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jrewing1000 -> IMAX question (28/12/2011 4:58:30 PM)

Hi all,

I went to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol today at the new IMAX in Swiss Cottage, London. Having seen Dark Knight at the IMAX: Waterloo, I was expecting the same slightly squarer screen dimensions. However, Swiss Cottage IMAX is a regular cinema screen shape (rectangular, 1.85:1). So for the IMAX sequences, there was no 'popping out vertically' to full IMAX ratio format, like there was at the Waterloo IMAX screening of Dark Knight.

Has anyone seen Mission Impossible at Waterloo or other square format screens? Have I missed a true IMAX format screening? Is Swiss Cottage not true IMAX format?

Confused!




max314 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 5:13:19 PM)

Sounds like you weren't seeing the proper 70mm presentation.

If it was just a case of the screen not being big enough, the image would've been projected both above and below the screen. Which I assume was not the case.

Either that, or it's an alternative 70mm print with an adjusted aspect ratio.

Do keep in mind, however, that a lot of self-proclaimed "IMAX" cinemas are not actually IMAX cinemas.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 5:17:13 PM)

I knew it. I've been duped - Swiss Cottage isn't true IMAX. How can they get away with that?!




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 5:37:25 PM)

I've just tried calling Odeon about this, and after being hung up on twice (a grumpy xmas worker, or avoiding the issue?), i'm now emailing customer relations. I've also put an email through to IMAX themselves.

I am quite angry about this actually, because the general public probably won't know or care. But we're not getting true IMAX.

Lets see what they say.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 5:46:18 PM)

After some research, I found that there is indeed a long standing controversy regarding 'fake' IMAX. Bastards.




Dpp1978 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 5:50:35 PM)

It is an "IMAX Digital" screen.

They use stacked projectors to give a brighter image than you typically would get from standard digital projection but it certainly isn't the same thing as IMAX proper. The image quality falls short of traditional IMAX in 3 main areas: the brightness, resolution and the sheer damn size of it.

The selling point for IMAX was the huge, well lit screen which covers the complete range of vision. The 70mm film (running horizontally with 15 perforations per frame) allows for far higher resolution than traditional 35mm, and even digital (although it probably isn't as huge a gap in practice as might be supposed) but the real reason it is necessary is light. You need a huge amount of light to fill the massive IMAX screen so the bigger the frame the more light you can push through it. The IMAX frame is about 2 3/4" x 2" which allows a lot more light through than any other movie projection technology.

IMAX Digital is just a marketing exercise.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 5:55:26 PM)

I couldn't care less what the reason is, if it says IMAX it should be IMAX. And even if I don't know the difference between IMAX and IMAX digital, it should fucking say so (i'm not angry at you mate, just Odeon / IMAX)

I'm going to complain BIG time.




Dpp1978 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 6:04:45 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jrewing1000

I couldn't care less what the reason is, if it says IMAX it should be IMAX. And even if I don't know the difference between IMAX and IMAX digital, it should fucking say so (i'm not angry at you mate, just Odeon / IMAX)

I'm going to complain BIG time.


I agree with you. If all it does is water down the IMAX brand and disappoint customers it is a bloody stupid idea.





adambatman82 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 6:12:10 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: jrewing1000

Hi all,

I went to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol today at the new IMAX in Swiss Cottage, London. Having seen Dark Knight at the IMAX: Waterloo, I was expecting the same slightly squarer screen dimensions. However, Swiss Cottage IMAX is a regular cinema screen shape (rectangular, 1.85:1). So for the IMAX sequences, there was no 'popping out vertically' to full IMAX ratio format, like there was at the Waterloo IMAX screening of Dark Knight.

Has anyone seen Mission Impossible at Waterloo or other square format screens? Have I missed a true IMAX format screening? Is Swiss Cottage not true IMAX format?



I saw MI4 in "proper" 70mm IMAX and yes, the aspect ratio did shift for the IMAX shot scenes (ala The Dark Knight). The easiest way to tell whether or not you're in a proper IMAX screen for MI4 is based on the attachment of the The Dark Knight Rises prologue, as it only precedes true 70mm IMAX.




rich -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 7:39:13 PM)

You can find out about digital IMAX, aka the shit ripoff version here:

http://www.slashfilm.com/qa-imax-theatre-real-imax-liemax/

[image]http://bitcast-a-sm.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/wp/wp-content/images/ZZ68ECE699.jpg[/image]


They get away with it because you are paying for the brand name, not the screen size.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (28/12/2011 10:54:41 PM)

Thanks for the diagram. I've sent it to IMAX London, lets see what they say. In the meantime I'm going to contact the Consumer Rights groups to see what can be done. I'm now on a mission, as said above, they are damaging the brand IMAX, which for me, is the only thing stopping 3D from taking over our cinemas.

I believe in IMAX, but this watered down, shit version is unacceptable.




Invader_Ace -> RE: IMAX question (29/12/2011 11:50:01 AM)

It needs to show a regular cinema screen in the diagram too.

and explain that the Digital Imax is still better than a regular projector as even the linked article acknowledges.




Dpp1978 -> RE: IMAX question (29/12/2011 12:22:20 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Invader_Ace

It needs to show a regular cinema screen in the diagram too.



That would be tricky as there is no such thing as a "regular cinema screen".

They can range from the relatively small side screens for a few people, to your average multiplex screen, and up to the truly immense screens such as those found in flagship venues.

There is no set standard for aspect ratio and how they are masked; some are constant height (they get wider for 1:2.35 scope aspect films) some are constant width (they get taller for 1:1.85 flat aspect films) and others are constant area (they shift in both directions to allow for the best compromise between the ratios). Some don't even bother with masking any more.

Some are flat, some are curved. Some have traditional stalls seating, some have heavily raked stadium style seating. Some still have a balcony.

The screen in the image is what I'd consider a fairly large regular screen.

IMAX is (or was) a different beast. It has more in common with the old picture palaces than the modern multiplex. It was a venue built around a screen, not just the biggest screen that could be shoehorned into an existing space. Even than there is no real standard to screen size or aspect. But you could be assured it would fill your field of view.

What they have done is allow their brand to be used or regular, albeit well appointed, screens. I haven't been to one (If I want the IMAX experience it is as easy for me to get to the BFI as it is for me to get to one of these digital set ups) but I'm sure they are good screens.

But they are not IMAX.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (29/12/2011 3:27:55 PM)

Well...

Stay with me folks, because I've just registered a complaint with Consumer Direct, and the Office of Fair Trading. They said it was illegal to promote a product as one thing, and then to sell another, and the lady seemed to think there was a case. I described the format process and the technology involved as best I could!

I'm not sure how far this will go, but I'm determined at the very least, to get these 'shit' IMAX screens displayed appropriately, perhaps with a sign saying 'altered IMAX presentation' or something like that.

stay tuned...




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (29/12/2011 3:28:25 PM)

In fact, if anyone has anything they wish to offer to help the cause, please do post it here and I'll take a look, maybe even forward something on.




adambatman82 -> RE: IMAX question (29/12/2011 7:12:57 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: jrewing1000

In fact, if anyone has anything they wish to offer to help the cause, please do post it here and I'll take a look, maybe even forward something on.


Why not try get one (or more) of the legitimate UK IMAX operators on board? Somewhere like the National Media Museum or the BFI? They'll be keen to make certain of the difference between the two formats.

Playing devils advocate at the moment, but won't IMAX simply say that their IMAX Digital brand is a different thing to regular IMAX? Granted further, on-site clarification might be required, but I would have thought the offending parties would have thought this through before now. I'm sure that DPP will be able to clarify further tho.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (29/12/2011 9:50:28 PM)

Absolutely. I strongly feel that it should be made clearer in promotion and advertising. This is the sticking point for me, that they're selling it as IMAX.

Hey - it's still a brilliant way to see a film, but it's not what it says on the tin. That's what needs to change.

I'll see what they have to say if they call me back. If not, my next move will be the BFI.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 9:38:00 AM)

Question, does this new 'shit' IMAX crop the actual full IMAX image? I'm guessing it does because it's not the usual 'squarer' shape?




adambatman82 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 10:05:15 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jrewing1000

Question, does this new 'shit' IMAX crop the actual full IMAX image? I'm guessing it does because it's not the usual 'squarer' shape?


I'm not 100% sure (again DPP can probably confirm), but I think IMAX Digital is indeed a different aspect ratio to regular IMAX. So yes, it would essentially be a cropped version of full IMAX.

I had a conversation on twitter with Cineworld's horrendous PR person about D-IMAX last night. Their attitude was amazing, essentially boiling down to blaming the recent Slash Film article on making everyone aware that D-IMAX is not full IMAX, and that were a person not to have read said article then they wouldn't feel like they'd missed out on anything, showing absolutely no regard for the concept of IMAX itself. The person behind the account clearly didn't have a clue what they were talking about either, throwing around terms like "aspect ratio" and "2K vs 4K" like they were an alien language! They were really rude too.

Here are a couple of comments from them (to me and a friend). -

No pleasing some! We'd say judge our IMAX screen on what you see yourself rather than a figure obsessed article. Note how they consider those pesky facts to be mere "figures".

So it was good when you saw it until reading an article telling you you shouldn't think it's as good :s No one said that, but we were simply pointing out that D-IMAX was not full IMAX. Nobody was rude to Cineworld by the way, you can read the conversations back.

"I'm not dismissing the article but when you were watching MI4 on our IMAX did you at any point think 'I would enjoy this if only the aspect ratio was better'?" Again, that wasn't really the point being made. Note how they continue to use the term IMAX. Presumably there is nothing wrong with them using it, but its hardly helpful in a discussion between adults that are trying to talk about the differences between full and digital.

In response to my question of whether or not the person behind the account knew what an aspect ratio was, and how different the IMAX one was to a "regular one" I received this rather condescending retort. I can't believe that this is a corporate machine speaking! (I've left the grammar mistakes in) - "no but then until you start reading articles saying its not as good no one else did either..."

At one point I actually asked Cineworld's twitterer whether or not what he was spouting was official Cineworld policy, or just his own views, but he never responded. I've got friends in their PR department, so will be speaking to them about this in the new year. I don't mind D-IMAX, in fact I welcome it, but it is not IMAX in the same way that IMAX screens are IMAX, and this needs to be clearer, especially when Edinburgh fake IMAX costs MORE than full IMAX at the National Media Museum.

You can see the full discussion here -

http://twitter.com/#!/cineworld




Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 11:57:52 AM)

I've been to an IMAX screen twice. I knew it wasn't a full size one, but until I saw that diagram above I didn't realise just how much smaller it was [sm=893obsessed-thumb.gif]




rich -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 3:12:46 PM)

The real thing is pretty eye-popping with movies made using the IMAX cameras, way better than 3D




Dpp1978 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 3:41:34 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jrewing1000

Question, does this new 'shit' IMAX crop the actual full IMAX image? I'm guessing it does because it's not the usual 'squarer' shape?


IMAX screens have no set aspect ratio but the camera negative at full aperture is about 1:1.4. They are designed to be so big they fill your field of view so slight cropping makes little difference. One thing is certain; they are all taller than your average screen. These IMAX Digital screens are much wider so you will lose some height.

I've done a little reading on them, and from what I can gather IMAX Digital is a projection standard. The screen is closer and is bigger than a regular screen so it will be more immersive. It has 2 2k projectors which are projected over each other making the image brighter.

But the source is still a standard digital print. That is why Cineworld didn't have the Dark Knight Rises prologue: it was only attached to the 70mm IMAX prints.

The screen will be vastly better than your average multiplex screen, and that is a good thing. If they were marketed as IMAX Digital, with a clear distinction between them and IMAX proper I doubt anyone would care. But again they are not IMAX as the public understands it and shouldn't be sold as such.

They make no distinction, and the operators seem to be a bit defensive about it. This is not surprising but it is misleading and could certainly fall foul of trading standards or advertising standards regulations.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 5:24:50 PM)

Got a reply from Odeon Swiss Cottage:

Thank you for your email,

ODEON Swiss Cottage, as well as any other IMAX branded cinema/auditorium,
is True IMAX as it is installed by IMAX to their exacting standards and
has their seal of approval as an MPX (multiplex) version of their IMAX
offer.

As the names states this is a more "multiplex friendly" version of the
brand allowing the IMAX system to be experienced in more cinemas across
the country without massive and extensive building alterations.

The MPX system does differ from the GT (Grand Theatre) system that still
uses film (like at Manchester Printworks and the BFI) mainly because the
image size is smaller and this sometimes makes guests, who have
experienced it in the GT environment, feel a little short changed.
However, the IMAX MPX is still far superior to a standard digital screen
and offers a great cinema going experience.

Each IMAX presentation on either systems go through a DMR (Digital Media
Remastering) process to ensure any standard "Hollywood" film that has not
been filmed in IMAX, is re-mastered to best suit their system. This is
done to take into account the different formats that a particular film may
have been filmed in so it best fits the MPS IMAX screen.

To ensure the largest possible screen size, MPX screens are not always a
set standard IMAX ratio meaning some can be slightly wider than others
depending on the auditorium geometry. Every screen is IMAX approved and
falls within their own set standards of tolerance and this is not altered
by ODEON.

Hope this information helps.

Yours

Guest Services


My gripe might lie with IMAX not Odeon, but I am now replying asking why the two different presentation systems (GT 'Grand Theatre' and MPX 'Multiplex') are being marketed, promoted and sold as the same thing - as they've already admitted they are different. Lets see what happens...

It seems like IMAX are watering down their brand and rolling it out across mutiplexes around the world. But when they say 'True' IMAX, they mean it has been endorsed by IMAX. I couldn't care less what they endorse, they are acting under the brand name 'IMAX' which comes with certain expectations. To not allow the public to realise the difference and what they are actually paying for is unfair and unethical.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 5:42:21 PM)

...and a reply from IMAX.

Thank you for your message. Screen size varies in each IMAX theatre, no two are exactly alike. Multiplex locations, which use IMAX’s digital projection technology, tend to have smaller screens than classic locations as they are retrofitted into existing 35mm auditoriums. In these types of locations, we install a larger screen (than was used during 35mm projection) which is slightly curved and positioned closer to the audience to maximize the field of view.


Best regards,
IMAX Corporation


Interesting that the same explanation came back. No acknowledgement that the two systems are being marketed and sold as the same product. So, same question goes out to them...standby..




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 5:58:11 PM)

A swift reply from IMAX...

Thank you for your comments. We will forward them to our Brand group so they are aware of your concerns.

we'll see.




Spaldron -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 7:19:02 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: adambatman82
I don't mind D-IMAX, in fact I welcome it, but it is not IMAX in the same way that IMAX screens are IMAX, and this needs to be clearer, especially when Edinburgh fake IMAX costs MORE than full IMAX at the National Media Museum.



You're right, its £12.60 a ticket at my local (Edinburgh) which is about £2 more than the Glasgow Science Centre which is the nearest full IMAX. I agree with you in that I welcome any improvement over regular digital projection and I plan to see MI:GP there in a couple of days but I still have to pay £4.30 on top of my unlimited card which I'm not happy about. They've run a big advertising campaign here on the sides of buses and in the papers etc and all you read is IMAX, no mention of the Digital anywhere. I think they're doing this because a) They can probably get away with it and b) Most of the general public don't care.




jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 10:12:46 PM)

From what I've learnt through my correspondance with both IMAX and Odeon, is that there are two versions of IMAX out there:

IMAX GT which stands for 'Grand Theatre'. This is the IMAX we all know and love and most of us expect. You can find this at the BFI for example. This is the full presentation of the 70mm film, slightly squarer image ratio and the biggest screen out there.

IMAX MPX which stands for 'Mutiplex' is a newer version of IMAX they are rolling out in existing multiplexes, where large auditoriums are being converted to IMAX's exacting standards. Except the screen is not the same dimensions as IMAX GT. Therefore the film you watch is not the full presentation of the 70mm print.

I'm not sure how long IMAX GT will last, seeing as I've heard there is an IMAX format digital film camera very near.




Dpp1978 -> RE: IMAX question (30/12/2011 11:44:03 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jrewing1000

I'm not sure how long IMAX GT will last, seeing as I've heard there is an IMAX format digital film camera very near.


It takes 2 stacked projectors to light the smaller MPX screens. A full size IMAX screen is about 4 times the size of those so would take 8 projectors to light it to a similar level. Aligning even 2 projectors is an incredibly complicated task.

Any misconvergence will lead to a blurry image. If it is too far out you get a doubled image; like a 3D movie when you take the glasses off.  Any problems are magnified the bigger the image gets. At IMAX size even differences in the small imperfections in the projection lens will noticeably throw off convergence.

Unless there is a leap in digital projection technology it will be very hard to light the massive GT screens as brightly as you can with 15 perf 70mm film.

As to IMAX format cameras, the latest generation of digital movie cameras can shoot at 4k.

I read about a demonstration IMAX engineers performed to show the image quality of IMAX. They shot a series of high contrast black and white checkerboard patterns starting at a 2x2 grid, going to a 4x4 grid, an 8x8 grid, a 16x16 and so on. By the time the pattern reached the equivalent of 4k (that would be a grid measuring about 4,000 squares wide) as far as the audience was concerned they were looking at a flat grey screen.

That means the perceived contrast between the black and white squares had dropped to a point where they were indistinguishable from each other. In technical terms, at that point the MTF (Modulation Transfer Function, which is how resolution is objectively measured) had hit zero so no meaningful information was observable at viewing distance.

This means that whatever the resolution of the IMAX negative (which would be a very high number) by the time it reaches the screen it is observable at somewhere in the region of what in digital terms would be 4k.

So in theory any of the latest cameras should be able to create a final image good enough for proper IMAX. It won't be as good as a 70mm IMAX negative, but that is not what you are looking at by the time you see it on the screen.

Resolution is only one aspect of image quality, and not the most important. Plenty of films finished at 2k have been given the IMAX treatment and held up well.





jrewing1000 -> RE: IMAX question (31/12/2011 11:30:39 AM)

So do you think that IMAX GT 70mm presentations will disappear with the film cameras?

Meaning - if they abandon 70mm film for digital technology (as is happening for 35mm film), then IMAX GT projection size just isn't technically possible?




Dpp1978 -> RE: IMAX question (31/12/2011 1:32:15 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jrewing1000

So do you think that IMAX GT 70mm presentations will disappear with the film cameras?


Probably not any time soon, and I doubt the film cameras are going anywhere either. I'd be surprised if many more IMAX GT venues are built though.

I'm a huge fan of film, and I love a good 35mm or 70mm presentation. However these days they are rare outside of specialist venues. 2k digital is much better than a 35mm release print in most cases.

As long as the digital solution is at least as good as the analogue equivalent I have no problem with film's decline as a mainstream option.

If IMAX develops a digital projector which compares favourably with their big 15 perf 70mm film projector then it becomes irrelevant which one they use, at least as far as the audience is concerned.

quote:

Meaning - if they abandon 70mm film for digital technology (as is happening for 35mm film), then IMAX GT projection size just isn't technically possible?


I'm sure it is technically possible, just very difficult and thus expensive to develop. Their MTX standard is a bodge up of off the shelf parts and proprietary software and hardware rather than a custom built solution.

As long as the image is as bright, as dense and as big as the 70mm version I'll be happy.

The MTX version of IMAX isn't so it isn't IMAX. Whether there is the will to make a full IMAX digital solution remains to be seen.

I am actually really happy to see that there is an effort to raise standards in theatres. These new IMAX screens are a breath of fresh air in many ways. It is just the manner in which they are being sold which bothers me, and it should bother IMAX too.

Apparently it doesn't.




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