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This Minute at Runco

I See You

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I See You

 

The Runco Q-750d projector has been hung and calibrated. We had been discussing watching Avatar,  SkyFall, or Cars.   And after debating what to watch and getting feedback from experts and film buffs alike, we added Life of Pi and some additional firms by legendary cinematographer, Roger Deakins. Lots to choose from.

 So, what did we watch within the first 24 hours of the projector being installed?  Well, a little of all of them.  We simply couldn't decide.  We enjoyed the ConstantContrast on display in the opening scene from Cars. We watched the opening sequence and fist fight silhouetted against the neon signs in SkyFall to enjoy the black levels.  We watched the forest walk and battle scenes in Avatar to enjoy the eye-popping color of the Infinilight illumination system. We even slipped in some broadcast to test out the ISF Day and Night settings.  In short, we enjoyed a visual feast.  A feast that just wetted our appetite for family movie nights, sleepovers with school friends, and time spent enjoying our favorite movies and shows, while  finding a few new favorites along the way (which is why we are still taking your suggestions on Facebook).

 You may recall, the tribe featured in the movie Avatar has a greeting that they use when addressing each other.  They say  "I see you."  This phrase takes on new meaning to the owner of a Runco video projector.

 The magic of Runco, that we talk about so often, is rooted in optical science and clever engineering, without a doubt, and we see this in all the features of the projectors and processing systems.  Yet it goes beyond that. To compelling imagery of far off lands, alien creatures and impossible missions. To heart-racing action and heart-pricking emotion.  And to plans for family and friends to gather to enjoy all that a Runco home theater has to offer. This is the magic of Runco!

Game-Changing Live Action Cinematography

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Those of you who are following this blog or Runco’s Facebook page, know that we have asked for recommendations of what I should watch on the new QuantumColor Q-750d projector going into my new home theater.  Our own cinema expert, Jeremy Sternhagen, told me today that his recommendation from my list was definitely Sam Mendes’ latest installment to the James Bond series, SkyFall.  “It’s the best looking of the three,” he said and then added jabbingly, “Plus, cartoons don’t count.”  Of course, Cars and Avatar are mostly computer generated animation (CGI) without the use of traditional cameras. 

I asked Jeremy why he preferred Skyfall, beyond the fact that it was live action, and his response was insightful, as always.  “This movie was shot digitally with the Arri Alexa camera.  Anything I have seen shot with that camera is stunning on BluRay.  In fact, this was the first movie I ever saw that wasn’t shot with 70mm film that I thought could give 70mm a run for its money.” 

He went onto explain that Roger Deakins, who was the cinematographer on Skyfall, is a huge and vocal fan about the Alexa camera.  In a November 2011 article, he told the American Society of Cinematographers that “the Alexa is a game-changer.  This moment has been coming for a long time, really, but with the Alexa I believe digital has finally surpassed film in terms of quality. What is quality? It’s really in the eye of the viewer, but to me, the Alexa’s tonal range, color space and latitude exceed the capabilities of film. This is not to say that I don’t still love film — I do. I love its texture and grain, but in terms of speed, resolution and clarity of image, there is no question in my mind that the Alexa produces a better image. There is a beautiful roll-off between highlights and shadows [on the Alexa] that I haven’t seen before. There’s a subtlety in color rendition that is fantastic. I tested it in candlelight, and it was beautiful how the camera picked up variations in skin tones and texture. If you shot that same scene with film, you’d get a very monochromatic feel — just a color wash — but the Alexa can read subtleties that film cannot.”

Deakens has 10 Academy Award nominations, including this past year, but not a single win.  “A cinematic crime in my opinion,” Jeremy asserted.  This year’s winner was the Life of PI which was beautiful, but heavily used digital effects, which are difficult to accurately compared with live action.

 

So, I asked Jeremy what other movies, shot on an Alexa, are worthy of screening in a Runco theater?  “There are too many to list, but The Avengers and Hugo are a few that are demo worthy.” We’ll definitely add these our list, especially since some of these are among my children’s favorites.  To see other movies shot with the Arri Alexa, see the filmography.

 

What other movies would you recommend us watching on opening night (or shortly there after)?  Leave your comments and ideas on Runco’s Facebook page.

What to Watch Opening Night

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

 What to watch on opening night?

As we approach the final installation of our home theater, excitement is growing.  We chose a Runco QuantumColor Q-750d projector for the room.  An impressive video product worthy of all the awards and industry attention is has received.  It is quiet, consumes a fraction of the power of similar systems, and is lamp-free for years (literally) of maintenance-free enjoyment.  It is chock full with entertainment possibilities.

As we march towards our own opening night, we are debating what we should watch first.  What will be on the marquee for the first night in the new home theater?

Here are some of the options we’ve considered:

Avatar:  As the highest grossing movie of all time, it would be a logical choice for the christening of our home theater.  But box office success isn’t the only reason.  The colors that James Cameron and his team of cinema artists achieved in the film were spectacular.  In the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) color space of the commercial theater, the foliage and landscapes of Pandora, not to mention the blue skin, popped off the screen.  When I saw the movie, I immediately recognized how awesome it would look on the Q-750d and its Infinilight illumination system.  Nothing beats this 3-LED illumination system which can achieve DCI and Adobe RGB color space, as well as making every movie in REC-709 show brilliantly!  The Runco SmartColor™ huge compensation curve and gamut mapping allow a larger color gamut to be used without affecting skin tones and grayscales.  Movies, like Avatar, would look vibrant without all the characters looking like cartoons (or sunburned).  The proprietary Personal Color Equalizer™ allows us even more color personalization. Avatar is certainly going to be a great choice for the theater.

Cars:  A long-time favorite with our kids, this Disney-Pixar movie is getting renewed market attention because of the opening of the rides in the Disneyland California Adventure theme park.  The reason that it makes my list is those opening scenes where the hero of the story, Lightning McQueen, is giving himself a pep talk in his trailer.  The scene is completely black and then cuts to bright colored racing scenes in his imagination.  This switch between bright and dark scenes is where the QuantumColor line performs incredibly.  The LEDs literally turn off leaving the black levels so inky dark the contrast ratio can hardly be measured.  The effect of this in a dark room is that the screen completely disappears.  This would be a great movie to share with our kids and friends and family.  I expect their reaction to be exactly like the Runco resellers when we first showed it at CEDIA, and their countless clients since then, who have been blown away by this effect.

Skyfall:  This latest James Bond installment is a favorite of the boys of my family and would be a great movie to watch in our home theater.  The intense action scenes would be life-size on our Stewart StudioTek 130 110” screen.  And the dark scenes, of which there are many, could be discerned.  Scenes where the screen is mainly dark, but with points of light (like some of the outdoor night scenes) would be incredible.  The lights would appear to realistically glow, just like we were really there on the Cliffside.  Although too intense for our younger family members and friends, this is certainly a possibility.

What other ideas do you have?  Considering the ideas above or other movies that you have seen on the Runco QuantumColor, what would you recommend?

Visit Runco on Facebook and tell us your thoughts.  I’ll report out our final choice in a future blog post.

 

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