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Pixelation at an IMAX presentation of Skyfall

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I just got back from a screening of James Bond Skyfall at the AMC 20 IMAX in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The sound was pretty good, though seemed a bit harsh in the upper midrange. The picture quality was also very good, except with one major caveat. I could easily see ether the pixel structure of the projection system, or aliasing from a poor quality transfer. I was siting near the rear of the theater, right in the center of the screen, so it wasnt like I was too close and that was the issue.

Does anyone know what kind of DLP projection systems they use? I presume 2k, that would certainly explain how the pixels are visible, as there is much more screen real estate than my 102" screen at home (which I cannot see pixels at my viewing distance). Though, even if they had a 4k system displaying a 2k copy of Skyfall, I would think it would do a better job of smoothing out the pixels than what I saw in the theater.

Does anyone have any insight on this?

P.S. Some buffoon pulled a fire alarm in the theater during the middle of the movie, delaying the presentation for 10 minutes, yet another reason why I like watching movies at home!
Edited by Jerry Parker - 11/23/12 at 6:24pm
post #2 of 5
Skyfall was filmed with Arri Alexa camera. The transfer was pulled from the 3.2K (roughly 5MP) RAW files from the camera. This is much too low resolution to make a good pixelfree Imax image, even if they only use a 2K projector. If it was in a full size Imax theatre with 15perf/70mm film out, it might have looked slightly better because of additional up-converting possibilities.

Arri Alexa is absolutely the wrong tool for such a prestigious franchise. Particularly when they know beforehand it will have a Imax release. Blame it on the DP Roger Deakins who is a raving Arri fanboy and chose his tool based on emotions, and not on what would be the best tool for the job. He had the full opportunity to shoot Skyfall on Red Epic at 5K resolution or 35mm film. A lot of this unprofessional "emotion based" choices are sadly done in Hollywood without any regards to image quality.

In the end, no Imax theatre should have anything less than 4K DLP projector and only show movies that where shot with digital cameras with resolution higher than 4K or film that where scanned at 6K or 8K.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
That is really sad to hear. I am amazed that the engineers sat through mastering and said "gee this looks great" even though anyone with even average vision could see the pixelation!!! Whats especially ridiculous is that they have the technology out there to eliminate that problem!

Do you know what the IMAX minimum requirements are? The only info I could find is that it is a DLP based projection system at the theater.
post #4 of 5
I doubt the alexa camera is to blame, worst case scenario the image becomes a bit softer than what you would get using 35mm. Red cameras have a lot of pixels but are worse than alexa on most other merits, personally i like the image from alexa much more than the image from red epic even when it's only from the 1080p internal recording on the camera.

My best guess what was/is wrong with the imax presentation you went to is a bad combination of screen size, perforation size and throw ratio that causes aliasing in the picture. The only way to get rid of the aliasing is to change the screen to a non-perforated screen or maybe a screen with smaller perforations. If they are still 2k then upgrading to 4k could also be a solution. Sadly most theaters choose to unfocus the image instead as a cheap solution.
post #5 of 5
Digital IMAX uses a dual 2K Christie DCI projector setup with there own blend of remastering called DMR.
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