box on two differenct occasions and the first time I didn't like it. The sensitivity or whatever was turned way up and it exaggerated the moves way too much. The secone time the movement was much more subtle and I actually really liked it. Now I really don't see it working in a commercial theater unless it was installed in a way like Mikes idea or put in the back. Way too distracting otherwise to other patrons. I think its best in a theme park type ride or a home cinema.

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Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3055
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 09-26-2013 12:44 PM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was hoping somebody else was going to ask, but since they haven't I will. What the heck is D-BOX?

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12392
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-26-2013 02:39 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The seats move and vibrate according to a code embedded in the movie.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4426
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 09-26-2013 03:10 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Movies with rectal stimulation!"

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John Roddy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 114
From: Spring, TX, United States
Registered: Dec 2012


 - posted 09-26-2013 03:36 PM      Profile for John Roddy   Author's Homepage   Email John Roddy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
D-BOX is nothing more than a gimmick if it isn't used properly. Some movies can really take advantage of it and add in to the experience. Others? Well, you get to pay a massive upcharge for pretty much nothing. Kinda like 3D, except more expensive.

The last movie I actually watched in D-BOX was Kick-Ass 2. The only thing that even made me remember that I was in a D-BOX seat was a little bit of vibration about halfway through during a later fight scene. Worth it? I'm really glad I got that show for free. Let's just leave it at that. Now take a movie like Fast 6 or maybe even the new Rush, and you have a totally different story. Movies like those prove to be really cool with D-BOX. For standard action movies, we have a really hard time filling the 30 seats we have installed. For the Fast and Furious franchise? We have a really hard time not filling them.

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Sam Graham
AKA: "The Evil Sam Graham". Wackiness ensues.

Posts: 1358
From: Waukee, IA
Registered: Dec 2004


 - posted 09-26-2013 03:52 PM      Profile for Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email Sam Graham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I haven't done D-BOX in a cinema (I did once in a home theatre showcase), but the installs I've seen have all been in the first couple of rows of the stadium tier...much more of a 'sweet spot' than the back of the auditorium.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12392
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-26-2013 10:20 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: John Roddy
The only thing that even made me remember that I was in a D-BOX seat was a little bit of vibration about halfway through during a later fight scene.
Maybe the "intensity" setting of the seat was dialed down? There are something like five levels of intensity, all the way from "none" to "vibrate the contact lenses right out of your head."

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John Roddy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 114
From: Spring, TX, United States
Registered: Dec 2012


 - posted 09-27-2013 02:23 AM      Profile for John Roddy   Author's Homepage   Email John Roddy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The intensity on that seat was at max. The movie was just terrible for D-BOX. Actually, even without the D-BOX, it wasn't that good. Very underwhelming movie, overall. I was quite disappointed with it. The D-BOX code also reflected that.

It all goes back to whether or not the movie is suitable for D-BOX. We've had our system installed here for almost four years now, and I've only seen a handful of releases every year that I could even remotely imagine being somewhat decent in D-BOX. It's just a matter of finding the right one to watch. When it's done right, it really rocks (both literally and figuratively). But when it sucks, it sucks hard.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7966
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-27-2013 07:54 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How often do people get sick on this?

And do the seats make noise when the move/vibrate?

I have never seen this, but it sounds like the sort of thing that would be fun at an amusement park for a five-minute movie that was designed for the "ride." Probably not so much for a full-length feature.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2523
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 09-27-2013 11:14 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
How often do people get sick on this?
I don't think too much people will really get sick on this, unless they weren't in a too good shape to begin with. My seat had an adjustable intensity setting, like Mike already mentioned. I don't know if all models have that or if all people know, but if you "dial it down" it will probably hurt nobody, even not the sensitive types. [Wink]

quote: Scott Norwood
And do the seats make noise when the move/vibrate?
I couldn't hear the other seats, so they are rather silent. They also had two demo seats in the lobby, you could feel the floor vibrate if you're near them and they sometimes made a very silent vibrating noise.

quote: Scott Norwood
I have never seen this, but it sounds like the sort of thing that would be fun at an amusement park for a five-minute movie that was designed for the "ride." Probably not so much for a full-length feature.
I largely agree on that one, but even for amusement rides, I don't really like this "single moving seat" style setup. No matter how you put it, the movements of your seats need to be very limited, or you will miss-align people with the screen.

What I'm wondering though is, who's responsible for the creation of the "Motion Code" for a "D-BOX enabled" release? Is it left to the movie creators, much like sound production is, no matter what format? Or is D-BOX actively involved in the creation of the "Motion Code" for a new release?

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5195
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 01-02-2014 02:00 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How many directions of movement can there be...Left, Right, Forward, Back, maybe bouncing up and down? And people complain that 3D is distracting when stuff is purposely throw at the audience for effect. Imagin the production design that requires lots of superfluous "motion" shots thrown just so they could vibrate the seats to make it worth the surcharge.

For the number of titles per year that could possibly benefit from this kind of thing, how could it possibly be a viable product? Just like Sensurround -- it was a massive system and it really only worked for EARTHQUAKE; and the handful of othersw where it was tried with little success. Really, how many movies can they possibly make about earthquakes, volcanos, maybe atomic bomb testing? Even changing the system to accomodate other types of rumble -- it never work nearly as well as it did for EARTHQUAKE because for that title, the rumble was externally generated. All the others titles tried to use the film soundtrack to contain the Sensurround audio along with the normal audio -- NASTY design; it was difficult to get it to function properly as it was very alignment-intensive so it didn't work correctly very often. I saw BATTLESTAR GALACTICA in Sensurround and every so often the deeper male voices would BLAST thru the Sensurround speakers...especially every "B" and "P" sound would explode like bombs; it actually was quite funny. Plus, any low end sounds near the Sensurround frequency threshold would create this strange low frequency ringing which kept you anticipating if that audio was going to break thru to the massive subwoofers.

I am sure in the digital world, the motion codes are easily embedded without fear of the seats rocking in the wrong places, but, the problem still remains that very few titles will benefit from this thing. Someone thinks this is a sure fire way to get people back into the theatres? Really?

Will Deebox be more or less successful as the Sensurround system? Remember that there was a large number of theatres which installed the Sensurround equipment -- those massive speaker enclosures and in some cases needing to make physical changes to the theatre to fit them in. It was all done for FOUR titles....four!

Switching theatre seats for a moment -- what is Deebox for home theatre that's been mentioned? Are there BRays that have Motion Cues encoded? Are there D-Box seats you can buy or do you get under-frame motors and such that you can install on regular home seating? I know they have subbass "kicker" transducers that you screw into the frames of sofas and recliners (if one were so inclined)-- evidently this is essential for people who have their heads (and ears) up their asses.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16111
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-02-2014 02:18 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Even Mr Bean found them lame until....
How to adjust the moving seats!

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