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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » 2D Digital Looking Like CRAP! (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: 2D Digital Looking Like CRAP!
Aron Toplitsky
Film Handler

Posts: 93
From: Gardena, CA, USA
Registered: May 2012


 - posted 02-28-2018 11:04 PM      Profile for Aron Toplitsky   Email Aron Toplitsky   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi All,

I know this has been discussed on this site before, but I just wanted to get some advice...

Yesterday I saw Call Me By Your Name at one of my local AMC theaters. As soon as the trailers started, I said to myself, "ahh shit, not again" when I saw the first trailer.

Throughout the trailers and the entire film, the presentation had that dreadful dark, gloomy, off color and soft picture. I've encountered this before at other AMC theaters and have complained several times. First time I complained (for a presentation of Gone Girl) the manager seemed like he had no idea what I was talking about, like there was nothing wrong with the image. I did some research and think I recall this site has discussed the 3D lenses are left on during a 2D presentation. I wanted to walk out, but this was the only showing in my area and didn't want to make my girlfriend walk out as well. Not to put her down, but she saw nothing wrong with the image like most patrons. I find it both unbelievable and quite frustrating that AMC still, four years later, allows such a terrible image to be projected.

So I completed one of those AMC surveys and let them know how unacceptable that image was. I also mentioned the 3D lens thing, yet again! I got a response the same day by email and the manager wants me to call him. I don't know how many more ways to explain this to get through to these people! Any advice on what I should say to the manager? Anyone have opinions on this or updates on this terrible practice?

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6839
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 03-01-2018 12:38 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dark, gloomy and off color could all be accounted for by worn out lamps, fundamentally. The classroom projector bulbs used in the projectors intended for the smallest theater screens (e.g. NEC NC900C or Barco E series) don't hold their color temperature well at all: as Mark Gulbrandsen pointed out in another thread, these aren't the projectors for you if maintaining the image within DCI XYZ specs is important. A worn-out or overrun xenon bulb could have the same effect, though they tend to flicker more than change color temperature if abused.

I say fundamentally, because other light source-related things could be in the mix: worn out reflector, triaxial alignment of the lamp slipped, gross and disgustingly dirty lens, heat damage to optical components, etc. etc. In my (admittedly limited) experience of troubleshooting poor illumination complaints, it tends to be a combination of problems rather than a single fault.

Soft focus: again, as covered elsewhere, focus drift away from the presets that were set up when the projector was installed can happen. Almost all the servicing and installation I do is on NECs and Barcos, of which NECs are consistently worse for focus drift over time. The presets really need "touching up" every few weeks, by standing close to the screen with a laptop connected to the projector by wifi, racking the focus until you can see the individual pixels, then saving the lens file. I do this on Barcos as well, though as a general rule, they don't seem to drift as badly. But the focus certainly isn't a set-and-forget item, just like it wasn't in the 35mm days.

quote: Aron Toplitzky
Not to put her down, but she saw nothing wrong with the image like most patrons.
Which is why you encounter these problems at most suburban 'plexes, unless you get lucky and go to see a movie the day after a tech has been in to do a planned maintenance on the projector, server and audio system. 99.9% of customers are far more tolerant of image and sound defects than the 0.1% who have significant knowledge of the technology in use, and what it should be capable of.

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Stephan Shelley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: castro valley, CA, usa
Registered: Nov 2014


 - posted 03-01-2018 02:25 AM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
AMC mainly uses Sony projectors. The device that makes the image in them turns yellow and brown with age.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3582
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 03-01-2018 04:24 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Aron - repeat your claim, and ask him wether he would show you round next time you're there. Let him show you that booth, and maybe you can check the other auditoriums image as well. Make it clear that you are not interested to squeeze out a free ticket, but that you are interested in having a good time at a cinema.
If the only thing he offers is a refund or a free ticket, then, simply tell them you're sick and tired of getting free tickets for mediocre presentation shows, and that in the future, you and your friends will stay away. You may also report the issue to AMC head office.
Leaving the 3D lens on a 220/320 does not necessarily make the image dull - but if these machines receive no maintenance, regular bulb changes, or have been underspec'd from the start.

- Carsten

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Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1356
From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 03-01-2018 08:04 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Stephan Shelley
AMC mainly uses Sony projectors. The device that makes the image in them turns yellow and brown with age.
Also, the Sony projectors can't do the frame rate necessary for 3D. Because of this, the 3D lenses for them actually split the image into 2 parts (which I believe are each 1/4 the size of the imaging chip) and then overlays the images on top of each other.

Other than being a cheaper way to get 4k and having 4k from the get go, I can't think of a single "good" thing about the Sony projectors.

I guess due to very favorable financing deals, AMC and Regal both used them for their switch from 35mm to digital. I don't know if they still use them on new installs.

At least the Dolby Cinema and IMAX auditoriums don't use Sony. Not sure about AMC ETX (if any still exist) or Regal RPX.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2272
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-01-2018 08:33 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just curious, are we talking about an AMC Classic theater, aka Discount House. If so, it may be like ours, they just let it run down and not give a crap. That's why I quit going to our AMC (somewhere in the Forum there is a rant about my Christmas Eve experience a couple of years ago).
Sometimes your only solution is to find a better theatre.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3582
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 03-01-2018 09:52 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Lyle Romer
Also, the Sony projectors can't do the frame rate necessary for 3D. Because of this, the 3D lenses for them actually split the image into 2 parts (which I believe are each 1/4 the size of the imaging chip) and then overlays the images on top of each other.
Sorry, but that is plain nonsense. Every Sony system can do 4k at 60fps right out of the box. They are in fact not able to do double or triple flashing, but neither is double or triple flashing a prerequisite for 3D, nor a guarantee for a 'good' 3D. On the contrary, flashing is a 'cheap trick' to do 3D. While compromising light output (which 3D system doesn't?) and reducing display resolution (3D is inherently limited to 2k anyway), the Sony 'classic' splitlens 3D displays both left and right eye simultaneously at frame rates up to 60Hz. If AMC wouldn't give a shit about their presentation quality, there'd be no issues with their systems.

One should probably not bring this issue up here were hardly anyone takes notice, but on social media and AMC feedback channels. If they feel it costs them money, they may change something. As it is, AMC simply seems to be no place to go for a good presentation. They even ruin Dolby Cinema in their cheapo installs.

- Carsten

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Alexandre Pereira
Film Handler

Posts: 99
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jan 2016


 - posted 03-01-2018 11:46 AM      Profile for Alexandre Pereira   Author's Homepage   Email Alexandre Pereira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Carsten is right. With Sony - like any other machine they have to be maintained. I have a Sony SRX-R320 - using it for over a year and it has excellent contrast - vivid colours and is very reliable. Regardless if the bulb is not changed the image will be dull.
The bigger problem here is circuit maintenance of DCP equipment. Here in Toronto with CP it varies a lot. The techs generally are overwhelmed by the issues across so many sites and so many screens to keep up on everything.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16057
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-01-2018 12:18 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Avoid any theaters using Sony projectors!! The green chips turn towards the brown spectrum as they bake in the heat of the lamps and AMC does shitty maintenance. This does not happen on DLP equipped cinemas.

quote: Carsten Kurz
Sorry, but that is plain nonsense.
Well, overall Sony projectors are just plain nonsense. There is simply no need for them. Especially their dual lens POS system where the lenses are never removed for 2-d performances.

Mark

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3582
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 03-01-2018 04:50 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You are spot-on Mark, this is certainly not green-brown, so DLPs don't suffer THAT issue:

http://www.film-tech.com/ubb/f16/t003230.html

- Carsten

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Jarod Reddig
Master Film Handler

Posts: 366
From: Hays, Ks
Registered: Jun 2011


 - posted 03-04-2018 05:15 PM      Profile for Jarod Reddig   Email Jarod Reddig   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When new and maintained properly the Sonys put out a really nice picture with great contrast. They need so much attention though.

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William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 177
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 03-07-2018 10:11 AM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Another issue I've seen it many AMC theaters is when they do re-lamp they never recalibrate so they remain at the high setting that they had turned it up to as the previous bulb was aging.

This gives everything a nice gray washed-out look like a really bad LCD TV with the brightness cranked.

The AMC/Sony deal was a sweetheart deal dating back to 2009:

AMC/Sony Press Release

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2535
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 03-07-2018 10:15 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is no "black level" adjustment on D-Cinema projectors. You may refer to lamp power but while that adjustment does increase/decrease the black level, it also increases/decreases the white level. But not to the point where the picture looks washed out.

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William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 177
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 03-07-2018 10:21 AM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I actually find that rather interesting, as when I finally reached the correct person in management for the theater they did go through and re-calibrate their theaters and the experience was much better the next time around. Blacks were no longer grey and yet I don't remember the whites in the same theater as being blinding when the black levels were too high.

Adjusted my previous post accordingly, my apologies.

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Sascha F. Roll
Film Handler

Posts: 82
From: Berlin, Berlin / Germany
Registered: Sep 2015


 - posted 03-07-2018 11:50 AM      Profile for Sascha F. Roll   Email Sascha F. Roll   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
@Marco:
With Sony SRX 5xx series there IS actually a black level „calibration“ that needs to be performed when doing periodid maintenance (after cleaning the optics and before calibrating Gamma and Uniformity) —> Wavelength Filters. Has to be set for „lowest luminance of all 3 colors R G B“ in a certain way (First R, then B, then G). Goal is to achieve lowest possible black levl and best black level uniformity.

Of course not to be performed by operators.

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