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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Windowboxing of "Hobbs and Shaw" (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Windowboxing of "Hobbs and Shaw"
Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1051
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 08-05-2019 03:11 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I attended a 2D showing of "Hobbs and Shaw" at the Marcus Ridge Cinema in New Berlin, Wisconsin yesterday. This was SuperScreen #2, which is one of their two largest screens, equipped with Atmos. The SuperScreen is their mid-tier product (UltraScreens are their top tier, but not present at this location), but advertised as being better than the traditional (and tiny) screens elsewhere in this location.

The previews were all presented with a black border around the entire content, whether it was the movie trailers or the Marcus promo. I decided to track down an employee before the movie started, in the hopes of getting the issue at least looked at, if not fixed.

Found someone in the hallway on her way up to the booth. Described the issue, and she said it was just how the pre-show content was, and that it wouldn't be that way when the movie started. I told her that I would hold her to it, suspecting that it wouldn't change.

Sure enough, the movie started, and there was a black border around the entire scope-shaped image. To my never-been-a-projectionist estimation, someone failed to zoom the lens to fit the screen. The border looked pretty even all around, with perhaps a little more on the sides than on the top and bottom.

After the movie ended, I searched for the person I talked to, but she was gone. Asked for a manager, who then informed me that this was how the movie was formatted.

I had the choice between continuing the debate and leaving, I decided to forgo the inevitable frustration of dealing with someone that was very disinterested in determining whether there really was a problem.

If the pre-show stuff was filling the screen, I would be more inclined to believe her and chalk it up to weirdness with this one title.

I'm hoping I'm sent a feedback survey, as often happens, so I wanted to confirm with people here that there isn't some sort of formatting issue with "Hobbs and Shaw" that makes this display issue intentional.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12671
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-05-2019 05:50 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That movie is a standard "scope" presentation so there's no reason for it to be windowboxed. Maybe a formatting cue was missing in their playlist.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2222
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 08-05-2019 11:20 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with Mike, it's most likely the wrong format cue was selected when the play list was set up. Depending on the projector this would have been as easy as just pressing the correct format button. That's the downside of having no one in the theatre who understands how the projectors are serviced and/or configured.

Seems like the large theatre chains could spring for some projection training as part of the management training. Help them understand the theory behind how the projector works, not just how to push buttons. The added benefit is they could make life so much easier on techs because they would have someone mildly knowledgeable who they can walk through troubleshooting.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12671
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-05-2019 11:55 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Jentsch
Asked for a manager, who then informed me that this was how the movie was formatted.
Wow....this is a manager?! I would have been tempted to say something like "Have you ever even seen a movie in a theater? Can you please explain to me why the director would want there to be four feet of blank screen all the way around the image?" and then enjoy the blank stare.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 4200
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 08-06-2019 06:30 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If a local managers tells BS, I would, still politely, insist that the format is wrong, and inquire about an administrative contact to escalate. This was a 'premium' screen. Why should they advertise it as premium and demand a premium if the presentation is flawed?

Yes, there is the occasional outlier, but in general, there are only two main feature formats, flat or scope, with the majority of blockbusters being in scope. If you see a frame all around the image, it's 99.9% they are using the wrong format.

- Carsten

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

Posts: 2276
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 08-06-2019 08:02 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How did they do this?
Only way I can come up with: side movable masking in scope and scope content projected in a flat channel would look that way. Fixing that for one show would take as long as needed to get to the projector plus maybe two seconds. Fixing the playlist (and future shows), a minute or three.
Sad.
We try to educate managers a bit on principles and simple troubleshooting. Some get it, some don't, and some are just afraid of the equipment: they don't get rewarded for fixing simple problems... but boy they get sh!t if they screw it up!

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John Thomas
Film Handler

Posts: 71
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Sep 2011


 - posted 08-06-2019 09:13 AM      Profile for John Thomas   Email John Thomas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If the black border was of equal size around all sides it could just be a failing zoom motor on the lens or the wrong lens was specified for the screen.

Some systems will allow you to go further on the lens motors during alignment but will fail to hit that point again when the macro is actually activated, so it could have just been a hasty alignment.

If the physical masking was in bad shape the technician may have opted to float the image for clean borders until repairs are made.

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Chris Haller
Film Handler

Posts: 62
From: Rochester, NY, USA
Registered: Dec 2015


 - posted 08-06-2019 05:07 PM      Profile for Chris Haller   Email Chris Haller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I saw the film in windowboxed format as well - a quick conversation with the manager of the Cinemark location I saw the film at revealed that the lens couldn't zoom properly due to a failed mechanic, and that they picked window boxing over total compromise. A safe choice, of course. He also told me the new piece is sitting in the office, waiting to be installed.

Awesome.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 4200
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 08-06-2019 07:07 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
True or not, that is by far the better story to tell than 'this is how the movie was formatted'...

- Carsten

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Sam King
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 120
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Oct 2006


 - posted 08-06-2019 10:51 PM      Profile for Sam King   Email Sam King   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can recall ONLY ONCE where a director wanted significant black bars on all 4 sides... James Cameron with regards to AVATAR in 15/70mm GT locations, AKA *REAL* IMAX Theatres. He felt to fill would overwhelm the audience in these venues and distract from the film/story. Cameron was presented by DKP (David personally) with several different window sizes and watched them at my location and picked one of the middle ones and that's how the 15/70 prints were struck.

I actually had a supposedly know-it-all guest attempt to explain down to me how we were "zooming incorrectly/zooming out." I attempted to explain the whole thing, but he wouldn't have. I think he just wanted to show off to his girlfriend.

Obviously this was a very rare circumstance, and the OP's situation was indeed another example of how at many or most cinemas, no one under the roof during busy times has any clue how Digital Cinema works, how to solve *simple* issues like this, or even how to properly field a guest concern regarding presentation. Very sad, please write to corporate with an emphasis on ULTA-BASIC projection training for all the duty managers. It's the least than can be done, surely?

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1051
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 08-08-2019 09:22 AM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So far, no survey, so I'm going to contact them.

It wasn't a big enough deal to miss part of the movie for (thankfully, given the response I got), but to me, the bigger issue is the lack of concern by the staff to verify the problem I was reporting, and then to give a BS response when pressed.

When a person is paying $13 for a matinee ticket (yeah, matinee), they should get better than this.

Unfortunately, there's not enough competition in the area to force change through choosing alternatives. It just reinforces the idea that waiting for the home video release is a better way to go. That doesn't help the industry at all.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10858
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 08-08-2019 09:53 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can't make any logical sense of theater staff allowing a movie to be shown window-boxed. Normally a crew that gives at least a tinker's damn about presentation quality would take some steps to fix the problem.

Watching a movie in a window-boxed manner is WORSE than watching the movie on TV screen at home. At least the damned retail Blu-ray or legit streaming version is going to be formatted correctly with just one dimension of letter-boxing. The window-boxed crap is like watching a really bad YouTube video on a computer screen. Somebody takes something originally shot in HD, but only has a SD source with the original 16x9 image letter-boxed, then he uploads that in a pillar-boxed HD container. Just utter crap. It seems like the same shit is going on in this theater.

Maybe the staff at this theater is accustomed to watching window-boxed YouTube videos on their notebooks and mobile phones. Maybe that's what passes for normal presentation quality these days.

If I ever want to watch a movie horribly window-boxed in that manner I'll just pop in an old non-anamorphic DVD of True Lies or The Abyss for nails-on-a-chalkboard viewing displeasure. The Abyss turns 30 years old tomorrow, August 9. Yet James Cameron can't take a break from scuba diving or messing with Avatar sequels long enough to The Abyss or True Lies to be viewed on modern TV sets without looking like extremely low quality, poorly uploaded YouTube videos.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5255
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-08-2019 10:16 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It doesn't seem to bother exhibitors when their presentations are common width and there are black bars on top and bottom of the image...why would it bother them if there are black bars around the entire perimeter? Clearly screen masking has become somewhat superfluous.

Didn't Disney do something like that with their 3D titles -- have the image smaller than the screen so they could enhance stuff that they wanted to appear in front of the screen, to not touch the screen frame which destroys the 3D illusion?

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 4200
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 08-08-2019 02:50 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, floating windows in 3D. Not to mention various recent 2.0:1 and 2.2:1 releases that are meant to be played in flat. Well, at least only ONE pair of bars...

By the way - the german DCP of M.I.B. - International was marked straight 'F' for flat - but it had black bars on top and bottom and was in fact something around 1.9 or 2.0:1 - how was that in the US?

I do have 2.0:1 and 2.2:1 presets, but I would prefer at least to see that indicated in the CPL name or accompanying letter...

- Carsten

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1506
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 08-08-2019 06:27 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And this is a huge reason why I haven't gone to theaters much since the advent of digital- the scope format is a joke, working the same way as it does on video. The native frame should have been 2.35, or it should have still used anamorphic lenses like film. This along with the dominance of common-width screens, many without even any masking, has reduced the experience to the same as I can get at home.

I have True Lies on D-VHS by the way [Smile]

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