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IMAX Conversions of Theatrial Films - Faulty???

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
In the Phoenix area, I hadn't been to the Harkins IMAX since the second Batman movie, because I found the picture just too dark and the sound just too loud. Yet at the Harkins Cine Capri the picture and sound were top notch all the way!

On vacation in LA for a bit, so went to the AMC Burbank IMAX presenting "The Hobbit" in 48p & 3D & Dolby Atmos. Keep in mind the digital regular theater video is converted by a special process for use in the IMAX theater. Also, my understanding is that "The Hobbit" is the first feature film mixedfor Dolby Atmos.

Watching a few "previews" of 3D blu rays already out, they looked quite nice, with Avatar 3D really standing out! Plenty of brightness,brightness clearly not an issue.

Then, a special Star Trek "Into Darkness" preview - a nine minute clip. Looked phenomenal, the video 3D was amazing! And the sound was amazing as well. Web research later revealed that this past weekend the IMAX theaters showing "The Hobbit" also showed this Star Trek preview, AND that this entire nine minute 3D clip was shot with IMAX cameras.

Alas, "The Hobbit" picture and sound were mostly disappointing. Sound too loud, so any benefits of Dolby Atmos far outweighed by its being SO LOUD! Picture seemed bright enough but all too often I could tell the fakery of the sets and objects used. Is this due to the 48p frame rate? I suspect this is primarily due to the IMAX conversion.

Once I'm back in Phoenix, I'll go see "The Hobbit" 3d 48p at the Harkins Cine Capri, or other theater there that its playing at, and see how it fares there. A friend really liked it there.[/quote]

What's your experience with IMAX conversions of 2D and 3D films?
post #2 of 21
kinda dissapointed. REgular 2d and 3d movies i can deal with but imax 3d, especailly the digital theaters, are terrible. My home theater with 1080p 3d tv and 5.1 surround sound can do better than a movie theater without any distractions (being that my cell phone can be turned off at home unless if its an emergency). Not only that, but ticket prices are a rip-off. As for the imax 3d experience with the hobbit, the star trek trailer was pretty cool and the preshow ads were neat (especially avatar but not i robot), but the hobbit looked blurry despite it being a 24fps version at my local amc in rockaway, nj. I hope IMAX improves their projection to be more like Sony 4k 3D and compete against home theater 3d use which is rising. Amazon.com has prometheus for under 20 in 3d....that i saw in 3d for the first time (saw it in 2d) and loved it.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Also, my understanding is that "The Hobbit" is the first feature film mixedfor Dolby Atmos.
Just a FYI:

US films already released in Dolby Atmos:
Brave (June)
Taken 2 (October)
Chasing Mavericks (October)
Life of Pi (November)
Rise of the Guardians (November)
Hobbit: Unexpected Journey (December)

Foreign films already released in Atmos:
Ah Boys to Men (Singapore)
Back to 1942 (China)
Sivaji 3D (India)
CZ12 (Hong Kong)
Guillotines (China)
Last Tycoon (China)
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kascnef82 View Post

I hope IMAX improves their projection to be more like Sony 4k 3D and compete against home theater 3d use which is rising.

Sony uses the same polarisation 3D as Imax except that sony uses only one projector with a lens that splits the image into two 2k images, Imax uses two projectors and newer installations are probably 4K projectors. So I wouldn't say that sony 3d is a better system image quality wise.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Then, a special Star Trek "Into Darkness" preview - a nine minute clip. Looked phenomenal, the video 3D was amazing! And the sound was amazing as well. Web research later revealed that this past weekend the IMAX theaters showing "The Hobbit" also showed this Star Trek preview, AND that this entire nine minute 3D clip was shot with IMAX cameras.
Star Trek "Into Darkness" is a post conversion 3D.
Quote:
Picture seemed bright enough but all too often I could tell the fakery of the sets and objects used. Is this due to the 48p frame rate? I suspect this is primarily due to the IMAX conversion.
Once I'm back in Phoenix, I'll go see "The Hobbit" 3d 48p at the Harkins Cine Capri, or other theater there that its playing at, and see how it fares there. A friend really liked it there.

The same complain of "fakery" in some scenes is a regular complain from all critics of the HFR 3D version of The Hobbit.
It has nothing to do with the IMAX conversion.
post #6 of 21
The same complain of "fakery" in some scenes is a regular complain from all critics of the HFR 3D version of The Hobbit.
It has nothing to do with the IMAX conversion.[/quote]

+1

It's the HFR that gives it that "fake""look not IMAX.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

On vacation in LA for a bit, so went to the AMC Burbank IMAX presenting "The Hobbit" in 48p & 3D & Dolby Atmos.
You can't have both Dolby Atmos and IMAX in one auditorium. IMAX uses their "laser-allinged" sound in which standard surrounds are replaced with two big speakers in the rear. For Atmos, you should have seen speakers all around the room as well as above. Most IMAX-lite setups keep the standard array of surrounds used for the pre-show and the big surrounds are used for the film.
Quote:
Also, my understanding is that "The Hobbit" is the first feature film mixedfor Dolby Atmos.
Actually, that's not true. Atmos was first used in Disney/Pixar's "Brave" and I recall the summer of 2012 hyping Atmos. We didn't see another Atmos film that year until "Taken 2" in October.
Quote:
Alas, "The Hobbit" picture and sound were mostly disappointing. Sound too loud, so any benefits of Dolby Atmos far outweighed by its being SO LOUD! Picture seemed bright enough but all too often I could tell the fakery of the sets and objects used. Is this due to the 48p frame rate? I suspect this is primarily due to the IMAX conversion.
Lots of people weren't happy with the 48fps nature of the film. I got a little used to it when I saw it in Tyson's Corner. Nothing wrong with IMAX's picture.
Many IMAX's built these days have these shrill auditoriums that sound closer to a rock concert at the 9:30 club than a re-recording mixing stage at the studio. I think they're distracting and pull you out from the movie. It is shown that with great power comes great responsibility, and the clowns who installed the IMAX at AMC Burbank sound like they had no clue on how to EQ an auditorium, despite all those expensive speakers and amplifiers. Also, IMO "The Hobbit" had a sound mix nowhere near as exciting and inventive as the LOTR films.

$0.02
post #8 of 21
This excerpt from Variety insinuates some kind of new Imax sound system:

Projector prototype, sound system were shown to 250-plus industry execs in early November
Andrew Stewart
Film Reporter@Variety_Stewart

A group of studio and exhibition executives, as well as filmmakers, gathered early this month to witness Imax’s newst toy — a laser projection prototype — in action.

Feedback has been bright, yet reserved for the final product.

The new system, which Imax showcased at its home office in Santa Monica, features dual 4K laser digital projectors for both 2D and 3D systems, the first of its kind, along with an enhanced sound system that represents the largest research and development investment in the history of Imax.

“This is a technology that I’ve been looking forward to coming online for a while now,” said Joseph Kosinski, director of “Tron: Legacy” and “Oblivion.” Kosinski added that he is most excited about the system’s impact on 3D presentation.

“Laser promises to bring up the brightness levels to where they always should have been for 3D,” said Kosinski, who was joined by roughly 250-300 museum and industry professionals who were spread across several hour-long presentations held during the week of November 4-8.

To date, Imax has inked approximately 20 laser deals worldwide, with upgrades at theaters including the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood,AMC’s Lincoln Square in New York, Sydney’s Darling Harbor location and the Smithsonian’s three Imax locations in Washington D.C. Imax plans to begin installation by the end of 2014.

“Both the AMC and Wanda teams were really excited about what we saw,” said Elizabeth Frank, exec VP and chief content and programming officer for AMC Theatres. “The combination of the more immersive audio and the depth of the visuals took the experience to a whole new level.”

Still, not everyone is sold entirely.

“They are very skilled at what they do,” said Roger Harris, chief operating officer for Odeon, the largest theater chain in the U.K. and Ireland, “but nothing is guaranteed when you’re trying to develop very sophisticated technology.”

Harris noted that in order to justify the cost of conversion, which will vary from theater to theater, audiences — but more importantly, fans of Imax — will need to be able to see a difference in the quality of presentation. That’s something Harris is confident will happen, however.

“The difference between the blacks and whites were clear to me,” Harris noted, “and in order to make the investment, you have to believe more people will come.”

Imax had no comment for this story.
post #9 of 21
They need to do something to even up the channel count with Atmos.

Imax=5
Dolby=55
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post

They need to do something to even up the channel count with Atmos.

Imax=5
Dolby=55

A very speculative post elsewhere on the net (link) suggesting the possibility that the future|contemplated IMAX 12.1 Discrete Sound System might be based on Auro-3D...?!
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post #11 of 21
It's not that IMAX is 5 channels, it's that IMAX is 5 speakers (only 2 surround speakers). Most movies are 5.1 channels, but the 2 surround channels are played back over immersive arrays of surround speakers that wrap around the audience. Even the home version of IMAX is 7 speakers. So it's a good thing that IMAX Corp is considering expanding the number of channels and, more importantly, the number of speakers in their auditoriums.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

It's not that IMAX is 5 channels, it's that IMAX is 5 speakers (only 2 surround speakers). Most movies are 5.1 channels, but the 2 surround channels are played back over immersive arrays of surround speakers that wrap around the audience. Even the home version of IMAX is 7 speakers. So it's a good thing that IMAX Corp is considering expanding the number of channels and, more importantly, the number of speakers in their auditoriums.

Ok Imax Channels=8

Atmos = 64

Tony Grimani was at Dolby (in the valley) for the premiere of Gravity. He is consulting on the first home imax installation. I wonder if he concurs with my assessment that Atmos is a must have.

I am in a position if I wanted to, to bring IMAX 3 or 4 incredibly prestigious venues as clients, 2 residential, 1 public 48 seats, 1 public 600 seats-3 story high. But I cannot in all honesty downgrade from Atmos to anything ray arrayed, not to mention the fact that I would want a layer of unfettered quality control on certain elements of the installation, which is probably not realistic. Unless they are willing to cut the red tape in the name of progress (augmented performance).
Edited by CINERAMAX - 12/15/13 at 11:41am
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

It's not that IMAX is 5 channels, it's that IMAX is 5 speakers (only 2 surround speakers). Most movies are 5.1 channels, but the 2 surround channels are played back over immersive arrays of surround speakers that wrap around the audience. Even the home version of IMAX is 7 speakers. So it's a good thing that IMAX Corp is considering expanding the number of channels and, more importantly, the number of speakers in their auditoriums.

Has that changed recently? Saw some videos of IMAX installs that included a subwoofer behind the scene (smaller "Lie" Max theaters)
post #14 of 21
All b damn very interesting Peter. I new IMAX was gunna launch laser projection but had not heard they were working on a new surround set up. I'm glad as it is needed. I'll b keeping watch.
post #15 of 21
I also had heard somewhere that Seth McFarlane is one of the first to go with a home IMAX setup. Anybody hear ??
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

Has that changed recently? Saw some videos of IMAX installs that included a subwoofer behind the scene (smaller "Lie" Max theaters)
Don't know about bass management or subs, I was just pointing out that each surround channel is reproduced through one speaker rather than an array.
post #17 of 21
In 7.1 not the 11.1? If the 11.1 is discrete that is great but given the Barco ties it could be Auro based which is arrayed.

Now Atmos is 64 discrete channels.
Edited by CINERAMAX - 12/16/13 at 11:44am
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post

Ok Imax Channels=8
Atmos = 64.

From an April 24, 2012, FilmJournal article|interview "Soundsational! Dolby Atmos delivers exciting new audio platform" (link):
Quote:
While he believes that Dolby “would definitely not allow upmixing of a feature that was not created in Dolby Atmos because that would have the format do something that the content creator did not want,” [Stuart Bowling, senior technical marketing manager for cinema at Dolby,] does not rule out the possibility of creating deliverables for other multi-channel systems entering the market, such as Auro-3D and imm sound. Again, that would entirely depend on the filmmakers, he insists. “It is important that we leave that decision for the content creator. Even though our processor can adapt itself to different room shapes and sizes, we’re not making the decision how that happens.

Presumably the Dolby Atmos Renderer could also be configured to produce deliverables in some future IMAX x.x channel-based format . . . and if IMAX opts instead for an object-based format with playback-time rendering, then participation in the DTS MDA "collaboration" might be an appropriate strategy...!?
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post #19 of 21
That would be great. Being on the already wearing the Atmos apron and heating up all burners camp, I hope this dts initiative gets off the ground soon. We are engineering the first resi/pro Atmos system for deployment by February, and the output connectivity architecture standard for dolby digital audio out is using something called harman blulink. a cat 5 token architecture.(this is complicating the incorporation of the Trinnov processing which is superior to the b chain cinema calibration)
post #20 of 21
The Future of IMAX page (link) on Seattle's Pacific Science Center website reads:
Quote:
The Future of IMAX

Help bring the most exciting new cinematic experience to Seattle!

Biggest screen. Best picture. Brightest Image. Boldest sound.


After 15 years and over 5.3 million visitors, we are renovating the Boeing IMAX Theater to bring you the latest technology and the best possible theater experience.

The first venue on the west coast to feature this new technology, the Boeing IMAX Theater will showcase a new, custom-designed, laser-powered, digital projector enabling us to show movies with enhanced picture quality. Plus, the renovated theater will boast a new screen, new seats, and a powerful new sound system, with speakers surrounding you (even above you).

[ . . . ] The renovation will begin in spring 2015. [ . . . ]

Presumably some details of the future IMAX sound system will become available during 2014...?!
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Edited by SoundChex - 12/25/13 at 2:49pm
post #21 of 21
IMAX to get 11.1 channel audio?

From the abstract for an April 9, 2014, presentation (link) by IMAX execs Andrew Cripps and Giovanni Dolci:
Quote:
09.30 - 10.30 Uhr
Sitzungsraum 1

The “new" IMAX: solutions and commercial models for the German market
Hauptsponsorenveranstaltung

Referenten: Andrew Cripps, Giovanni Dolci


Presentation featuring an overview of:

  • How the IMAX business model has evolved over the years
  • Commercial models and deal structures for the German market
  • What IMAX is today: Technology, film slate, studio partnerships, collaboration with Hollywood’s biggest directors & producers
  • The new IMAX technology: Xenon and Laser projection, new 11.1 sound
  • The recent success of IMAX in Germany

The session will be followed by a Q&A.
_
Edited by SoundChex - Yesterday at 6:54 pm
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