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Author Topic: Information on IMAX Digital????
Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1325
From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 11-11-2006 11:36 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does anybody have any information about the IMAX digital system. Apparently, by the end of 2008 IMAX intends to start changing over to digital projectors to save on print costs. The stuff I read basically sounds like it is two Sony 4K SXRD projectors stacked on top of each other to create a roughly 4K x 4K image.

On their earnings call they talked about some proprietary stuff they were going to do in image processing to improve contrast and brightness. It is also supposed to run at much lower compression than normal D-Cinema.

Does anybody know any more details about this system they are working on?

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10515
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 11-12-2006 12:18 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If IMAX goes through with this I think it will kill their format.

The 4K format is really meant to offer a suitable long term replacement for standard 35mm projection. It simply is not a good substitute for 15-perf 70mm shows.

I think it's going to take something more on the order of a 16,000 line digital image to do the IMAX film format any justice. There is just so much native detail possible in a 15-perf 70mm image. 4K simply isn't enough to deliver the same very high resolution experience.

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John Koutsoumis
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 11-12-2006 10:17 PM      Profile for John Koutsoumis   Email John Koutsoumis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I thought IMAX was becoming more popular with the DMR films and all. They just need to get more bums on seats.

Let the multiplexes go digital if they like but IMAX should stay with 15/70. It's the quality (of image) that films of the future should have.

Is it just me or is this industry getting worse when it comes to technical matters.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Film God

Posts: 15869
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-13-2006 06:44 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
FWIW, The Sony 4K projector does not yet have sufficient brightness to fill anything over a 50 foot wide screen adaquately(this I was told by Sony but its easy to read their specs, compare and figure that out yourself!). Its maxumum lumens is running far behind the typical 2K equipment out there. Even a stacked set is not going to be able to do it. Blow up a 2K projector to 60 feet and the image falls apart... blow up a 4K projector to 70 to 80 feet and its image is going to fall apart just like the 2K equipment does. That would be a VERY dumb idea for an already dying company to attempt... sort of a last gasp I suppose.

quote: John Koutsoumis
I thought IMAX was becoming more popular with the DMR films and all.
DMR is by far the silliest most wasteful film format to ever exist! Compare the Todd-AO 5 perf 70mm frame size to DMR size on an Imax frame and they're not all that different.... Its merely a format to extend Imax's usefull life a few more years. Like all the other large format systems that have come and gone the studios will soon realize that the huge investment they are making in these prints does not pay back in the long run, that 35mm equivelents will make just as much $$ for less investment... and then they also have to store a huge amount of 15/70 film at the end of a run!

Mark

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Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 11-13-2006 07:10 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The issue according to IMAX is the $20,000 and up cost per print I guess because of the low volume of prints made and the film stock cost. So on a 100 print run, the studio profit is being cut by $2-$4 million.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10515
From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 11-13-2006 02:26 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMAX is diminishing because very few productions are correctly using the format anymore.

There's not enough true 15/70 photographed films being made, much less enough worth driving some considerable distance to watch. IMAX theaters are not found on every street corner.

I agree the IMAX DMR format is silly and wasteful. The classic 5/70 format would be far less costly to pursue and would be compatible with a lot more large screened theaters.

Giant format presentations do draw greater audiences though. Going by per screen averages, one IMAX print is going to do a lot more business than the same show on one 35mm print. The same also holds true of one 5/70 print versus a single 35mm print, and with the added benefit of the auditorium not costing such a huge fortune to build.

The thing I thought was also pretty wasteful was a single movie release generating several thousand 35mm prints, many of which would play in little tiny auditoriums on multiple screens in a multiplex -and then have one or more of those prints removed and likely destroyed after only one or two weeks worth of play. I contend that's really where the greatest amount of money is being wasted on print costs.

IMAX movies can easily be profitable. The problem is the folks making the decisions on how movies for IMAX get made & shown don't see it like that. To them, IMAX isn't profitable enough.

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Jason Setzer
Film Handler

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From: Tampa, Florida
Registered: Aug 2006


 - posted 11-13-2006 06:09 PM      Profile for Jason Setzer   Email Jason Setzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From my understanding IMAX isn't going to using any of the digital stuff on the market today. They are looking for something more proprietary.

I def agree with Mark that they Sony 4K or anything equivalent just wont cut it. It will look as bad or worse as a 35mm blown up on the IMAX screen.

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John Koutsoumis
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 11-14-2006 04:02 AM      Profile for John Koutsoumis   Email John Koutsoumis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
DMR is by far the silliest most wasteful film format to ever exist! Compare the Todd-AO 5 perf 70mm frame size to DMR size on an Imax frame and they're not all that different.... Its merely a format to extend Imax's usefull life a few more years.
Sure that's true but at least you get to see it in 70mm. I don't know about other IMAX Theatres but the one here in Melbourne has the best awesome sound system. You average multiplex showing 5/70 couldn't give you that kind of presentation. But it's not like they can't they just don't want to or whatever the case may be.
And I don't think that digital 4k (or whatever else they come up with in the future) is going to put more bums on seats. Sure it may save them money but in the long run I don't think it's going to work.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 11-14-2006 07:59 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How would the 4k video system work on a dome screen? Or would it?

This sounds like a seriously stupid idea. It might work for DMR (as a sort of "digital 70mm"), but I don't see how it could be up to the resolution of 15/70, even if the brightness issue is solved.

I do agree that the sound quality of DMR prints is amazing and that no 35mm or 5/70 theatre that I have ever heard comes close to matching it.

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Mark J. Marshall
Film God

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From: New Castle, DE, USA
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 - posted 11-14-2006 09:55 AM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That could be solved easily with the lossless DTS processor, and in some cases, some upgraded speakers. They just have to create the first run lossless disks.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Film God

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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 11-14-2006 05:53 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark J. Marshall
That could be solved easily with the lossless DTS processor
I think thats a dead issue... the Losless unit that was south of SLC at Turkey Point is no longer. I re-loaded the HD to make it a regular XD-10 and its now playing a theater in cheyenne, WY. The LF theater didn't want to pay the expense to have disks burned for them... which was actually very low.... They had been using it free all this time. It worked very well and I was sorry to have to yank it out.

Mark

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Joseph L. Kleiman
Master Film Handler

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From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Apr 2005


 - posted 11-14-2006 06:13 PM      Profile for Joseph L. Kleiman   Email Joseph L. Kleiman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All indicators from the powerpoint presentation and earnings call are that the digital solution is designed for an MPX conversion theater. It does not take into account traditional large format auditoriums or domes.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10515
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 11-15-2006 12:34 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sound is actually one area where D-Cinema could wield a pretty tough advantage -provided enough theaters were willing to install sound systems good enough to make noticeable the differences between an uncompressed LPCM surround track versus traditional lossy formats like DTS, DD and SDDS.

I don't know if the current D-Cinema movies being shipped to theaters like Carmike are 20-bit or 24-bit. But they do sound noticeably better than the DTS tracks I've been accustomed to hearing. It's not balls to the walls extra dynamics. The sound is just more smooth and even.

The main difference in IMAX sound systems is the huge amount of amplification and sheer number (and size) of speaker systems. The audio track being played in any IMAX show is no better (and actually probably not as good) as the digital track being played in a D-Cinema show. Any commercial theater could install larger, full range surround speakers.

The DTS XD-10 does have the upward capability of being able to play lossless compressed or uncompressed surround audio from the hard drive and do so in more than just 5.1 channels. The problem is no studio is bothering to use the capability.
[Frown]

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Brian Michael Weidemann
Expert cat molester

Posts: 944
From: Costa Mesa, CA United States
Registered: Feb 2004


 - posted 11-15-2006 05:33 AM      Profile for Brian Michael Weidemann   Author's Homepage   Email Brian Michael Weidemann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The IMAX DTAC plays a 6-channel PCM .wav file, installed from a DVD-ROM; and, if I'm not mistaken, it's a lossless format. If the files are compressed, then I've been misled all these years; which I'll grant is a possibility. But the discs do look rather full of information. (And I only wish I had the ear to know for certain, just by hearing. Sure, I can spot the difference between a 128kbps .mp3 and a 44.1kHz .wav ... but any subtler than that leaves me scratching my head.) [Frown]

A digital projection presentation in an MPX-type "regular" auditorium does not sound like IMAX, and if that name has any reputation to it, this is definitely not the way to keep it recognizeable. To me, IMAX says, simply: "BIG friggin' image, and in 3D!" Of course I know that 2D is not bad, in many cases better, but I still play off my initial, naïve impressions, from before I worked with the format. THAT is the awe behind the name. And to do it justice in digital is WAY off, as many here would agree.

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Eric Hooper
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 529
From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 11-15-2006 05:30 PM      Profile for Eric Hooper   Email Eric Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, with crap like Poseidon being shown in scope letterbox on the IMAX screens, why not go digital? Since only half of the IMAX screen is being used anyway, it should be bright enough.

I guess Happy Feet is going to be letterboxed too, since it's a scope release....

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