BEWARE FAKE IMAX!May 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Movies | Leave a comment
Tags: 70mm, AMC, DMR, fake, fauxmax, IMAX, Movie, projection, Regal, Screen, technology
Well, Aziz has brought to the public’s attention what I have been complaining to my friends about forever. Fake IMAX sucks. And those blockbusters you are watching on them are rarely shot in IMAX format. They are converted to it, digitally. It’s similar to the way your home theatre equipment takes your old VHS tapes and “upconverts” them to display at a higher resolution on your big-screen TV or projector. In the “LieMAX” or fake IMAX format this is projected on a rectangular screen similar to your widescreen TV, using twin DLP projectors. In REAL IMAX this digital conversion gets printed on 70mm film and is projected on a square screen. Blockbuster movies such as Star Trek that are not shot with IMAX cameras will not utilize the upper and lower parts of a real IMAX squarte screen. It will letterbox, just like a standard4:3 TV. Movies that incorporate actual IMAX camera footage, such as The Dark Knight, will project letterboxed until the actual IMAX footage displays, filling the entire screen.
Hey, I have nothing against upconversion. I’ve been mesmerized by Faroudja video processors since I got my first laserdisc player. But I’m also a proponent of Real 70mm film, too. If you lived in Phoenix back in the days of the Original Cine Capri and got to see Blade Runner or Star Wars in 70mm mag-stripe – you understand what I mean. If you have never seen a 70mm film other than your multiplex fake IMAX…you need to.
The point Aziz and many others are noticing and complaining about is this is not the traditional IMAX experience. The screen is not ginormous, they don’t do the cool spotlight stuff showing you the speakers (44 of them) and their locations. They don’t warn you that motion sickness can be prevented by putting your head between your legs temporarily. Real IMAX does that.
Real IMAX is supposed to be 6-8 stories tall. Sometimes its projected on a dome which is called OMNIMAX (domed screens have some drawbacks when presenting traditional movies like Star Trek – it will warp the normally rectangular frame). The screen is supposed to be bigger than your field of view…that’s what can induce the motion sickness.
So, here’s what you do if you have never seen REAL IMAX before – go down to your local science museum and watch one! That’s where they usually are, although they can be found in City Centers, standalones, casinos – all kinds of places. But, if you have a decent science museum in your city, you should have REAL IMAX.
It probably won’t be showing Batman, or Star Trek or any other DMR film, but trust me…just pay the 12 bucks to see anything. Most IMAX films are about 40 minutes long, not 2 hours. They are expensive to film, so they are expensive to watch. Just watch. You can watch grass grow in IMAX and be totally thrilled to have experienced it…that’s where their tagline “the IMAX experience” came from. It used to be an experience! Still is, at the right place! However, as Aziz points out in his blog – AMC and Regal are not the right places.
Oh, and if you are in San Diego – the Reuben H Fleet Science Center has an awesome IMAX, with the newest nanoseam technology screen IMAX has…I haven’t been there in 20 years, but with the new technology screen – its on my list to do this summer.