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‘A Christmas Carol’ Review: Most Cinemas Can’t Do 3D Justice

An excellent 3D production is let down by inadequate theaters.

It's the bulk of the venues, not the content, that brings down Disney's 3D version of "A Christmas Carol," according to DPI.
Digital Projection International · December 29, 2009

The folks at Digital Projection International (DPI) have a lot invested in 3D TV technology. So when the company offered to share with CE Pro its review of Disney’s 3D version of “A Christmas Carol” starring Jim Carrey, we were anxious to read its take — and share it with you.

Hollywood studios are learning very quickly how to create great 3D films.

Using Walt Disney Pictures’ “A Christmas Carol” as an example, it was not simply the 3D effects that were impressive (which they were), or that the Charles Dickens story is so good or even that Jim Carrey is such an entertaining actor. Indeed, the reason the film worked so well is that the 3D elements were artfully employed to improve the story and impact of the cinematography, rather than simply tossing it on top of the story wherever it could fit. 

It was an engaging, immersive and occasionally breathtaking film. In fact, it was so well done and comfortable to view, we often forgot we were watching 3D.

We all resoundingly recommend seeing “A Christmas Carol” in 3D.

Venues Fall Short

However, setting the very high technical and entertainment qualities of the movie aside, the venues DPI viewers attended were not perfect for maximizing the 3D experience. None of us watched it in an IMAX theater. In the traditional commercial cinemas we attended we found that achieving the optimum 3D viewing experience was restrained by two primary factors.


Any 3D viewing experience is enhanced when the majority of the viewers’ field of vision is encompassed by the screen. The goal is to immerse our senses in the media.

Only a small percentage of commercial cinema auditoriums boast very wide screens capable of offering a majority of the seats a visually immersive experience. The screens are too small or most of the seats are simply too far away.

There is no easy solution to this problem, as upgrading thousands of commercial cinemas to create optimum 3D geometry is probably impossible from a financial and logistics perspective — at least in the reasonable future.

That being the case, we present some important 3D viewing advice: If you find yourself in one of those auditoriums, plan on sitting as close to the screen as is physically and visually comfortable.

  Article Topics

Home Theater · Displays · News · 3D · Commercial · Digital Projection · Home Theater · All Topics
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