Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

The Oscar-nominated documentary, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015), is on Netflix. Harrowing but essential viewing. It shows how Ukrainian youths who were mostly born during the period of post-Soviet independence galvanised their people from all walks of life to protest against the oppressive regime, headed by a pro-Russian president, at the time (circa 2013).

The extraordinary courage and fearlessness of Ukrainian civilians shown in the face of police brutality and certain death in pursuit of freedom tell us a thing or two about their strong unity and fervent resistance against the Russian invasion today.

The war may be far away (for someone in Singapore), but Putin is terrorising the world by laying down the preliminary conditions for WW3 to spark and forcing humanity back to the Cold War paranoia of existential nuclear threats which may very well turn unimaginably real. (Go remind yourself on ultra-close shaves: Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 & the Stanislav Petrov incident in 1983.)

I’m already feeling the fears, both rational and irrational, creeping in. The world has changed and we could be bracing for a pivotal few months or years that future historians would collectively reference to explain the state of the 21st century.

Covid was just the start, this is even more frightening, and then there is the prospect of irreversible climate change within our lifetime. In the short term, I’m just praying for everything to de-escalate as soon as possible.

Product Review – BenQ W2700 4K HDR Home Projector (Part 2)


Reviewed by Michael Lim, Filmmaker & Curator

(Part 1 of the article is available here)

In this second part of the article, I’ll take a closer examination at some of the new technical specifications of the BenQ W2700, as well as its Stereoscopic 3D viewing.

As mentioned before, the W2700 has a CinematicColor 95% DCI-P3 technology. What is DCI-P3?

DCI-P3 is a common RGB wide colour gamut defined by Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) for digital movie projection in professional cinemas. When using the WCG option in HDR mode, W2700’s colour performance is 1.2 times wider than other DLP 4K projectors with Rec.709 color gamut. DCI-P3 faithfully preserves and reproduces the colors and emotions for 4K HDR content that directors envision for their blockbusters. In effect, it gives you a color range closer to what is shown in digital cinema.

HDR PRO is also supported.


I have a small home theatre room and found that the best way to see the WCG option is when the room is in complete darkness. This is when the projector produced the best results.

Watching stereoscopic 3D is possible with the W2700 as backwards compatibility. I’m not sure of current Blu-ray 3D releases as production may have stopped owing to normal UHD sets no longer supporting the format despite movies still being released in cinemas in 3D. However, I was pleased that the W2700, like the W1700, still supports the playback of these 3D Blu-rays. In order to watch them, you still need a pair of 3D glasses.

BenQ uses an active pair of glasses which means you need to charge them fully before viewing (recommended). There were, however, no additional settings in 3D stereoscopic mode other than its automatic default mode. In higher end 3D projectors, I found that there were other settings to control the depth of the 3D. But for the BenQ W2700, it wasn’t the case. I haven’t tried controlling the settings on the Blu-ray player but I’m sure that this might still be possible on the Oppo-203.


UHD as a disc format does not support 3D and it doesn’t look any more likely in the future. Home consumers simply don’t like the inconvenience of wearing a pair of glasses apparently for the length of a movie. This is a shame as the quality of 3D in the cinemas has improved greatly. I recently watched THE LION KING in IMAX 3D and the results were stunning as this was a completely CG-generated film and home cinema screens are large enough to get an immersive experience as well.

I managed to get ROUGE ONE and THE LAST JEDI in 3D Bluray but I wished I could view them in 4K though with added sharpness, contrast and color. I do hope the manufacturers for projectors will continue to offer 3D still as there are a few home cinema owners who did support that format. Maybe there will be a resurgence in the near future with better content out there.


VERDICT – I was impressed by the sleek new look and picture quality of the BenQ W2700 as compared to the BenQ W1700. Both of these models are at entry level prices for a 4K HDR projector and therefore should not be placed on the same pedestal as higher end range 4K HDR projectors by BenQ and other manufacturers. If you’re looking for something that fills the upgrade gap between a full HD projector and a 4K HDR projector, there’s no question that the W2700 is certainly worth your time for exploration. In order to get the maximum out of the projector, a 4K HDR setup with 4K HDR content is necessary. Hopefully it will continue with 4K HDR physical discs as well as they have a higher bit-rate for content playback than streaming.

Product Review – BenQ W2700 4K HDR Home Projector (Part 1)


Reviewed by Michael Lim, Filmmaker & Curator

(Part 2 of the article is available here)

Joining the range of the latest BenQ projectors is a recent model released a few months back to much fanfare – the BenQ W2700. The BenQ W2700 is the next level up from the previous model W1700 which I reviewed last year. It is more of an upgrade with new improvements that make the W2700 stands out even more, enabling BenQ to be the No. 1 4K projector brand in 2019 in Asia-Pacific with the biggest market share (according to BenQ).

Out of the box, we can already experience a refreshed look with a brand new design which is sure to please. I like the new rectangular capsule design which looks modern and sleek to fit any home and its polished front panel finishing as well. The new back panel places all the inputs and outputs strategically all in one row conveniently.

One particular new little feature which is minor but important is that there are now 2 HDMI 2.0 ports to support two inputs for 4K. Previously, the W1700 could only handle one 4K and one full HD input separately. With this new model, both HDMI inputs now support 4K which is a nice touch. Another port of interest is the USB 3.0 port, which is also a media player, making it convenient to play 4K content directly to the projector.

One new feature on the W2700 is the ability to raise a cover over the lower portion of the lens (see below), which will reduce reflections from a table surface or, if ceiling mounted, from reflective ceilings to ensure the best possible image quality. Weight-wise it is almost the same as the W1700 at 4.2kg.

w2700 1

More importantly, from the moment I hit the start button, that’s when things get exciting. The power-up speed has been improved from the W1700 as the lamp powers up. The menu design is more or less the same as that of the W1700, which makes it an easy upgrade to operate. One hopes in future versions that BenQ may improve on its menus to include perhaps apps to include streaming content but that’s only in my wish list.

As usual to view 4K HDR content, you need the appropriate 4K HDR-supported equipment. In my viewing room, I am using the Oppo 203 as my 4K Ultra-HD source player. In my previous review, I used an Xbox One S. It was a simple swap around between the W1700 and W2700 in the setup. In fact, the BenQ is the No.1 short-throw 4K home projector in the market according to BenQ. It is an easy swap for those who have a 1080p projector*.

*BenQ W1070/W1070+/W2000/W1110/W1090

This means that users of those models can do an immediate swap around with minimum fuss or without even changing ceiling mounts – this is excellent news for upgraders. There’s also a vertical shift and 1.3 zoom for the lens with auto keystone to help as well.


I was quite surprised as to whether I would be able to detect any significant picture differences between the BenQ W1700 and W2700. In comparison, the W2700 has slightly less lumens of 2000 compared to the W1700 which has 2200, but more significantly it was the added contrast ratio of 30,000: 1 that gives the pictures a greater punch along with the CinematicColour with 95% DCI-P3. I will get to more tech specifications in Part 2 of this article.

The degree of black reproduction has definitely improved and colours appear more vivid in range than the W1700, which is saying a lot since that for me was already a benchmark for an entry level 4K projector.

I used the UHD of Mission Impossible: Fallout as a reference video for my viewing. The projector handled the subtle nuances of the black areas in the halo jump sequences quite nicely, and bright day action scenes such as the motorcycle chase in Paris looked stunning. The colour reproduction came close to what I recollected when I first viewed the movie at the cinemas as well. The HDR 10 was very effective. The UHD also has a well-mixed Dolby Atmos track to accompany the visuals as well which is decoded by my slightly older Denon receiver in 11.2.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was another reference UHD which I used. The beach scenes were very detailed and I could almost see and feel the grains of sand on the beach. Flesh tones were quite even throughout.

One drawback of the projector was that I found the fan noise a little noisy although it is within acceptable range. I didn’t use the internal speakers during the initial testing but there are two 5W speakers placed at the back which sounded better than the W1700.


The BenQ W2700 is definitely a well thought of advancement over the W1700. The design of the projector, picture quality and colour reproduction have been improved . Overall, BenQ has done once again an excellent job of looking after improving its projector and I can look forward to seeing what they plan to do in the future as well.

It is slightly more expensive than the W1700 but well worth the price if it is in your budget range. Currently it is retailing at SGD$2,699 in Singapore. However, if that’s still above your price point, the BenQ 1700 is still available at a lower price.

I will be reviewing some of the other features of the projector including the 3D function as well as writing in more detail about the CinematicColour 95% DCI-P3 and what it means in Part 2 of this article.


5 Great Singaporean Films of the 2010s (so far…)

(This article was first published for CatchPlay on 7 Aug 2017)

The 2010s has been a strong decade for Singapore cinema, with the emergence of younger talented filmmakers, and established voices holding the fort. We are probably witnessing the biggest wave in recent years, not just because of the work of one or two trailblazers, but a group of directors whose eclectic output suggests an assured future for our country’s increasingly vibrant film industry. This article traces five key Singaporean films—and great ones to boot—of the 2010s, well, so far…

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Commercial Censorship of Movies in Singapore

This personal opinion piece was first published on 10 February 2018.

UPDATE (as of 13 February 2018): Lady Bird will be released theatrically in M18 (Nudity & Sexual Scene) – Passed Clean

There are two main kinds of film censorship – artistic and commercial.  In Singapore, whenever there is Artistic Censorship (AC), we are happy to push the blame to our local classification (read: censorship) body. 

Almost all the time, the censors get it wrong.  There had been so many cases – too many to name.  Some cases were very infuriating, not least because it conflated political censorship with AC.  The most recent example was Radiance of Resistance (2016), pulled from the Singapore Palestinian Film Festival last month.

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