• THE MATRIX Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Special Dolby Cinema at AMC Screenings

    Posted Mon Aug 5, 2019 at 10:15 AM PDT by
    the matrix dolby cinema

    Viewers will be able to take the red pill in theaters with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos later this month.

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  • AMC Announces Price Increase for Stubs A-List Subscriptions in Select States

    Posted Mon Nov 5, 2018 at 06:15 PM PST by
    amc A-list

    A modest price increase is coming to new members in select markets next year.

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  • See 3 Movies a Week in Any Format for $20 per Month with New AMC Stubs A List Plan

    Posted Wed Jun 20, 2018 at 09:20 AM PDT by
    AMC Stubs A List

    AMC is taking on MoviePass with its own subscription service.

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  • Dolby Opens 100th Dolby Cinema at AMC Location in the US

    Posted Fri May 25, 2018 at 12:15 PM PDT by
    Dolby Cinema at AMC logo

    The premium cinema format is now available in even more theaters.

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  • Dolby and Disney Expand Partnership to Include More Dolby Cinema Titles

    Posted Fri Apr 20, 2018 at 07:25 AM PDT by
    Dolby Cinema at AMC logo

    More Disney films are set to hit theaters in Dolby Cinema.

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  • 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Premieres in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos

    Posted Mon Dec 11, 2017 at 07:20 AM PST by
    star wars news

    Episode VIII made its theatrical debut using Dolby's premium cinema format.

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  • Don't Miss 'War for the Planet of the Apes' in Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos

    Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 at 06:28 PM PDT by Michael S. Palmer
    War for the Planet of the Apes

    While we'll leave the full review to Phil Brown over on the Bonus View (read his thoughts HERE), I set out to see War for the Planet of the Apes this weekend at one of the 100 Dolby Cinema locations now open worldwide and thought I'd share my thoughts with you all here. 

    If you don't know what I mean by Dolby Cinema or Dolby Cinema at AMC, please check out THIS ARTICLE where we first demonstrated the premium cinema auditorium. And, for more information on Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies, please click HERE and HERE, respectively.

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE AWESOME FRANCHISES


    I'm a pretty big fan of this new Apes trilogy despite (or perhaps because of) my limited affinity for the original Apes movies. I'm not saying they're bad, mind you; it's just a franchise I haven't experienced outside of a few casual Saturday afternoons back in the days where you had to watch commercials OR flip channels to find something else to watch. 

    Still, the new trilogy is special to me because these films are equal parts blockbuster entertainment and character-focused dramas. Also, as far as prequels go, they're uniformly surprising and dramatic where many feel inert and unnecessary. Especially in an era where blockbusters and franchise movies are often overlong and/or dramatically depend on you watching later chapters, the Apes trilogy works equally well as stand-alone chapters or one complete story.

    In short, I'm in awe that these new Apes movies exist AND stand up next to modern cable television for having dynamic and complex characters... who just so happen to be CGI-rendered apes. 

    Where Rise began in our world, showcasing Caesar's childhood and the outbreak of a biological virus that was meant to cure Alzheimer's, Dawn took audiences ten years into the post-apocalypse for the first armed conflict between mankind and ape-kind. Both stories highlighted well-intentioned characters making mistakes while trying to do good things and a whole bunch of tragic outcomes.

    War picks up only two years after Dawn, with Caesar trying to protect the apes from The Colonel and his army of soldiers who are hell-bent on hunting down and killing every last ape. Caesar still hopes for peace, sending back human survivors after battles, but The Colonel's definition of mercy is as brutal as his desire to destroy anyone, human or ape, who opposes his tactics.

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    There's more to the story, of course, but I managed to go into War unaware of the bigger plot-points and, because of this, was genuinely surprised by the story choices the filmmakers made. Effectively, if you're expecting another chapter akin to Dawn, this one goes in a different sub-genre direction. 

    What I will say is that the movie is grounded in some heartbreaking emotions that layer thematics on top of character arcs. War is very much about whether or not Caesar will lose his soul to avenge and defend his ape family, which is dramatically explored through every choice and consequence Caesar makes and experiences. The filmmakers have also added more of a female presence, which I applaud, and smartly continued to build, through callbacks and payoffs, towards a world that resembles the original franchise.

    If you enjoyed Rise and Dawn, War is highly recommended; for everyone else, I would definitely recommend giving this trilogy a try so you can experience its third chapter on a premium, immersive, big screen where it's meant to be seen and heard.

    Speaking of which...

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    DOLBY VISION


    As I was watching War for the Planet of the Apes, I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. It looked quite good, don't get me wrong. Everything was clear and sharp, and the contrast was very good. Still, when you compare it to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 or The Jungle Book, those movies are so much more aggressively stylized (and colorful) than this gritty blockbuster with its cold and wintry color palette.

    In fact, I was considering not writing this article...

    Until afterward, when I popped into a conventional digital cinema auditorium, and my jaw dropped. It looked like UTTER GARBAGE by comparison. Graying black levels. Jacked contrast with severe shadow detail crushing. Drab and muted colors, especially the yellow subtitles for when the apes use sign language. And it wasn't as visibly sharp.

    Hands down, watching War in Dolby Vision is like getting laser eye surgery after needing glasses for years. You can see all the fur follicles and tree branches and rusted metal fencing. You can see characters and locations in the shadows, even when they're intentionally out of focus. You can see the flickering orange fury of campfires and explosions. Colors are more vibrant and vivid and true. And black levels are actually black. In short, it's a night & day difference, folks. One you might not realize you're missing until it's too late.

    Bottom line, and what I take away from this screening, is this: Dolby Vision won't always be show-stopping from an in-your-face color and visual spectacle department, in very much the same way that not all Blu-rays are demo material even when the transfers reproduce the original source materials perfectly. BUT when you go into a Dolby Cinema, or see a movie in Dolby Vision, you're going to get a dramatically more accurate, detailed, and colorful version of whatever film you're seeing. It's like buying an OLED display -- everything looks better even if you're not always obviously-wowed.

    [EDITOR'S NOTE: by the way, there are other great premium cinema formats too -- IMAX Laser is extraordinary, for example -- and my intention here is ONLY to compare Dolby Cinema to standard digital cinemas, primarily because they are the only two formats in which I've seen War thus far. In short, if you prefer something else, that's great and feel free to tell us about it in the comments. Cheers!]

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    DOLBY ATMOS

    War arrives with another outstanding Dolby Atmos mix that, at times, is a touch more subtle than the theatrical mix released with Dawn, but serves its world-building well before becoming outright demo material during the film's climax.

    With more of a wintery setting than the previous films, War knows when exactly when to ramp up, ping-ponging sound around the hemisphere, and when to be quiet. In that sense, the film often portrays moments of action and mayhem in a somber, dreamlike quality before returning to more traditional bombast.

    This Dolby Atmos mix also excels at expanding the film's locations, where cave chambers echo with falling water and wind whips through snowy mountaintops and fire crackles in an empty hotel lobby. All of these choices uses Atmos' pinpoint precision to extend the movie OFF the screen, thrusting us into its universe.

    Still, the mix can seem a little less overt compared to Dawn's theatrical mix, which featured many scenes in rainy forests with plenty of overhead sound placement. Until the climax that is, when War's Dolby Atmos mix becomes absolutely bonkers in a Fury Road kinda way. Precision Chaos is the good way to describe it; where, despite the madness on screen and surrounding us aurally, you can hear every sonic choice amidst the overall bombast. It's a lot of fun.

    Overall, War boasts a very good Dolby Atmos mix and here's hoping Fox includes it on (at least) the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray because it's going to make a lot of sound enthusiasts happy.

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    FINAL THOUGHTS


    Regardless of where it ranks in the series and against other modern franchise pictures, War for the Planet of the Apes is extraordinary blockbuster filmmaking that seamlessly blends emotion and character and thematics with a heaping dosage of thrilling action. Dolby Cinema, with its one-two punch of Dolby Vision projection and Dolby Atmos, enhances the whole experience with far more clarity and contrast and color. To be clear, the HDR grading and color palette isn't as in-your-face WOW as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 or The Jungle Book, but the standard SDR grading and performance capabilities of conventional digital cinemas literally pale in comparison. 

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  • Dolby Opens 100th Global Dolby Cinema Location

    Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 at 05:45 PM PDT by
    Dolby Cinema at AMC logo

    A new Dolby Cinema theater has opened and even more are on the way.

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  • Dolby's Behind The Magic Oscars Filmmaker Panel

    Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 01:15 PM PST by
    Dolby Cinema at AMC logo

    With the 89th Academy Awards quickly approaching, our friends at Dolby have invited the filmmakers behind this year's Oscar-nominated productions to its Dolby Cinema Hollywood Laboratory to chat about their craft.

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  • Dolby Exceeds 2,000 Dolby Atmos Enabled Cinema Screens & 500 Released Movie Titles

    Posted Wed Dec 7, 2016 at 08:30 AM PST by
    Dolby Atmos LOGO

    The immersive audio format continues to expand to more theaters and films.

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  • Don't Miss 'Moana' in Dolby Cinema

    Posted Fri Dec 2, 2016 at 04:14 PM PST by
    Moana

    This week I had the great fortune to do something quite rare in the new-parenting universe. I went to the cinema. Twice! And, during this week's different-day double-feature, I realized a couple things. First, nothing replaces the full experience and scope of going to a movie theatre. More important, though, contrasting experiences underscored how vital it is to seek out a quality auditorium when stepping away from our home theatres.

    My first screening was the contained sci-fi drama, 'Arrival', which is wonderful and heartbreaking and smart and everything in between. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer and director Dennis Villeneuve and the rest of the cast and crew made an incredibly moving and suspenseful film. I loved every frame.

    But I also loathed every frame.

    Arrival

    No, there weren't any focus issues or obvious projector problems. The sound was actually quite good. Cellphones stayed in pockets. And the auditorium itself was a modern and well-maintained Arclight location. But the contrast. Good lord, this purposefully shadowy movie was cast almost entirely in smudged GRAYNESS thanks to certifiably abysmal black levels. And with no black levels -- no contrast -- you lose colors and the overall image seems softer. It's a feedback loop for mediocrity.

    I hadn't realized it until this moment, but swapping between my Panasonic Plasma and the VIZIO P-Series and the LG E6 OLED (review next week!) has spoiled my ability to watch content on displays with crap contrast. I almost walked out because it's a bit of an artistic tragedy to watch films this way.

    Then came my saving grace.

    Then came 'Moana', which is currently heading into its second weekend at a variety of multiplexes, including several Dolby Cinema at AMC premium auditoriums.

    Moana

    If you don't know what I mean by Dolby Cinema, have a read over HERE to catch up. The quick definition is this: Dolby Cinema, or Dolby Cinema at AMC, is a state-of-the-art cinema experience that combines Dolby Vision (a dual 4K laser projection system with a MILLION-TO-ONE contrast ratio) with Dolby Atmos (a fully hemispherical surround sound system that adds more subwoofers, full range and overhead speakers, and individual speaker amplification to standard commercial surround sound), leather recliners, and a massive screen.

    Dolby Cinema (along with other competing laser projection systems) is one of THE BEST ways to watch movies. It's on par going out and buying yourself an OLED or Full Array Local Dimming equipped Ultra HD LCD, only the screen is probably taller and wider than your house.

    Moana

    'Moana' is Disney's latest Princess story. Like 'Frozen', it is modern with a fully realized (but flawed) female lead whose story is all her own. In other words, she's not waiting to be saved by a loving prince. Moana is the daughter of a Pacific Islander chief. She dreams of exploring the open ocean, but Dad won't let her leave the protective boundaries of their island's reef. Moana is also special; she has been chosen by the ocean itself to take on a special journey to find and escort the demi-god, Maui, across the sea so he can return the stolen heart of an island. If Moana fails, her island will die along with everyone she knows and loves. It's also a musical with a chicken sidekick and tons of details portraying the Pacific Islander voyager cultures. Much like 'Arrival', I loved every single frame and can't wait to share it with my little girl.

    On top of a great story and characters and action, I was fortunate enough to catch 'Moana' at the AMC Del Amo 18, which is home to one of the newest Dolby Cinema at AMC auditoriums. The best way to describe this film's video and audio quality is to say, if it was an Ultra HD Blu-ray with Dolby Atmos sound, it would be one of the best looking and sounding discs in your collection.

    'Moana' is pure demo material from start to end.

    Moana

    The Dolby Vision graded imagery was gobsmackingly gorgeous and rendered with a dazzling array of colors. Unlike Pixar productions, Disney Animation Studios productions offer less semi-photo-real surfaces, but that's not a problem at all. Moana's Island is drenched in tropical forest greens and turquoise waters and pink sea shells. Her side-kick chicken bursts with a mix of brown and purple. Moana's manta-ray spiritual guide shimmers in and out of the rolling waters with a neon glow. Maui's tattoos appear handmade in a deep shade of black. Volcano-monsters erupt with red and orange lava. And this one underwater realm of bioluminescent monsters features some of the most vivid colors ever put to film (to digital?). It's all incredible. Textures too are well rendered and bold, from creatures and clothing to the canoe sails to Moana's hair (both dry and wet). Dolby Cinema at AMC typically only plays is 2D, but the Dolby Vision version of 'Moana' is so clear it feels like you're watching glasses-free 3D.

    (For what's it's worth, I checked with Dolby and did confirm 'Moana' is in the DCI P3 color space, but I thought maybe that sequence in the underwater land of the monsters was Rec 2020.)

    Moana

    'Moana's Dolby Atmos mix is shut-up-and-take-my-money good. If THIS track doesn't convince Disney's home entertainment division to include the Atmos mix on the Blu-ray, we may never hear a Disney film at home beyond 7.1. Compare this mix to what Marvel's doing with Atmos and it's a clear demonstration of how filmmakers can 1) utilize this technology in vastly different ways and 1) a lesson on how you can build entire aural universes with object-based audio. This mix rockets back and forth between intimate and grand, delivering everything from the subtle nuances of gently lapping waves and pecking chickens to the hemispherical immersion of epic Disney musical numbers to the all out assault of action sequences that are as thrilling as anything in 'Mad Max Fury Road'.

    I just can't get over how Dolby Atmos, when done as right as it was here, tears away the sensation of sitting in a darkened room and propels audiences directly into the story. One moment I was a husband and father in his mid-30s, and the next I was a young princess listening to the songs of my ancestors, charging across the tropical seas with voices and orchestras and sound effects cascading all around me. I was also a fan of the mix's aggressive use of overhead sounds and deep rumbling bass. Like I said, demo material... made all the more pleasurable because the movie's also pretty great.

    Moana

    I write about Dolby products a lot. Sometimes because they invite me. Sometimes because I need a story. And sometimes, like today, because I'm simply in awe of what I've just experienced. As such, my goal here is to shout into this universe that QUALITY matters. Quality impacts the emotional experience of going to the cinema. And sure, quality won't save a bad movie, but it certainly adds to the magic of the good ones.

    So do yourself a favor. Don't miss the chance to see 'Moana' in a Dolby Cinema before it's too late (click HERE for a list of locations). We may never get another opportunity to see and hear it as the filmmakers intended... on a sixty-plus-foot screen with laser-quality black levels surrounded by several dozen high-end speakers. Cheers.

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  • Dolby and AMC Schedule Fan Events for 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' at Dolby Cinema at AMC Theaters Nationwide

    Posted Mon Nov 14, 2016 at 06:30 PM PST by
    Dolby Cinema at AMC logo

    Fans visiting Dolby Cinema at AMC locations can attend a magical opening night for the upcoming film.

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  • AMC & Dolby Announce Plans to Launch 100 Dolby Cinema at AMC Sites by End of 2017

    Posted Wed Aug 10, 2016 at 02:30 PM PDT by
    Dolby Cinema at AMC logo

    The companies have accelerated their installation plans for more Dolby Cinema locations.  

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  • HDD Quick Look: 'The Legend of Tarzan' in Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos

    Posted Wed Jun 29, 2016 at 04:00 PM PDT by
    The Legend of Tarzan in Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos

    Most of my days are spent hunched over a laptop working on my carpel tunnel and twisting my back in ways I'm going to regret in ten to twenty years.

    Then there are days when I go to movie premieres.

    Last Monday, Warner Bros and Dolby kindly hosted the world premiere for its latest feature, 'The Legend of Tarzan'. Walking into the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood California is an odd experience. First, it's in a mall. Literally. A high end shopping center with restaurants and jewelry stores and huts hawking sunglasses as tourists snap pictures from passing buses. But it's also this extravagant venue for musicals and, of course, home to the Academy Awards.

    In that sense, the Dolby Theatre is a magical palace of movie geekdom where you get a free popcorn and soda and the fleeting chance to see your favorite filmmakers and stars. The other great thing is the collective sense of buzz. While celebrities fill some seats, you're generally amongst the people who, in one way or another, devoted time to this production, or are in the middle of their own endeavors. That is to say premieres are generally warm rooms where the thrills chill and the jokes land.

    Like I said, an odd experience, but a special one I've very grateful to attend.

    Since Dolby took over the naming rights from Kodak several years ago, they set their genius pro cinema engineers to an impossible task -- make a venue that was in no way designed for cinema look and sound as good as it can. Today that means a Dolby Vision dual-4K projection system capable for 31fL in 2D (and 14fL in 3D) coupled with a custom Dolby Atmos setup. Dual 64-channel arrays (and processors) are necessary to run overhead and surround speakers for floor, mezzanine, and balcony seating. To be fair, it's not the best Dolby room in town, and some seats are more acoustically placed others, but given the restrictions faced, I'm always impressed.

    Dolby Theatre

    THE MOVIE ITSELF


    Let me begin by saying I have a huge amount of respect for the folks who made this movie. David Yates absolutely crushed his work in the 'Harry Potter' universe. Craig Brewer is an versatile writer-director (I'm not familiar with the other screenwriter's work). Alexander Skarsgård was unforgettable on 'True Blood'. Margot Robbie stood toe-to-toe with Leo in 'The Wolf of Wall Street' in a star-making performance. Christoph Waltz is one of the best all-time screen villains. Samuel L. Jackson is great in everything (even this). And Djimon Hounsou has an unmatched commanding presence.

    But, man, I just couldn't get into 'The Legend of Tarzan'. Dramatically. Emotionally. Tonally. It was all a miss for me.

    The basic plot revolves around Tarzan returning to the Congo at the invitation of Belgian's King Leopold II because England is hoping to broker a deal for mineral rights. Tarzan, or John Clayton (Skarsgård) as he likes to be called now, doesn't want to go back for reasons unknown, but his wife Jane (Robbie) very much wants to see her friends in the local tribe. Add in George Washington Williams (Jackson), an American Civil War vet who suspects Leopold might be enslaving the peoples of the Congo, and Tarzan has no choice but return to his past.

    Shortly after said reluctant return, the villainous Leon Rom (Waltz) kidnap Jane in hopes of luring Tarzan to his death. Tarzan, understandable pissed off, then sets off across the plains and the jungles with Williams to confront his past, rescue his wife, and possibly save the Congo from slavery.

    Much like the most recent Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation, 'John Carter', 'Tarzan' manages to thrill at times with some wonderful action and beautiful photography -- Tarzan is effectively a 19th Century super hero -- but the filmmakers opted to treat characters' emotional-motivations as secrets rather than clear driving forces. In that sense, this film also features a flashback structure with all the origin story beats we've seen before, and where the scenes themselves are less engaging than the present day narrative and slow the film's overall pacing. There are also some odd tonal choices (Sam Jackson wondering if he should lick a gorillas testicles) and even though Jane has been modernized and she says she's no damsel, Ms. Robbie's character is woefully underwritten. Honestly, if it were my cinema dollars, I'd probably go see 'The Jungle Book' again or just Netflix Disney's animated 'Tarzan' (which admittedly has its own flaws).

    That said, if you're curious, completely disagree, or simply wish to stare at Skarsgård's abs for two hours... do yourself a favor and click HERE to find a list of Dolby Cinema locations where you're going to see and hear the best possible version of this film.

    Alexander Skarsgard

    DOLBY VISION


    'The Legend of Tarzan' swings into Dolby Cinemas with Dolby Vision high dynamic range graded in the (I believe) DCI P3 cinema color space. While much of the movie has a muted and gritty color pallet -- jungles and Greystoke manner soaked in oppressive mist -- Dolby Vision has such good contrast and black levels that it makes the whole experience much more vivid than conventional digital cinemas. You can see the rich costume colors even in the darkness. Day time sequences are vivid in their own right. The on-location areal photography is some of the most eye-dropping I've seen since the original 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. Cascading waterfalls dumping into jungle-lined river basins. It's a paradise. And the grassy plains seem to extend outward infinitely. Pay special attention to the brighter skies, where you'll glimpse more clouds and other details that will be washed out in standard dynamic range.

    In comparison to other Dolby Vision titles, 'Tarzan' is somewhat limited by its intended color palette (the warmer, saturated 'The Jungle Book' is more classically demo material), but it looked quite good to my eyes.

    Tarzan and Dolby posters

    DOLBY ATMOS


    'The Legend of Tarzan' Dolby Atmos mix doesn't evolve the format in any way, but succeeds in implementing Atmos' inherent strengths to bolster the film's technical merits. Surround placement, including bullets and character voice panning, is above average. The Dolby Theatre auditorium is a vast space, but I knew at all times where the characters were going (and what threats were hunting them). Gorilla roars were guttural and deep. And I enjoy the sensation of movement as characters swing through dense jungles. My favorite aural sequence involves rain drenching your senses from the overhead speakers; it was quite effective, even if overall overhead usage is only moderately aggressive. If I had any suggestions, I wish there was a little less epic orchestral music and more jungle environment sonic nuances. Small note. Overall, though, this is a pretty good Dolby Atmos mix and I enjoyed its sonic flourishes more than 'Captain America: Civil War'.

    Margot Robbie

    FINAL THOUGHTS


    While 'The Legend of Tarzan' wasn't for me, personally, it is a beautifully photographed film with a few thrilling set-pieces. If you're going to see it, I feel no regret in suggesting a Dolby Cinema auditorium. This type of color grading could easily find itself awash in grey-like black levels. Not so in Dolby Vision, which pushes the blacks and brings out dimensional colors even within the sometimes-muted pallet. Bright skies also resolve well. And, though not life-changing, the Dolby Atmos mix is quite good too, offering bursts of action and rain-soaked environmentals that make for an immersive experience. It should make for a nice Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming experience.

    Another plus: after seeing what David Yates did with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos the first time out, I can't wait to see how 'Fantastic Beasts' looks and sounds.

    Are you going to see 'The Legend of Tarzan'? If so, where?

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  • 'Deadpool' 4K HDR Demo with Director Tim Miller

    Posted Fri May 20, 2016 at 09:15 AM PDT by
    Fox Innovatin Lab logo (small slide)

    This is my final 'Deadpool' post this week, I swear!

    After getting some hands on time with the stunning 'Deadpool' Ultra HD Blu-ray (and the very strong Blu-ray) over the previous weekend, our friends at the Fox Innovation Lab invited journalists for a direct UHD vs HD demonstration. Unlike our previous demo, this time we were treated to consumer grade encodes as both the HD and UHD sources played on IDENTICAL Samsung Ultra HD displays.

    Hashtag: Science!

    For an in-depth understanding as to how this demo went, please check out the video portions of my Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray reviews.

    The short version is this: the Ultra HD Blu-ray absolutely CRUSHES the Blu-ray in side-by-side comparisons. To be fair, this effect wanes slightly in A-to-B comparisons with any sort of time delay, so don't feel too bad if you haven't upgraded yet. But side-by-side? Shoot. This is the release the earlier adopters have been waiting for. The Ultra HD offers deeper black levels, more vivid colors (hello, red!), and oodles of added highlight and CGI detail. I was really impressed.

    two Samsungs displays HD SDR vs UHD HDR

    [NOTE: the above cellphone pic is to show the demo configuration ONLY. NOT to judge either format, let alone the fine details instantly visible in UHD HDR material.]

    To help take us through what we were observing on the two displays, 'Deadpool' director, Tim Miller, as well as the film's colorist, Tim Stipan, lead a panel discussion moderated by Schawn Belston, EVP of Media and Library Services, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, where they chatted about their post-production process, the benefits of HDR, and answered a few questions.

    The entire panel is a little too long to transcribe here, so what I've done is broken down key information using direct quotes. Enjoy!

    Our Demo Setup

    Schawn Belstin: These are two identical monitors that have been calibrated to match each other. The content on one is HD, standard dynamic range, compressed the same way it is on the Blu-ray. And on the other monitor is the HDR 4K compressed the same way it is on the UHD disc.

    Two Firsts for Fox Ultra HD Blu-ray

    Schawn Belstin: This is our first disc that features all HDR content, so the menus and logos and everything are in HDR. Also, object-based audio. Dolby Atmos is on the entire disc. This might not seem like that big a deal, but trust me when I say it was. We had to re-imagine all of our technical work flows behind the scenes to make this actually possible. To give you an example, we spent two months rendering and re-rendering, trying to figure out the best way to render the Fox logo in 4K, in open EXR, to get the most out of this HDR experience, and that was just the logo. So you can imagine what goes into an entire movie. But you didn't come here to hear me talk about the logo so let's get to the movie.

    Deadpool's Multiple DI Timeline

    Tim Stipan: First we did the normal theatre pass, which is called P3 color space. Concurrently we also did two version of IMAX; we did a Xenon bulb and then we did a laser pass also. Then, actually, we did the Rec 709 HD pass. And then we did the HDR pass.

    Tim Miller: Actually, so it's six if you count that, because then we did the Dolby [Vision] pass.

    Tim Stipan: Oh, yeah, I almost forgot that. I felt like every time we were going through it we were seeing more and more and more. And the last pass that we did was the [UHD Blu-ray] HDR pass, which you are seeing here, and we were just like, "wow, gosh, we wish we had that at the beginning because you're not seeing so much detail in the skies and flames and Colossus and Deadpool's suit." Things of that nature. [HDR] allowed me to be better at my job because I could see more color information, I could match things better. By seeing all that extra color information and detail, I felt like I was doing a better job being a colorist. I felt a lot of shots now had this painterly quality to them, which I didn't quite notice as much when we were doing the normal theatrical color grade.

    'Deadpool' UHD HDR Demo at the Fox Innovation Lab

    HDR First Impressions

    Tim Miller: For a first-time filmmaker every time I walked into DI, I'd get to see it on a big screen, thinking to myself, "I made a movie, fuck yeah!" [laughter] And then for this last pass they brought me in and sat me down in front of a monitor and I'm like, "well I've done this before..." But then it started playing and I truly thought it was the best looking -- format and display medium aside -- it's the best looking version of the movie by far.

    Tim Stipan: Yeah, the amount of detail you get in flames. You see so much more of actual flame. I wouldn't say [SDR] looked like a 2D image, but all of a sudden [with HDR] it has extra dimension to it, it's almost like 3D.

    HDR Extra Detail

    Tim Miller: Having done DIs for four different outputs, the Ultra HD is just fucking amazing at the level of detail. Especially since we did it at the end of the process. Especially the skies is where I noticed it most. In a lot of the shots, particularly on the freeway fight, there is just so much more detail. It's like suddenly the sky was not a white mass the way it had been in all the other formats. Also Deadpool's costume was the other big thing I noticed. It's got a really fine weave to it and, suddenly, all the detail in that costume comes out in a way that turns to mush in all the other formats. And VFX too. Explosions, fires, things like that, the fight in the lab looks particularly cool in this super high res format.

    Tim Stipan: We're taking advantage of the camera. The camera captures this and now with HDR you're allowed to see what the camera's actually capturing.

    HDR's Effect on Filmmaking

    Tim Miller: We shot ['Deadpool' in] 3K on the Alexa. If we shot in 6K, which is the newer stuff, or I could have shot on the RED, how much better would this [Ultra HD Blu-ray with HDR / WCG] look there? Where [the Blu-ray] wouldn't benefit from the extra resolution, [the Ultra HD Blu-ray] would. So aside from all the other compositional benefits, from being able to fuck around with framing, I think we'll get a huge bump in the level of detail. But to answer your question, [HDR] would probably have a negative effect on the filmmaking process because suddenly I'd be less forgiving about all that shit I know were going to see in the background.

    Tim Stipan: The thing I keep thinking about is the faces ... I think this happened when HD first came out is that people were all of a sudden saying, "we gotta put extra makeup on". That would be my only concern with HDR, but otherwise all the extra detail you're seeing is a huge benefit.

    HDR vs CGI

    Tim Miller: It could help or hurt depending on how good the CG is. If it didn't integrate well, it would excentuate ... and just more clearly illuminate where you fucked up.

    HDR vs SDR Color Timing Differences

    Tim Stipan: It was something that just happened. We saw [the big explosion during the film's climax] in HDR and there was more of a boldness, more detail to it. It's not that we didn't like what we did in the SDR version, but the HDR version looked great and we were like, "let's go with it." Could we have tweaked the SDR to get it closer to the HDR, yes, but it still wouldn't have the detail because there is a difference between the color of the flames.

    Tim Miller: But don't you just have more range to work with [in HDR]? If you had gone after that in [SDR], it would have fucked up other things.

    Tim Stipan: It's not something we were isolating. We didn't isolate the flames, but once we color corrected the image, they kinda fell into place.

    Fox Innovation Lab hallway

    Thanks again to the Fox Innovation Lab for the invite. It's great to know, outside of our home theatre geek circles, filmmakers are as excited about this new format's capabilities as we are. Because, at the end of the day, HDR means audiences are experiencing more of a film's production than ever before.

    And for Heaven's sake, people, don't just sit there reading this, go check out the 'Deadpool' Ultra HD Blu-ray for yourselves... OR, if you're reading this on or before May 22, 2016, enter for a chance to WIN A FREE copy from your buds here at High-Def Digest.

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  • 'The Jungle Book' in Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos; More Titles Coming

    Posted Fri Apr 15, 2016 at 12:15 PM PDT by
    'The Junge Book' 2016 waterfall

    Last night we caught an advanced screening of Disney's 'The Jungle Book' at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California.

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  • 'Batman v Superman' in Dolby Cinema

    Posted Fri Mar 25, 2016 at 08:30 AM PDT by
    'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'

    Wednesday night, Dolby hosted an advanced screening of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' at The Vine, its Dolby Cinema Prototype Lab in Hollywood, CA.

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  • High-Def Digest Visits the Dolby Cinema Prototype Laboratory

    Posted Tue Mar 15, 2016 at 09:00 AM PDT by
    Dolby Cinema LOGO

    Have you ever wondered how a company can launch a new type of premium exhibition auditorium?

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  • Disney, Lionsgate, and 20th Century Fox Announce New Films for Dolby Cinema, Including 'Deadpool'

    Posted Fri Feb 12, 2016 at 02:00 PM PST by
    dolby cinema

    More theatrical releases with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos have been revealed.  

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  • The Force Awakens: IMAX 3D vs Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime

    Posted Thu Dec 24, 2015 at 05:00 PM PST by
    imax dolby cinema 2

    As 2015 comes to an end, and with the staggering launch of 'The Force Awakens' this last weekend, I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast what are arguably the two best exhibition formats available today: IMAX and Dolby Cinema.  

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