Director Ang Lee isn't just an accomplished and talented director of people in his movies. He's also a big fan of the technology used to bring those movies to life. Both of his last two movies, Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk, and the just in theaters, Gemini Man, have pushed the envelope of what is possible from a film production standpoint. Unfortunately, it looks like Gemini Man may have pushed things a little too far, as apparently no theater in America can actually show the movie in the way Ang Lee shot it.
To see Gemini Man the way Ang Lee wants you to see Gemini Man, you'll need to view the film at 4K resolution,at 120 frames-per-second, and in 3D. Seeing the movie in 3D is, of course, no big deal, most theaters have that capability today, but both of the other two are hurdles. There are only a handful of theaters in America capable of showing the movie at 120 frames-per-second, and none capable of showing the movie in 4K 3D.
The question is, if you can't see the movie the way you're "supposed" to see it, will that potentially keep people away. If we're all forced to deal with a less than optimal viewing experience, how many people will just skip that experience entirely?
If you see the movie today in HFR (high frame rate) in the U.S. you're watching the movie at 60 frames-per-second. Still well above the normal 24 frames-per-second of film, but half of the 120 that Ang Lee shot the movie in. Here (via Polygon) is the full list of 120 frames-per-second capable theaters in the U.S., meaning you can see the movie almost as Lee wants, simply at 2K resolution rather than 4K.
There was apparently, a single showing of Gemini Man in the US that was able to use the full spec. The World Premiere of Gemini Man at the TCL Chinese Theater brought in a special projection system, but apparently the facility didn't get to keep it.
There will be a few theaters in Asia capable of seeing the movie at full spec, but those are the only places in the world where it will be possible.
4K movie theaters are actually fairly common, the problem comes when you add 3D into the mix. Since you're dealing with two images to create the 3D efffect, and both need to be in 4K resolution, you need a projector capable of 8K resolution and 3D in order to create a 4K 3D image. Oh, and it also needs to be able to produce more than four times the standard number of frames per second to make Ang Lee happy.
As somebody who recently saw the 60-frames-per-second, 3D, 2K version of Gemini Man, I can certainly vouch that you're getting a very different viewing experience then you would get with a standard screening. At the same time, I'm certainly curious what the full spec version, or even the 120 frames version, would look like.
How do you feel about seeing Gemini Man at a sub-optimal resolution or frame rate? Let us know in the poll below.
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