Anamorphic Projection in Commercial Cinemas - Zoom or Anam.Lens?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by leeuk321, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. leeuk321

    leeuk321
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    Hey folks, is it just me or do commercial cinemas no longer use anamorphic lenses with their digital projector setups? I've noticed at my local odeon that when the projection goes from the 1:85-flat trailers to the 1:2.4-scope film, it no longer appears to have that flick of an anamorphic lens being used. Instead, the projected image gradually zooms out and the ceiling above the screen lights up, and so my only assumption is that they have an automated lens setting that makes the projector zoom out and refocus, to fill the screen as it goes from flat to scope.

    Is this correct, and if so is this the industry standard for projecting digital scope films? Seems really shoddy. I know digital projection is automated now, and gone (mostly) are the days of projectionists tinkering about with reels and switching lenses, but surely there's still a way to accomodate scope projection properly. Odeon cinemas don't really have dark ceilings to begin with, and so with part of the ceiling lighting up, it sucks away a lot of the perceived contrast. Plus, surely the image would look better if the whole of the lamp was used? Or, is it not an option to use anamorphic lenses now, because of how films are provided to cinemas digitally?
     
  2. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    That's correct for a couple of reasons unfortunately. One is that the chip ratio of the camera and projector are usually around 1.90:1 so different to 35mm film and need less multiplication (1.25 instead of 2x for example), and the other is due to cost and complexity in todays multipexes where the staff aren't trained projectionists so wont have the necessary understanding of how to implement an anamorphic lens. There isn't even any masking in multiplexes these days.

    Understanding Anamorphic Lenses

    Video Aspect Ratios
     
  3. leeuk321

    leeuk321
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    Ahh, that's what I thought. I'm sure that a commercial digital projector could be fashioned (or models exist) whereby the lens is automatically switched to anamorphic. But then, that'd cost more money I imagine so they can't be bothered. And yes, I hate it when masking isn't used in multiplexes. At my local odeon some screens use masking, and some don't. I spoke to the manager about it in passing and he said it's due to 3D, something about some coating being worn out by the masking or something, I'm not sure. It's frustrating, because I think cinemas only care these days about the 'big' things, like getting bums on seats for blockbusters and 3D movies, but completely ignore the small things, like projecting films right, masking, comfortable seats, clean screens, making sure the screen is the right temperature, making sure the volume is right, doing screen checks to make sure people aren't talking, etc. It's like to whole thing is on some lazy autopilot. And then in so many years, when barely anyone goes any more and their losses are adding up, they'll scratch their heads and think "huh, where did we go wrong?". Anyway, time to get off my soapbox.
     
  4. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    The art of presentation has been lost in the vast majority of theatres these days, and most people don't know or care. Most people don't know that 16:9 is a tv compromise standard and that scope should be the largest widest format other than IMAX, but instead complain about the black bars and why doesn't everything fill the tv or screen.

    But it would seem that multiplexes actually brought an increase in revenue to movie theatres (there was a forum article with stats etc) so I guess that's something to be grateful for.
     
  5. Uppsalaing

    Uppsalaing
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    So true... I was surprised to see that the newest multiplex in my area had an unmasked letterboxed screen when showing 2.35... It was like watching a big TV...

    The strange thing is this same multiplex has one of the better IMAX set ups I've seen.

    I've also figured out that most of the multiplexes in my area show properly presented 2.35 ratio movies in their larger screens. So I tend to go to those when possible.
     
  6. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Same with my local multiplex - one CIH scope screen, and 9 16:9 'Big TVs'. If I go there (very rarely these days), I'll go to the scope screen wherever possible and always sit in the same place if possible. Otherwise I'll wait for the BD and watch it at home which is overall a better experience.

    As an aside, I think I'm going to be using my old anamorphic lens and scaling everything again as the image still looks better that way, even with fauK.
     
  7. jfinnie

    jfinnie
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    We're quite lucky to have a local Picture House which does mask properly.
    Even worse than the video sins though - I've not yet been in a multiplex screen that can play the Atmos trailer without sounding like the whole place is rattling to bits - and not in a good way.
    Really makes me begrudge every time the lad wants me to treat him to the latest feature that he has to see now...

    For what it is worth, I don't think there is really any tangible benefit to them using an A-lens over zooming - it is bright enough, and you can't see the pixels from where you're sitting, so what would be the point? Really the concern is whether they mask properly or not.
     

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