film projection as a lost art; or, why projectionists must be scolded into doing their jobs

Via IndieWire’s The Playlist:

Terrence Malick Wrote A Letter Of Instruction To Every Projectionist Showing ‘The Tree of Life’

The San Diego Reader reports that Malick has written a letter—or as the writer calls it “a fraternal salute”—for the attention of every projectionist who’ll show “The Tree of Life,” asking them to take certain things into account. As he says, “Proper theatre projection is fast becoming a forgotten art.”…

1. Project the film in 1.85:1 aspect ratio

2. Set the fader on Dolby and DTS systems to 7.5 or 7.7 (higher than the standard setting of 7)

3. With no opening credits, he asks that the “lights down cue is well before the opening frame of reel 1.”

4. Projection lamps should be at “Proper standard (5400 Kelvin)” and that the “foot Lambert level is at Standard 14.” No, we don’t understand either.

The attention to detail here is wonderful, and we imagine that at this stage of release, Malick’s instructions will be followed, but we’re not sure the director’s romantic idea of every projectionist being like Alfredo from “Cinema Paradiso” will quite carry across to the reality of bored, badly-paid poorly-trained teenagers in multiplexes across the country, should the film end up going that wide.

I wish someone had done that for Kung Fu Panda 2. At my showing at the Vue in Leicester Square, the 3D projector was out of whack. The foreground looked great, but the middle ground and background were not rendering properly in 3D; the images were distractingly ghosted. When I alerted the management to it — after the film was over, because I didn’t want to leave and miss anything — they fixed it (or said they did). But doesn’t anybody check these things before the movie you’ve just paid £15.65 for starts? And can I possibly have been the only person to complain about this? Doesn’t anyone know what movies are supposed to look like anymore? *sigh*

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