Has 3-D finally flamed out at the movies?
Not yet, but it’s heading for the E.R.!
Seems immediately following James Cameron‘s smash success with AVATAR and its fabulous 3-D imagery, movie studio’s couldn’t jump on the money train fast enough. Problem was—and continues to be—that most of the movies were converted to 3-D after the fact in post production!
Call it Ersatz 3-D or 3-D Lite, but moviegoers began to feel ripped off. Here they were paying hefty 3-D upcharges for something that really wasn’t worth it.
Making matters worse, it’s been alleged that management at certain major movie circuits (including one with theatres in the K.C. market) had instructed theater personnel to turn down the wattage on their digital projector’s xenon lamps which can be as bright as 3,500 to 4,500 watts.
Why turn it down?
The cost of the bulbs can range anywhere from $750.- to $1,500.- and usually are guaranteed by the manufacturer for roughly 750 hours of operating time. In other words, most theaters probably have to change bulbs twice a year. Not a cheap proposition.
And powering down the wattage adds extra hours of life to the digital cinema xenon bulbs.
Here’s how that diminishes 3-D!
If the bulb is turned back in its output while darkened 3-D glasses are worn by viewers, the entire 3-D presentation can look faded, limp and far below the standard the filmmakers intented.
Fast forward to TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON opening later this week which was filmed in true 3-D —NOT converted! It’s 3-D is top notch and compares favorably to AVATAR!
To make certain its full 3-D impact in the brightness is seen, Deadline Hollywood and the New York Times report that director Michael Bay got on the phone and personally spoke with some of the C.E.O.’s of American’s largest theater circuits to implore them to show his new Transformers in a way that could burn out projector bulbs more quickly, but makes the 3-D look brighter and sharper.
In other words, turning up the juice! Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Can we blame Mr. Bay for making those demands? Absolutely not. Especially after the darkened imagery we’ve been experiencing in a number of local megaplexes of late!
And you know who you are!
Here’s hoping theater chain chiefs—and studios—have gotten the message to ease the increasing customer flow away from 3-D before it’s too late!
Tell me what your experience has been with 3-D presentations at greater Kansas City’s theater complexes?