View Full Version : When Film Capture Stops in Hollywood, What Will Come of IMAX?

09-16-2012, 01:22 AM
I know more and more movie productions are switching to digital capture instead of using 35mm film. And Kodak had made a contract with studios to keep making film till 2015 (I think?). Anyway since IMAX is a technology that can only be shot and duplicated on film, what will come of the company when film capture ceases? I don't imagine they will be able to design a digital camera with high enough resolution to even compete with IMAX, in a 3 year time frame. And if it were possible- I'd imagine a hard drive fast enough to record such huge data isn't around yet. With theaters switching over to digital projection (which I think is premature because the technology isn't perfected yet), I'd imaging getting film prints made will be just as difficult. And IMAX depends on film for projection, since Digital IMAX is nothing more then a regular digital projector that other theaters already have.

I saw the Dark Knight Rises in IMAX 1.3 times and a repeat time in a Ultra AVX digital projection theater. I think the AVX theater uses a 2K projector on a screen very close in size to IMAX, but more rectangular. The picture ended up being half as bright as IMAX, and one could clearly see what they call the screen door effect on the projection of the film. Since film is analog, it shows everything with no spaces in between the image pixels. I think one would need to go to a bare minimum of 4K and more like 8K, to get rid of the pixels shown on the screen.

So what do you think IMAX will do in a few years?

09-16-2012, 01:59 AM
Simple question: Do people care for IMAX? I mean the general public. If not, then it will be gone. So what, after all.

09-16-2012, 02:29 AM
Being the Dark Knight Rises, which 2/3rds of the film was shot in IMAX and big screen theaters are becoming more popular, I'd say yes. That film broke a record of 100 million dollars made just on IMAX screens globally. So people are seeing the difference. It takes origination in IMAX to make the difference.

09-16-2012, 02:59 AM
I´m a big IMAX fan since I watched "The Dark Knight" back in 2008. Watching the Joker and his henchmen robbing the bank from the top of the roof during the intro scene was vertigo-inducing! The image was so bright and crisp and resolution so high that it was breathtaking. However, the Cinestar-IMAX Event Cinema in Berlin changed from real IMAX to digital projection last year and quality went downhill. First, I wasn´t even aware of the switch! I watched "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" and Titanic 3D there and wondered why the picture looked so fuzzy. At first I thought it was because they just "remastered" these movies from 35mm to 70mm, but when I heard that they use a digital projector now, the poor image quality seemed to make sense.

I really wanted to see "The Dark Knight Rises" in IMAX, but finally there was no chance, since I don´t know of any other IMAX theatre here in Germany. This really made me sad... But watching "The Dark Knight" was an experience that I will never forget!

09-16-2012, 04:06 AM
So what do you think IMAX will do in a few years?

Go digital. They have selected Barco as their primary projector supplier. Think 8k laser projectors in the not so distant future.

09-16-2012, 07:57 AM
A lot of Imax wasn't shot on Imax but digital especially there 3d thing, some Imax theaters are equipped with 2K projectors.


09-16-2012, 08:53 AM
Imax will still exist but they'll do just as they did for Indiana Jones (which wasn't shot on 65mm), blow it up and project it any way they can (digitally). Not all imax theaters are the same either with many having small screens. I for one wouldn't pay $18 to see Dark Knight if it wasn't on a huge screen and shot on 65mm.

09-16-2012, 10:01 AM
Me too! But real IMAX was definitely worth it. I would even pay 20-25 bucks!

09-16-2012, 10:51 AM
I wonder when 8K projection will take off? As far as I know- all the IMAX theaters we have here in BC are the original large screen film projection. I saw Dark Knight Rises in an IMAX film theater and it was definitely worth viewing. I don't count digital IMAX as real IMAX. It's kind of a cheat if you ask me, especially if its only 2K. And I'm aware another film series I like- Star Trek- has filmed some sequences in IMAX for the next movie coming out in 2013. So films originating in IMAX seems to be taking off a little. It would be a shame to pull the plug on that if Kodak stops making film in 3 years. But I'd bet 8K projection will be available by then. But I'd really wonder if 8K can even compete with film IMAX or not.

09-16-2012, 12:55 PM
I had the chance to visit Montreal, Las Vegas and New York this past summer and managed to see The Dark Knight Rises in real 70mm 15 perfs film in each of those cities (actually in New York I saw it on an Dome screen, aka OMNIMAX, on the huge screen at the Liberty Park Science museum). I wanted to experience watching a feature movie in real IMAX to keep those images and feelings for the years to come. The image quality of the portions shot on 65mm negative were just as different as when looking at an 6x6 piece of chrome shot with a Hasselblad on a light table compared to regular 35mm film. No grain, colors to die for, mindblowing clarity , sharpness and detail, shallower depth of field with beautiful bokeh. I noticed excellent image stability (to the point of wondering if it was not a digital projection after all). I'm afraid soon there will be no more film projection at all and the general public won't have a point of comparison, at this point they won't even need to try to equal film quality, they'll just need to hype it up and coldly claim 4K or 8K or whatever is simply better than film.
I see tiny bits of hope though, 2 up coming new movies have been shot on regular 5 perfs 70mm (Samsara, and The Master), and promote the better image quality of 70mm openly. There is also this Star Trek movie sequel and the next installment of Hunger Games movie that are heard to include scenes shot on 65mm IMAX stock.
Let's cross our fingers.

09-16-2012, 01:09 PM
It's sad...most folks listen to inferior MP3 music rather than superior CD quality, and most listen on these dinky countertop docking speakers. Now we have 4k digital projection being foisted on us as studios find it so much less expensive to distribute movies digitally.
What is wrong with the 20-40something generations, that they so readily accept cr*p?

09-16-2012, 01:18 PM
It's all they've known.

I get the impression (I will admit I could be wrong) that many of them believe that everything (music, movies) should be theirs for free, and they consider building a hiqh quality system for reproducing sound or images an expensive anachronism.

09-16-2012, 01:53 PM
I've recently heard a couple of interviews with musicians where they somewhat ruefully acknowledge that the reality is that their recordings are essentially expensive (to them) advertisements for their live music gigs. They essentially said that they know that everyone will just steal their recorded material, and hope that it will result in at least some of those people paying money to hear them live, where at least they will get paid. How things change ..... . .It seems to me that film capture is still reasonably prevalent - it is film distribution that is the urgent problem.

09-16-2012, 03:06 PM
I must admit that hear a lot of music streamed via Youtube these days, but I still buy real CDs from time to time when I think a musician really deserves it.
As for cinema: The only reason to go to it has been superior image quality and the whole "cinema feeling" for me. It was just different than watching a mushy and pixelated movie stream loaded from the web. Faced with the motion picture industry´s recent tendency to go downhill quality wise , I can´t help but abandoning cinema visits altogether and just watching all my stuff through file sharing.

Brian C. Miller
09-16-2012, 03:26 PM
I saw Dark Knight Rises at the Pacific Science Center (http://pacificsciencecenter.org/IMAX-Theaters/Shows/imax) IMAX, on the Boeing screen (60ft tall, 80ft wide). At that height, you do see a little bit of grain. Yes, it made the normal movie houses look rather small by comparison. (I wasn't that impressed with the actual movie, though.)

Personally, I just can't see digital projection being up to snuff for something like that, not for a very long time.