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Re: Electronic Cinema



Several years ago, I visited a friend (he was an engineer at a local station 
in Tucson, Arizona), and he and his wife suggested, on a lazy Saturday 
afternoon, that we go see a movie (Waterworld) at one of the local "plex" 
theaters. The theater was fairly full of paying customers, and we sat down to 
begin watching the movie. From the beginning of the feature, I knew something 
was very wrong with the image, as it was soft focus in the middle, and a 
little sharper on the left and right edges. I asked my friends if it was 
bothering them, and they seemed not to notice. But, it was driving me crazy, 
to the point, that I left the theater, and knocked on the door of the 
projection booth, and talked to the youngster projectionist. I calmly 
explained to him that, I felt the image was out of focus, and could he adjust 
it slightly. It took some convincing, but, after about ten minutes, he did 
roll through focus, greatly improving the overall look. It wasn't perfect, 
but it was better, and viewable (finally). The edges were still blurred, but, 
the center part of the screen was much sharper. This continued for the 
duration of the movie.

Which leads me to believe that, if Tucson viewing audiences are considered 
"average" by any means, then the "average" theater goer possibly doesn't know 
what's good or bad in terms of image quality. Perhaps, as in previous 
postings regarding this subject, the viewer may know something is wrong and 
can't describe it, but, in this case, I didn't hear any booing or mass exodus 
because the image was soft focus. Nor was there any applause when I walked 
back in. I've never complained about image quality before or since (too 
passive I guess), but, that time something had to be said. So, when thousands 
of dollars are invested in high definition movie projectors, will anyone 
notice?

DC

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