Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Roger Ebert on What’s Wrong With Projectors

posted by Nell Minow

Studios spend tens of millions of dollars to get the best equipment to photograph and record the most beautiful performers wearing the most gorgeous clothes in the most spectacular settings.  And then we go to see them in a movie theater with the wrong lens on the projector, badly focused, and an inadequate bulb.

Roger Ebert writes:

Do you remember what a movie should look like? Do you notice when one doesn’t look right? Do you feel the vague sense that something is missing? I do. I know in my bones how a movie should look. I have been trained by the best projection in the world, at film festivals and in expert screening rooms. When I see a film that looks wrong, I want to get up and complain to the manager and ask that the projectionist be informed. But these days the projectionist is tending a dozen digital projectors, and I will be told, “That’s how it’s supposed to look. It came that way from the studio.”


He explains that some theaters are showing 2D movies through a 3D lens, which dims the image as much as 50 percent, even up to 85 percent in some cases.

If you are concerned about this, write to the National Association of Theater

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment David Crowley

    You know, I have never thought about it, but you are right.

    I often notice the difference between the two local theaters here. I don’t know if i can use names on your blog, but lets say one has a Crown and they for some reason always seem to have dim movies… I bet they are using the wrong lens.

    I watched Thor at the “other” theater (same name as a channel that shows classic movies on tv) and was blown away. Took the wife to see it at the “Crown” theater and it was muddy. Not the same experience. I comforted myself thinking that maybe it was just because i had already seen it that maybe the “excitement” of not knowing what was going to happen made it better.

    This was a really informative post. Normally I think the big movie critics come across as snooty, but this was right on the nose. :)

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, David, and name away!

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