A Complaint Letter To Picturehouse Cinemas.

Film The following tells much of the story. What I didn't include, in order to stay on topic, was the appalling sound quality. Only the speakers behind the screen seemed to be in use and often muffled.

This afternoon I saw the lunchtime (12:45pm) showing of The Antman and the Wasp at your Picturehouse at FACT. After the adverts, the film began to start and began projecting in 'scope across the middle of the 1.85:1 screen which had already been set up for the adverts, looking pretty much as it does on a home television with black bars across the top and bottom of the screen. Initially I thought this was an affectation and that, rather like Galaxy Quest for example, once the film started the image would increase to fill the screen.

It did not. The whole film played this way. At this stage I didn't know that the director had chosen to make the film in 'scope - the first film was in 1.85:1, so I thought perhaps matt blinds had been left on the projector and the image was being cropped - so I began considering whether to miss some of the film and run out and report it which was at the back of my mind through almost the whole film, whether I was seeing the whole image, guaging if the tops of heads were cropped. Once you have a thought like that it just *lingers*. So that rather took my out of the film.

​Checking afterwards, the IMDb revealed that it was indeed made in 2.39:1 so it had been projected incorrectly. I was a bit cross to be honest. Projecting in this way also meant that the emergency exit sign which is right next to the screen reflected across the surface screwing up the blacks in the image making some scenes look especially difficult to watch. It's less noticable when the screen has an image across the whole thing, but in this instance again, it was really, yes, distracting and damaging enough that it looked better when the house lights were up over the credits.

I spoke to the cinema manager and she explained that it was a fault with the projector which they've been reporting to you at head office for over eighteen months - something to do with the lense not being able to interpret the DCPs they're being sent properly. So that's eighteen months of people like me having to pay full price to watch films with inferior picture to quality, which is quite frankly rubbish, especially for a company which used to put cinema and the quality of how cinema is presented above all other concerns.

The manager said that its got to the point were they're now asking customers to email their complaints to head office because they're not getting any help directly. This should not be the case. I should not have to send this email. You should be listening to your cinema managers and providing whatever help they need to offer the best product to their customers. MARVEL films are my special treat and your inaction on this issue all but ruined this one.

Take care,

Update! 7/9/2018 I've had a reply:
Dear Stuart

Thank you for your email and your feedback. We appreciate all feedback as it helps us know how to improve the customer experience.

I am sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your visit. The issue with the projection has been unfortunately a problem for the FACT Liverpool site for about 8 weeks, instead of 18 months as you may have misheard. They are working with the temporary solutions they have, and are understandably keen to get back to the correct projections, as are we all. We are organising the parts and engineering required, and we appreciate your patience while these works are underway.

Kind regards,

[Some person]
Picturehouse Customer Care Team Leader
I've since been back in touch with Picturehouse at FACT - apparently it could have been 18 weeks [shrug emoji]. The relevant parts have finally arrived from the US and they should be installed shortly. Stand down everyone, stand down.