The other day, for the first time I walked out of a cinema showing a film I actually wanted to see. It was also the first time I had been to a film screened in a "digital" cinema.
I hope that the problem was with the cinema I went to, and this is not what is in store for the movie going experience. I was really aware I was seeing a video projection within a few seconds of the picture starting (I didn't know that it was a digital screening beforehand). It was especially distracting on the subtitles, but also made film shot on 35mm look like it was on digibeta.
Apparently the projector was HD (2K). The resolution was fine, its just looked like nasty video, very domestic. The projector was a panasonic PTD550E, installed by ATLAB. Here is the link that shows the specs:
It's a nice bit of propaganda about how bad 35mm projection is.
In comparison, I recently saw a film that was shot on sony 900, printed out to 35mm and projected on one of NZ'z biggest screens. I went specifically to see how it handled a big screen viewing. I was suprised how good it was. Although it looked like it had been shot on video, it had no obvious artifacting, pixelation, etc.
I also recently saw a screening of a dark (artistically) film that was shown on the biggest screen in the southern hemishpere, where the projector had the bulbs dimmed quite a bit, it looked fine - certainly better than the digital screening.
I really hope that digital projection is not this bad. And the ticket price was the same. I wouldn't bother in the future. If anyone is going to a screening of a film at the "Rialto" in Auckland, check if you are seeing a digital projection. If so, don't go!!! I can't believe a semi "arthouse" chain is doing this!! Very disapointing.