One Last Point: At the movies

Written by Jef Hatch, Pilot staff writer April 30, 2013 08:38 pm

I was lucky enough to spend time at Redwood Theater as Justin from American Cinema was installing the new all-digital projection units.

Being a tech geek (in addition to other kinds of geek) I was truly enthralled by the equipment and even more importantly as a cinephile I was awed by the quality of the sights and sounds.

The movie “Oblivion” was running as Justin made final adjustments to the projector and they made sure all the components were communicating. It was beautiful.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with digital.

I love it because it has the capability to provide the highest possible quality to the end user.

I hate it because so many people don’t know how to set up, calibrate, and use their digital equipment that the end result looks like garbage.

In the hands of a trained technician — or even someone who takes the time to read and follow the manual -— a digital projector or television will absolutely sing.

In the hands of a novice — who probably threw the manual away right after they opened the box — the image becomes blown out and over-sharp.

The adage “more is better” is not always true with regard to the digital world. The point of sharpening is to make an image as sharp as the human eye can comprehend without making it look fake. No more, no less.

The other plus to digital is that the sound can come through uncompressed. I’ve watched my fair share of movies on Redwood’s two screens and as I sat through the digital premiere of “Oblivion” on Thursday night I kept looking behind me to see what was going on at the back of the theater. 

Turns out, I was just hearing the sounds that had been lost in the analog-to-digital translation that is inherent with film. It was amazing. 

If you’ve not been to the movies in a while, now is the time to go; if you’ve been lately, it’s time to go again.

One tidbit I was able to pry out of Justin with regard to movie watching was the best place to sit in the theater for the ultimate experience.

And no, I won’t share. You’ll just have to look for me at the movies.