What's new

IMAX Digital Projection System (1 Viewer)

Chad R

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 14, 1999
Messages
2,183
Real Name
Chad Rouch
This week my favorite local theater here in the greater Orlando area, AMC Altamonte 18, added an IMAX screen. The complex has been in operation for four years or so now, so this is a retrofit. I don't remember seeing any major construction, so I'm a little curious as to how this was accomplished. And since there's the caveat that it's a digital IMAX projector has me very curious about it all. I won't be checking it out this week (have no interest in "Kung Fu Panda" which is what they're playing this week), but will next week for "Eagle Eye."

Has anyone had any experience with IMAX Digital? Are the screen sizes the same as traditional IMAX, i.e. is it six stories high?
 

Adam Lenhardt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2001
Messages
26,936
Location
Albany, NY
The IMAX standard has been watered down for several years now, and the experience is far less the early theaters. I haven't experienced the digital IMAX yet, but I imagine it's similiarly watered down.

IMAX wants to aggressively expand into more markets. The problem is, the only way to do that is to dramatically lower its standards.

So I imagine it's better the regular DLP, but no where near classic IMAX.
 

Chad R

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 14, 1999
Messages
2,183
Real Name
Chad Rouch
I checked it out today. They did install a new screen, which is bigger than the one that was in there previously, but only about quarter the size of the traditional IMAX on the other side of town. I can't imagine "The Dark Knight" having the same impact on this smaller screen, but it handled "Eagle Eye" nicely. There's two digital projectors running in tandem to give the image extra pop, and I imagine to eventually handle 3D films. Also, the aspect ratio of the screen looks to be about 1.78:1 judging by the negative space above and below the film image.

They did install a new sound system and it does rival traditional IMAX, with the customary 12,000 watts -- so it was very impressive.

All in all, it's a step up from the regular DLP, like Adam said, but not quite as nice as full IMAX. However, since they're not charging as much as the larger IMAX screen, it all evens out to me. If there's a huge event film like TDK that utilizes actual IMAX cameras, I'll head to the larger screen. But for things like "The Day the Earth Stood Still," this will do nicely.
 

Adam Lenhardt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2001
Messages
26,936
Location
Albany, NY
They just opened one of these digital IMAX theaters here in Albany, converting Theater 1 at Crossgates Mall (I believe the second or third largest auditorium in the multiplex) to the new format. From the photos I've seen, it has the same seating and sound as traditional IMAX, but a far smaller screen: only 51 feet wide and 27 feet tall. This is approximately the same width the old screen had, but around six feet taller. The aspect ratio is therefore around 1.85:1 versus the scope ratio screen the theater had previously. I wonder how films like TDK will look that utilize the full 1.44:1 IMAX frame? And at $14, it's just under $4 more than seeing the film on a traditional screen.

I'm definitely going to check it out when a movie comes along that I like, but I have my doubts. I was let down by the 55' x 76' screen at Jordan's Furniture Natick for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire after the 65' x 85’ at the New England Aquarium for Batman Begins (still the best moving going experience I've ever had. And the Aquarium screen is more than one and a half times the width of the Albany screen — and nearly two and a half times as tall!

That all being said, there's still no other screen like that in Albany. The 13-screen theater in the area's other major mall is one of the first in the nation to be completely digital, and it's a great experience that I've gladly paid the premium for. Those screens are absolutely miniscule compared to even the Albany IMAX screen. I wouldn't drive a couple hours for this screen like I would for an Aquarium-sized screen, but as long as it's here I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth and take advantage of it.

And thanks for sharing your experiences with the new format, Chad. Unfortunately, digital IMAX here is going for $14 (versus $10.50 for conventional DLP and film presentations) instead of $11 (versus $10 conventially) like in your Altamonte Springs theater.
 

Adam Lenhardt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2001
Messages
26,936
Location
Albany, NY
I finally checked out Albany's digital IMAX theater for The Day the Earth Stood Still. If I go back, it'll be because of the sound. The sound is every bit as great as normal IMAX, and helps create a truly immersive experience. The sheer volume they can acheive and still maintain clarity is a blessing in situations like today when I had two twenty year old girls and their toddlers treating the movie like a sleepover party in their living room.

The projection was less than satisfactory, though; even though the resolution is 4k, or double the other local digital theater, the screen is so big (and the audience is so close to the screen) that you get the screen door effect on high contrast edges, especially in the first several rows. It was particularly noticeable on the 20th Century Fox logo, where the edges of the base for "FOX" looked like stairs as the camera moved.
 

Chad R

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 14, 1999
Messages
2,183
Real Name
Chad Rouch
I have to agree. The sound is every bit as good as traditional IMAX, but after also seeing "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in digital IMAX, the image quality just isn't the same.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
356,572
Messages
5,116,439
Members
144,114
Latest member
vertigofilmfanman
Recent bookmarks
0
Top