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That same old question...

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Eric Santiago
That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 1:44:51 pm

It seems to pop up every so often here and other apps.
How do you folks deal with projectors and media players?
I get to see my work maybe once or twice a year in public venues so experience is lacking there.
Last night I was cringing at the codec crunch of friends short film.
BluRay basically took all the darks and red and made it into a washed out in/out 8bit looking POS :P
I've had work viewed in this venue before and they just recently upgraded the projector.
I know nothing will ever look as good as my Eizo but man I have yet to see something look decent using a projector/media player combo.
For this film, the environment was a film noir (genre) and 99% dark with a few solid moments where skin tones looked amazing.
Set in a seedy motel with a giant red gelled spot acting as the annoying on and off signage.
That is where the hell starts and stops :P
Maybe it was just that but I would have had this 8bit looking nightmare bite me in the but with other types of projects.
Anyways just wondering how you folks deal with this.
Almost need a support group for this kind of thing :)


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 2:25:37 pm

Life's too short to start caring about things you have no power over. If I could work with a venue to make sure that things are even semi-in order then yeah. Otherwise: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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Eric Santiago
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 2:40:22 pm

So true Tero.
For last nights event, I supplied the client two BDs (original grade and one with a 1.19 GAIN bump) and a laptop with the same files but both ProRes444 and H264.
They tested all of them (hopefully) but went with the BD.
I had no control after supplying them the media.


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Bob Cole
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 3:17:13 pm

Tested all of them?

No... My guess: They tried the easiest one first, and when it played, they went with that.

Bob C


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Joseph Owens
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 3:22:32 pm

Projection in a commercial-run theatre or...?

jPo, CSI

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Eric Santiago
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 5:47:56 pm

[Joseph Owens] "Projection in a commercial-run theatre or...?"

Some event centre that accommodates live acts as well as film festivals.

Bob your on the nose with that one.
I didn't hear any complaints but I was cringing all night watching it :P


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Bob Cole
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 8:15:01 pm

[Eric Santiago] "I was cringing all night watching it :P"

I can relate.

Back in the days of 2" tape... I had a documentary premiering on the local PBS station prior to a national airing. The capstan on the tape machine was out of whack, so every music cue sounded like... well, it sounded just horrible, wowing in and out, mostly out, of pitch.

I called the station in a panic after the first five minutes -- but they couldn't fix it.

The composer of the score (who eventually won an Emmy for the piece) was so distraught during the broadcast that he considered throwing himself out of the window. But since he lived on the first floor of the apartment building, he didn't.

I'll never forget it.

Bob C


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Shane Ross
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 7:32:51 pm

1) Fiddle with the projector. Go in early, put the film on...and see if you are allowed to adjust things so that the film can be seen better. Mark down all the settings so you can go back to them, but hopefully you'll be allowed to tweak things. But that would be rare...

2) Make a version that would be ONLY for that projector...if it's dark, then export a version that's lighter...and test it (if you can).

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michael Gissing
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 27, 2018 at 10:40:45 pm
Last Edited By Michael Gissing on Aug 27, 2018 at 10:49:23 pm

The answer is to not go to screening in uncontrolled spaces. I have found so much atrociousness in commercial cinemas let alone convention halls. I honestly just can't attend many screening because of that.

I use my laptop and a proven projector to run a short film festival in my little rural town. At a recent screening the film makers said it had looked better than almost every venue they had screened at and much closer to the original.

The secret is to get into the projector menus and turn all the useless features off. Get the contrast and brightness balanced and focus the lens. I have no idea how people get to turn on VIVID then try to tweak the gamma settings. They just seem to stumble through the menus hitting random buttons. If you have time you just have to get in and turn everything back to a normal setting and then go from there.


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Eric Santiago
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 28, 2018 at 1:15:09 pm

So glad to see that I am not alone when it comes to this part of the process.
Saw my first grade at this same venue 2 years ago and vowed never to use them again.
But, the client insisted they got a new projector.
I guess its all apples and oranges due to the nature of the film.
Most recent was film noir so all dark and moody.

Thanks, everyone for the digital therapy ;)


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James Culbertson
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 28, 2018 at 6:48:46 pm

In certain circumstances I have used DT Videolabs - PlaybackPro on a fast laptop, or dedicated server, with ProRes masters to avoid compression issues. Though in many cases a good H.264 compression is virtually identical (using a difference test). I usually only see more subtle desaturation in highly saturated colors (more in animation than in traditional films).

Blacks and white values, and other such issues appear to be almost entirely theater system issues. Particularly because BluRay playback seems to be an after thought tacked on to their main DCP playback systems in some cases. Our local theater has a little consumer BluRay player as one example.

Even if you are using H.264 files, if you need to stop and start for any reason, this kind of playback is much more reliable than BluRay from the discussion I have had with people who run large corporate presentations regularly.


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Eric Santiago
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 29, 2018 at 2:52:44 am

[James Culbertson] "In certain circumstances I have used DT Videolabs - PlaybackPro on a fast laptop, or dedicated server, with ProRes masters to avoid compression issues. "

I have had great success just using VLC with ProRes444 files on an MPB.

Just wish I had final say that night.

I def won't let this happen again.


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Michael Gissing
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 29, 2018 at 3:55:11 am

[Eric Santiago] "I have had great success just using VLC with ProRes444 files on an MPB."

Personally I would not choose ProRes4444 as a playback codec. I have had numerous issues over the years with gamma not quite right with this codec in a .mov wrapper. Total overkill unless you must have an alpha. DCPs typically use jpeg2000 at around 125-160 which is more like ProRes 422. No point in making it difficult for your laptop and potentially introducing gamma shifts.


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Eric Santiago
Re: That same old question...
on Aug 29, 2018 at 1:55:34 pm

[Michael Gissing] "Personally I would not choose ProRes4444 as a playback codec"

That was off the cuff.
For safety, I mostly play h264 and as high as ProRes422.
I was just throwing it out there that I don't have issues playing back the 444 wrapper.
I did get to see something of mine on DCP.
It was a doc shot with DSLRs but would rather see the work I do with my RED :)


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