Going to theaters can be a roulette at times, we can have a great experience or not have the best of times in some occasions. I go to the movies a lot more than general audiences do, so I’ve learned a thing or two along the way about this. Here are some tips that might help you:
Projection Formats and Where to Sit in the Theater:
35 mm: This is the traditional printed film format. There are still theaters that use it, even though most have gone digital due to its low costs of distribution and versatility. In this particular format, since we are not talking about pixels but a full image being projected on screen, unless you are in the first or last row, there’s not that much difference in image quality related to where you sit.
Digital Projection: this method is used in very different ways from one theater to the next, depending on the projector’s brand and how it is set. There are two main resolutions: 2K and 4K. 2K has a resolution of 2048 H x 1080 V (2.2 million pixels) 4K stands for 4096 H x 2160 V (8.8 million pixels). How does this affects you? If you sit too close to the screen in a 2K projection, you might perceive some distortion (similar to “pixelation”) due to the lower resolution. Not the case with the 4K, where you can be closer without having this issue. But there’s a catch: if you seat in the very last seats, way farther, depending on the size of the screen, you might not notice the difference. Why? Because your sight looses the ability to pick out detail at long distances, similar to watching an object/sign very far from you.
Also be aware of the brightness and color quality when going to a DP film. Some theaters doesn’t use their bulbs the correct way, ending in a projection that it’s not at its best. Suggestion? If possible try to visit different theaters to check their quality, and once you find one that suits you stick to it. I’ve found a theater not precisely close from me, but they project in 4K and their image quality is flawless, so to me is worth the drive whenever I’m gonna see a film that deserves it.
3D: being a digital media, it is also affected quality wise if it’s projected in 2K or 4K. And the “brightness” of the bulb they are using is crucial. 3D glasses are not transparent, and if the image is not bright enough, you might loose quality. Where to seat: as closer to the very center of the theater as possible, avoiding the corners. Why? The 3D effect needs to “distort” your sight to be effective, and if you are seated at the wrong angle your eyes won’t be “tricked” as effectively.
IMAX: when purchasing IMAX tickets, be aware that not all of them have the same screen sizes. To have a better “IMAX” experience, aim for screen sizes at least over 76 feet to 97 feet, it does make a difference. Where to sit: again, as closer to the middle as possible, avoiding corners, to get a truly sense of “immersion” from the giant screen.
What Type of Moviegoer Are You?: Everyone’s take on going to theaters is incredibly different. Some people don’t get bothered by anything, and some others (like me) can be pickier about what they consider a proper environment to watch a film. Think on what bothers you personally: Don’t like heavy packed screenings? Don’t go to the opening weekend of a film. Get annoyed by loud crowds? Avoid going to screenings early in the day, usually filled with younger audiences. Go to showings later in the night.
Who Are You Going With?: We have all being dragged at some point to watch a movie we don’t care to see, by either a family member or a friend, so don’t do this to others. Always check what are your alternatives before hand, watch trailers when in doubt. That way you can pick something everyone can enjoy.
Join Rewards Clubs: If you go to the same theater chain often, ask if they have a members’s rewards card. They are often free to subscribe to, and every time you purchase tickets or even items from the concessions’s stand, you accumulate points. Once you have enough, those can be traded for free movie tickets, free popcorn, etc. They all work differently from chain to chain, so make sure you know about how to use it correctly.
Hope you find this article useful, and if you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions about it feel free to leave your comments below.
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