Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Texas Instruments Predicts All-Digital Projection by 2015
During my first ten years living in San Diego, I could count on two hands the number of times a visit had to be made to the box office to complain about projection problems. More and more it's been my displeasure of late to pull double duty as both spectator and lobby-lobbyist, persuading the manager to get the picture in focus.
According to the L.A. Times, the the Dallas-based Texas Instruments, "said that the number of its DLP digital projectors installed around the globe had reached 51,620 screens, an 84% increase over the last 12 months."
See it without glasses!
The news that traditional movie projectors will go the way of antique farm equipment by the year 2015 should be a cause for celebration. In a perfect world, digital projection promises brighter, scratch-free, and much sharper image quality. Sadly, I see a lot of movies as AMC's Fashion and Mission Valley Theatres where their commitment to selling popcorn far outranks any obligation to providing spotless presentation.
Tuesday began at Fashion Valley with a uniformly soft-focus presentation of one of this year's hotly anticipated Christmas movies. That evening's treat was another holiday blockbuster presented in crisp focus at Mission Valley. Unfortunately, the doofs forgot to turn off an overhead work-light that took an hour to slowly fade to black. On the bright side, the skylight-effect made for more legible notes.
If digital is inevitable, I am trying my damndest to sit back and enjoy it. I didn't leave my seat to complain about either of yesterday's infractions. What's the point? There's no focus knob on a Sony 4K projector. Unless theatre chains properly calibrate these newfangled picture-showing devices (and train their staff on how to use them), it appears as if my time in the lobby will exceed that spent in a stadium seat.
Here is what I ask that you do. Pack your cellphone each time you go to the movies. That's right, I am encouraging my readers to bring electronic devices into a movie theatre auditorium. Make sure that you have the direct line to the box office programmed into your phone. If something should go wrong on screen, call the manager and say, "Hello. I'm in bunker #14 and half the picture is playing on the wall. I don't feel like getting out of my chair. Would you be a pal and send someone up to the booth to patch things up?"
Give it seven minutes, and if the problem isn't rectified ask for a refund of the ticket price and the money you dropped on snacks intended to be consumed during the movie. A pair of passes would also be a nice parting gift.
More like this:
- Help save drive-in theatres as 'ozoners' celebrate their 80th birthday — Aug. 21, 2013
- Digital Gym open for business — April 9, 2013
- The Best Movie Theater in San Diego Just Got Better — July 6, 2012
- Dig a Hole: The 35mm Movie Camera (1888-2011) — Oct. 14, 2011
- An Open Letter to Gerry Lopez, CEO and President AMC Entertainment — June 8, 2011