When I saw Transformers in the summer I had a good time. It was funnier than I expected, and my total lack of interest in the franchise up to that point wasn’t a problem. The effects were very good – I liked how grainy some of the shots were. It made the placement of the alien robots look more realistic. During some of the action scenes at the end it was sometimes difficult to follow who was punching who. The 20 metre wide image was too large. I knew that I would have a better chance to see what was going on later.
To provide some in-train entertainment on my trip over to Paris of Christmas, I copied the Transformers DVD onto my iPod. It was good fun still and passed two hours without a problem. During the action scenes there was a little too much detail for me to catch. The 4 cm wide image was too small.
A few days later I showed my father Transformers on my 1.2 metre wide TV. Like the porridge in Goldilocks’ emergency accommodation, the screen size was ‘just right.’
This shows that modern movies are designed for the home. The cinema release promotes the more profitable DVD. The shared experience of watching the film with a large audience made the emotional feedback stronger, but the spectacle worked better at home.
For now I’ll edit for the 20 metre screens…
One of the professors here at USC talks about “perceptual size,” that is, the field of vision that a screen occupies in front of your face. He feels that THAT is more important than actual screen size. In that way, a six inch screen held up in front of your face is bigger than sitting at the back of most movie theatres.
Another interesting subject for conversation is how different cuts look different depending on what size screen you view them on. I remember hearing that, after seeing a preview of THE ROCK, Michael Bay noted that things look much faster up there on the big screen, and maybe he shouldn’t cut quite so much.
I don’t know if that story is true, but the sentiments certainly are.
That’s certainly true when it comes to graphic design. I’ve created photographic images on posters that are over 200ft wide which are based on file sizes that would work in an advert in a magazine. The effective resolution for the poster goes down to 3dpi, but as none of the audience gets closer than 20 feet to the image, it looks smooth enough.