Front Row Report: Beer Wars – A Live NCM World Premier

By | April 17, 2009 9:59 pm PST

This report just in from our friend and colleague Jerry Pierce:

Beer Wars – A Live NCM World Premier
Jerry Pierce April 17, 2009
National Cinemedia (NCM) that runs “Fathom” a “live” to the theater network for single play events. They have Concerts, The Met, Performing Arts, Anime, etc. Cinemedia’s main business is advertising for many theaters. But Fathom seems to be their new baby – below is the list of upcoming shows.
Enjoy one of our upcoming shows
MET – The Audition April 19, 2009
This American Life – LIVE! April 23, 2009
Death Note L: change the World – subtitled April 29, 2009
Death Note L: change the World – overdubbed April 30, 2009
Dr. Laura “In Praise of Mom” LIVE May 5, 2009
Dr. Laura “In Praise of Mom” ENCORE May 6, 2009
This American Life ENCORE May 7, 2009
MET – La Cenerentola LIVE May 9, 2009
DCI 2009: The Countdown May 13, 2009
MET – La Cenerentola ENCORE May 20, 2009
Glenn Beck’s Common Sense Tour LIVE June 4, 2009
Glenn Beck’s Common Sense Tour ENCORE June 11, 2009
So I decided to attend the “World Premier” of “Beer Wars” held last night. (Never mind that I am getting involved in Beer Making … that’s a different story.) I attended a CineMark Theater in Northern California at 8 pm. Well, first off it was not LIVE, it was delayed. Not that it would matter much, but if you are attending a live broadcast it should appear to be live. The theater was the same one that housed “Monsters vs Aliens.” Seemed right, the rest of the screens at this location are still film.
So they got a late start – seems the DVR recording of the show didn’t work right and they had technical difficulty – did I mention it was supposed to give the IMPRESSION of being live? Funny seeing the EchoStar’s DVR interface on a 50 foot screen.
They the show finally started. They did not use the big projector! It was the little NCM advertising projector. Not a bad image, but the masking was set for 1.85 and the broadcast was 16:9 (1.77) so the top/bottom was cut off – not even in safe title – many of the titles got lost in the bottom masking. The projector was dim – but not bad. The contrast ratio was muddy to say the least. I mean really, who needs black? I was pleased that the silver screen did not have a noticeable hot spot, then again maybe you can’t have a hot spot with a dim projector (not).
They did show a live question/answer session with the film makers after the show. It was clear the LA premier was sparsely attended and there were about 50 people in my 500 seat theater. Lots of space to spread out. They charged $15 which was a $5 up fee from their normal presentation charge. Did not look like a money maker to me.
Finally, the presentation crashed at the end. Another 50 foot error screen with audio continuing in the background. I didn’t ask for my money back, but if this is their idea of a live, quality event – they had better go back to the drawing board and re-think the experience.
—-
Jerry Pierce
Patrick von Sychowski
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Patrick von Sychowski

Patrick was a Senior Analyst at Screen Digest, went on to launch the digital cinema operations of Unique and Deluxe Europe, then digitised Bollywood at Adlabs/RMW, and now writes, consults and appears on panels about cinema all over the world.
Patrick von Sychowski
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