Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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JSA
JSA on January 8, 2008 at 1:15 am

Thanks Rizzo. Sounds like it’s going to be a good show. My only request is that please allow a reasonable break time during the intermission!

JSA

JSA
JSA on January 7, 2008 at 1:40 am

Rizzo,

You had mentioned some time ago that the Dome was no longer setup for reel-to-reel operation, thus effectively eliminating the possibility of screening quality 70 MM prints. Has the situation changed?

JSA

JSA
JSA on January 4, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I have the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.

JSA

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on January 4, 2008 at 11:55 am

I’VE GOT MINE!!!! WOOO-HOOOO!!!

JRandell
JRandell on January 2, 2008 at 2:41 am

The Dome is considered a “historical landmark” by the city so I believe a renovation to put in a mezzanine-level booth isn’t legally allowed, even if Pacific wanted to spend the money to do it (this is the reason that the seats are still crappy). And if they could, they wouldn’t because 90% or more of the patrons only care about “BIG SCREEN!!” and not about the improvement in quality it would bring from a lower projector and shrinking the screen for digital and 35mm.

KramSacul
KramSacul on January 1, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Yes.

If the projection angle was lowered or only the top of the screen was used the picture would be much improved. The lack of light and cross reflections would probably remain though.

R2D2
R2D2 on January 1, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Regarding the recent discussion about image distortion… Isn’t the distortion a result of the high projection angle more so than the curved screen?

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 27, 2007 at 11:08 am

Thanks, Rizzo…I think.

JSA
JSA on December 27, 2007 at 2:25 am

I attended a 70 mm presentation of “2001” at the Dome back in the early 90’s. To me, the distortions were tolerable, with the notable exception of Discovery’s image during the “Jupiter Mission” segment, as described by Kram a few postings above. To say it looked like a “banana” is kind. But in the end, the good outweighed the bad: the landing at Clavius and the entire “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” sequences were absolutely spectacular. I was engulfed, or rather “enveloped” by the huge images on screen and the terrific soundtrack. Because this film has influenced me in many ways, I would definitely make the trip to the Dome if it plays there again.

JSA

KramSacul
KramSacul on December 26, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Actually the Dome’s problems are not limited to geometry distortion which is visible from any seat. There’s also cross reflections, the loss of vertical picture info in the middle of the screen, and the lack of light. 70mm probably helps quite a bit there though.

IMO 1.85:1 films are much more tolerable in the Dome but the light problem is a deal breaker, even if it’s being projected in 2k. It’s just too dim.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 26, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Thanks, Rizzo.

One reason why I’ve never witnessed the distortion for myself: in almost 17 years of being a Dome customer, I have managed to always sit in the center section…never on the far left/right sections. Everything looks alright to me from a center POV.

Another question, Rizzo: any chance your bosses will browse this thread since a few folks seem to have an idea on how to fix the distortion issues?

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 26, 2007 at 3:02 pm

There always was some distortion when “2001” is shown on any Cinerama screen; this was true even during the original engagements simply because it was filmed in Super Panavision 70mm, rather than three-strip Cinerama. From the projection point of view, the center of a Cinerama screen is further away than the sides, and even with custom projection lenses, when a single strip 70mm film is projected onto a screen such as this it is difficult to compensate for this fact. Essentially what is happening is that a rectangular image is being projected onto a curved surface. (Tape an old 35mm slide to the lens of a flashlight and point the beam onto something curved; the problem will be obvious).

When the decision was made to go to 70mm for Cinerama exhibition (initially with It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World") there was an attempt made to minimize the distortion by filming in Ultra Panavision and then using what was called “rectification.” Ultra Pan does use an anamorphic squeeze and the rectification process altered the squeezing during the film printing process by reducing it gradually across the printed frame so that there was most squeezing at the sides and gradually less until at the center of the frame there was none. This helped reduce but did not eliminate the distortion at the sides when the film was projected. (This process is described in detail on Martin Hart’s excellent “Widescreen Museum” website in the Cinerama section).

Films shot in Super Panavision (and some other processes such as Super Technirama) were shot on 70mm stock without using an anamorphic lens and these prints were never “rectified” for Cinerama showings as far as I know.

The degree of distortion is also affected by whether the film is being projected on a classic, louvered, deeply-curved Cinerama screen or one of those installed in the 1960s or later (including the one at the Dome) that were not quite as deep.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 26, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Arclight just launched their own message board as part of their site. I wonder what would happen if all of us registered on it and made enough of a ruckus about how they’re mismanaging the programming at the Dome. Do you’d think they’d listen?

As far as “Sweeney Todd” showing at the Dome right now, I have no beef with that. I’ve seen it twice (BEFORE it was released) and I can declare that it’s Dome-worthy. The only thing missing is the fact that Tim Burton shot it in 1:85 instead of 2:40.

Speaking of which, do films shot in 1:85 have the same distortion issues?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 26, 2007 at 12:12 pm

The Star Gate sequence is at its most spectacular on a curved Cinerama screen. Sit in the front row for the full effect!

KramSacul
KramSacul on December 26, 2007 at 8:14 am

I guess you’re right. It has it’s nostalgic purpose. The distortion is godawful though. Prepare to see a bannana-shaped Discovery.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 25, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Kram said:
>> Why would anyone want to see 2001 on the Dome’s smile-vision screen?

Because it’s a Cinerama screen, and “2001” was shown on Cinerama screens exclusively when it first came out in 1968. It was meant to be shown on a screen like the one at the Dome. I wish we had one here in the New York area. Even though Arclight doesn’t seem to be taking full advantage of it, Los Angeles moviegoers are lucky to have that screen.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 25, 2007 at 8:39 am

Cliff, what’s playing in the Dome? National Treasure is #1 movie, so I don’t understand why they didn’t open it in the Dome in place of whatever is playing there (which could be shown in one of the other screens).

Cliffs
Cliffs on December 25, 2007 at 6:48 am

While I won’t debate or defend technical problems with the Dome, I will say I still enjoy the Dome because it’s one of the last big screens available in Los Angeles/Hollywood. Movie lovers in most towns would kill to have a screen like the Dome, but unfortunately have to settle with the latest Carmike/AMC googleplexes. Unfortunately for us though, Arclight treats it just like screen #1 of a 15 screen plex. I would love to see Arclight rotate some of their new releases a bit more. In a week such as this one with a ton of new openings, why not run Sweeney Todd in the Dome on Friday, National Treasure in there on Saturday, maybe run Charlie Wilson’s War in there on Sunday, and then run your Christmas Eve showing of Gremlins in there on Monday? I’m not saying you have to do it that way every week, but why not try some variety? National Treasure is going to be the number 1 movie this weekend, and there’s not a single large theater showing it in LA. The fact that they feel Sherman Oaks is adequate to show Close Encounters is embarrassing (ditto for Scarface, a film so successful when they DID run it in the Dome a few years ago, they actually had to hold it over).

KramSacul
KramSacul on December 24, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Why would anyone want to see 2001 on the Dome’s smile-vision screen?

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 24, 2007 at 1:44 pm

I call Sherman Oaks “Arclight Lite.” It’s literally a smaller version of Arclight Hollywood – but they went too far trying to replicate Arclight Hollywood’s lobby at the Sherman Oaks location. “Cramped” is an UNDERSTATEMENT!

Cliffs
Cliffs on December 21, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Oh, and it appears tickets for Close Encounters have gone one sale…

At the Arclight Sherman Oaks!!!!

Hey Rizzo, does Arclight know that they actually own the Dome?

Cliffs
Cliffs on December 21, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Well, it looks as if the Chinese is getting Cloverfield on the 18th, so I would think Rambo in the Dome is a good bet now (which actually makes 2001 in the Dome a less likely proposition since Rambo will be in its first week). I hope 2001 was pulled from sale so that they could establish a Dome showing (although, based on Rizzo’s new info, I wonder if they are waiting to evaluate the condition of the 70mm print before committing to the screen).

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 21, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Call me crazy, but I’m willing to give Arclight a pass if they can’t get a good 70MM print. Just as long as they boot “Cloverfield” or “Rambo” out of the Dome if only for 1 night so they can show 2001 in there.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 21, 2007 at 2:32 pm

My fingers are crossed…

neeb
neeb on December 21, 2007 at 8:55 am

FYI, the ArcLIght website is no longer selling 2001 tickets.
It is now in the “On Sale Soon” box.
And since the topic of 70 mm has come up…
Is there a 70 mm print of Dr Zhivago available? I thought there was one for the 1995 re-release but I’ve not seen anything since.