Movie Studios Struggle With Digital Screenings

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“When you shoot a movie digitally,” Kennedy told Daily Variety later, “you’re dependent on those projectors being calibrated perfectly and everything working perfectly. Even the condition of the screen is important.”

Story in Variety (here).

There Are 4 Comments On This Article.

  1. Interesting in that this is a similar issue with print matching and stock imagery on line. This is where icc profiles come in to help. I think owning and “buying into” the equipment/process and not renting may help smooth these known issues down the line. I’m not sure why digital is blamed in the Che movie with the subtitles issue. That seems like simple human error and I’m sure we have all experienced that while sitting in a movie theater.

  2. Yikes. I have dealt with this before, and it sucks, to say the least. I shot an independent movie a couple years ago, and we decided to do it all digital. I spent hours and hours getting up to speed on shooting in a digital format, finessed every little nuance I could, and was quite happy with the final result, regardless of digital’s limitations. Then we get into a bunch of film festivals. I fly out to California for one, so excited to see it on the big screen, and it looks like absolute…shit. Color is off, contrast is flat, etc. What a let down.
    But hey, it looked great on my cinema display. It’s the same problem with stills, right? How many of you have been in a meeting with potential clients, art buyers, art directors, etc, and you want to show them some images you have online, and they pull it up on a laptop and when you see it, your heart just sinks. It looks nothing like it does on your system, regardless of icc profiles.
    It is easily the most frustrating thing about photography for me.

  3. I work in the Visual Effects industry for film and have seen far more problems with film then digital. A recent example was seeing Wall-e, I had a chance to attend a special digital screening early and the picture was stunning, crisp and stable. Then I took the girlfriend to the top theatre in town when it opened and they had a film print of it. the picture was soft and lacked contrast and the film gate definitely had a jitter to it. When we came out of the theatre and were riding the escalator out, they had the trailer playing on a series of 60″ HD plasma screens and my girlfriend said to me, “wow, that looks great, is that what it’s meant to look like?”

    Digital can have it’s problems if you don’t profile properly but not nearly as bad as film with it’s non linear gamma curves and the fact that labs are always a couple of percent off in some direction. And a digital “print” is always first generation.

    When the food court tv’s look better then big screen you have to say that film releases have had their day.

  4. James has got it… very true. It’s all about profiles. Damon’s film was probably shown on in inferior projector meant for a concert or boardroom… the Christie digital projects are intense… I have yet to see a bad projection.