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post #1 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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SMPTE Hollywood Section Meeting at TCL Chinese Imax



SMPTE members got a special presentation of the new Imax laser-illuminated projector and immersive-sound system this week.

Last night, I attended the monthly meeting of the SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) Hollywood Section, held in the Imax auditorium of the TCL Chinese Theatres. The main event was a screening of Furious 7 using the newly installed Imax laser-illuminated projectors (LIPs).

I didn't stay for that, since I had already seen it and written about it here. But before the screening, David Keighley, Imax's Chief Quality Officer, gave a short presentation with some demo clips, which I was very interested to see. He started with a trailer for Rocky Mountain Express, a documentary about the transcontinental railroad and the Empress, a steam locomotive built in 1930. The documentary was shot on Imax 15/70 film and scanned at 8K for digital presentation. (Interestingly, Keighley said that Kodak claims 35mm film has a resolution of roughly 6Kx4K, which means that Imax 15-perf/70mm film has an effective resolution of 18Kx12K.)


The trailer for Rocky Mountain Express looked so beautiful, it made me want to see the entire documentary just for the imagery.

The trailer looked absolutely stunning, with super-sharp detail, deep blacks, and excellent contrast. In fact, Keighley claimed that the Imax LIPs achieve a greater contrast ratio than film, especially intra-frame contrast. To illustrate that point, he displayed an ANSI white/black checkerboard pattern and a still from Furious 7 with the stars decked out in black-and-white formal wear, pointing out that the bright white did not bleed into the black, and details in the black clothes remained clearly visible.

Next up was the trailer for Tomorrowland, which was shot on the Sony F65 and F55 digital-cinema cameras. Like the Rocky Mountain Express trailer, this one looked spectacular with great blacks and superb detail. It was also mighty loud, especially when a rocket blasts off. The soundtrack we heard was Imax 5.0, though the movie will be shown with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack at other locations, and I assume it will be presented in Imax's new 12.1 immersive-audio format in suitably equipped Imax theaters.


I can't wait to see Tomorrowland next month. I plan to see it in Imax at the TCL Chinese and in Dolby Vision and Atmos to compare the two systems.

The TCL Chinese Imax room was recently upgraded to the new 12.1 immersive-sound system, with front LCR speakers and a center-height speaker behind the screen, massive surround speakers in the upper-rear corners, left and right side-height speaker arrays, and four ceiling speakers along with a huge subwoofer array. To demonstrate the system, Keighley played a montage of clips, starting with a clever sequence that begins with mono sound, followed by stereo, surround, and finally immersive. The subsequent clips included shots of Harrier jets flying alongside a Canadian Navy vessel, a space-shuttle launch, and Muslim pilgrims circling the Ka'ba in Mecca in time-lapse. The immersive-sound system was very effective, creating a convincing hemisphere of sound.


The montage to demonstrate the Imax 12.1 immersive-sound system included some great footage of Harrier jets escorting a Canadian Navy vessel.

In addition to immersive sound, the montage included some clips in 3D using 6P (6-primary) projection and color-separation glasses. This is much like Dolby 3D, but Imax uses different wavelengths of red, green, and blue, and the glasses lenses do not appear to have a hue like Dolby 3D glasses—in fact, the Imax lenses are positively mirror-like on the inner and outer surfaces. As expected with this type of 3D, I noticed reflections between the 3D glasses and my prescription glasses, which was very distracting.

On the plus side, the image was quite bright, much more so than even dual-projector, xenon lamp-based Imax polarized 3D, which is spec'd to deliver 6 foot-lamberts to each eyeball. Keighley wouldn't say exactly how much brighter the LIP 3D is, but it was clearly brighter than just about any commercial 3D I've seen. And the 3D effect was excellent for the most part—one of the Harrier jets poked way out into the auditorium with no problem, though in some shots from inside the bridge of the ship, the image of the windshield wiper was too close to hold together entirely.

The arrival of laser-illuminated projectors is a watershed moment in the history of commercial cinema, with far better images than I've ever seen in that context. I'll be attending as many screenings as I can, and I will report my observations here on AVS. Meanwhile, I encourage you to seek out a LIP-equipped cinema as soon as there's one in your area to see exactly what all the fuss is about.

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post #2 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 05:29 PM
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Nice write up Scott.

The Warren theatre's have built a new IMAX in Broken Arrow, about 2.5 hours away from where I live. They say it is equipped with
a new 4K Laser projector, and 64 channel Dolby Atmos sound system. I wonder if it is the same type of projector you experienced?

Keep the good news coming!
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post #3 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 05:56 PM
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This might actually get me back into the local "Imax" if they upgrade. I stopped going as soon as they removed the real Imax projector and put in digital "Liemax", which I tried once and found it looked worse than other regular 2k theaters (not to mention 4k projection).
No thanks on that 3d though, last time I tried a Dolby 3d theater, it was the most uncomfortable and distracting movie experience ever. I won't do it again.
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post #4 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by robert816 View Post
Nice write up Scott.

The Warren theatre's have built a new IMAX in Broken Arrow, about 2.5 hours away from where I live. They say it is equipped with
a new 4K Laser projector, and 64 channel Dolby Atmos sound system. I wonder if it is the same type of projector you experienced?

Keep the good news coming!
If it's an Imax theater, it can't have Dolby Atmos; Imax does its own thing with audio, it doesn't use Atmos or any other sound system. If it's not an Imax theater, it doesn't have Imax laser projectors. The only other laser projectors I know of that are about to be deployed are the Christie/Dolby Vision projectors, which will be in AMC Prime theaters, not Imax. But I don't think Dolby will be installing one of those in Broken Arrow any time soon. I suspect it's probably an Imax projector—the company reports selling 71 so far—but not an Atmos sound system. If you're lucky, it's the Imax 12.1 immersive-sound system, which I heard for the first time at the demo I write about in this thread. In any event, I hope you get a chance to see it!
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post #5 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 07:43 PM
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You are correct, my mistake, since there was an IMAX installed at the Warren in Moore Ok, I thought the large screen in Broken Arrow was also an IMAX.
It is called the Grand Infinity Auditorium. From their website: http://www.warrentheatres.com/brokenarrow.asp

"Our signature auditorium, the Grand Infinity Auditorium features the largest screens in the area, 64 channel Dolby Atmos sound, and America's FIRST and only 4K Laser projection."

They opened this theatre at the end of last year, so not an IMAX but just as huge. I plan on going up to see Avengers: Age of Ultron next week.

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post #6 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 08:08 PM
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Apparently the Grand Infinity Auditorium no longer has the only 4k laser projection in America.
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post #7 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneJoy View Post
Apparently the Grand Infinity Auditorium no longer has the only 4k laser projection in America.
Correct; there are now at least three other publicly watchable 4K laser projectors in America that I know of—two in Hollywood, CA (TCL Chinese Imax, El Capitan Christie/Dolby Vision), and one (Christie) at the Cinerama in Seattle, WA, which Kris Deering says has been there for "some time now." I'm amazed that Oklahoma got there first!
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post #8 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by robert816 View Post
You are correct, my mistake, since there was an IMAX installed at the Warren in Moore Ok, I thought the large screen in Broken Arrow was also an IMAX.
It is called the Grand Infinity Auditorium. From their website: http://www.warrentheatres.com/brokenarrow.asp

"Our signature auditorium, the Grand Infinity Auditorium features the largest screens in the area, 64 channel Dolby Atmos sound, and America's FIRST and only 4K Laser projection."

They opened this theatre at the end of last year, so not an IMAX but just as huge. I plan on going up to see Avengers: Age of Ultron next week.
The Avengers should look amazing on a laser projector, and Dolby Atmos should sound incredible!
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post #9 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
Correct; there are now at least three other publicly watchable 4K laser projectors in America that I know of—two in Hollywood, CA (TCL Chinese Imax, El Capitan Christie/Dolby Vision), and one (Christie) at the Cinerama in Seattle, WA, which Kris Deering says has been there for "some time now." I'm amazed that Oklahoma got there first!
Sounds a little fishy given that they claim to have the only one and I saw The Hunger Games at the Cinerama in Seattle on November 21st after the remodel and upgrade.

I'm curious about the black levels during dark scenes with the IMAX laser projectors. If this is a scanning laser (as I think it is, but could be wrong) then it seems like the black floor should be very low compared to the projectors bouncing lasers off DLP chips.

In Seattle the Pacific Science Center is showing a whale movie in 3D besides Avengers. If they were playing something like Hubble 3D I would probably go to that if the sequential CR (for the black floor) is good.

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The only place in the Universe to actually see TOMORROWLAND is in EL Capitan. The 3 second segment inside tomorroland is overwhelmingly beautiful, as a side benefit, it looks looks like George Clooney ( we all recall the his Im not worthy mea culpa internal email to sony 's Amy Pascal), in the 20 seconds that his character was on screen at the CINEMACON Dolby Cinema demo, I actually counted 3 , 4 or maybe even 5 facial expressions from Clooney, who knew he had it in him.

Here is the 6P preshow dolby cinema reel...



Put that on your HDR pipe and smoke it, it's insanely emotional.
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post #11 of 38 Old 04-29-2015, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
Correct; there are now at least three other publicly watchable 4K laser projectors in America that I know of—two in Hollywood, CA (TCL Chinese Imax, El Capitan Christie/Dolby Vision), and one (Christie) at the Cinerama in Seattle, WA, which Kris Deering says has been there for "some time now." I'm amazed that Oklahoma got there first!
The newly renovated Airbus Imax theater with dual 4K laser projection and 12.1 channel surround sound opens tomorrow (April 30). I'm planning to see Age of Ultron 3D there either Friday or Saturday.
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It's funny how Americans respect Canadian technology when we feed it to them, but any other time we're blubbering morons that allegedly say "aboot".
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post #13 of 38 Old 04-29-2015, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post
The only place in the Universe to actually see TOMORROWLAND is in EL Capitan. The 3 second segment inside tomorroland is overwhelmingly beautiful, as a side benefit, it looks looks like George Clooney ( we all recall the his Im not worthy mea culpa internal email to sony 's Amy Pascal), in the 20 seconds that his character was on screen at the CINEMACON Dolby Cinema demo, I actually counted 3 , 4 or maybe even 5 facial expressions from Clooney, who knew he had it in him.

Here is the 6P preshow dolby cinema reel...



Put that on your HDR pipe and smoke it, it's insanely emotional.
Has anyone else been able to parse this post?

I'm still struggling....
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Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post
The newly renovated Airbus Imax theater with dual 4K laser projection and 12.1 channel surround sound opens tomorrow (April 30). I'm planning to see Age of Ultron 3D there either Friday or Saturday.
What city is that theater in?
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post #16 of 38 Old 04-29-2015, 11:50 AM
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What city is that theater in?
Chantilly, VA. About a half hour west of Washington, D.C. on Rt. 50, right next to Dulles International Airport. The Airbus IMAX theater is in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is part of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Speaking of which, if you're in the area, I highly recommend visiting the museum. It trounces the one in D.C., in my opinion. Highlights are the Enola Gay, Space Shuttle Discovery, SR-71 Blackbird, X-35 Joint Strike Fighter, etc., etc.

It's an 86 foot wide screen, so a tad smaller than the one in the TCL Chinese Theater. If you check out Airbus IMAX theater on Facebook, they have some pictures of the projectors and the troop of men that delivered and installed the screen.
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post #17 of 38 Old 04-29-2015, 11:53 AM
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This is somewhat of a double post as this thread wasn't up yet ...

Went to the SMPTE gathering at the TCL Chinese Theater for the Furious 7 demo - thanks to SMPTE, Universal and TCL!

The demo clips looked and sounded superb. As I wasn't wearing other glasses, I didn't have reflection issues with 3D. The image was very bright, especially for such a large screen, and electronic projection's lack of flicker allows such brightness with minimal eye fatigue.

Furious 7 was played in its entirety. The black before the movie started (in the very dark theater) had some very low illumination, but it wasn't noticeable to me on dark scenes in the movie. Considering how bright the image was, the contrast was impressive. I think the improved intraframe contrast might make the 24fps judder more noticeable. It would be interesting to see this projection with higher frame rate material.

In nit picking I did notice some red top vertical fringing on some titles and in some scenes. I didn't notice it on the checkerboard pattern, but I wasn't looking for it at that point. Also there were some small stationary dots in various places on the screen. I suspect this could have been the screen itself though that's only speculation. On scenes with a near uniform large bright areas there seemed to be faint vertical stripes, though that could have also been the screen itself.

What did surprise me on Furious 7 was how much detail sharpening there was! There were noticeable outlines - black on white highlights and white outlines on a scene showing black written text. To me the look was "videoish" with less of a film feel to it. Color and contrast were good. Perhaps for the general movie going audience the sharpening might be a positive especially on an action movie.

Overall a very impressive demonstration and I can't thank SMPTE enough for the treat to see such a system not only with feature material but also test images.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
Has anyone else been able to parse this post?

I'm still struggling....

Rich that is a shot from the Dolby Cinema Trailer, at one point we saw what 1,000,000-1 contrast looks like on a test pattern, El Capitan is the only commercial cinema that will be ready to show TOMORROWLAND in Dolby Vision, that particular movie will be the benchmark for HDR for decades to come.... so if anyone wants to experience the image of tomorrow go to el capitan to watch tomorrowland. Capice?
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post #19 of 38 Old 04-29-2015, 01:23 PM
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soooo.... how do I get one for my home theater?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post
The only place in the Universe to actually see TOMORROWLAND is in EL Capitan. The 3 second segment inside tomorroland is overwhelmingly beautiful, as a side benefit, it looks looks like George Clooney ( we all recall the his Im not worthy mea culpa internal email to sony 's Amy Pascal), in the 20 seconds that his character was on screen at the CINEMACON Dolby Cinema demo, I actually counted 3 , 4 or maybe even 5 facial expressions from Clooney, who knew he had it in him.

Here is the 6P preshow dolby cinema reel...



Put that on your HDR pipe and smoke it, it's insanely emotional.
It looks like the "Doomsday Machine" from Season Two of "Star Trek: The Original Series."


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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Dotur View Post
soooo.... how do I get one for my home theater?
Not going to happen with 16 f-stop hdr 12 dmd Dolby Method, maybe with the lesser Technicolor-deluxe color up-sampling boxes 6 or 7 f stops of HDR via software, that being said the super bright whites of Dolby Vision where a bit too much for a lot of people (pupil poking ) the low level light stuff was incredible the letterbox of the HDR clip from Star Wars TFA was not as black as velvet masking but it was darn dark.

In my opinion, 65% of the benefit of the Dolby Vision comes from the expanded gamut which any 6p projector can do so. If, you have 178k to spare that is doable right now and it takes a 4k projector head not too big and a separate dishwasher sized machine up to 30 meters away. Technicolor-deluxe color depth upsampler computer is extra.

TOMOROWLAND will be the game changer....
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post #22 of 38 Old 04-29-2015, 05:18 PM
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that being said the super bright whites of Dolby Vision where a bit too much for a lot of people (pupil poking )
Was that with 3D as well as 2D? For 2D it would be a little more convenient to wear sunglasses.

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The documentary was shot on Imax 15/70 film and scanned at 8K for digital presentation.
Down sampled to 0.36K with an extra layer of compression for AVS. I trust you had to be there.

Do you know how the projectors will be rolled out? IMAX is corporate, right? Do they decide which theaters get upgraded, or will all bigscreen IMAX's get upgraded?

I wonder for other theaters. The conversion to digital was largely subsidized with VPF. Theaters complain about thin margins and having to make money off of popcorn & drinks. With a relatively mainstream blue pump laser going for $150k, I can't imagine what a pair RGB 6P 4k laser projectors go for. That's a lot of popcorn.
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With a relatively mainstream blue pump laser going for $150k, I can't imagine what a pair RGB 6P 4k laser projectors go for. That's a lot of popcorn.
The new nec is closer to 60K with lens,server and 10K contrast.
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The Euro listprice as provided at ISE for the non DCi/Cinema version, the PH1201QL is €79,000 excluding VAT.
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If it's an Imax theater, it can't have Dolby Atmos; Imax does its own thing with audio, it doesn't use Atmos or any other sound system. If it's not an Imax theater, it doesn't have Imax laser projectors. The only other laser projectors I know of that are about to be deployed are the Christie/Dolby Vision projectors, which will be in AMC Prime theaters, not Imax. But I don't think Dolby will be installing one of those in Broken Arrow any time soon. I suspect it's probably an Imax projector—the company reports selling 71 so far—but not an Atmos sound system. If you're lucky, it's the Imax 12.1 immersive-sound system, which I heard for the first time at the demo I write about in this thread. In any event, I hope you get a chance to see it!

Hey Scott, any chance of finding out or putting a list together of where the 71 systems are planned to get installed or is that wishful thinking? Would be awesome to know the Imax in San Francisco (the only real one in the whole bay area besides the domed Imax in the San Jose Tech Museum) was getting this treatment.

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post #27 of 38 Old 04-30-2015, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Scott, any chance of finding out or putting a list together of where the 71 systems are planned to get installed or is that wishful thinking? Would be awesome to know the Imax in San Francisco (the only real one in the whole bay area besides the domed Imax in the San Jose Tech Museum) was getting this treatment.
Actually, I'm working on compiling a list of all venues with laser-illuminated projection, starting with Imax and Dolby Vision, so stay tuned for that!
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Scott, good luck, at Cinemacon there was a presentation on the digital transition, and that mentioned there are already a few hundred theaters equiped with Hybrid LASER-Phosphor projectors. 3P/6P is primarily larger premium rooms, due to their relatively high cost, but large screen rooms need two Xenon projectors anyway, so 45/60K lumens come in handy. Also these premium rooms are advertised, the smaller ones not so much. Barco will also do Hybrid commercial/DCi. I presume the others will as well.
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post #29 of 38 Old 04-30-2015, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post
The only place in the Universe to actually see TOMORROWLAND is in EL Capitan.
According to Dolby, there will be five locations in the US to see Tomorrowland in Dolby Vision: El Capitan in Hollywood, CA, AMC Burbank 16 in Burbank, CA, AMC BarryWoods 24 in Kansas City, MO, AMC Deerbrook 24 in Houston, TX, and AMC North Point 12 in Atlanta, GA. I strongly recommend seeing it in one of these theaters if possible.

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post #30 of 38 Old 04-30-2015, 04:06 PM
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So, the first Dolby Vision Cinema (JT Cinema in Eindhoven) will not receive its Vision Projection System in time for the first titles premiere? The second one in Barcelona will be left behind as well?
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