Imax 3D vs RealD 3D - AVS Forum
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3D Content > Imax 3D vs RealD 3D
rene2kx's Avatar rene2kx 04:02 AM 07-14-2011
I keep hearing from movie goers that imax 3d is better than realD theaters. But could someone fill me in as to what exactly are the technical differences between imax 3d and realD (both video and audio)?

gagit811's Avatar gagit811 07:15 AM 07-14-2011
Funny because I hear people complaint of crosstalk in imax and claim real-d is better.
Blondboy47's Avatar Blondboy47 08:04 AM 07-14-2011
I have content on 3D Blu Ray in both systems.

I find the Imax material (Under the Sea, for example) to be excellent.

We have a Panasonic 3D TV, so cross talk is minimized due to the protocol Pana uses to trigger the glasses.

However, we also have movies in RealD 3D. Same as above. Cross talk seems to depend on the talents of the producers making the movie and their proper use of parallax adjustments, or so it seems.

In my own testing with my 3D camcorders, I can actually take a scene, play with the Parallax manual control and actually increase or decrease cross talk. I found that to be interesting and was able to take some really nice shots (both video and stills) with no cross talk after adjusting the parallax manually.

The big thing I’ve noticed is the widescreen format that different movies are presented in can have an effect on the overal 3D effect and cross talk.

Imax, at least all the ones I have, are in true 16:9 (approx. 1.77:1 or thereabouts). This fills the screen, which gives you the most encompassing 3D effect. Also, slightly different aspect of say, 1.85:1 is not bad.

HOWEVER, I will no longer buy a 3D movie that’s in 2.39:1 or "thinner" as this, while great in a large-screened movie theatre, for me, loses some of the 3D-ness! LOL The cut off on top and bottom, not filling the screen actually reduces, somewhat, the overall 3D effect. If I’m going to have 3D, I want full-screen 3D, not ¾ of the screen. Plus, our Pana is Plasma and I don't want to burn the screen by having "bright" in the center and "dark" on top and bottom.

We also have Avatar in 3D, which fills the screen and I can say, it looks as good as in the movie theatre. I've not noticed any major cross talk (maybe once in a rare while). Very well produced 3D.

P.S. I've looked and played around with every brand of 3D TV out there (except Philips) and I have noticed that all seem to suffer cross talk, Panasonic being the least affected. Again, I believe it's due to how they trigger the glasses.

All others, as far as my info goes, all do the triggering like this:
RIGHT ON
LEFT OFF

LEFT ON
RIGHT OFF

While Panasonic does this
RIGHT ON
LEFT OFF

BOTH OFF

LEFT ON
RIGHT OFF

that momentary position with both lenses being darkened helps to minimize cross talk due to allowing the screen a moment in time to disolve the previous picture (whether R or L).
DenisG's Avatar DenisG 08:12 AM 07-14-2011
^^^ he was asking about the movie theaters not home theater systems.
mrjktcvs's Avatar mrjktcvs 08:23 AM 07-14-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by rene2kx View Post

I keep hearing from movie goers that imax 3d is better than realD theaters. But could someone fill me in as to what exactly are the technical differences between imax 3d and realD (both video and audio)?

The audio differences are theater-dependent.

The video difference is in the way the output is polarized. RealD uses circular polarizarion, while IMAX uses linear. You can search online to get an explanation of the differences. The main advantage to circular is that you can tilt your head and still see the proper separation of left and right images, but need to keep your head relatively level in an IMAX theater.
Run4two's Avatar Run4two 09:19 AM 07-14-2011
Many of the Imax theatres will be brighter since they use two projectors.
Lee Stewart's Avatar Lee Stewart 02:14 PM 07-14-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjktcvs View Post

The audio differences are theater-dependent.

The video difference is in the way the output is polarized. RealD uses circular polarizarion, while IMAX uses linear. You can search online to get an explanation of the differences. The main advantage to circular is that you can tilt your head and still see the proper separation of left and right images, but need to keep your head relatively level in an IMAX theater.

Linear polarization has a better extinction ratio than Circular

Also Real D uses triple flash - 144 FPS total, 72 FPS per eye. Digital IMAX 3D uses 24 FPS per eye while 15/70 IMAX 3D uses 48 FPS per eye
Ron Jones's Avatar Ron Jones 04:00 PM 07-15-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post
Linear polarization has a better extinction ratio than Circular

.............
Can be true, but only if you hold your head perfectly level. Tilt it a little and crosstalk will become more than with circular.
javanpohl's Avatar javanpohl 05:36 PM 07-15-2011
I've never been a fan of film IMAX, but I'm watching HP on the format tmw (at the insistence of my cousins). Maybe my opinion will be swayed.
almostinsane's Avatar almostinsane 06:01 PM 07-15-2011
http://www.film-tech.com/ubb/f17/t000086.html

RealD continually touts its equipment as creating a superior visual 3D experience, relative to competitors: MasterImage, Dolby, and Xpand. However, it does not appear that Warner Bros. agrees. Warner Bros. did not feel that RealD offered an adequate enough experience for the London Premiere of the final installment of Harry Potter and actually paid to have RealD 3D equipment taken out and replaced with Dolby 3D equipment (with a new projector added to improve the 3D brightness).

Yet the Odeon cinema chain in the UK appears to have no problem showcasing movies in RealD 3D to their customers - look at the following descriptions on the Odeon website:

The ODEON digital 3D magic is powered by the RealD Cinema System, a ground-breaking digital cinema projection system.

Questions Raised by UK Potter Premiere Technology Change:
Why does Warner Bros. prefer Dolby to RealD?
If the largest studio in the US does not believe that RLD's technology is adequate for its premiere event, why are they not pushing for technology change at the exhibitor level? Or are they? It is worth remembering that AMC, Cinemark and Regal all took options in return for RealD exclusivity in the US. We continue to believe these exclusive relationships in the US were a short-sighted decision - the three majors should would have benefited from robust competition in the US (similar to what we are seeing overseas, click here).
Can the 3D brightness issue be solved in an economical way?
mobilejunkie's Avatar mobilejunkie 07:15 PM 07-15-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by gagit811 View Post

Funny because I hear people complaint of crosstalk in imax and claim real-d is better.

That's what I had heard. IMAX used linear polarization and realD uses circular. So the IMAX will be more likely to give u cross talk if u get a crappy seat or move your head a lot.

The only advantage I've read about IMAX is:
visually, IF the movie is stretched for IMAX screen and audio will be better overall. But the imax glasses suck compared to realD

Woot woot for my Harry Potter Limited RealD Glasses!
mobilejunkie's Avatar mobilejunkie 07:20 PM 07-15-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondboy47 View Post

We have a Panasonic 3D TV, so cross talk is minimized due to the protocol Pana uses to trigger the glasses.

Wow! Awesome off topic post. But I had to clarify for you. Crosstalk is reduced on panny tv's because of the faster burning phosphors. The trail on the left image would normally leak into the right lens without the quick burn. It has nothing to do with the IR syncing the glasses.
audiopho's Avatar audiopho 08:36 PM 07-15-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobilejunkie View Post

That's what I had heard. IMAX used linear polarization and realD uses circular. So the IMAX will be more likely to give u cross talk if u get a crappy seat or move your head a lot.

The only advantage I've read about IMAX is:
visually, IF the movie is stretched for IMAX screen and audio will be better overall. But the imax glasses suck compared to realD

Woot woot for my Harry Potter Limited RealD Glasses!

I saw CAR2 in both theaters RealD and IMAX (at the same Regal Cinema location). CAR2 has the best 3d picture with IMAX overall.
Now came the TF3 which I too saw in both screens, guessed what? RealD left me with the better impression overall.
TF3 in IMAX gave me so much crosstalk despite two different attempts with the change of the glasses and changing of the seating location, both attempts yielded no differences.
Now I'm not sure what had happened with TF3 in an IMAX 3D but now I'm not so sure any more which is better?
Lee Stewart's Avatar Lee Stewart 10:52 PM 07-15-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by almostinsane View Post

http://www.film-tech.com/ubb/f17/t000086.html

RealD continually touts its equipment as creating a superior visual 3D experience, relative to competitors: MasterImage, Dolby, and Xpand. However, it does not appear that Warner Bros. agrees. Warner Bros. did not feel that RealD offered an adequate enough experience for the London Premiere of the final installment of Harry Potter and actually paid to have RealD 3D equipment taken out and replaced with Dolby 3D equipment (with a new projector added to improve the 3D brightness).

Yet the Odeon cinema chain in the UK appears to have no problem showcasing movies in RealD 3D to their customers - look at the following descriptions on the Odeon website:

“The ODEON digital 3D magic is powered by the RealD Cinema System, a ground-breaking digital cinema projection system.”

Questions Raised by UK Potter Premiere Technology Change:
• Why does Warner Bros. prefer Dolby to RealD?
• If the largest studio in the US does not believe that RLD’s technology is adequate for its premiere event, why are they not pushing for technology change at the exhibitor level? Or are they? It is worth remembering that AMC, Cinemark and Regal all took options in return for RealD exclusivity in the US. We continue to believe these exclusive relationships in the US were a short-sighted decision - the three majors should would have benefited from robust competition in the US (similar to what we are seeing overseas, click here).
• Can the 3D brightness issue be solved in an economical way?

That was because the Sony 4K projectors only work with RealD (so far) - for those theaters that have the Sony 4K which Sony "lends" to the theaters for a return of advertising Sony .
TrickMcKaha's Avatar TrickMcKaha 08:27 PM 07-16-2011
I have watched different movies on different occasions in
RealD, Dolby, and Imax theaters. It is certainly true that only RealD uses circular polarization and that allows the viewers to tilt their heads all they want without increasing crosstalk. I did crash into brain bending crosstalk once at an Imax showing by tilting my head.

I most prefer the RealD in theaters so far, and also love my DLPLink projector at home.

However, brightness is an issue. We need brighter bulbs, or something, to make 3D as bright and the colors as vibrant as the 2D versions.
HokeySmoke's Avatar HokeySmoke 12:00 PM 07-17-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Jones View Post

Can be true, but only if you hold your head perfectly level. Tilt it a little and crosstalk will become more than with circular.

+/-5 degrees will give you better crosstalk performance. That's not exactly "perfectly level" and once you go beyond that then your eyes will start to uncomfortable need to move up and down to converge the image. Do that enough and your eyes will get very tired. In my opinion it is a good thing to lose the image when you tilt your head because it trains you to keep your head level.
SneakySAN's Avatar SneakySAN 01:29 AM 05-16-2013
Real-D 3D is a digital stereoscopic projection technology. It is currently the most widely used technology for watching 3D films in theaters. Because Real-D 3D uses a single projector, it suffers a brightness disadvantage. The system causes "significant light loss".

IMAX (an abbreviation for Image Maximum) on the other hand; IMAX-3D has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems. To create the illusion of depth, uses separate camera lenses to represent the left and right eyes. This translates a better viewing experience as the screens of IMAX fills your entire field-of-vision (FOV).

In conclusion, Real-D 3D while widely available, sound and image may not always be in sync in quality. Theaters presenting this format are given liberty to customize its systems (ie: Dolby 3D, Dolby 7.1, THX, Screen size, angle of seats, etc..) Meanwhile its rival, IMAX delivers a consistent viewing experience as it requires its theaters all over the world to maintain its strict standards despite its limited locations. Choosing what format to watch really boils down: where are you from? Is there an IMAX theater nearby? wink.gif
Jedi2016's Avatar Jedi2016 06:53 PM 05-16-2013
RealD lets me bring my own glasses, which are far more comfortable and don't block as much light as the cheap ones they hand out at the theater. That's a big plus for me.

That, and the nearest IMAX 3D screen is about a hundred miles from here. I think one of the other theaters here in town is putting in an IMAX screen to compete, but it's too little too late for that theater, IMO.
biliam1982's Avatar biliam1982 11:35 AM 05-20-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi2016 View Post

RealD lets me bring my own glasses, which are far more comfortable and don't block as much light as the cheap ones they hand out at the theater. That's a big plus for me.

That, and the nearest IMAX 3D screen is about a hundred miles from here. I think one of the other theaters here in town is putting in an IMAX screen to compete, but it's too little too late for that theater, IMO.

I must concur. I too bring my own 3D glasses (Oakley Transformers Edtion) with me to use and are much better. The closest IMAX for me I believe is Denver, a 5-6 hour drive.

There's only 2 major theaters in town which are both owned by a smaller chain, Carmike Cinemas. They have a lock on the market here so I doubt this area will ever see an IMAX anytime soon.

IMAX seems to be only in major metropolitan areas. So RealD #D is most's only option and not a bad one either.

I travel a lot and have been in many different large screen type theaters from IMAX to RPX, et al. I remember being at the IMAX in Ft. Lauderdale for the AVATAR 3D in true IMAX 15/70 film and seeing a lot of cross talk. We had center seats half way up, so essentially really good seating location. I've seen other 2D movies there and it was breathtaking. The 3D, not so much. I've been to other true IMAX 15/70 film theaters, such as the one in Council Bluffs, Iowa and the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, neither of which I saw any cross talk on.

I saw Avatar a few months later on a RealD 3D screen on Guam and while it was not as bright, I saw no cross talk. I believe it was a Sony 4K projector. I cannot verify that but it's what was marketed by the theater, originally gohollywood but it now appears to be Regal.

I'm not sure who SneakySAN w/ just joining and only one post, but I would disagree w/ him and say RealD 3D is the more widely consistent and available option. I rarely see issues w/ audio/video quality as an average movie goer. If I do, say a dirty screen or bad speaker, I can complain, sometimes get a free ticket or two and they rectify the problem soon or I keep complaining on having sub par performance and having to pay for it. I noticed it quite easily on the Imax.
Josh Z's Avatar Josh Z 11:42 AM 05-20-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

I travel a lot and have been in many different large screen type theaters from IMAX to RPX, et al. I remember being at the IMAX in Ft. Lauderdale for the AVATAR 3D in true IMAX 15/70 film and seeing a lot of cross talk. We had center seats half way up, so essentially really good seating location. I've seen other 2D movies there and it was breathtaking. The 3D, not so much. I've been to other true IMAX 15/70 film theaters, such as the one in Council Bluffs, Iowa and the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, neither of which I saw any cross talk on.

Because the IMAX glasses have linear polarization, you need to hold your head upright and level while watching the movie or you'll see crosstalk. Flop your head from one position to the other and you'll see the difference.

RealD doesn't have this problem because its glasses have circular polarization.
threed123's Avatar threed123 08:05 AM 05-21-2013
And you have the mini-Imax and big Imax differences due to projection and screen differences. And there are so many variations between theaters and aging project bulbs and equipment that no experience will be exactly the same.
biliam1982's Avatar biliam1982 09:54 AM 05-21-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Because the IMAX glasses have linear polarization, you need to hold your head upright and level while watching the movie or you'll see crosstalk. Flop your head from one position to the other and you'll see the difference.

RealD doesn't have this problem because its glasses have circular polarization.

Yes, I know this. Not sure I understand what your post was getting at. Were you thinking I did something wrong while viewing the content?
biliam1982's Avatar biliam1982 09:55 AM 05-21-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by threed123 View Post

And you have the mini-Imax and big Imax differences due to projection and screen differences. And there are so many variations between theaters and aging project bulbs and equipment that no experience will be exactly the same.

Were you repling to me?
Josh Z's Avatar Josh Z 11:55 AM 05-21-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

Yes, I know this. Not sure I understand what your post was getting at. Were you thinking I did something wrong while viewing the content?

You said that you saw crosstalk at IMAX but not RealD. That may be because your head was tilted. If you hold your head upright, you should not have crosstalk issues at IMAX.
biliam1982's Avatar biliam1982 09:56 AM 05-22-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

You said that you saw crosstalk at IMAX but not RealD. That may be because your head was tilted. If you hold your head upright, you should not have crosstalk issues at IMAX.

This is not what I, nor many others I talked to who were at the same showing and different seating positions encountered.

Perhaps it was the setup. The Ft Lauderdale IMAX is one very large screen and very close seating distances. Not sure what projector was in place but it was supposed to be 15/70MM film.
Josh Z's Avatar Josh Z 12:56 PM 05-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

This is not what I, nor many others I talked to who were at the same showing and different seating positions encountered.

Perhaps it was the setup. The Ft Lauderdale IMAX is one very large screen and very close seating distances. Not sure what projector was in place but it was supposed to be 15/70MM film.

IMAX 3D (whether digital or film) syncs two projectors on the screen. I suppose it's possible that the convergence was off at that theater.
KtrainHurricane's Avatar KtrainHurricane 09:16 PM 01-11-2014
Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I found myself here looking for info on crosstalk at IMAX. I just got back from a showing of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug in the Fort Lauderdale IMAX 15/70 theater that was being discussed previously, and I too experienced crosstalk. I noticed that if I tilted my head to the left or right it got worse, but even when my eyes were level it could be seen. I guess it just has to do with this particular theater. Bummer, because being so close to this place and having the availability of the experience is great...but not so much for 3D movies frown.gif
Rudy1's Avatar Rudy1 08:39 AM 01-12-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by KtrainHurricane View Post

Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I found myself here looking for info on crosstalk at IMAX. I just got back from a showing of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug in the Fort Lauderdale IMAX 15/70 theater that was being discussed previously, and I too experienced crosstalk. I noticed that if I tilted my head to the left or right it got worse, but even when my eyes were level it could be seen. I guess it just has to do with this particular theater. Bummer, because being so close to this place and having the availability of the experience is great...but not so much for 3D movies frown.gif

I couldn't find contact information for anyone at the IMAX theater, so I emailed the Museum's staff and asked them to pass on the information to the appropriate parties. If I get a response, I will share it here. Sorry to hear about your experience...the shows there used to be flawless. I just hope they're not starting to go "down market" and skimping on the routine maintenance and calibration that I'm sure such complicated projection equipment requires.
Rudy1's Avatar Rudy1 10:42 AM 01-13-2014
I just received an email from the Director of Marketing, Visitor Services & IMAX Theater. She has spoken to the projectionist and he is looking into this matter.
KtrainHurricane's Avatar KtrainHurricane 11:52 AM 01-13-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy1 View Post

I couldn't find contact information for anyone at the IMAX theater, so I emailed the Museum's staff and asked them to pass on the information to the appropriate parties. If I get a response, I will share it here. Sorry to hear about your experience...the shows there used to be flawless. I just hope they're not starting to go "down market" and skimping on the routine maintenance and calibration that I'm sure such complicated projection equipment requires.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy1 View Post

I just received an email from the Director of Marketing, Visitor Services & IMAX Theater. She has spoken to the projectionist and he is looking into this matter.

Nice...thanks!!!

Hopefully her response was sincere, and the projectionist actually holds some desire (and ability) to correct the issue. That theater is too cool to have problems like that!
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