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The conditions for watching films: the importance of the big screen

This is a hard topic to write about so the article will probably have to be personal yet rely on statistics, investigations and numbers as well. The conditions of how we watch a film are extremely important as they influence our reception, understanding and appreciation of the film. Watching a classic like The Usual Suspects on a small screen is never as satisfying as watching it on a big screen. Yet classics are very rarely projected again on big screens. In Paris, a cinema has just opened, specializing in projecting Hollywood and French classics on a big screen once again for the public. How much are screen size and ratio important in our experience of the film? How can you read a film through the cinema experience and through the home experience? How aware are the distributors on this subject and how does it influence their decision? In contrast, can we appreciate a film more at home, in the comfort of our personal space? How does our experience change if we watch it on TV? On a laptop?

  • I think it changes in that when we goto a theater, we are going out of our way for that experience. The theater is exclusively a place for films to be watched, the home is not so. Our attention is easily diverted and in all likelihood not as audio/visually potent as the theater system. The common moviegoer will always deny caring about film vs digital, big screen vs little, high quality sound vs low, or anything else in regard to the film's aesthetic. The thing is that those things make an effect whether or not you realize they are or not. You know something about to come crashing through this door, but why did you know? Because Tarantino Dollied in on the door. This scene feels warm and romantic, but why? Because of the delicate lighting. These things will always make a difference, even to those people who deny their importance. – AaronHunt 6 years ago
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  • I've always found a horror to be more frightening in a cinema, a comedy to be more hilarious, and an action sequence to move me closer to the edge of my seat. There's something to be said for group-think, shared emotions in space, and the ability of a theater-goer to feed on the thoughts and emotional reactions of others. Also, my living room can never get as delectably dark as a movie theater. That's important in my book. – Derek Jackson 6 years ago
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  • I think the question of medium specificity is often overlooked. This question looks like a great jumping point for a discussion about the sensual or material qualities of cinema. Thank you for sharing. – InAugust 6 years ago
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