Modern cinema screens - back to 1:78

jagdeepp

Banned
Ok, watched The Dark Knight Rises at the Odeon in Maidenhead on Saturday.

It was playing in screen 1. The largest screen available. I got a premier seat which cost an additional couple of £.

Ok, sit down, ad's play. I note the screen is the full width of the wall. Absolutely huge! Lights go down and the main feature begins.... and i see...black bars top and bottom

Shock horror. They weren't black. The bars were a muddy grey. Putrid. The film begins and the colours are totally and completely washed out.. So much so that i spend the first 10 mins in horror appalled at the quality of the image. Why the bars!? Why not scope it up?

Ok. 2hrs 40mins of poor image later and i walked out telling my friend i'd have been better waiting for a blu ray release to watch it at home on my own big screen! I mean honestly, is this what i now pay £10+ a ticket for?

Granted it was a 8000 HD digital image. It was clearer yes.. Sharper... yes but completely milky and dull with no vibrance or punch. So very dissapointed.

I've been in touch with the manager and he's emailed a response to my question as to why a scope film is presented on a 1.85:1 screen. The response is recorded below:


I was disappointed to read you comments and apologise that you did not enjoy your visit. I have discussed your email with my Technical Manager All of our screens here at Maidenhead are set up so full screen is 1.85:1 (Flat) so any scope picture will have borders at the top and bottom. This is the largest picture we can get. We have both checked all of the setting's and colours on all showings of The Dark Knight Rises. We have checked all screens that are showing The Dark Knight and have come to the conclusion that this is how the film was shot and the we are showing it to the exact settings required by the director.


Oh really? I mean, why? Are films now being shot in 1.85:1 moreso than 2.35:1 to justify the bigger image with a compromise that scope films show with black bars?

Here we all are creating masking systems or dwelling over what to do reach a state of home cinema nirvana with velvet fabrics being marketed for the signinficant improvement to the home cinema experience when the big screen itself presents an image that is poor and washed out.

Was The Dark Kinight purposely filmed with poor blacks? I don't think so.

I last watched The Avengers on the big screen at another Odeon. Again, i was not overly impressed at the blacks compartively to what i can achieve at home. I mean, seriously, the black bars on my home set up are very barely noticeable compared to what i've seen at the Odeon.

I just wondered whether the 1.85:1 is the preferred size at most cinemas following the success of family movies and animations which are predominantly presented in 1.85:1

Any views?

I've been given complimentary tickets by the Odeon. A nice gesture.
 

Racquel Darrian

Distinguished Member
Don't moan too much. I watched TDKR at my local Showcase and it was out of focus all the way through.
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
So many cinemas these days just dont care , out of focus screens are the norm , especially in multiplex's.
It was better back in the day when money was actually spent on a projectionist who new what the hell he was doing, these days its rip you off for the ticket price , rip you off for snacks , sit you in front a crap picture and send you on your way.
Then roll out the usual guff when you complain.

I agree , I have a better quality picture at home than most if not all of the cinemas close to me.
 

hippo99

Distinguished Member
I think it's just your cinema.
I just came back from watching TDKR & it filled the whole screen, without black bars.
When I watched Avengers a while back, that had black borders on the left & right due to it being 1:78 as expected.
 

Raine

Active Member
I would thought a person with a decent enuf pj calibrated at home and treated room would match or beat a cinema image in quality. And I would think someone with a JVC pj with velvet coverings would easily beat a cinema projected image in black floor level, mainly due to the fact that the cinema pj is much more brighter and would hv more reflective surfaces in general. But being out of focus is another thing.

And for the record, I watched TDKR in my local cinema and I was actually surprised how good and sharp the pic was. Sure the blacks were a little bit grey if I were to compare with my JVC pj, but still I didn't find it distracting at all. The scope was proper as well.

But then, I've been to cinema were it looks washed out and out of focus. So there's good and bad cinemas tbh.

PS. And it got me thinking. Do I really need inky blacks to be realky immersed and to really enjoy a movie. And the answer is no.
 
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hippo99

Distinguished Member
I think the problem with cinemas is that you never have total darkness.
Any cinema I've been to ALWAYS has quite a few little lights left on overhead, or lit signs pointing to the fire exits.

Neccessary for safety reasons, but not ideal if you want good black levels on screen.
 

Geoff_D

Distinguished Member
True dat. Even at the mighty BFI IMAX (pre-screen refit) the blacks were murky at best. Same for when I saw a 2K digital projection of Hunger Games at the Vue in Croydon, although I do love the sharpness and clarity of digital overall. No flicker, no gate weave, no reel markers (and no jump when the reels change), no dirt, no scratches, nice.

As for the screens themselves, it seems that masking the image to the appropriate ratio has gone the way of the dodo. I guess the thinking is that because we're used to seeing 2.35 with borders at home, it won't make any difference if you watch it that way at the cinema. It removes a little bit of that old-school cinema magic, seeing the screen transform into the intended ratio, but it is what it is.

As jagdeep said, the irony is that constant height is starting to make its way into the home just as cinemas seem to be phasing it out.
 
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I only visited my local Odeon once, many years ago and found the experience so poor, I never went back. It is true that with digital presentations the blacks can suffer. I've never been to a cinema where the screen wasn't masked off properly though. Sounds appalling.

jagdeepp: Good on you that you complained, I believe that one should let managers know when they are doing a poor job.
 

jagdeepp

Banned
As jagdeep said, the irony is that constant height is starting to make its way into the home just as cinemas seem to be phasing it out.

The funny thing is that I've been thinking of going scope to be more 'cinema like'.. Recently i've had the upgrade itch as i wanted my theatre to have high cinematic verisimiltude. Following my findings it seems my current set up is right in there with modern odeon cinemas. 8000 HD? Well, truth be told it was no sharper than my 1080p but of course the 8000HD is perhaps required on a mamouth screen.

I'll be honest, at £10 a pop i won't be rushing to the local odeon in the near future. 2 tickets = £20. Bluray - normally around £15 at Asda upon release. Softdrinks and popcorn plus the fact i can re-watch make it far more worthwhile watching at home. Dare i say i even found the sound quality just 'ok' compared to my current setup with the monolith sub.

Next time i go to the movies i'll be calling up the cinema in advance to enquire whether its
a) got black bars top&bottom or on sides
b) whether the theatre has a scope screen or a 16:9 equivalent
c) whether its just front surrounds
 
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Geoff_D

Distinguished Member
I've never been to a cinema where the screen wasn't masked off properly though. Sounds appalling.
It's a regular occurrence at my local, which was outfitted with Sony 4K projectors a year or so ago. For some reason, the digital makeover = no more masking.
 

Garrett

Moderator
The screens where I go are 2.35:1 and mask for adverts etc and 1:78 films and open up for the 2.35:1
 

sammy the squid

Distinguished Member
In all honesty ive turned into a bit of a cinema snob now. I wont go to the cinema unless the movie i want to watch is presented in the imax format. Mission imposs4, Avengers(went to see this at Liverpool as its an imax digital presentation) Prometheus and the Dark Knight Rises-all presented at the Imax..and even then i'll pre-book a couple of premier seats to make sure im sat virtually to the centre of the screen. I know that the experience there is of a particular standard and one im happy to fork out for. Any other presentations id rather watch at home.

Having watched a film a few years back presented atrociously, the free tickets were pointless as i didnt really want to go back to that cinema and have another perfectly decent film spoiled by the presentation.

My friends did drag me out to see The Raid, i went out for the social do because the presentation, as expected, was a mix of horrendous and disgusting..but like i said, it was expected.

The Dark Knight Rises which i watched at the Manchester Odeon Imax at the Printworks last night was presented to a sublime standard:thumbsup:
 
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QuestShield

Distinguished Member
I have complained to my local cinema a couple of times about poorly calibrated images, out-of-focus, really bad 3D ghosting etc. and they never take any notice so I don't go there any more. The clientele.. not so discerning, happily texting, talking and kicking the seats during a performance..well you're welcome to it.
Saw TDKR and Prometheus 3D on a decent screen and the difference is huge.
 

djpaulc247

Distinguished Member
Manchester BFI Imax

Where is this? I thought the BFI was London and the IMAX in Mancester is at the Odeon at the Printworks? Is there another IMAX in Manchester?
 

sammy the squid

Distinguished Member
Where is this? I thought the BFI was London and the IMAX in Mancester is at the Odeon at the Printworks? Is there another IMAX in Manchester?

Apologies you are correct:smashin: ive just confused myself as the bfi in london is being taken over by odeon!!!
 

PoochJD

Distinguished Member
Hi,

Whereever possible, I only go to see films at my local arthouse three-screen cinema. Cheaper tickets, better (stadium) seating, better service, specific performances where no food can be eaten, and decent projectionists who know how to show a film, and what to do to fix something, if it goes wrong.

Oh, and ushers and management who care what their patrons think about the service customers pay for. :)


Pooch
 

Mark_a

Well-known Member
I've contended for years that, apart from true Imax cinemas, a decent home cinema front projection system hooked to an HD front end of some sort, and projecting onto a big enough quality screen (100" plus) is actually technically better than your local multiplex.

And on top of that the experience is much better as you can control the audience. The one thing you miss is the collective element of being a part of a mass participation - the one reason you'd go to say a football match instead of watching much, much more comfortably at home. However, I'm more than happy to forgo this one element for the greatly increased other benefits, not least of all a better picture and sound and avoiding all the oiks.

Oh and of course the other downside is you have to wait for it to become available. But I'm patient.

Regards

Mark
 

Indiana Jones

Distinguished Member
My local Vue has a mixture of 2:35.1 and 16:9 screens and the last 4 films I watched they put the correct film on the correct screen so no black bars were required but a few months back me and my brother went to see Battleship and they stuck it on a 16:9 screen and not only were there black bars at the top and bottom but for some reason they also shrank the image and put black bars on the left and right, felt like I was watching an old non-anamorphic DVD :(
 

jdevil

Distinguished Member
My local Vue has a mixture of 2:35.1 and 16:9 screens and the last 4 films I watched they put the correct film on the correct screen so no black bars were required but a few months back me and my brother went to see Battleship and they stuck it on a 16:9 screen and not only were there black bars at the top and bottom but for some reason they also shrank the image and put black bars on the left and right, felt like I was watching an old non-anamorphic DVD :(

End of the day the Cinema doesn't decide which films goes into what screen, the distributors decide and they are fully aware of the amount of seats and screen ratio with every screen. We have placed Dark Knight in all our big screen and sadly in our 16:9 screen too.
 

sammy the squid

Distinguished Member
End of the day the Cinema doesn't decide which films goes into what screen, the distributors decide and they are fully aware of the amount of seats and screen ratio with every screen. We have placed Dark Knight in all our big screen and sadly in our 16:9 screen too.

Who are 'we'?
 

jdevil

Distinguished Member
Sorry, I meant that at the site I work (one of the cinema chains in the uk) at 'We have placed Dark Knight in all our big screen and sadly in our 16:9 screen too.'
 

sammy the squid

Distinguished Member
Sorry, I meant that at the site I work (one of the cinema chains in the uk) at 'We have placed Dark Knight in all our big screen and sadly in our 16:9 screen too.'

Lol i know thats what you meant but i was wondering which chain? If you cant say, fair enough:thumbsup:
 

aim-n-shoot

Active Member
I stoped going to cinemas long time ago ... After several bad experances... Now days movies are avalible to watch within months of cinema release... It makes more sense to wait and enjoy fresh pop corn proper coke in silent room... Ahh bliss
 
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KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I saw a pretty decent show of Skyfall at my local Showcase (digital, but shown in 2.40:1 and they properly masked the adverts/trailers before opening up the side masks for the main feature). I'm repeating the experience this weekend at home with visitors (who also saw it at the same cinema).

It'll be interesting to see if I/they enjoy it any more (or less) due to the improved black levels/higher contrast (since there was still some considerable ambient light with the signs and floor lighting and the lower native contrast of the commercial projector).

I couldn't expect my son to have waited until now to see it (since all his friends had been back in October/November) but it's surprising how quickly it's released for home viewing. This is why I generally just wait for films to come out on disc as I have a backlog of films to watch anyway.

I note that since starting this thread Jagdeepp has upgraded to a scope screen, so at least this experience didn't put him off. :smashin:
 

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