Originally Posted by bjaurelio
I still have no idea what IMAX enhanced actually means in terms of differences in content. Some of the promotional material makes it sound like a new HDR format, but it appears to rely on HDR 10 with special video processing of the HDR signal on the content creation side. The audio appears to just be DTS' immersive audio format. I don't need new gear for either of these, so why the big push for "IMAX enhanced gear?"
For the content itself it means the video is processed at the mastering stage, and in some cases the aspect ratio shifts featured in theatrical presentations will also be included. For the mastering, noise and/or film grain is mitigated to the extent needed to make it look natural on HDR displays (otherwise it looks exaggerated). These are features anyone buying the disc and watching it on any display will be able to appreciate.
Yes IMAX enhanced uses the existing technologies of HDR10 and DTS:X. This is a plus, not a minus. It means the discs and streams will work on just about any system that supports HDR 4K and DTS surround sound. IMAX did not want to create a format that freezes people out, so content uses currently available, ubiquitous formats and simply plays. Long story short, some of the what IMAX Enhanced offers is baked right into "software" i.e. the content.
IMAX is about big screens. IMAX is about big sound. So, IMAX Enhanced certified gear amounts to equipment that passes a threshold of performance. Beyond that, metadata flags automatically configure gear to play back IMAX Enhanced.
On the audio side things are more complex. You'll still hear a standard surround mix if you do not have IMAX Enhanced AV gear. But if you do have the gear, it will go into an IMAX Enhanced mode that more closely emulates how audio is delivered in IMAX commercial cinemas.
It's clear not everyone sees value in it. But the key thing to note is that IMAX is involved in filmmaking starting with the cameras, so uninformed cynics who are immediately dismissive that it's "another THX" need to take into account that IMAX is involved in the filmmaking process every step of the way and that when you provide the primary cameras for action scenes in Marvel movies, you likely know what you are doing.
People are looking for some mysterious thing that's simply not there. Gear the performs at a high level will play back IMAX Enhanced content in a satisfying manner. If you want to come closest to creative intent and how IMAX movies are shown at the premiere then looking for the IMAX Enhanced logo is an easy way for consumers to do it.
Someone who built out their system last year should be in no hurry to upgrade, their system will do the content justice regardless of whether it's "official" IMAX Enhanced or not. Just look at how Sony's projectors were retroactively included...
For now, the focus should be on the content itself and how it differs from a standard 4K HDR release of the film.