3D Blu-ray Review THE HTF 3D ADDICT: Imax Space Station 3D

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein
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    What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.





    Imax Space Station 3D


    Studio: Warner Bros.

    Product Release: November 16, 2010

    Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French Dolby Digital 5.1

    Running Time: 47 Minutes

    Rating: NR



    ON A SCALE 0-5

    Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5

    3D Separation: 5

    3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2




    Imax Space Station 3D was a title I had the highest anticipations for.

    After all, what could be cooler than watching 3D footage taken in space.

    For the most part Imax Space Station 3D lives up to the hype with the

    exception of one glaring problem which I will talk about in a few moments.

    Welcome to the International Space Station built by a few dozen

    astronauts and located 250 miles above the earth.  This is the primary

    setting for the 47 minute documentary, narrated by Tom Cruise, that

    shows us what could be considered daily life where American astronauts

    and Russian cosmonauts come together as a team to get the lab up

    and running.

    On the ground, we are taken to the Kazakhstan launch site where the

    Soyuz rocket is being prepared to take Americans and Russians into

    space.  Underwater, the team is trained in working within a weightless


    Inbetween the footage on the ground and aboard the space station

    the astronauts talk about what it's like to be away from home for such

    long periods of time.

    For the viewer, Imax Space Station 3D is as good as it gets.  Produced

    in cooperation with Lockheed Martin, the production value is outstanding.

    There is not only an amazing amount of space footage here, but winding

    shots inside the station that lifts you up and takes you through its various

    chambers.  For the very first time, thanks to the amount of depth that is

    conveyed, you get a true idea of how claustrophobic these 

    astronauts must feel.

    The quality of 3D is outstanding thanks to a razor sharp image and

    nicely saturated colors.  The image looks nothing like film but rather as

    if a window opened up on your display and suddenly you had a personal portal

    into the action.  The separation between foreground and background is very

    well defined.  Astronauts and objects that float within the space station look

    like little cutouts.   Look for the scene where the astronauts are shaving.  

    It's astounding to see the razor and stuffed toy floating freely in the middle

    of all the action going on behind it. These are the WOW moments.

    There isn't much "In Yo' Face" 3D here, though the astronauts certainly

    attempt to make it happen by throwing objects at the camera.  However, 

    most of the time it hits the camera lens without breaking the 4th wall.  That

    being said, there are many moments where objects do penetrate out of the

    screen ever so slightly.  This includes a few head shots and floating space tools.  

    Of course there a few slight problems now and then mostly related to

    shots when the camera moves backwards.  There's a bit of ghosting 

    4 minutes in during a simulator sequence.  There are other occasions

    where objects suddenly go out of focus as the camera pans back.  However,

    these moments are brief and I look at these as problems inherent in the

    format itself rather than the transfer.

    The quality of the DTS-HD audio is superb.  As expected, there is a

    ample placement of effects that create many enveloping moments.  When

    the Soyuz rocket launches you can hear a great deal of debris hitting 

    the rear channels.  When floating inside the space station you can hear

    the clanging and banging of objects behind you.  Even the voices of 

    mission control can be heard communicating in the rears.

    Speaking of transfer....

    There is a major problem with this title.  The first 3+ minutes are not

    in 3D, though the footage absolutely shows that it should have been.

    The title sequence is done in 3D style but is transferred in 2D. Opening

    shots of the space station which would look stunning in 3D is absolutely

    flat.  In fact, it's not until approximately 3:37 into the program that the

    content suddenly shifts into 3D.

    This is a problem I am going to contact Warner about immediately.




    In a perfect world this would be the highest rated 3D title

    I have viewed to date.

    However, I don't know if I can wholly recommend Imax

    Space Station 3D for purchase based on the fact that there

    is a problem with the first 3:37 not being transferred in 3D.

    It's obviously something that will upset and sit with you for

    the first half of the presentation.  Though its only a very brief

    amount of time, I was so much bothered with the problem

    that it took me about 15 minutes to get my mind off of it and

    into what I was viewing.

    On the other hand, I am hoping this will be an issue that

    Warner will address through a recall.  This means that the

    possibility exists you can purchase it now and perhaps get a

    corrected copy down the road.  

    The title also retails at $45 ($35 discounted) for 47 minutes of programming

    which I find very steep despite its very attractive lenticular packaging.

    There is a lot of things going against me recommending a purchase

    despite the fact that I feel this is one of the best 3D titles in the marketplace

    right now.




    LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display

    LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player

    Denon 3808CI Receiver

    Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

    SV Sound Subwoofer

  2. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

    Jun 20, 2004
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    What makes you say SPACE STATION 3-D doesn't look like film? It was shot with Imax's 65mm 3-D camera. 30 perf on a horizontal pull. You can't get higher quality and better resolution than that, not even with digital or HD. Projected on the giant Imax screen, you could actually see the consistency and density of the water as the astronauts trained in the submerged simulator. Or maybe I should say you could feel the consistency and the density of the water. And the weight of it on the astronauts. You also get a feeling for the weightlessness on the space station.

    SPACE STATION 3-D Is one of the best examples of what photochemical 3-D can accomplish.
  3. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

    Jan 17, 2001
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    John Steffens
    Looks like I will wait in getting this until I see that a recall is issued.
  4. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

    Jun 27, 2007
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    Charles Smith
    I don't know why I don't remember it better than I do, but this must be the feature I saw in IMAX 3D at the Kennedy Space Center a few years back. I know it was very enjoyable. IMAX features aren't high on my want list at this point, but this is one that certainly will be when that day comes.
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein

    Perhaps it's the resolution combined with the depth
    of 3D.

    It just doesn't have the feel of film. Kind of hard to
    describe -- something that you must experience.

    As I pointed out in the review, it's more like something
    so lifelike you can reach out and touch.
  6. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

    Jun 20, 2004
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    Perhaps its the digital intermediate for mastering to Blu-ray that you refer to.
    That glossy waxy linoleum look.
    Your description "...something so lifelike you can reach out and touch" is precisely the point of large-format photochemistry. If you are impressed with it on Blu-ray, wait til you see it projected on an Imax screen that's three-stories tall.
  7. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

    Oct 22, 2009
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    Sorry for coming so late to the thread. I saw this in 3D at IMAX in London and was really blown away by the film. I was particularly impressed with a shot near the beginning - the camera is obviously strapped to the astronaut's helmet, and we see things from his point of view. He's on the outside of the Space Station, moving along by pulling himself across the face of it, so what we see is the outside of the SS from very close range. All of a sudden he reaches the edge, and when he sticks his head over the top we see all the way down to earth. Well, I'm scared of heights, and it worked for me. I nearly had an accident! So, the other week I bough the Blu-ray Disc. I don't have the ability to play 3D at the moment, so I gave this a spin in 2D. Unfortunately, the shot I'm discussing (and those just after it) looked all wrong. The looked like CGI rather than reality. Has anyone else had this experience? I can't remember how far in it is, so I'm not sure if it's past the 3:37 3D starting point mentioned above. Steve W
  8. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

    Dec 13, 1998
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    Central Arkansas
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    Johnny Angell
    This is now $20 at Amazon. Has the missing 3D problem ever been fixed?

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