IMAX or not to IMAX?

in SPECTRE Posts: 251
Am torn between seeing SP at an IMAX. I've not seen a film at an IMAX before, but the thought of a larger screen giving a more immersive experience is compelling. However, I don't think SP was filmed in IMAX format, and I'm a great believer in seeing films as the Director envisaged. I would not like to a screening where the film is distorted, or where the film is shown more "narrow" to make the film more TV-shape.

What do people advise?
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Comments

  • See it twice, of course! Once on a regular screen and once in IMAX
  • Posts: 251
    =D> Yes, I intend to. But the first viewing is always special, and I'd like the best experience
  • I live too far from an IMAX unfortunately :( One day... yes... one day
  • I saw SF on opening night in an IMAX theater and loved it. Already have tickets at the same theater to watch SP at 7:00 p.m. on November 6. Hard to believe it's been three years.
  • Posts: 948
    Well worth for the leap in picture quality of nothing else
  • Posts: 617
    @Troy, Spectre is being remastered for the IMAX format. I believe Mendes was involved last time with Skyfall, no so sure about Spectre. I saw Skyfall first in IMAX last time and it was amazing, particularly the silhouette fight. However, some scenes looked different as the framing was just a titch different from the aspect ratio used in the trailers I had watched for hundreds of times. The biggest screen in Texas only has Spectre for the first week, so I definitely wanna catch it there first, even though my second choice has a great pre show before the movie. I'm totally with you-first viewing is always special and needs to be the best possible! Good luck with your decision!
  • SirHilaryBraySirHilaryBray Scotland
    Posts: 2,138
    IMAX just for the 6K filmed scenes and Hoyte's great landscape shots in Austria. I'm seeing it in IMAX Monday and regular Friday. Reason IMAX for the visuals, normal to concentrate more on the dialogue.
  • Posts: 61
    I think IMAX is worth it at least for the scenic parts and the PTS/TS. Overwhelmed was the word I could only utter when I saw SF in IMAX for the first time. It's addictive - I feel something is missing when seeing SF again in Blu-ray/DVD.
  • eddychaputeddychaput Montreal, Canada
    edited October 2015 Posts: 364
    @Troy As far as the picture is concerned, SP was not captured on an IMAX camera, so you will not be seeing an 8-story high or whatever movie. On the flip side, the projection in an IMAX room is of top notch quality, so you're sure to relish in an incredibly sharp, colourful image.

    I would say that the other notable quality about IMAX even with movies not filmed in MAX is the audio quality. The dolby stereo 7.1 or whatnot is simply earth shattering. Seeing Bond in that format with that sound system is almost a must.
  • Posts: 12,020
    Have to be honest i have never felt the urge to go see a film in IMAX? Same with 3D, just does not appeal to me for some reason?
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    IMAX for me. I saw SF in IMAX & it was great. Also doing it to help boost the box office.

    The thing about IMAX though, you have to get a good seat, otherwise your experience can be impaired. Sometimes it's better closer to the back, and sometimes it's better somewhere about 2/3 back, depending on the layout of the specific theatre you are at.
  • edited October 2015 Posts: 117
    I saw SF in IMAX and it was a special experience. Especially for the opening, I'll never forget about that day. For that reason I think it's worth it.
  • Posts: 10,867
    I'm trying both, standard Monday night, then i-max the next day.....
    .... God knows how many times after that ! :))
  • Posts: 617
    Is it only the first IMAX screening that gets the poster or is it opening day?
  • The quality of IMAX theaters can vary, cause I have been to quite a few but there is one in particular near me that is incredible. I saw Skyfall there opening night and was blown away. The picture and sound was just so good.
  • Guess it's as good of a time as any to resurrect this. So, anyone see it IMAX and how was it, either compared to SF or simply as an experience?
  • Posts: 4,622
    I've seen SP 3x so far. First and 3rd viewings were in top line Imax theatre.
    Imax is best.Jump on the Imax before Hunger Games kicks it out of the Imax theatres!
  • DariusDarius UK
    Posts: 354
    I saw SP in IMAX last night, and whilst I realise the movie wasn't shot in IMAX, the difference both to picture and sound quality was noticeable, but was it worth the extra fifty percent in entrance fee?

    Not for me, I'm afraid. Frankly, I could enjoy a really good movie with a good script, good characters and a good story on an old 405 line black and white TV more than a poor movie on IMAX. I'm not saying SP is poor -- just the reverse -- but IMAX just didn't give an extra five quid's worth of enjoyment. I think I would have done better to have seen the movie in regular resolution and spent the extra fiver on something else.
  • Posts: 582
    Can someone explain what it's like to see a film on IMAX, I've never seen one. I know it's a bigger screen with a narrower aspect ratio than 2.35/2.40:1, but how does it compare to a normal screening?
  • sunsanvilsunsanvil Somewhere in Canada....somewhere.
    edited November 2015 Posts: 260
    eddychaput wrote: »
    @Troy As far as the picture is concerned, SP was not captured on an IMAX camera, so you will not be seeing an 8-story high or whatever movie. On the flip side, the projection in an IMAX room is of top notch quality, so you're sure to relish in an incredibly sharp, colourful image.

    I would say that the other notable quality about IMAX even with movies not filmed in MAX is the audio quality. The dolby stereo 7.1 or whatnot is simply earth shattering. Seeing Bond in that format with that sound system is almost a must.

    Precisely.

    Sadly, over the past decade or so, IMAX has substantially diluted its brand. So much so that "LieMax" has made its way into popular jargon (at least among cinema aficionados).

    Because the proverbial documentary, IMAX's traditional forte, is not exactly the most profitable, and because facilities which can genuinely accommodate 8 story tall screens are limited mainly to museums, theamparks, and the like, they started putting their name on "regular" theaters and feature films and have been eroding their own film system with a vastly inferior digital one. We are in fact on the verge of loosing motion picture technology's highest watermark.

    IMAX is usually understood to be its classic film format: shot on massive 70mm/15perf film, edited in 70mm, and presented in 70mm on the famously large screens. Thats what gives the format its legendary dynamic range and depth. The screen size, coupled with the Hollywood unfriendly 1.43:1 aspect ratio (akin to yesteryear's NTSC/PAL tvs) enables it to occupy peripheral vision in both horizontal and vertical axis. That end-to-end system is almost gone. What we are left with with is IMAX capture (which is in a state of flux right now) and IMAX presentation (which is a shadow of its former self).

    When you see a feature film like SPECTRE, Skyfall, and myriad other Hollywood films marketed as IMAX, it has virtually nothing to do with the old system. Rather...

    Portions only of a film may or may not be filmed in 70mm. More and more even this is substituted with digital cameras which are FAR from 70mm equivalent but which IMAX deems "good enough" (such is the case with SPECTRE). And even that material, which again is only select portions of the film, gets decimated down to whatever quality the final master, or these days digital intermediate, is. In other words no different or better than any other film (in the case of Skyfall, it was just 2K!). That final cut of the film is then either up-sampled to 15/70mm (in layman's terms, this is akin to showing DVD on your 1080p HDTV, or Blu-ray on a 4K TV) or simply processed into IMAX's own 2K digital format. There are some exceptions such as Dark Knight where the 70mm film portions were edited in the format along side the digital intermediate so that in an IMAX presentation they retained their full quality, but for the most part, thats not what you are actually seeing in the final presentation.

    Further, you probably arnt even getting that 15/70mm "up-sampled" picture anymore what with IMAX film projection facilities closing or being retrofitted to IMAX's digital system left and right. All "cineplex size" IMAXs are digital by definition. This system uses a pair of 2K projectors in a stacked configuration. This gives them 2x the light output to accommodate the larger, though still not full IMAX size, screen and does smooth the screen door effect for those seated close to the screen (which in a small IMAX facility is everyone in order to give the screen a higher than normal field of view)....but if we are calling a spade a spade it still only 2K resolution (albeit it really good 2K). Last year they started rolling out 4K (laser) projection but I honestly don't know how wide spread it is yet.

    Then there is the screen size and aspect. We've covered how many IMAX branded screens are NOT the traditional massive ones. Yes they tend to be larger than what is found in a typical pill-box theater, but no where near the size of Toronto's now boarded up Cinesphere (in some cases as small as 1/3 the size of the "big" IMAX screens... or in other words not much bigger than a normal cinema screen). They compensate by clumping the audience together in a cluster closer to the screen than normal which does yield, overall, a wide field of vision akin to traditional IMAX (and they "get away" with it by having the already mentioned better than normal 2K projection), but its not the same. You could put a 12" screen 4" from your face and get the same field of vision...but that doesn't fool anyone.

    In terms of aspect, IMAX is somewhat anti-widescreen, reaching back to its original 1.43:1 aspect. They encourage directors to capture taller aspects to better fit their paradigm and goal of the image bleeding into your peripheral in both horizontal and vertical axis (in the case of Skyfall/SPECTRE, around 1.90:1 compared to the film's nominal aspect of 2.35:1). So in IMAX you may be seeing portions of the frame top and bottom which no one else is ever going to see (and may or may not be part of the director's actual vision) or worse you might be seeing a slightly cropped (at the sides) presentation. This is of particular relevance to the art of the motion picture. When they shot Coral Reef Adventure, or Magic of Flight for example, they knew for a fact it would be viewed on an 8 story tall screen and thus didn't put anything around the edges which would draw your eye away. Having, for example, a subtitle at the very bottom of a traditional IMAX screen would never happen as it would be in your peripheral vision and be quite a voyage for the eye to shift down to and then back up to center. When a movie is shot primarily for a "normal" cinema screen in scope aspect everything is framed for about 30+ deg field of view (if you go by SMPTE)... and may not look right composition wise if blown up to IMAX's goal of a 70deg field of view (there may be things in your peripheral which should be in your main field of view)

    All that to say sure, go see SPECTRE in "IMAX", but please be aware of what it is and what it isn't.

    Yes, an IMAX branded cineplex facility should be under far more QC scrutiny than is typical (at least as much as a THX branded facility), and they do have state of the art tech in there. Shooting on large formats, digital or film, always yields higher quality even when decimated down, but please know that it is (with little exception) decimated down and (at best) up-sampled back up (if at all).

    Its worth noting that "shoot large, present low" is not unique or even new. Hollywood has been doing it for decades. A lot of effects shots on old films (probably even bonds) used large format in order null out optical defects when decimated down to 35mm. Up-sampling isn't new either. Back when 70mm roadshow facilities still existed, films shot and edited in 35mm would be blow up (aka up-sampled) to 70mm for presentation.

    PS, we covered this in the Bond 4K thread but Skyfall, having a digital intermediate of 2K, can never, EVER truly claim any quality higher than that (despite IMAX claims). Dr.No (for example), having been shot on 35mm (and gone through substantial cleanup) can claim a higher resolution! SPECTRE, thank heavens, was shot on 35mm and >4K digital, with a 4K intermediate so decades from now it will at least be on par with 35mm film.

    Sorry to have rambled on there, but sorting out fact from marketing is one of the driving forces for me as an audio/video technology consultant and writer.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    I've seen it both ways (Laser IMAX and regular).

    I'd recommend IMAX. The biggest benefit for me was how defined everything looked (particularly Mexico) & the sound, which was great in IMAX. I think I was sitting a little too close to the screen however (I could make out most of it, but it's just spatially there was too much going on to fully take in when the screen is that large in front of you).

    So I say do it.....it's worth it just for the sound which is a superior experience, but make sure you're at least 3/4 way back in the theatre. imho.

    As an experience, I preferred SF in IMAX because the colours (particularly Shanghai etc.) were far more vibrant than SP, which has a lot more long range 'framing' shots, and a lot more monotone (yellow hue or grey hue).
  • Red_SnowRed_Snow Australia
    Posts: 1,944
    bondjames wrote: »
    As an experience, I preferred SF in IMAX because the colours (particularly Shanghai etc.) were far more vibrant than SP, which has a lot more long range 'framing' shots, and a lot more monotone (yellow hue or grey hue).

    I have to agree. I saw it at IMAX Sydney, and after sitting through a preview ad banging on about how much superior the colour quality is at IMAX, it did feel really washed out. Almost like when you leave a light on, and it washes the colour off the TV screen.

  • sunsanvilsunsanvil Somewhere in Canada....somewhere.
    edited November 2015 Posts: 260
    bondjames wrote: »
    I think I was sitting a little too close to the screen however (I could make out most of it, but it's just spatially there was too much going on to fully take in when the screen is that large in front of you).

    So I say do it (...) but make sure you're at least 3/4 way back in the theatre. imho.

    Exactly what I was talking about when I said that movies crafted for normal SMPTE theater standards may not "work" artistically in the IMAX paradigm.

  • Saw it in both. IMAX the second time. I agree with alot of the comments, but recommend you do both if you're set on multiple viewings
  • Posts: 617
    Saw IMAX first, then a regular Alamo Drafthouse in 4k projection and visually didn't notice that much of a difference, but when it came to sound IMAX won the day, particularly the opening title card and when the pussy thumps onto the floor! As we have a rather heavy, fluffy white cat, that part made us laugh out loud and it didn't have the same aural impact the second time, even though the Alamo has great sound, too.
  • edited November 2015 Posts: 4,622
    Great post @sunsanvil Informative and real interesting. We should all consult you next time we buy a tv.
    I have seen Imax nature documentaries at Ontario Science Centre, which were spectacular, so I know what you mean regarding comparisons with what we get in commercial cineman
    I recommend the SP experience in Imax, simply because it takes the whole viewing experience to another level. Basically a large crisp image with superior sound.
    Its a notch above the Ultra AVX with Dolby Atmos, which is the other higher priced cinema format, but with ultra AVX you don't always get the Atmos.
    At least with cinema IMAX you get big sound and big picture.
    @bondjames yes with cineplex Imax, I would say 10-15 rows back mimimum.
    This isn't an issue in a proper Imax cinema watching an underwater documentary or somesuch, which is a very immersive experience I found.
    But if you want to see SP Imax, move quick, Hunger Games will have SP kicked out of these cinemas real soon. An Imax run is usually no more than a couple of weeks max.
  • sunsanvilsunsanvil Somewhere in Canada....somewhere.
    edited November 2015 Posts: 260
    @timmer Are you in Toronto? Personally, I was devastated when Ontario Place was shut down back in 2011: Cinesphere was in my opinion the finest facility on earth. Besides having the distinction of being the first permanent IMAX facility back in '71, its always been more than just IMAX: it was designed to house basically anything and everything which may come along. Last time I was there it was equipped to show not just IMAX 15/70mm, but traditional 5/70mm all the way down to 35mm....and any soundtrack format, from IMAX analogue and digital, through 70mm magnetic, every flavor of Dolby, DTS, you name it. It was also fairly unique in that they were the only facility to own their IMAX projector (all others lease) and they were allowed to buy prints (and licensed the right to show them) which is a little different from how it normally works. They had just put in IMAX's GT 3D before it got shuttered (essentially a dual-roter IMAX projector). Word on the street is that while its been closed IMAX used it to test the new laser light 4K projectors but I've long lost touch with the head projectionist I once was acquainted with so I don't really know. Plausable story though since IMAX would have needed an unused facility to fart around with and what could be better than a conveniently closed up Cinesphere? :)
  • augie7107augie7107 Boston
    Posts: 106
    I suggest IMAX. I saw Spectre in IMAX last week and it was a great experience.
  • Some very interesting posts so far, especially by sunsanvil. Going to see it in IMAX for the first time tomorrow (yes, I know. I'm late for the party, blame my tailor) so should turn out great.
  • PrinceKamalKhanPrinceKamalKhan Monsoon Palace, Udaipur
    Posts: 3,019
    I saw SP the firs time in IMAX. It was the first time I saw any Bond film in IMAX. It cost $20 but it was worth it.
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