Avengers Infinity War + Endgame IMAX Digital 1.9:1 aspect ratio
I apologize if there is already a thread about this.
Last night, my fiancée and I went to see Avengers: Endgame at one of the few IMAX theaters we have here in Michigan.
Quick aside for those in the Detroit area: we saw it at Henry Ford which isn’t advertised on the official IMAX website as having showtimes for the film. The only reason we thought to check it was I saw Interstellar there being it’s the only theater I know of in all of Michigan that has a 70mm IMAX Film projector and one of the few with an accompanying 1.43:1 screen (60ft tall at this theater).
Long story short: the experience was amazing and far, FAR better than the cropped DCI2K 2.35 aspect ratio release we saw the week before at our local cineplex. It’s quite obvious from the framing of most scenes that the film was intended to use the added screen height and, of course, the gain in resolution from DCI2K (essentially 1080p HD) to true 4K is astonishing. I was able to resolve far more of what was happening on screen with none of the fuzziness I experienced on my first go around. Endgame is advertised as being only the second Hollywood blockbuster filmed entirely in IMAX (the first was Infinity War). For those interested in the minutia, Infinity War and Endgame were both shot digitally on ARRI Alexa cameras and not the 70mm film cameras as used by Christopher Nolan to film specific scenes in his two Dark Knight films, Interstellar and Dunkirk. The Alexa can only capture video at up to 6K (70mm is said to be equivalent to 18K) but it’s still plenty for the final 4K IMAX digital laser projectors to display.
And this gets me to the point of my post:
The Ultra HD Blu-ray copy of Avengers: Infinity War is one of the most disappointing releases of all time. I wasn’t able to catch Infinity War in IMAX when it was still in theaters. Therefore I was looking forward to it’s home video release on 4K. While I do not assume my budget 4K projector, 100” screen and 5.0 surround system can compete with a true IMAX presentation, what we got with this disc is far below what even my humble HT can achieve. I expected the HD Blu-ray to be based on the DCI2K/2.35:1 version of the film. I did not expect the UHD Blu-ray to be based on the same version. Now, to be clear, the UHD copy does get DCI P3 color and HDR. And it is technically a higher resolution. But this was such a missed opportunity. At 1.9:1 the IMAX digital format is very close to 1.78 (16:9) and the resolution advantages of 4K versus HD are obvious.
I had a similar complaint when the UHD release of Bladerunner 2049 failed to include the 1.9:1 IMAX version— opting only to include the 2.35:1 version of the film. But it’s not at all the same situation as the UHD release of BR2049 is actually taken from the 4K version of the film and is discernibly higher quality. In addition, the IMAX version of the film is actually a reformat made from the raw footage specifically for IMAX. Br2049 was filmed and framed with 2.35:1 in mind.
So the question is: will Disney repeat this, IMO, mistake when they release Endgame later this year? Being that UHD Blu-ray is considered by many to be a niche format, wouldn’t it make sense to appeal to that niche audience by releasing these movies in the highest quality possible? Is Disney saving the IMAX versions for a special editions? Or does anyone think that the recent announcement for IMAX at home will help push Disney to release the higher quality version? What do you guys/gals think?
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems to be more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer...
-- Excerpt from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.