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Deberg_1990
05-13-2009, 07:42 AM
Interesting....IMAX is diluting their name brand...

AMC appears to be a major offender.




http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/arthouse/2009/05/the-variable-imax-experience.php



IMAX has rolled out a lesser product than their brand implies and are charging the same price for it. The image below, taken from an article on LF Examiner, illustrates the vast difference between what AMC and Regal cinemas are calling "IMAX" screens at the behest of IMAX themselves. Make sure you don't get suckered into substandard presentation by checking this list at LF Examiner before buying tickets. Real IMAX is denoted as 1570, whereas Fake IMAX is denoted as "D."


Aziz Ansari has posted not one but two pieces on this and it's been discussed around the web today, setting comment sections aflame, including Jeff's post from earlier.

IMAX's decision to not rebrand these IMAX D screens for what they are dilutes their brand, but they have been doing that for a while in ways the public has let them get away with. Before I went off to college, I never had a negative experience at the IMAX in Dallas at Fair Park, at the time the only one in the area.

Once I got to school, the Challenger Center IMAX in Tallahassee was a significant disappointment. The screen has a tear or crease in it that interferes with the viewing of anything, and the projector is vastly under-lit. Clouds of dust blow around, and the entry/exit door opens directly into a hallway outside, producing tons of noise whenever someone goes out for any reason.

As much of an improvement as the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum IMAX in Austin is, it's still imperfect. The projector lens is rarely free of dust (who knows if it's ever cleaned), and the location of the exit presents a more disruptive experience than most theaters.

You enter underneath the auditorium seating, as in many museum-bound IMAX theaters, and the exits are directly behind the back row. Kids leaving slam the push bars like they're trying to knock someone down in the schoolyard. Daylight floods in during matinees, ruining the integrity of the viewing experience. Did that destroy my ability to enjoy The Dark Knight in IMAX when I saw it there last summer? No, and I wouldn't trade having seen it on a screen that big for anything, but I would have preferred a more pristine experience for the premium price. If they've transformed into "selling an Experience," they need to clean up what they've already got going.

I don't expect things to be perfect, but being complacent in this case is tantamount to telling people it is all well and good to talk during the movies. I've been spoiled, living in Austin. I'm used to bright, crisp, dust-free projection at all the original Alamo Drafthouses in town, and the IMAX D Experience sounds to me like the quality of the Alamo presentation being brought to other theaters, which in itself is a good thing. The problem is that the branding is horribly misleading. IMAX=70 foot screen, period. When a filmmaker shoots on huge IMAX stock, what's the point of going to that quality and resolution if you're going to show it on a shrunk-down screen? It's like watching Blu-ray on a 7-inch tube TV from 1985.


Since I left home nearly ten years ago, Cinemark has added a full size 1570 screen to one of their multiplexes out in Plano (one of Dallas' major suburbs). They physically remodeled their facility significantly to accommodate the gigantic screen and do things the right way. Recently, the AMC 30 in Mesquite, near where my parents live, has added one of the IMAX D screens, where my mother and younger brother saw Star Trek last Friday morning.

In her estimation, it was definitely a high-quality presentation with great sound, but it was not nearly as immersive as the giant 70 foot screens she had seen before. Granted, "it was easier to not lose your balance" ascending the steps and it didn't give her the "dizzying feeling" she would occasionally get watching True IMAX with her bifocals; however, "it was like they took a regular screen and made things a bit sharper and clearer." She wasn't sure why there was a difference in ticket price than usual since it wasn't "Real IMAX" in the first place.

Be vocal and comment on Aziz's original blog post. I'd love to see him tear the IMAX CEO a new one on TV. Anyone else?

keg in kc
05-13-2009, 11:08 AM
I was thinking about this the other day. There's no way the "IMAX" theater in the AMC Studio 30 in Overland Park is a real IMAX screen. I don't know if it's any larger than a regular screen, it just happens to have digital projection and sound.

But it's a closer drive than the zoo.

MIAdragon
05-13-2009, 11:11 AM
I was thinking about this the other day. There's no way the "IMAX" theater in the AMC Studio 30 in Overland Park is a real IMAX screen. I don't know if it's any larger than a regular screen, it just happens to have digital projection and sound.

But it's a closer drive than the zoo.

Does that make it that much better?

keg in kc
05-13-2009, 11:12 AM
Does that make it that much better?For spectacle films I think it does.

Deberg_1990
05-13-2009, 12:05 PM
I was thinking about this the other day. There's no way the "IMAX" theater in the AMC Studio 30 in Overland Park is a real IMAX screen. I don't know if it's any larger than a regular screen, it just happens to have digital projection and sound.

But it's a closer drive than the zoo.

Then if thats true, AMC shouldnt be charging people the extra $$$ and calling it IMAX.

False Advertising.

Count Zarth
05-13-2009, 12:10 PM
Phew...at least I know I saw Star Trek on a REAL IMAX screen...I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't have confirmation!

Buck
05-13-2009, 12:53 PM
Wheres the list?

irishjayhawk
05-13-2009, 12:57 PM
Then if thats true, AMC shouldnt be charging people the extra $$$ and calling it IMAX.

False Advertising.

No, it's not. IMAX is a brand. IMAX is the one you should be mad about.

And trust me I harbor no loyalty just because I worked at AMC. I should also point out that if it bothers someone, they shouldn't expect to watch the whole movie and come out and demand a refund. That's like getting your McDonalds order wrong, eating it all, and then telling them it was wrong and you want another.

Buck
05-13-2009, 12:58 PM
Gay, I saw The Dark Knight on a D.

Weak

Thig Lyfe
05-13-2009, 01:01 PM
Gay, I saw The Dark Knight on a D.

Weak

Me too. I hadn't been at an IMAX for a long time so I wondered if I had just always thought they were a lot bigger than they were. Turns out I was wrong.

I love Aziz Ansari and support him in his righteous crusade.

Thig Lyfe
05-13-2009, 01:05 PM
No, it's not. IMAX is a brand. IMAX is the one you should be mad about.

And trust me I harbor no loyalty just because I worked at AMC. I should also point out that if it bothers someone, they shouldn't expect to watch the whole movie and come out and demand a refund. That's like getting your McDonalds order wrong, eating it all, and then telling them it was wrong and you want another.

No. Wrong. That analogy has already been made and has already failed. Aziz didn't ask for a full refund. He asked for the $5 extra he paid expecting an actual IMAX screen. Aziz had his night planned around the movie and didn't want to inconvenience himself by changing those plans. If you buy a ticket for first class and get seated in coach, you're still going to go on the flight, but when you get off the flight you'll demand a refund for the portion of the company's promise that was not fulfilled. Same concept here.

Deberg_1990
05-13-2009, 01:10 PM
Wheres the list?


Here i think:

http://www.lfexaminer.com/theaUSA.htm

irishjayhawk
05-13-2009, 01:26 PM
No. Wrong. That analogy has already been made and has already failed. Aziz didn't ask for a full refund. He asked for the $5 extra he paid expecting an actual IMAX screen. Aziz had his night planned around the movie and didn't want to inconvenience himself by changing those plans. If you buy a ticket for first class and get seated in coach, you're still going to go on the flight, but when you get off the flight you'll demand a refund for the portion of the company's promise that was not fulfilled. Same concept here.

I disagree, but not because I'm defending AMC.

The screen IS bigger than a traditional theatre. So, you are getting a bigger, louder experience. How much so is debatable. However, because it IS in fact bigger, the difference is irrelevant. He got what they advertised: a bigger screen.

It's not AMC's fault that IMAX has certified it.

keg in kc
05-13-2009, 02:30 PM
Here i think:

http://www.lfexaminer.com/theaUSA.htmWell, according to that list, if I understand it, then the one here is legit, it's a 1570.

Damn small screen, though.

Deberg_1990
05-13-2009, 02:33 PM
Well, according to that list, if I understand it, then the one here is legit, it's a 1570.

Damn small screen, though.

I saw "I am Legend" when it played at that AMC 30 IMAX. To me it looked like a blown up print. It was letterboxed meaning there was black at the top and bottom.

I imagine they do this for most movies. The Dark Knight is the only mainstream flick to this date that has had actual scenes filmed in the IMAX format.

irishjayhawk
05-13-2009, 02:34 PM
I saw "I am Legend" when it played at that AMC 30 IMAX. To me it looked like a blown up print. It was letterboxed meaning there was black at the top and bottom.

I imagine they do this for most movies. The Dark Knight is the only mainstream flick to this date that has had actual scenes filmed in the IMAX format.

Yep. This is another reason why I don't buy Aziz's claim.

keg in kc
05-13-2009, 02:45 PM
The next Harry Potter had some scenes shot in IMAX as I recall.

Not that I'd see it. *cough* *cough*

Deberg_1990
05-14-2009, 08:22 AM
Heres a really good "Techie" explanation of the whole fake IMAX trick:

http://gizmodo.com/5250625/cin%20eplexes-getting-imax-but-is-it%20-imax-or-conspiracy

Gravedigger
05-14-2009, 01:17 PM
I was thinking about this the other day. There's no way the "IMAX" theater in the AMC Studio 30 in Overland Park is a real IMAX screen. I don't know if it's any larger than a regular screen, it just happens to have digital projection and sound.

But it's a closer drive than the zoo.


It's a bigger screen than the other screens but it's not IMAX. If you go to the AMC Main St. station in Power and Light you will notice those theaters are nicer and appear to have a bigger screen than the IMAX at Studio 30. If you wanna go see an IMAX go to the zoo.

CrazyPhuD
05-14-2009, 01:26 PM
They should just rebrand it as a LIMAX

And have one for porn theaters titled CLIMAX

Miles
05-14-2009, 04:38 PM
Heres a really good "Techie" explanation of the whole fake IMAX trick:

http://gizmodo.com/5250625/cin%20eplexes-getting-imax-but-is-it%20-imax-or-conspiracy

Interesting read.

Seems like it would be far less confusing if they would just call it something different under the IMAX brand since it appears that the standard IMAX which has been around since the 80's is completely different from this new technology they are install in theaters.

JD10367
05-19-2009, 11:36 AM
Hi. Just getting my feet wet here, longtime poster on PatriotsPlanet looking for a new place to kill some time. Since I work in an IMAX booth (I'm currently staring out the window at "Star Trek"), I thought I'd chime in.

IMAX, historically, has meant three things: giant screen, giant negative, awesome sound system. The images are filmed on 70-mm film but it's run horizontally through the projector on a 15-perf frame (three times bigger than the horizontally-run 5-perf 70 they used to use way back when... I think the last film shot on 70 that way was "Far And Away", although it wasn't projected on 70). There were two types of screen: flat (IMAX) and Dome (OMNIMAX). They used to use a fisheye camera for the Dome prints so that they looked correct; they no longer do that, so the Dome images look a bit distorted now.

In an attempt to lure Hollywood into making mainstream films in IMAX, they started wooing the chains with theaters. A traditional IMAX theater is large and expensive, so they started reducing the projection system which also reduced screen size. The first system was called SR. These screens are a bit smaller than regular IMAX screens but still are a pretty close approximation, and still required a special building to be constructed for the most part. The second system, made up of even smaller projectors, was called MPX: this system could be retrofit into a regular theater. The new system is the Digital system: the theaters are pretty much the same as MPX but now it's a digital projector--no film. (SRs and MPXes use the same film as a "regular" IMAX theater.)

All theaters have a much better sound system than a traditional movie theater.

Now, there are two different camps of opposition: the "size queens" and the "plastic lovers". The first group insists that IMAX is known for large screen movies, and reducing the size of the screen defeats the point. The second group is anti-digital and prefers moving film and flickering images (much how audiophiles prefer records to CDs, and musicians prefer tube amps).

Another twist is the fact that the Hollywood films usually aren't filmed with an IMAX camera, but are upscaled with a proprietary computer system called DMR. This digital remastering blows up the image for the larger film frame. Purists contend that it's not quite as sharp as actually filming in IMAX, but it's definitely a lot sharper than simply blowing up a 35-mm image. Also, Hollywood films have to be letterboxed to fit the rectangular IMAX screen in a traditional IMAX theater, so you don't get full-frame. However, even if you're viewing an SR or an MPX system, and the image is small enough that it's just as large as a 35-mm image, even the DMR process is going to be a whole lot clearer and steadier than a 35-mm image. All of the Hollywood films that have come out, from the Batmans to the Spidermans to the Harry Potters to all the rest (300, Watchmen, whatever) have been done using this DMR process. The only film to use actual IMAX cameras was "The Dark Knight", for select scenes (aerial city shots, the big chase scene, and some others). "Transformers 2" is doing the same. I never saw "Dark Knight" in a regular 35, but purists told me that they could see the sharpness difference between the 35 scenes filmed in IMAX and the 35 scenes filmed in 35.

Confused yet?

To make it more confusing, some of the MPX theaters are being retrofit into Digital.

Katipan
05-19-2009, 12:55 PM
The next Harry Potter had some scenes shot in IMAX as I recall.

Not that I'd see it. *cough* *cough*

:) :) :)

JD10367
05-19-2009, 12:59 PM
The next Harry Potter had some scenes shot in IMAX as I recall.

Not that I'd see it. *cough* *cough*

I haven't heard that yet, but it does have some scenes in 3D. They've done that twice: first with "Superman Returns", which had 3D scenes here and there (the plane/shuttle scene, the rescue-at-sea scene) then with the last Harry Potter film where they just had the last few reels in 3D. Not sure which way they're going with this one, though.

Deberg_1990
05-19-2009, 01:07 PM
I never saw "Dark Knight" in a regular 35, but purists told me that they could see the sharpness difference between the 35 scenes filmed in IMAX and the 35 scenes filmed in 35.

Confused yet?

To make it more confusing, some of the MPX theaters are being retrofit into Digital.

Thanks for your inputs! ]

I saw Dark Knight in IMAX, and yes the scenes filmed in the IMAX format were sharper and filled the entire IMAX screen. The rest of the film was letterboxed slightly on the square screen. They do the same thing on the Blue ray DVD.

JD10367
05-19-2009, 02:18 PM
Thanks for your inputs! ]

I saw Dark Knight in IMAX, and yes the scenes filmed in the IMAX format were sharper and filled the entire IMAX screen. The rest of the film was letterboxed slightly on the square screen. They do the same thing on the Blue ray DVD.

Thanks for your thanks. And I really liked "Don't Pay The Ferryman". :)