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Is (real) Imax really that much better?

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Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Old 08-07-10, 11:45 PM
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Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Does Imax's really large screen actually result in a better experience when watching a movie? I don't live near any Imax theatres, but I have heard that certain movies look stunning in Imax, particularly if it was filmed with Imax cameras. However, I have also heard that when the movie was not filmed with Imax cameras, the image tends to have a slightly grainy look to it. More often, though, I hear that Imax's greatest strength and attraction, the sheer size of the screen, is also the biggest problem, as people simply say that the screen is too large for them to really see the entire image at once, which means that they end up concentrating on a certain part of the screen, and as result, actually see less of the movie. Has anyone experienced any of these issues? Thanks to anyone that replies.
Old 08-07-10, 11:59 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Well...it's bigger. Actually I watched Inception in IMAX and the sound was incredible. The picture was HUGE and detailed, even in the nosebleed seats. That was in one theater, and before that I saw Dark Knight in a IMAX theater with a screen twice as big. The opening scene where the Joker gang rappells over the city literally made me grab the seat and hang on.
It's fun. As for IMAX cameras, I think they basically use 70mm or HD Digital for production. What would a IMAX camera entail?
Old 08-08-10, 12:02 AM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by mario_c
What would a IMAX camera entail?
Thanks for your response, mario_c. Regarding Imax cameras, I just was told that standard 35mm, when blown-up for Imax, causes the picture to become grainy, unlike the rich detail found with images filmed with Imax cameras.
Old 08-08-10, 02:47 AM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by mario_c
WAs for IMAX cameras, I think they basically use 70mm or HD Digital for production. What would a IMAX camera entail?
Are you asking about cameras or projectors? IMAX cameras shoot on a proprietary 70mm film stock that runs horizontally and has 15 perforations per frame. There is no digital IMAX camera. There are digital IMAX projectors, which are two 2K projectors run simultaneously. But ignore those, as you only get a true IMAX experience from the 70mm projectors.
Old 08-08-10, 08:00 AM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

I find that even movies shot on 35mm which are then digitally processed for IMAX look fantastic. The brightness of the IMAX bulb make the colours richer and the size adds a clarity that you don't get with standard projection. Also, typically IMAX sound is a cut above regular theatres. If someone you know saw 300 IMAX, that's probably where this 'grainy' info is coming from. If the film is meant to have grain, you'll see it - but IMAX wins over standard projection everytime in my book, just for the great colour/size/sound. (this question has definitely been asked before, did you try a search?)
Old 08-08-10, 02:01 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by mdc3000
(this question has definitely been asked before, did you try a search?)
Thanks for your reply, mdc3000. Yes, I did try a search, and found lots of discussions on Imax, but not if Imax is "better" than regular theatres. Next time I will attempt a better search. Thanks again for your reply.
Old 08-08-10, 02:02 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

IMAX wouldn't exist if it weren't demonstrably better than regular theaters, given the difference in price.
Old 08-08-10, 04:41 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
IMAX wouldn't exist if it weren't demonstrably better than regular theaters, given the difference in price.
3D isn't better.

I used to take field trips to the local museum to watch IMAX nature films. Then a few theaters got wise and started to show Hollywood movies and charge a premium. To me, I don't see it as any different than 3D.
Old 08-08-10, 04:49 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

For me, IMAX is worth the money for the sound alone. But I hate the screen size. I love the format because of the extra resolution and fantastic colors, but since I'm prone to headaches the screen size is just an annoyance.
Old 08-08-10, 05:17 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
3D isn't better.
3D can be better if the filmmakers compose for 3D, such as in Avatar or How To Train Your Dragon. But I assume you're just taking a dig, because you personally don't like 3D.

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
I used to take field trips to the local museum to watch IMAX nature films. Then a few theaters got wise and started to show Hollywood movies and charge a premium. To me, I don't see it as any different than 3D.
I see it more like the old 70mm blow-ups we used to get of 35mm. You get the larger image and the benefit of the better sound. Why is that a bad thing?
Old 08-08-10, 05:47 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
3D can be better if the filmmakers compose for 3D, such as in Avatar or How To Train Your Dragon. But I assume you're just taking a dig, because you personally don't like 3D.
I think he means that 3D images don't have the resolution or clarity of a standard 35mm image, which is true.

I'd argue that even a properly composed 3D image is not "better" then a 2D image, Avatar included. Other then thinking that 3D is cool or fun, it has no technical advantages over a 2D. Avatar was shot at a lower resolution then the vast majority of 2D films, the only thing it's image has going for it is 3D, which isn't necessarily a good thing for a lot of people.

Last edited by Blu Man; 08-08-10 at 05:53 PM.
Old 08-08-10, 05:50 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
3D can be better if the filmmakers compose for 3D, such as in Avatar or How To Train Your Dragon. But I assume you're just taking a dig, because you personally don't like 3D.
Well, it's personal preference. Better is a subjective term. I don't think 3D will ever be "better" than 2D films.

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I see it more like the old 70mm blow-ups we used to get of 35mm. You get the larger image and the benefit of the better sound. Why is that a bad thing?
Okay, good point. I guess to me the price doesn't justify the viewing experience.
Old 08-08-10, 06:09 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Blu Man
For me, IMAX is worth the money for the sound alone. But I hate the screen size. I love the format because of the extra resolution and fantastic colors, but since I'm prone to headaches the screen size is just an annoyance.

Yep, so far I've only seen 2 films in "IMAX LITE" at the AMC theaters and although the image quality was great, what really blew me away was the sound. Correct me if I'm wrong but AMC does use the same IMAX sound system even if the screen isn't full on IMAX right? I know I read that here....

One day I'm going to check out "real" IMAX.
Old 08-08-10, 06:12 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Giantrobo
Yep, so far I've only seen 2 films in "IMAX LITE" at the AMC theaters and although the image quality was great, what really blew me away was the sound. Correct me if I'm wrong but AMC does use the same IMAX sound system even if the screen isn't full on IMAX right? I know I read that here....

One day I'm going to check out "real" IMAX.
Yeah, same sound system.

I'd totally disagree about digital IMAX's image being "great". It's two 2k projectors overlapping blown up onto a big screen. Pretty horrid in my book.
Old 08-08-10, 06:13 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Blu Man

I'd argue that even a properly composed 3D image is not "better" then a 2D image, Avatar included. Other then thinking that 3D is cool or fun, it has no technical advantages over a 2D. Avatar was shot at a lower resolution then the vast majority of 2D films, the only thing it's image has going for it is 3D, which isn't necessarily a good thing for a lot of people.
Well, if all you care about is the highest resolution possible, then no 3D isn't for you. Clearly, though, the intent of 3D is to provide you with a stereoscopic image. And films composed with that in mind would (or at least should) look better in 3D. But then, if all you want is the highest resolution, then IMAX is a dream come true.
Old 08-08-10, 06:25 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Blu Man
Yeah, same sound system.

I'd totally disagree about digital IMAX's image being "great". It's two 2k projectors overlapping blown up onto a big screen. Pretty horrid in my book.

Well, my particular AMC has a fantastic IMAX lite screen. It looks really good.
Old 08-08-10, 06:29 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
Well, if all you care about is the highest resolution possible, then no 3D isn't for you. Clearly, though, the intent of 3D is to provide you with a stereoscopic image. And films composed with that in mind would (or at least should) look better in 3D. But then, if all you want is the highest resolution, then IMAX is a dream come true.
Again, that's debatable. In my eyes Avatar looks better in 2D because I can clearly see all of the films fine details. My eyes aren't bogged down by the shaded and dulled image that the overlapped images and dimmed glasses create.

What exactly do you mean by "if all you care about is higher resolution"? Tell me, in what way does a 3D version of the F35 capture a better image then 35mm, Red or a "Panavised" F35 (Genesis)? I'm honestly curious.

Maybe I'm not understanding part of your statement. When you say "look better then" do you mean better then a 2D image in general? Or that a shot composition from Avatar for example would look better in 3D then it's 2D counterpart?
Old 08-08-10, 07:53 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

I'm talking about the experience you get. If a film is composed for 3D, the experience will be better, as 3D is the way it's intended to be experienced.

And if you don't like the dimmer image, see it in IMAX 3D. If it's digital, you get two projectors each displaying a full 2K image, and thus two bulbs. If it's 70mm, it's two separate film prints (one for each eye) and again, two bulbs. Brightness issue solved. Obviously this is only a solution for a movie showing in IMAX 3D.

Last edited by Supermallet; 08-08-10 at 07:58 PM.
Old 08-09-10, 12:03 PM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

There can be some confusion when discussing all of this, because some converted IMAX theaters are IMAX Digital (the double 2K projector setup already discussed), which I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole and some are film-based IMAX MPX, which still projects 70mm film albeit in a theater that doesn't meet the "real" IMAX dimensions for screen size and seating depth.

Personally, even though film-based IMAX MPX isn't technically the true IMAX experience, I still find it noticeably superior to a standard movie theater experience. The only thing really missing is the extreme immersion of a screen that fills almost your entire field of view, but you're still getting a bigger and brighter image with more clarity, not to mention the awesomeness that is IMAX sound.
Old 08-10-10, 08:43 AM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

At my favorite AMC theater they converted one of their largest theaters into an IMAX, however it doesn't feel like any IMAX I've ever been in. It feels like a regular theater with a slightly bigger screen. The other IMAX theaters I've been in feel much different.
Old 08-10-10, 10:34 AM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

that's because the screens are usually floor to ceiling, wall to wall - retrofitted IMAX screen in multiplexes aren't configured as such, and even when they do they are 1.78 (IMAX digital screens).
Old 08-10-10, 11:10 AM
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Re: Is (real) Imax really that much better?

Originally Posted by Giles
that's because the screens are usually floor to ceiling, wall to wall - retrofitted IMAX screen in multiplexes aren't configured as such, and even when they do they are 1.78 (IMAX digital screens).
I think that's true of all AMC IMAX conversions, but not all converted theaters in general. For example, the IMAX at Ronnie's 20 in St. Louis is a multiplex theater converted to IMAX that projects 70mm on a wall-to-wall screen that is 1.43:1. The screen isn't as huge as a real IMAX screen and the seating isn't as steeply inclined to keep everyone close to the screen though.

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