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post #1 of 25 Old 11-09-2016, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Doctor Strange in Dolby Cinema and IMAX Laser 3D

As anyone who reads my movie reviews knows, I'm a big fan of Dolby Cinema, which presents movies graded in Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) with Dolby Atmos immersive soundtracks. It's the best cinema experience available today. But IMAX Laser theaters—that is, IMAX theaters with laser-illuminated projectors—are a close second, with higher peak brightness and lower black levels than any conventional cinema as well as a 12.1-channel sound system with four overhead speakers.



Marvel's newest superhero movie, Doctor Strange, is currently playing in both venues, with only one major difference: IMAX is showing it in 3D, while the Dolby Cinemas—those in the US, anyway—are showing it in 2D. Normally, I wouldn't hesitate to choose Dolby Cinema in 2D over IMAX in 3D, but in this particular case, I wasn't so sure. Many of the reviews mention how psychedelic the movie is, and from what I've seen in the commercials, that's no understatement. So I thought that 3D might serve it especially well.

In fact, I decided to watch it in both venues to compare the experiences. Unfortunately, IMAX Laser 3D uses a technique called "spectrum separation" or "6P" (6-primary), which is similar to Dolby 3D. I hate this type of 3D because the reflections between the inner surface of the 3D glasses and the outer surface of my prescription glasses cause ghost images and a milky fog around the screen. Nevertheless, I wanted to conduct a comparative analysis of the two presentations. (FYI, non-laser IMAX theaters use polarized 3D, which is much better than 6P, but it's not as bright.)

First, the movie itself. Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, doing a completely credible American accent) is a brilliant neurosurgeon whose ego and arrogance know no bounds. After a horrific car accident—caused by his inattention to the road while examining some medical scans—he suffers tremendous nerve damage that cripples his hands. The most advanced Western medical science fails to restore his ability to perform delicate operations, at which point Strange learns of Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt), who miraculously recovered from a severed spinal cord by embracing the mystic arts. So Strange turns to metaphysics and becomes initiated into a world much larger than the reality we all take for granted.

In Nepal, he finds Pangborn's teacher, a sorceress called The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), whose disciples include Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong). Another disciple, Kaecilious (Mads Mikkelsen), has been seduced by the Dark Dimension (sound familiar?) and intends to allow it into our world. Can Doctor Strange and his comrades thwart Kaecilious' evil plan? Can he find some humility along the way?

I really enjoyed this superhero outing, which offers a surprisingly good plot with shades of Harry Potter and The Matrix. Like most Marvel movies, it has plenty of humor and doesn't take itself too seriously. But it also deals with some pretty profound ideas, such as materialism—the philosophy that reality consists only of matter and energy that we can measure—and mysticism, which accepts the reality of unseen dimensions and an infinitude of universes. Then there's the "ends justify the means" subplot that blurs the line between the good guys and bad guys. The cape shtick is a bit silly, but all in all, it's a perfect popcorn movie buttered with a bit of intellectual stimulation.

As expected, the Dolby Cinema HDR presentation is gorgeous, with deep blacks, bright highlights, beautiful colors, and great shadow detail. As The Ancient One and Kaecilious bend space and time, cityscapes fold upon themselves in an effect reminiscent of the movie Inception. But it goes much further here, creating a kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes. Doctor Strange co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are said to be teetotalers, but I'd bet that some of those involved in bringing these scenes to the screen are personally familiar with hallucinogens of one sort or another.

Likewise, the Atmos soundtrack is superb, especially during the space-bending and otherworldly scenes, with sound flying all around the room. I love a good Atmos mix, which puts me in the thick of the action even more than the visuals.

The next night, I went to the TCL Chinese Imax Laser theater in Hollywood, CA. In that venue, the movie was not only presented in 3D, it also switched aspect ratios between 2.39:1 to 1.9:1, filling the full height of the screen during the space-bending and otherworldly scenes. Combined with 3D, this greatly increased the impact of those scenes. However, that impact was mitigated by the distracting fog and ghost images I see with 6P 3D. Also, the black level was nowhere near as deep as it was in the Dolby Vision presentation, though the image was brighter than conventional-cinema 3D.

I was sitting a bit too far back to be in an optimum position for the 12.1-channel sound system, though I was in a great spot for seeing the full 1.9:1 image. Still, I could certainly hear things moving around, including overhead. And interestingly, the dialog intelligibility was somewhat better than it was in the Dolby Cinema.

Speaking of sound, the levels were surprisingly reasonable, especially for such an action-packed blockbuster. I measured the levels in both venues, and they were nearly identical:

In the Dolby Cinema, Leq (average RMS level over the entire length of the movie plus trailers) = 94.6 dBZ (flat), 80.5 dBA, 92.8 dBC; Lmax (maximum 1-second RMS level) = 117.6 dBZ; L10 (level exceeded 10% of the time) = 96.6 dBZ; L50 (level exceeded 50% of the time) = 78.1 dBZ.

In the IMAX theater, Leq (average RMS level over the entire length of the movie plus trailers) = 94.4 dBZ (flat), 80.7 dBA, 93.0 dBC; Lmax (maximum 1-second RMS level) = 120.1 dBZ; L10 (level exceeded 10% of the time) = 96.8 dBZ; L50 (level exceeded 50% of the time) = 79.1 dBZ.

As much as I enjoyed the larger image and 3D in IMAX, the distracting artifacts of 6P 3D counteracted that advantage for me. I imagine it would look much better in a non-laser IMAX theater, though quite a bit dimmer. If you don't have a problem with 6P 3D, I definitely recommend seeing this movie in an IMAX Laser theater; otherwise, a non-laser IMAX theater will still give you the same effects at lower light levels (and only conventional surround sound). On the other hand, if you simply don't enjoy 3D, the Dolby Cinema presentation is excellent; for a list of Dolby Cinemas, click here. In any event, Doctor Strange is a highly enjoyable popcorn movie that deserves the kudos it's getting. And be sure to stick around through the end credits for a sneak peek at two possible sequels.

Please do not click on the Quick Reply button at the bottom of this article, which will quote the entire article in your comment without you knowing it. Wading through the entire article in the comments is quite annoying! If you want to quote a portion of the article, click on the Quote button and delete everything that does not pertain to your comment. Otherwise, use the Quick Reply comment editor at the bottom of each page, which does not quote the original post. Thanks!
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Last edited by Scott Wilkinson; 11-09-2016 at 11:26 PM.
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-09-2016, 01:42 PM
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Thanks Scott! I really appreciate your Dolby Cinema reviews, especially since one opened up in my area recently.

I saw Doctor Strange last night at the Dolby Cinema and I concur wholeheartedly. The psychedelic visuals were outstanding, especially the bright colors. And the sound was great. I even liked the rumbling seats.

At the Dolby Cinemas you frequent, do you experience the problem of the red light from footlights on the floors and stairs bleeding onto the screen? I've read that others have experienced it, so it seems to be a universal design flaw. Have you heard if AMC/Dolby are working on a fix?
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-09-2016, 04:18 PM
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Scott,

I saw it also in both formats. I felt the that the vocals from the TCL were at times awful and I could not even tell what was being said. On the other hand the vocals at the AMC Dolby in Norwalk were crystal clear. I thought the presentation at the Dolby was far superior in both audio and video. I will probably skip going to the TCL unless the movie was shot with Imax cameras as BvsS which looked amazing at the TCL.
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post #4 of 25 Old 11-09-2016, 05:00 PM
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I saw the movie first in a local Cinemark XD theater with the latest projection and Atmos sound (one of the finest in the area..) and then watched it again in the local Dolby Cinema (AMC Newpark 12). The visuals were absolutely beautiful in the Dolby Cinema, as expected, but it did not quite feel like the movie did not take advantage of HDR. I also felt that this particular movie presentation in Dolby Cinema was comparably quieter (than Cinemark XD, as expected) and less dynamic (compared to previous Dolby Cinema presentations in the same theater).

The movie is among my favorite superhero movies and was an absolute blast on the first viewing, and a bit less spectacular during the second viewing.
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post #5 of 25 Old 11-09-2016, 09:33 PM
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Thanks for writing this although it's a bit unfair to compare 3D to 2D I really enjoyed reading this. In particular because I was able to see this in IMAX Laser 3D at the Autonation IMAX theater in Ft Lauderdale FL. This is the first time I've been to the theater since the switch to Laser (luckily they're also keeping the 15/70mm projector around!!!) and it was astonishing; the clarity, colors, brightness and just overall picture quality was very impressive. And to my current understanding, IMAX laser in 3D cuts the brightness down because it's 3D and not 2D. Unfortunately as you said, IMAX was only showing the film in 3D whereas I almost always prefer 2D unless the movie was filmed with 3D cameras.

Anyway Scott, I wanted to ask a few questions regarding both formats which I don't know if you have the answer to them.

1. Does IMAX Laser have HDR? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer to this on the net.
2. Can you compare the IQ of both Dolby Cinema and IMAX Laser (2D) in a new write up? I understand both formats will be showing Fantastic Beasts in 2D so this can be the ultimate test for which is the stronger format.
The reason for question 2 is because AMC Aventura is opening a Dolby Cinema screen soon and I am lucky enough to be able to choose between IMAX Laser and Dolby Cinema, so I'd like to know where would be best to watch movies.


Thanks again and great movie!
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-10-2016, 07:03 AM
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I saw Dr Strange at the Dolby Cinema in Manhattan last night and I couldn't agreed with you more Scott. Thoroughly enjoyed the film and the Dolby Vision/Atmos combination is fantastic. It's a spectacular looking and sounding movie. Can't wait to see Rouge One at that theater.
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-10-2016, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jigolo View Post

1. Does IMAX Laser have HDR? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer to this on the net.
2. Can you compare the IQ of both Dolby Cinema and IMAX Laser (2D) in a new write up? I understand both formats will be showing Fantastic Beasts in 2D so this can be the ultimate test for which is the stronger format.
The reason for question 2 is because AMC Aventura is opening a Dolby Cinema screen soon and I am lucky enough to be able to choose between IMAX Laser and Dolby Cinema, so I'd like to know where would be best to watch movies.


1. (No Imax does not do HDR, only Dolby cinema does HDR at the moment.)

2. (Advantages of Dolby cinema over Imax) HDR and Dolby Atmos (Advantages of Imax over Dolby Cinema) 12 channel sound if lucky enough to have an imax supporting 12 channels, parts of movie shot with imax cameras.

3. In my opinion after comparing both formats several times. I would lean towards the Dolby Cinema unless the movie was shot with imax cameras. Ultimately only you can decide which is better, so I would recommend you seeing the movie once in each format to compare.
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-10-2016, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jigolo View Post
1. Does IMAX Laser have HDR? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer to this on the net.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivanpino View Post
1. (No Imax does not do HDR, only Dolby cinema does HDR at the moment.)

2. (Advantages of Dolby cinema over Imax) HDR and Dolby Atmos (Advantages of Imax over Dolby Cinema) 12 channel sound if lucky enough to have an imax supporting 12 channels, parts of movie shot with imax cameras.

3. In my opinion after comparing both formats several times. I would lean towards the Dolby Cinema unless the movie was shot with imax cameras. Ultimately only you can decide which is better, so I would recommend you seeing the movie once in each format to compare.
Imax Laser is HDR. 75nits and rec2020: http://www.imax.com/news/engadget-im...pricier-ticket

And here is an article talking about Sully's Imax HDR grade: https://news.creativecow.net/story/882896
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-10-2016, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddy77 View Post
Imax Laser is HDR. 75nits and rec2020: http://www.imax.com/news/engadget-im...pricier-ticket

And here is an article talking about Sully's Imax HDR grade: https://news.creativecow.net/story/882896
Thanks. I was not aware of it.
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-10-2016, 11:13 AM
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Can't wait to see Rouge One at that theater.
Star Wars: The Red One... when is that coming out?
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I saw it last night at amc crestwood 18 in IL. excellent color, pretty great sound and something odd. The upper part of the screen just left of center was completely out of focus. Anybody know enough about the the dolby projectors to know why? I noticed it because towards the beginning there is a great sharp shot of NY and avengers tower was completely out of focus. I didnt let it ruin the movie but, i expect better of a new dolby cinema
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post #12 of 25 Old 11-11-2016, 01:40 PM
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saw it lastnight at the Burbank AMC 16
pretty images, sharp, nice blacks
sound was fine, tho the rumbling of the walls was distracting
movie was enjoyable, story & acting was good ... tho quite repetitive and limited in the type of special effects/wizardry thing ... i got kinda bored after 1h
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post #13 of 25 Old 11-12-2016, 08:42 AM
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I will check this out tomorrow. I've heard nothing but good things about the movie from my friends.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helvetica bold View Post
I saw Dr Strange at the Dolby Cinema in Manhattan last night and I couldn't agreed with you more Scott. Thoroughly enjoyed the film and the Dolby Vision/Atmos combination is fantastic. It's a spectacular looking and sounding movie. Can't wait to see Rouge One at that theater.
If there is a movie I really want to see, I usually check if it is available in Dolby Cinema. Ticket prices are expensive enough in the city, the Cinema experience makes it worth it. Going to go see Doctor Strange tomorrow.

Although reading recent tweets, it looks like AMC Lowes Lincoln Square is getting the conversion to IMAX laser (possibly opening for Fantastic Beasts). Might go that way for Rogue One. Although during the last Star Wars release, that theater was packed, even up to New Years Eve (even without the improvements). I was able to get prime seats at Dolby Cinema much sooner after release (I feel like the word hasn't quite gotten out yet).
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post #15 of 25 Old 11-12-2016, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
I hate this type of 3D because the reflections between the inner surface of the 3D glasses and the outer surface of my prescription glasses cause ghost images and a milky fog around the screen. Nevertheless, I wanted to conduct a comparative analysis of the two presentations. (FYI, non-laser IMAX theaters use polarized 3D, which is much better than 6P, but it's not as bright.)
Very, interesting that you get ghost images and fog with the the 6P. I'm going to have to check for that next I go the local IMAX.

I've never have any problems with the polarized 3D with my glasses, albeit, the brightness is severely lacking as you mention. :/


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
such as materialism—the philosophy that reality consists only of matter and energy that we can measure
One the complete and total failings of the Standard Model is that is consciousness and intelligence don't even exist! They "magically" appear out of nothing at some higher level.

Peter Russell's
excellent talk questions if maybe we don't have this perception of reality backwards? That instead of consciousness being some voodoo emergent property that it instead IS the foundation of reality.

Quote:
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—and mysticism, which accepts the reality of unseen dimensions and an infinitude of universes.
As a mystic that's not a bad description. However, I would change only one word to make it correct:

--> which knows the reality of unseen dimensions and an infinitude of universes.

Mysticism or Gnosticism, isn't just a some magical "woo-woo belief", instead IS _experiential knowledge_, by definition. In contradistinction to agnosticism which has no knowledge via experience.

Technically, the are 4 categories:

* Belief forms one axis, and
* Knowledge forms the other axis.



.\....Gnostic..../..
..\Experiential./...
...\.Knowledge./....
....\........./.....
.....\......./ .....
......\...../.......
Atheist\.../..Theist
Without \./...With..
Belif....*....Belief
in God../.\...in God
......./...\........
..... /.....\.......
...../.......\......
..../.Agnostic\.....
.../...Without.\....
../...Knowledge.\...



But this is getting OT.

P.S.

When is the forum going to fix the crappy non-proportional auto-formatting? "Eating" consecutive whitespace down to a single space defaults the WHOLE point of using a non-proportional font, such as Courier, in the first place.

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I loved the scene with Stan Lee reading Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception on the bus. That was the best.

Actually the whole movie was terrific. Definite purchase on UHD Bluray. I saw it in IMAX 3D but I guess it's not laser so not HDR. Black levels were pretty good though (not perfect), but the 24 fps really limited the visual appeal. It will look much better on my home projector with FI, I'm sure. 24p is its own type of perceptual door or window (actually more like a keyhole as the Ancient One said) letting only a little motion through, starving the eager eye of its necessary food. My eyes want to be satiated, and IMAX at 24 fps doesn't achieve that.
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post #17 of 25 Old 11-14-2016, 03:31 PM
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I was planning on seeing it in Dolby Vision 2D but like Scott, thought because of the effects maybe 3D would be the way to go. AMC made my decision for me as they didn't have any showtimes listed for the weekend and we needed to plan around the showing, so TCL Chinese it was!

We had a good time and some of the 3D effects were quite impressive. But the 3D also made some of the effects worse--long shots of cityscapes for example lose the scale of the giant IMAX screen. Instead they looked like little models of a city and the actors like marionettes. Most of the time I felt like I was looking at a diorama rather than a big screen; again, very effective for some things but kind of annoying for others.

Also, the laser projectors do increase the brightness but it is depressing to put on the glasses and see how much dimmer they make the picture. Brighter than regular projectores for sure but with the brightness we've become used to with our monitors and even home projectors it felt like it should be brighter than it was.

And my god, with the four dollar service charge for advance tickets it was $46 for my wife and I for a matinee. When I was younger I used to go to the movies about once a week, then as I got older maybe once a month. Now it's about a couple times a year. I'll probably see a few of the upcoming Star wars movies (NOT the Han Solo one, lol) in 2D Dolby Vision, but other than that I think we're probably done with going to the movies....
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post #18 of 25 Old 11-14-2016, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post
One the complete and total failings of the Standard Model is that is consciousness and intelligence don't even exist! They "magically" appear out of nothing at some higher level.

Peter Russell's The Primacy of Consciousness excellent talk questions if maybe we don't have this perception of reality backwards? That instead of consciousness being some voodoo emergent property that it instead IS the foundation of reality.

Mysticism or Gnosticism, isn't just a some magical "woo-woo belief", instead IS _experiential knowledge_, by definition. In contradistinction to agnosticism which has no knowledge via experience.
Very interesting points! I have long studied the notion that consciousness, not matter and energy, is the ground of all being. One of my favorite authors who writes about this is physicist Amit Goswami.

Experiential knowledge is important, but it is not reliably repeatable or shareable with others, and therefore lies outside the scope of science. That does not mean it has no value—on the contrary, it has been of great value to me. In my view, it means that science cannot completely explain or describe reality in its entirety, only certain parts of it.
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post #19 of 25 Old 11-14-2016, 06:22 PM
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Very interesting points! I have long studied the notion that consciousness, not matter and energy, is the ground of all being. One of my favorite authors who writes about this is physicist Amit Goswami.
He is one of mine too. If you haven't seen his documentary The Quantum Activist you are in for a real treat !

He also has a bonus section where he proposes an alternative to Creationism/Darwinism. While I disagree with him for other reasons he such a joy to listen to and get you thinking about possibilities.

I see Peter Russell has a book out now ! From Science to God: A Physicist's Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness. I just started reading it but already it is shaping up to be an enjoyable read.

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Experiential knowledge is important, but it is not reliably repeatable or shareable with others, and therefore lies outside the scope of science. That does not mean it has no value—on the contrary, it has been of great value to me. In my view, it means that science cannot completely explain or describe reality in its entirety, only certain parts of it.
100% agreed!

It is extremely ironic that Objective truth is built 100% upon Subjective truth but that the subjective is not valued by Science! It should be used to _augment_ truth, not replace it.

The Reluctant Messenger made the argument that Science is Holy because it seeks Truth -- and I would agree with that -- except with a minor twist:

* Science approaches truth via removing falsehood.
* Intuition approaches truth via adding experiences.

One is the left path, the other the right path. The destination is the same.

Unfortunately, everyone tends to bicker over how to get there.

Bringing this back on-topic -- is there a website that lists where the 6P IMAX cinemas are? i.e. Sort by zip code or something? I'm curious where the closest one is since I'm quite a ways outside the greater Seattle area and I want to see Dr. Strange to evaluate how 6P holds up.

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post #20 of 25 Old 11-14-2016, 08:10 PM
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Bringing this back on-topic -- is there a website that lists where the 6P IMAX cinemas are? i.e. Sort by zip code or something? I'm curious where the closest one is since I'm quite a ways outside the greater Seattle area and I want to see Dr. Strange to evaluate how 6P holds up.
http://www.imax.com/news/imax-laser-here
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post #21 of 25 Old 11-15-2016, 07:22 AM
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Awesome thanks!

Wow, I guess they are still in the phase of "gearing up" -- very few locations.

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post #22 of 25 Old 11-15-2016, 07:28 AM
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Marvel's newest superhero movie, Doctor Strange, ... [/I]
Did you stay for ALL the credits? There are two "secret" end-credit video clips!

One after the short "credits", and another after ALL the credits are done.



Dr Strange 2 should be interesting !

"Know Thyself" - The Beginning of ALL Wisdom
I've shipped games on DS, PC, PS1, PS2, Wii, and helped numerous companies with PS3 game dev support. Ask me anything about game programming, game design, graphics, or color.
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post #23 of 25 Old 11-15-2016, 07:30 AM
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Awesome thanks!

Wow, I guess they are still in the phase of "gearing up" -- very few locations.
I forget where I read it, but I believe they said they will limit the laser projectors to the largest screen theaters. And they have no plans to upgrade the smaller and more abundant "Liemax" digital theaters. Maybe they will change that plan in light of Dolby's more aggressive rollout.
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post #24 of 25 Old 11-15-2016, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post
Did you stay for ALL the credits? There are two "secret" end-credit video clips!

One after the short "credits", and another after ALL the credits are done.

Dr Strange 2 should be interesting !
Yep, that's why I ended the OP:"And be sure to stick around through the end credits for a sneak peek at two possible sequels."
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post #25 of 25 Old 11-16-2016, 07:36 AM
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Yep, that's why I ended the OP:"And be sure to stick around through the end credits for a sneak peek at two possible sequels."
Ah! I thought you mentioned but when I skimmed the the Wall-of-Text to double-check guess I missed that. :-/ My bad.

The Imax 3D I saw it in, I thought, had a weak sound setup which detracted from the movie. :-/ On the plus side there were only around 8 of us in the theater -- no noisy neighbors.

I'm looking forward to checking out 6P showing next week once I get back from business.

"Know Thyself" - The Beginning of ALL Wisdom
I've shipped games on DS, PC, PS1, PS2, Wii, and helped numerous companies with PS3 game dev support. Ask me anything about game programming, game design, graphics, or color.
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