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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Large Format Forum   » AMC replacing MPX units? (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: AMC replacing MPX units?
Mark Lensenmayer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1576
From: Upper Arlington, OH
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 02-26-2009 12:02 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I notice that a couple of the original AMC IMAX installations are showing the JONAS BROTHERS 3-D, and I understood this was a digital only release since it is only playing 1 week until WATCHMEN opens. Have they switched out the MPX units in Kansas City (Studio 30)and Phoenix (Deer Valley 30)for digital? The Detroit and Columbus MPX locations are not showing JONAS BROTHERS on their Imax Junior screens.

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James. R. Deeter
Film Handler

Posts: 64
From: Belton, MO, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 02-26-2009 01:29 PM      Profile for James. R. Deeter   Email James. R. Deeter   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
AMC Olathe and Barrywoods ( KC area ) have installed the IMAX digital MPX which is just dual Christie Digitals so they are able to run the JONAS BROS in 3-D Real D for the one week leading to Watchmen.

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Mark Lensenmayer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1576
From: Upper Arlington, OH
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 02-26-2009 02:02 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't believe the Digital system is called MPX...that is the name of the 15/70 film system designed for conventional theatres. I still believe it should be called Imax Jr.

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Mike Olpin
Chop Chop!

Posts: 1852
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 02-27-2009 12:43 AM      Profile for Mike Olpin   Email Mike Olpin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My old location (the MPX unit behind me on my avatar) was replaced with a dig-IMAX. The tech told the staff working there that it was 4k.

Of course we all know 2k + 2k does not equal 4k, especially when overlapped.

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Dick Vaughan
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1032
From: Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 03-06-2009 03:51 PM      Profile for Dick Vaughan   Author's Homepage   Email Dick Vaughan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And if it was being shown in IMAX Digital it wasn't Real D 3D !

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16062
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-06-2009 04:55 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was told recently by an ex-Imax employee that all MPX machines will be heading to the scrap heap.

Mark

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Mike Olpin
Chop Chop!

Posts: 1852
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 03-07-2009 02:44 PM      Profile for Mike Olpin   Email Mike Olpin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's too bad. For all there quirks, it was a nice machine to work on.

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Ken Lackner
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1873
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 03-07-2009 03:50 PM      Profile for Ken Lackner   Email Ken Lackner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: James. R. Deeter
...the IMAX digital MPX which is just dual Christie Digitals....
Two CP2000's may be at the heart of the system, but there is a LOT of proprietary hardware and software that makes it far more than "just" dual Christie digitals.

quote: Mark Lensenmayer
I don't believe the Digital system is called MPX...that is the name of the 15/70 film system designed for conventional theatres. I still believe it should be called Imax Jr.
Regardless of what anyone thinks it should be called, it is called Digital MPX. This, of course, differentiates it from the 15/70 MPX.

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Julio Roberto
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 938
From: Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 03-07-2009 04:21 PM      Profile for Julio Roberto     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Buzzword is that Imax is using a "pixel shift" of sorts.

They run their own masters of the films at DCI 4K, sending each projector a (different) full 2K picture (i.e. odd pixels, even pixels).

The pixels just "blur" on the screen, sort-of like a poor's man pixel shift.

Propietary software and hardware would be aligment and uniformity tools, as well as contrast enhancements and noise reduction.

Don't know if this is truth, but I'm certainly willing to believe it. Search Imax patents on digital and a pile of them are related to similar technologies.

So I guess we could call it a 3K system [Wink]

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Ken Lackner
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1873
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 03-07-2009 05:40 PM      Profile for Ken Lackner   Email Ken Lackner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Julio,

I recall hearing that each projector is projecting the identical image, and they are overlaid on one another, thus increasing brightness and contrast, but not resolution. Now perhaps the person who told me this was misinformed, but this is how I understand it to be. I do know that if one projector goes down, you can still run with only the remaining projector, which I don't think would be possible if they each projected a different image; you'd loose half your pixels, whereas this way at least you only loose half the brightness.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-07-2009 06:14 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, this system is 4k, at best. A good 35mm scope or Academy print is generally considered to be better than 4k, and a 5/70 image is definitely better than 4k.

I'm confused as to where the Imax part comes in. Can someone please confirm that at least the sound system is up to the usual Imax standards? Is there a minimum screen size?

I have not seen the DLP Imax (or MPX, for that matter), but on paper it sounds as if they could have saved a bunch of R&D costs by installing high-end 5/70 systems with the Imax sound systems, while providing a better product to the moviegoing public.

They could still collect lease payments for the sound equipment and licensing for the brand name, too.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 03-07-2009 08:48 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My Imax friend told me that the MPX projector had by far the best light distribution of all the Imax projectors they built but that there were other problems that plagued the projector including the fact that it was still too darn expensive to operate it. Somehow that Cermax lamp they used was spread to cover the 15/70 aperature... a pretty amazing feat if you know how small the Cermax lamp assemblies are. Wish I had a pix to post of one...

Mark

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
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 - posted 03-08-2009 12:39 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've seen standard 2K digital projection as well as Digital IMAX and the IMAX image hands down looks much sharper than standard 2K. However they do it, it looks impressive to the point where even cynical, won't-believe-it-if-I-can't-see-it me thought it was better than any digital I have seen so far. Whether it is 4K or not, they've somehow given it an apparent higher rez look without negative video artifacts, than their competiton can get with a 2K system; and "apparent" is all they really need accomplish.

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Julio Roberto
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Madrid, Madrid, Spain
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 - posted 03-08-2009 07:03 AM      Profile for Julio Roberto     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As I said, look at Imax patents. They all state what we've been saying here: i.e. methods to make 2K projecting arrays "almost look like 4K".

Just a random example:
quote:
Apparatus and techniques for enhancing characteristics of electronic projection systems are detailed. Included among the techniques are both superimposition of sub-images and tiling of superimposed images, the combination of which can be advantageous in improving resolution of projected images. Pre-modulators and polarizing beam splitters also may be used as parts of the innovative systems.
Etc

quote:
U.S. Pat. No. 5,386,253 to Fielding, incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference, discusses exemplary projection systems utilizing one or more spatial light modulators (SLMs). As noted in the Fielding patent: Spatial light modulatordevices include so-called "active matrix" devices, comprising an array of light modulating elements, or "light valves," each of which is controllable by a control signal (usually an electrical signal) to controllably reflect or transmit light inaccordance with the control signal A liquid crystal array is one example of an active matrix device; another example is the deformable mirror device (DMD) developed by Texas Instruments . . . See Fielding, col. 1, II. 13 21. Of course, yet othertypes of light "engines," or sources, exist, and various of them may be used in connection with the inventions described herein.

Regardless of the type of light sources and modulators used, audiences frequently desire to see images high in detail and richness and low in objectionable artifacts. High resolution and image quality in particular facilitates suspension ofdisbelief of an audience as to the reality of the projected images Such quality indeed often is an important factor in the overall success of the motion picture viewing experience among today's audiences.

Producing these high-resolution images is not without added cost, however. Imax Corporation, for example, the intended assignee of this application, utilizes not only specialized cameras and projectors, but also seventy millimeter, fifteenperforation film to increase the resolution and quality of projected images. Conventional electronic projectors (and especially these utilizing SLMs), by contrast generally cannot supply equivalent resolution in projected images. As well suchelectronic projectors frequently fail to furnish the dynamic range and overall brightness of images provided by large-format films. They nonetheless may desirably (or necessarily) be employed to display non-film-based images such as (but not limited to)computer-generated graphics or material captured with electronic cameras.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,490,009 to Venkateswar, et al., also incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference, details techniques purporting to enhance image resolution in systems employing multiple SLMs. According to the Venkateswar patent,sub-images generated by different SLMs are simultaneously displayed such that some sub-images are spatially offset horizontally or vertically from others. This results in partial superposition of the sub-images, with the offset supposedly allowing atwo-SLM system (with each SLM having "x" pixels per row) to provide "a perceived quality approaching that of a system that generates a single image from an SLM having 2(x) pixels per row." See Venkateswar, col. 2. II. 41 43.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,612,753 to Poradish, et al., additionally incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference, discloses alternative techniques for, purportedly, increasing brightness of projected images or extending the projected number ofgray levels. FIG. 1 of the Poradish patent illustrates a projection system in which light from two sources is reflected toward separate lens systems and then focused separately on distinct color wheels. Light from each color wheel thereafter isreflected to an SLM (preferably a DMD) via a total internal reflection (TIR) prism, with each SLM modulating the light and directing it back to the associated TIR prism. As directed, the light is then transmitted by the prisms to lenses for projectiononto a screen. See Poradish, col 3, II. 6 39. In essence, therefore, the Poradish patent contemplates use of dual DMDs present in parallel paths existing from separate light sources to a screen.

While the techniques of the Venkateswar and Poradish patents arguably might enhance the resolution of an image produced by a digital projector, alone either is unlikely to provide resolution consistent with that of large-format film. Enhancedresolution of images produced by digital projection systems thus remains a significant issue for those engaged in development of commercial projection equipment. Absent further advancement in this area, viewing of electronically projected images remainless satisfying to public audiences.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention seek to provide such advancements by addressing differences of, typically (but not necessarily exclusively electronic. SLM-employing projectors. It further does so in a more comprehensive manner than heretofore considered,attempting to create equipment and techniques capable of providing images of sufficient overall quality that they may be used in venues instead of, or in addition to, traditional large-format film projectors without disturbing audience perception thatthe viewed images are of high quality. As noted above, this perception is a significant aspect of modern-day viewing experiences, at times helping determine overall success among the public of particular motion pictures.

Embodiments of the present invention utilize not only superimposition, but also tiling to effect improvements to resolution of digitally projected images. "Tiling" describes the concept of joining two or more groups of images (or "sub-images")edge to edge, with each sub-image containing only a fraction of the total projected image. Because each sub-image conveys only a fraction of the overall image, its resolution will be greater than if the sub-image conveyed the total image itself.

Again, I don't know exactly what Imax is doing, but most people in the industry are talking like they knew it was a pixel shift from 4K. You "lose" half the pixels, but you start out with twice as much as 2K, so you are back to the max a 2K system can do anyway.

But it's a 2K "supersampled" and thus less objetable aliasing above nyquist, improving the overall MTF. The bandpass filter for 4K can be twice as large as for 2K.

Again, don't know what they are doing or how they are doing it, but a pixel-shift of sorts from a 4K DCI master into 2x2K projectors would make sense to me, as would projecting the two images at slightly different illumination floors as to slightly improve perceived contrast.

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Paul Trimboli
Master Film Handler

Posts: 274
From: Perth Western Australia
Registered: Dec 2002


 - posted 03-08-2009 07:36 AM      Profile for Paul Trimboli   Email Paul Trimboli   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I saw digital IMAX for the first time yesterday (Space Station 3D as well as a few trailers) and I have to say while over all the picture was good its defiantly not up to the standard that I have come to know from IMAX. The colour and contrast was good but all of that lovely detail that is normally in an IMAX picture was gone. Since IMAX traditionally has longish shots details is really important. There were many scenes where the space station was floating with the earth in the back ground- the solar array had a jagginess to it. There is another scene in that film where 2 men are standing on a balcony and again its a long shot and there was not enough detail in the picture and the 2 mens ended up fuzzy. For a lot of the film (I was sitting a couple of rows in front of the middle row) I could see the grid of pixels. So while the system for the most part is acceptable its defiantly no where near the quality of 15/70 and it worries me that IMAX is putting their name to a system like this. Why not use 2 4k machines and use this image enhancement to give it the look of an 8k system. IMAX has always set the bar much higher so why are they not doing it this time?

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