Movie Theater Projectionists Allowing 3D Projectors To Also Ruin 2D Movies

By Katey Rich 2011-05-23 17:33:22discussion comments
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We're used to seeing 3D movies that seem a little too dim and blaming either lazy studios or projectionists for not bothering to shoot or project the movie bright enough to make up for the darkening 3D glasses. But as it turns out, the problem isn't just limited to the glasses, or even to 3D films. Doing an investigation into Boston area theater chains, Boston Globe critic Ty Burr discovered that the 3D lenses attached to many digital projects for 3D films are staying on for the 2D ones as well, darkening the image by as much as 85%, though the cinemas would never admit to a thing.

In fact, the national exhibition chains like AMC, National Amusements and Regal were so unwilling to say anything that Burr went to an underground source he's calling "Deep Focus," a projectionist who explained the process by which an additional lens is attached to Sony-brand digital projectors in order to accommodate the 3D. The Sony projectors are widespread among American theater chains thanks to a deal the company worked out with many exhibitors, which is why even though projectors made by rival companies Christie and Barco don't require the extra lens, you'll still see the Sony ones everywhere. Burr also has a handy way to keep track of whether or not you're getting screwed seeing a 2D film through a 3D lens. Look up at the projection booth once the film has started; if you see two beams of light on top of each other, they're going through a darkening 3D lens, and if it's just one beam it's a regular lens.

The article itself is well-researched and very much worth your time reading, another example of how movie theaters are failing to keep up with the growing threat of home entertainment through even the simplest personnel efforts. But living in New York, a city where nearly every theater is plagued by bedbugs, rude patrons, terrible sound systems or of course the high ticket prices, I'm not sure if I can even handle adding "fraudulent projection" to the list of things I'm getting upset about. I'll be a moviegoer forever, but every time the chains seem to be blatanly disrespecting their customers like this, I lose a little bit more of that motivation to leave my house in order to see movies.
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