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Author Topic: 'Avatar' presentation formats
Adrian Winchester
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 - posted January 15, 2010 11:41 AM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I read that 'Avatar' was initially only going to be released in digital format, but of course it ended up getting a 2-D 35mm release as well as a digital 3D release. I was surprised to see these formats indicated on the IMDB:
1.78 : 1 (2K 3-D Version)
1.78 : 1 (IMAX 3-D version)
2.35 : 1 (2-D version)

I saw it in (non-Imax) 3D and I thought the picture was wider than 1.78:1, so I wondered if the above is correct? I'd also be grateful if anyone could enlighten me on the following points:

Are the Imax screenings all 70mm Imax, or could some be digital Imax? The footage and and cost of an 70mm Imax print must be staggering!

I note that there are apparently no 35mm 3D prints, but am I right in thinking that some modern 3D films have been presented in 35mm, even though few cinemas are suitably equipped?

[Incidentally, I thought that it's a great film, but I DON'T want this thread to be a debate on the merits of the film!]

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Adrian Winchester

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Damien Taylor
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 - posted January 15, 2010 08:32 PM      Profile for Damien Taylor   Email Damien Taylor   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
35mm 3D is unfortunately pretty much a dead format that requires a large investment in either special lenses or synched double projectors that noone is wiling to make. Likewise the distributors aren't really interested in making 3D prints anymore. It is unfortunate but the effect is much simpler and cheaper on a digital projector.

FWIW we had the regular old 35mm print.

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Robert Wales
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 - posted January 15, 2010 08:59 PM      Profile for Robert Wales   Email Robert Wales   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
James Cameron has prepared several versions of Avatar in differing aspect ratios in order to get the largest screen presentation possible for each specific venue.

All of the Imax runs are 1:78 ratio. There are both digital 3D Imax and film-based 3D Imax versions in circulation depending on the location. Imax is the only format that has 3D film prints available.

Digital 3D versions are available in both 1:78 and 2:35 ratios. Fox went to great trouble to try and match the proper digital 3D versions to the auditoriums they are booked to play in. Older locations with fixed height masking ( meaning the side masking opens wider for 2:35 projection than for 1:85) , received the 'scope' 3D version. Many of the newer locations built in the last decade have wall-to-wall screens which raise the top masking to present 1:85 and lower the masking for scope. The side masking never moves . This gives the rather odd result of a "flat' picture that is actually bigger than the scope picture. These locations should have received a 1:78 version similar to the Imax ratio.

Standard 35mm prints are all 2:35 and 2D.

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Brad Miller
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 - posted January 15, 2010 11:24 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Lots of information that is semi-correct here, but not accurate.

#1 2D 35mm film 2.39 scope
#2 3D IMAX 1.85 flat
#3 2D digital 1.85 flat
#4 2D digital 2.39 scope
#5 3D digital 1.85 flat ghostbusted (Real-D system)
#6 3D digital 2.39 scope ghostbusted
#7 3D digital 1.85 flat non-ghostbusted (Dolby and other systems)
#8 3D digital 2.39 scope non-ghostbusted

Poorly designed theaters with common width masking got 1.85 ratio files.

Properly designed theaters with common height masking got 2.39 ratio files.

There were no 1.78 or 2.35 versions.

You saw it in a properly designed theater.

Technicolor is releasing a 35mm over/under 3D system the first of this year. Look for it in March.

[...and yes the movie sucked. [Razz] ]

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Damien Taylor
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 - posted January 15, 2010 11:34 PM      Profile for Damien Taylor   Email Damien Taylor   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Disregard this post, I just read the FT thread.

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Robert Wales
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 - posted January 16, 2010 01:56 PM      Profile for Robert Wales   Email Robert Wales   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry Brad, but I received a call directly from my contact at Imax advising me of the exact aspect ratio of the Imax presentation ( for a film-based location ) We were told to expect slight black bars at both sides of the picture which would not extend to the full width of the screen because of the 1:78 ratio.

I'd certainly be interested if you had any knowledge that my very trustworthy contact was calling with incorrect information. Over the years you learn who knows what they are talking about in the film business and this guy has been one of the good ones.

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Brad Miller
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 - posted January 16, 2010 03:36 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
IMAX is weird (and currently going to the shitter), so it is possible they did 1.78. When I asked the lab a few weeks back, that is the list they gave me.

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Thomas Murin, Jr.
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 - posted January 16, 2010 04:20 PM      Profile for Thomas Murin, Jr.   Author's Homepage   Email Thomas Murin, Jr.   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Brad, our theater has a 2D 2.35:1 print. That is the aspect ratio listed on the paperwork that came with the print. None of our 10 screens are wider than 2.35:1.

However, ALL Scope prints are native 2.39:1 but most directors frame for 2.35:1 or, increasingly, 1.78:1 in the 2.35:1 frame.

James Cameron has never shot a film with anamorphic lenses, preferring the Super 35 process to allow for better film to video transfers. Therefore, his movies can have any number of aspect ratios. Except for Piranah 2, The Terminator and Aliens all of whch are 1.85:1.

Thing is, all of the ratios attributed to Avatar are correct. There is no one "preferred" ratio. I would guess the 3-D version works best in 1.85:1 as it would fill more of your field of vision. While 2.35:1 would work best for 2D giving a more epic look and feel for the "flat" version.

--------------------
My crummy Deviant Art account. Read my poetic tribute to the internet comic strip Ozy & Millie and view my crappy attempts at art.

http://cougartiger.deviantart.com/

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Brad Miller
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 - posted January 16, 2010 07:06 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Humans see more width than they do height. The scope versions are the best and preferred version. Cameron only made the 1.85 versions due to the recent increase of "top masking" multiplex theaters so they would have a reasonable sized image.

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Adrian Winchester
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 - posted January 18, 2010 06:49 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Many thanks for the contributions - very interesting. And I had not heard about Technicolor's new 35mm 3D system; anyone else who wants to learn more might like to read this:
http://celluloidjunkie.com/2009/09/17/technicolor-goes-3d-with-film-based-system/

I suppose that projecting 35mm via one projector will raise questions regarding the amount of light output, but at least according to one of the guys commenting at the bottom of the article, that's already an issue with regard to digital 3D.

If we're soon about to have the chance to see new 3D films on 35mm, I wondered if anyone can remember the last new release on 35mm to use polarised 3D (via two projectors)

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Adrian Winchester

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Claus Harding
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 - posted January 18, 2010 08:17 PM      Profile for Claus Harding   Email Claus Harding   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Adrian,
Two projectors, no. The closest I can get is the awful "Comin' at Ya" in over/under (single projector) 35mm, with Polaroid glasses. I actually bought a ticket to see that.... [Roll Eyes]

Claus.

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"Why are there shots of deserts in a scene that's supposed to take place in Belgium during the winter?" (Review of 'Battle of the Bulge'.)

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Patrick Walsh
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 - posted January 18, 2010 09:05 PM      Profile for Patrick Walsh   Email Patrick Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I saw ANDY WARHOL'S THE FLESH OF FRANKENSTEIN in the single 35mm under/over system.
I also saw and ran SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL and that was in a different system again but I cant remember what it is called but it was the same system that my super 8 3D films are in.
Pat

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Adrian Winchester
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 - posted January 18, 2010 11:07 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was forgetting that the 35mm 3D of the 1980s was the over/under system. As I suppose this was basically the same as Technicolor's 'new' system, I wonder how this one differs from the 1980s type?

Patrick - the type with the res/green glasses is anaglyph 3D.

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Adrian Winchester

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Patrick Walsh
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 - posted January 19, 2010 01:20 AM      Profile for Patrick Walsh   Email Patrick Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Adrian Yep thats the system anaglyph 3D.
I rememebr the SHARKBOY AND LAVA GIRL had a strange brown tint to it when watching it with the glasses on.

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Graham Ritchie
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 - posted January 19, 2010 01:59 PM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Pat
Were you with us during a very busy school holidays when the downstairs staff put all the people in the wrong cinemas the kids were watching "Wallace and Grommet" with those stuped 3D glasses [Cool] and the kids in "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" with none [Roll Eyes] . Its amazing no one complained we were at least 10-15 minutes into it until I picked up the mistake from the projection room. I remember reading the riot act to one staff member over that one. I think one day I am going to write a book on my ten years worth of working in a cinema... might even make a movie [Eek!]

Graham [Smile]

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Patrick Walsh
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 - posted January 19, 2010 04:47 PM      Profile for Patrick Walsh   Email Patrick Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Graham
No I was working at Readings when the film came out, Did not to very well patron wise.
Yes I always thought a day time soap opera about the movie theatre business would do very well.
"Like film through the projector, so are the days of our cinema" [Big Grin]
Pat

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Bill Brandenstein
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 - posted January 20, 2010 01:09 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Brad, for the technologically uninformed such as me, please explain the "ghostbusting" you referred to in some of the digital formats. Thanks in advance!

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Stewart John Boyle
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 - posted January 20, 2010 01:26 PM      Profile for Stewart John Boyle   Email Stewart John Boyle   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bill,click the link below,its a bit long winded but should clear up your question of Brad.
Regards
Stewart

http://www.digitalcinemareport.com/Dolby-digital-3D-servers-playback-glasses-screens

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I`ve, seen things you people wouldn`t believe,

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Adrian Winchester
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 - posted January 20, 2010 04:17 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Must say that the more I read, the more confusing this all seems to get! I've read the above article and if I've understood it correctly, Dolby are developing a non-polarised digital 3D system, partly to avoid the need for a silver screen.
But I thought that polarised was now the type that the industry was more or less settled on, and I thought I saw Avatar in polarised 3D on a white screen.

So, are some digital projectors bright enough to make a silver screen unecessary, and is it likely that whatever Dolby are offering will catch on? Surely, there's no way that cinemas will be willing to switch from one type of digital 3D to another, bringing out different types of glasses for different films. Or have I misunderstood something?

--------------------
Adrian Winchester

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Bill Brandenstein
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 - posted January 21, 2010 10:42 AM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good reading, Stewart, thank you for the link.

Now that I understand what it is, the article doesn't explain:
1) How Dolby does non-polarized 3D. Is it a variation of red-cyan anaglyph? If not, why would color correction be necessary?
2) How ghost busting is actually achieved without destroying picture contrast.

Anyone?

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Stewart John Boyle
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 - posted January 21, 2010 11:07 AM      Profile for Stewart John Boyle   Email Stewart John Boyle   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Bill,
Rather than me use up forum space explaining one of your questions, try this link Bill.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_3D

 -

As for your second question,its outside of my feild of expertise,sorry,perhaps another forum member can fill in the blanks [Smile]
Just noticed at the bottom of the wiki article at External links,the article on "Interference Filters" sort of explains your contrast question.
Regards
Stewart

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I`ve, seen things you people wouldn`t believe,

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Adrian Winchester
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 - posted January 22, 2010 07:35 AM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As I thought I'd seen 'Avatar' in polarised 3D at the Barbican Cinema, but on a white screen, I contacted the cinema to ask if I was correct that the screen was white. I received this reply:
"We do not have a silver screen, we have a normal cinema screen that is used for 2D screenings. Unlike other 3D systems at other cinemas the 3D effect is produced only by the 3D glasses. You may have noticed that they are heavier than other 3D glasses and this is because they contain a signal receptor that creates a flickering effect in the lens which makes the images appear 3D."

Although I wouldn't say that the image I saw was too dim, this reply puzzled me because there's no doubt that the amount of light lost using the glasses was considerable - possibly more than would apply to polarised glasses. Does anyone know if the projected image I saw would have been the same as in a cinema using polarised glasses, or is there yet another version in circulation?

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Adrian Winchester

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Joerg Polzfusz
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 - posted January 22, 2010 08:08 AM      Profile for Joerg Polzfusz   Author's Homepage   Email Joerg Polzfusz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi,

sounds like "shutter glasses" to me. If so, they're probably using the same mechanism as the "Imax3D with shutter glasses" (doesn't matter whether the source is real film or some digital mumbojumbo): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMAX#IMAX_3D

As the polarizing glasses also causes some light-loss...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RealD_3D#Viewing_comfort
... I guess that the only difference would have been caused by the screen - and a silver screen is brighter than a white one...

Jörg

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Bill Brandenstein
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 - posted January 22, 2010 08:03 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If I'm to understand this correctly, then no Imax presentation of Avatar actually uses film, nor any of the 3-D versions? Last time I was in a theater recently I stuck my head in the Imax room for a few seconds, and it was obviously digital, and in a newly "retrofitted" theater that had never had Imax before. The screen was about 1.85:1 (with a little black on the edges) and smaller than any Imax screen I've ever seen before, though still impressive in size. But if you compare it to the classic museum Imaxes, or Disney's California Adventure "Soaring Over California," there is clearly no comparison. I'm sure that was Brad's point.

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Adrian Winchester
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From: Croydon, London, UK
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 - posted January 23, 2010 10:35 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bill - I've been trying to establish the facts concerning this too. Following numerous searches, as I understand it: You can see the film in 3D on film (i.e. 70mm '15-70' film) if you see it at a proper Imax cinema. The type of screen you refer to adds to the confusion, due to the dubious use of the name 'Imax' in relation to screens that may be larger than most cinema screens, but are very small compared to a 'genuine' Imax screen. A lot of people are unhappy about this being misleading, especially as ticket prices are higher. Apparently, the Imax Corporation resisted suggestions that the new inferior form should be called 'Digital Imax' to distinguish it from the superior form.

I've just looked at the Imax Corporation website, including the pages on company history and technology, and the FAQs, and I was unable to find a single clear reference to the use of film in Imax cinemas. I suppose that at a time when the public are being told that digital = new and superior, they don't want to acknowledge that if you want to see the best possible picture in an Imax cinema, you need to find one using film!

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Adrian Winchester

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