“You can get technical. You can talk about grain. You can talk about the depths of color registration. You can talk about the ‘sensuousness’ of film as compared to digital. But here’s the big mystery for me. There are films I’ve seen a dozen times that have always affected me emotionally, have devastated me, [but] just do not have the same effect on me when I see them projected digitally. I can’t explain that. It’s the same movie, the same story. But there’s something different. I am really struck by this. We react to these formats differently on an emotional level.” — Toronto Bell Lightbox senior programmer James Quandt talking to National Post‘s Calum Marsh.
Posted on 1.30.15: “Not so long ago I would have swooned at the idea of savoring a parade of black-and-white widescreen classics in their original celluloid splendor. Nobody is a bigger fool for this format than myself. Why, then, would I be ducking BAMcinematek‘s “Black & White ’Scope: American Cinema” (2.27 through 3.19), a 21-film series of widescreen monochrome masterpieces, if I was living in New York? Because 15 of the 21 are being shown in 35mm, and we all know what that means — dirt, scratches, pops, possibly too-dark illumination or murky images, occasionally weak sound, reel-change marks, etc. There’s just no romance left in film projection. That was then, this is now. Digital exactitude or nothing.”
Posted on 11.3.14: “I saw a portion of Michelangelo Antonioini‘s Blow-Up last night at the Aero. I own a Vudu digital stream of this classic 1966 film, and it looks quite perfect. No scratches, no pops, no faded colors, no reel-change marks…better than any 35mm print ever looked. As luck would have it, the Aero didn’t show a DCP but a 35mm print, and a bum one at that. I knew they were showing 35mm going in, but in the back of mind I have this Tarantino-ish belief that 35mm prints are somehow more vivid or detailed or movie-ish on some level.
“Well, quite often they’re not. I felt like a chump watching this beater of a print, which was slightly reddish to boot. I was muttering to myself, ‘The Aero has gotten people to actually pay money to see this crappy-looking thing.’ The sound was shitty for the most part — no accentuated treble or bass, like a p.a. system at a high school. The film was focused but it never delivered sharp images, or at least not what I call sharp images. And the scratches and marks, especially as the reel changes approached, were irksome as fuck. And the way the grass looked a bit faded and brownish and the way the blacks looked a bit reddish and the way everyone’s skin seemed just a little too pink…it was a crappy experience.
“Antonioni’s ghost would have been appalled. I left around the one-hour mark. I have better things to do with my evenings.”