Yesterday morning Deadline‘s Nikki Finke posted a letter that Transformers 3 director Michael Bay recently sent to projectionists. The letter urged them to project the 3D version of the film at super-bright levels to combat the underwhelming “dark, dingy” appearance of 3D films that viewers have been complaining about.
“We have also created a new ‘Platinum 6 version‘ of Transformers,” Bay wrote, “for the ultimate in 3D experience, to be played in auditoriums capable of 6-foot lamberts of light on the screen (available to certified auditoriums only).”
Maybe I’m not understanding something about 3D light. The SMPTE standard for optimum desired light levels on 2D films is 16 foot lamberts, not 6. Maybe 6 foot lamberts is regarded as a good thing under 3D conditions, but in my world 6 foot lamberts isn’t satisfactory.
The obvious answer would be that the person who typed up Bay’s letter typed a typo and nobody caught it. Obviously not a biggie, but try and get someone at Paramount Pictures or at Bay’s agency, WME, to confirm or address this and say “uh, yeah, that does appear to be a typo — it should have said 16 and not 6. Thanks for catching it.” I’ve been trying to get an answer since 9 this morning and nobody will say anything.
So let’s just repeat that the foot-lambert information doesn’t sound right (to me anyway) and appears to be wrong and let it go at that.
And if you want an extra layer of evidence, Stanley Kubrick sent a letter to projectionists in 1975 about showing Barry Lyndon, and it said that the film should be shown “at no less than 15 foot lamberts and no more than 18.” Here’s a capture of the portion of the letter that applies:
I’ve decided, by the way, to see Transformers 3D at an IMAX 3D screening tomorrow night at IMAX headquarters in Santa Monica and not at one of the screenings happening today on the Paramount lot. I’m figuring the IMAX 3D will deliver much more impact, etc.