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IMAX Develops Movie Transfer Technology 513

kazama writes: "Toronto-based IMAX said that it had developed a new process called DMR (for "digital remastering") to digitally convert conventional 35mm films to the IMAX format without significant loss of detail. 'Our customers have been saying to us for years, "We want to see Star Wars on IMAX, we want to see The Matrix on IMAX." and DMR is the technology which is the enabler,' Co-CEO Bradley Wechsler told Reuters. 'That's going to be an increasingly important part of the company's performance.'" So what movies would you want to see on IMAX?
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IMAX Develops Movie Transfer Technology

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  • for me... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So what movies would you want to see on IMAX?

    pr0n. lots of pr0n.
  • by SClitheroe ( 132403 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:44PM (#4034550) Homepage
    This is confusing to me...a long time ago, I watched Jurrasic Park on an IMAX screen, and was disappointed - the image was not IMAX size (didn't fill the whole screen)nor aspect ratio. The only benefit was the better sound system.

    But recently, I went to the local mega theater to see SpiderMan, and was suprised to learn they were showing it on the IMAX screen. I expected the same thing, but it wasn't - it was a full sized IMAX image, and the image quality seemed fine to me.

    So if this technology in the article is some new innovation, how are they doing it right now, and what are the disadvantages of the current approach?
    • by anotherone ( 132088 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:50PM (#4034611)
      You might have seen a 70mm print (as opposed to a 35mm print) of Spiderman on the imax screen. It wouldn't be full Imax size, but it's a lot bigger.
    • I was going to post a comment asking what is wrong with doing optical transfers? I'd think the film-digital-film conversion would loose something. I guess their new magical process tries to add something in the process. But what is the size of a IMAX print, 62mm or something? There will be an aweful lot of dots to process and store.

      I think the audio in IMAX theaters is digital as is the sound track for most modern movies, so someone already digitized it, all is left is for them to work some magic on those bits to try to get more out of them.

      I don't get it either. You can't shine shit. You can't recreate information that was orginally lost when shooting on 35mm.
      • You can't shine shit. You can't recreate information that was orginally lost when shooting on 35mm.

        However, you can recognize textures from one frame to the next, or use the fractal transform to create faux detail, or whatever other proprietary techniques this "DMR" system uses.

    • I saw spiderman on an IMAX screen. The manager told us that they were using a big magnifying lens, of which only a few exist in the country. The image quality was just about OK however I don't think that it was good enough for me to want to see many other movies in the same way. The other problem with IMAX for me is that the frame rate is too slow sometimes on the big sweeping shots and I find it a little uncomfortable.

  • Well, seeing as I grew up in the wrong time period to see Star Wars when it first came out (and was not interested when it got remastered and shown at various marathons at local cinemas), I for one would love to see Star Wars get redone using this technology and then get a re-release.

    I wouldn't imagine I am the only one either :)
  • What else? (Score:3, Funny)

    by denzo ( 113290 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:45PM (#4034553)
    The Blair Witch Project on IMAX, of course! How else are we supposed to compete for projectile vomitting distances?
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:45PM (#4034554) Journal
    Has this tech been used already?

    I saw LOTR on the imax screen here in Calgary. My girlfriend got annoyed watching it though - too blurry and it gave her motion sickness. We could have done the same thing with Spider-Man but we saw it on a regular screen instead.
    • Those are projected using the regular 35mm print. Only to avoid the graininess that you'd see when projecting a 35mm print on a screen that size, they run 3 copies of the film in sync. This works great, but for heavy motion shots, the slight difference in the sync of the three prints becomes aparent.
  • Oh Man!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by getagrip ( 86081 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:45PM (#4034558) Homepage
    I just upgraded to HDTV. Now I have to go out and buy an IMAX projector for my home theater system? Where will it end???
  • by BDew ( 202321 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:46PM (#4034568)
    Imagine what Star Wars will look like when Lucas gets done remastering it for an Imax screen. Not only will Greedo fire first, but he'll be accompanied by two Hutts. Then Han will have a long discussion with them about the morality of self-defense and playing nice with other children.

    The possibilities are, unfortunately, endless...
  • by Consul ( 119169 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:46PM (#4034570) Journal
    I smell a great /. poll here...

    Which movie would you like to see in IMAX?

    • Star Wars (any or all)
    • The Matrix
    • Lost In Space
    • Metropolis
    • Godzilla vs. Mothra
    • Plan Nine From Outer Space
    • Night of the Living CoybowNeals


    • Uhhhh....Brazil. One of the most underrated movies of all time IMHO.
  • Step into Liquid, which I don't think is released yet, seems like a good choice for imax, if it isn't for imax already. That first cam angle where it goes into the wave would be one amazing effect on a huge imax screen. nt o_liquid.html
  • I dont care whether its IMAX or KLIMAX.
  • by HWheel ( 444926 )
    For my sixth grade graduation present, I asked my parents to take me to 2001, which we saw in Colorado Springs in, what I now know to be, "Super Panavision," the only time I've ever seen such a "vision." Some time later, the theater was broken into four separate theaters and was later torn down.
  • by Abstruse ( 100599 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:47PM (#4034578)
    I'd like to see Clerks on IMAX, just for the absurdity factor of watching a movie originally shot on 16mm film projected from 75mm film.
  • DMR?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:47PM (#4034582) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but if it were assigned a 3-letter acronym, it would have to be "DRM." But I suppose that has been taken already and should be scrambled...

    DigiRema sounds pretty cool though... or DiRema maybe. I have nothing more useful to contribute at this time.
    • It might actually be DMR: Digital Movie Re-mastering...

      hence DMR not DRM.
    • I'm sorry, but if it were assigned a 3-letter acronym, it would have to be "DRM." But I suppose that has been taken already and should be scrambled...

      DRM: Digital Rights Management. Been talked about A LOT recently.

      Check out the following sites:
      Microsoft's DRM site []
      Or for a better perspective, see Everything2 [] a geeky must have as far as any random information goes.
      or google it []

  • I say let's see Tron. It isn't that great of a movie, but I seem to remember thinking it was the greatest thing since sugarless sweatener when I was a kid.
    • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @03:19PM (#4034856)
      Disney actually has a few 70mm prints of TRON (complete w/ remastered multi-channel digital soundtrack). They were struck in 1999, for some reason, and shown at the El Capitan (a one-screen Hollywood movie palace owned by Disney). They looked gorgeous, although they did reveal the limits of the source material. (Fun factoids: the scenes with live actors inside the computer were filmed in 70mm black and white, then blown up to cel size for rotoscoping/effects work, and re-shot on an animation stand. The computer animation was rendered on an IBM System 360 mainframe with custom software by Abel Systems.)

      Before the screening there was a little round-table discussion and Q/A session with Steven Lisburger (writer/director), Bruce Boxleitner (who played Alan/Tron), Cindy Morgan (who played Lora/Yori), and one of the Abel systems people who made all those computer animated sequences possible - I think it was Tim McGovern. The director mentioned that he always thought of TRON as "the Bill Gates story" - i.e. the plucky young programmer breaking the shackles of centralized control (IBM). He said a lot of other stuff I didn't care about - I always hated the actual plot and acting of the film - but at least the Abel Systems guy got to talk a bit about doing CGI in 1982.


  • I want to see all 3 LotR with short potty breaks inbetween.
  • I want to see MATRIX-reloaded on IMAX if the filmed it on IMAX film.

    conversion cannot create detail out of nothing. you can fudge and guess but the big draw of IMAX is the insane detail on the insane side screen.

    Sorry but if they shot Everest on cheap-ol 35MM film and tried to pass it off as an IMAX film with conversion it would have lost almost every bit of it's impact by losing the detail and resolution.
  • pr0n? no. (Score:5, Funny)

    by UncleOzzy ( 158525 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:49PM (#4034603)

    I've seen a lot of posts already saying, "sh0w suM pr0n!!!!1!!!"

    People, think about what you're saying. Pornography (at least the modern sort) is shot for the small screen. The very small screen. Nineteen inch televisions or, even worse, computer monitors. As a result, its directors often go for the extreme closeup, usually to great effect.

    Now think about these closeups on IMAX. Gaping orifices of every level of hygeine standing several stories high? I don't know about you, but that sounds more "nauseating" than "erotic."

    So please, think twice before you request porn on the (really) big screen. This has been a public service announcement(TM).

    • Re:pr0n? no. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by delld ( 29350 )
      This is the exact same reason as to why high definition television has not caught on. As everyone knows porn is the primary driver of technology.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      Now think about these closeups on IMAX. Gaping orifices of every level of hygeine standing several stories high? I don't know about you, but that sounds more "nauseating" than "erotic."

      If you actually like that kind of thing, a company called Goatse has found a way to give you the same effect on small screens by increasing the size of the orifice relative to the picture (and body).

      Thus, you don't really need IMAX for that. A representative from goatse will probly post the URL's any second now for those interested.
    • Re:pr0n? no. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lev13than ( 581686 )
      The other problem is that IMAX controls (or at least tries to) the content of movies shown on their screens - they don't want anything over PG shown. IMAX operate a lot of the theatres, and puts pressure on the other owners to fall in line.
      Needless to say, if the slightly-violent Haunted Castle can't make it on the big screen, What Reams May Come is going to stay at 35mm: ec00_mar01.html []

      If you check the link, you'll also note they announced back in March 2001 that this new technology would be ready "within twelve months"... oops.
  • What movie would I like to see on IMAX? Classical IMAX movies, for one! This may sound dumb, but the truth of the matter is that some of the best IMAX films are out of circulation and simply cannot be seen today.

    For example:
    Tomorrow in Space
    To Fly!
    • whoops, submitted too early:

      On The Wings
      L5: First City In Space
      Hail Columbia!
      The Dream Is Alive, a movie about the shuttle program released just before the Challenger disaster.

      These are great, but the only thing you can find is the (albeit neat) Space Station 3d and some 'Xtreme' stunts movie.

  • I want to see blood showering from the ceiling, and see each drop fly in front of my eyes. I'm not usually the psychotic type, but I've seen the movie at least half a dozen times and *love* it!
  • What isn't clear is if they only want to go back and remaster past films that have been hits or if they want to do this to first run films. I would love to see LoTR: TTT on an IMAX screen. At least I think I would. I am assuming that they aren't lying when they say they can bump up the quality.

    For action films lots of people might want to see them first run on the IMAX screen. I don't know about dramas. Who wants to see Road to Perdition on a giant screen? Or worse yet, When Harry Met Sally?

    Of course this trend might annoy George Lucas. I am not aware of any digital project capability for IMAX theaters. They would need a really impressive high resolution digital projector to go to IMAX size. Which reminds me, most IMAX movies run for a long time. I mean they are at the theater for about a year. I would guess that the film is expensive to produce and transport. Would it make economic sense to convert The Matrix? How many people would pay $10 to see it again on a really big screen? Maybe first run movies would be a better bet.

    • To further your good points..

      Has anyone actually seen the IMAX camera? It's a very large and heavy camera [] where each roll occupies about 2.5 minutes of film.

      I always wondered if there is a digital form of the IMAX camera in development. It certainly would be more manageable than the film version. Reload would be a matter of switching a hard drive, rather than feeding film. The amount of record time would most likely be similar to the film version, but at least the camera would have less downtime to change the hard drive.

      And don't get me started on a digital IMAX projector... ;)

      Then again, I don't claim to know what the other problems there may be with a digital version. I just hope that the idea is at least being worked on.
    • I mean they are at the theater for about a year. I would guess that the film is expensive to produce and transport.

      I think it has more to do with the fact the IMAX theaters are not found everywhere so they don't get to show the movie to a lot of people very quickly, compared to traditional cinemas. I've never an Imax room less then half-full, even after a movie came out months ago. There always seems to be a lot of poeple going there. After all it shouldn't cost a lot more. It's not like DVD's where you have to put more information in the same space as CDs. The IMAX film is just bigger.
    • A few thoughts... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) <evan&misterorange,com> on Thursday August 08, 2002 @03:17PM (#4034841) Homepage
      Would it make economic sense to convert The Matrix? How many people would pay $10 to see it again on a really big screen? Maybe first run movies would be a better bet.

      I, for one, would love to see The Matrix on an IMAX screen. I think it would be a great experience.

      That's why you go to a theater you know. For the experience. Otherwise, DVD and VHS would've killed them a long time ago. Why bother paying high ticket prices and overcharged on underbuttered popcorn and $7 drinks? Because there's something magical about being in a huge auditorium, in a room filled with strangers, going on imaginary adventures with people who never existed.

      I would kill to see a marathon of Star Wars (Ep. 1,2,4,5, & 6) on IMAX (and of course do it again once Ep. 3 is finished). It would be a wonderful experience. The sights, the sounds, I think there would be absolutely nothing like it.

      But there's a lot to think about here.

      Firstly you have the screen itself. Last year, when Beauty and the Beast made more bundles of cash by making a "Special IMAX Edition" there had to be a change. And I'm not talking resolution, I'm talking frame-wise.

      IMAX screens are 1.33:1 (television) aspect ratios. Most films are 1.85:1, and most of the classics are 2.35:1

      So when they blow up films to fit this huge screen, not only are they losing resolution, they're losing part of the image all over again. It's called Pan & Scan, or Hack 'N Slash, depending on your viewpoint.

      I could go on the huge tirade about how P&S is awful, how its destroying cinema as we know it, how it scares away Joe Blow from the infamous "black bars" and "why can't I see the rest of the picture" bullshit that myself and others have dealt with for years (ie, those in defense of widescreen).

      The point is that The Matrix was not filmed in "Open Matte." Open Matte is where the black bars are put there intentionally, so the film can be shown in theaters properly. So when the home video comes around, you don't even have to worry about loss of picture, because the 1.33:1 frame actually shows more than what you originally saw in the theater (the great Run Lola Run was done this way). In those cases IMAX reproduction would rely solely on the resolution, with nothing else to worry about.

      However, most of the films that are "classics" are in 2.35:1 "Superscope" meaning that when you pan and scan, you lose up to 33% of the film. For example, you have Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Arc (all of the Indiana Jones films for that matter), Lawrence of Arabia, Pulp Fiction, etc etc. The list can go on.

      So when you think about IMAX reproduction of films, the frame is more important than the resolution. If you pan and scan a classic, you don't get the classic, you get what an editor "chose" to see at a particular point. And this to me is paramount.
  • Some of the humor might be lost though: all of Spaceball 1 would fit on the screen!

    And come on, giant bugs diving at me at Imax size can't be beat.
  • IMAX locations? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TonyZahn ( 534930 )
    Where are these theaters located anyway? Here in Maryland we have one in the Baltimore Science Center, and one in the Smithsonian (I think it's the Museum of Natural History) in DC. Are any of these theaters meant for the general movie-going public or all they all attatched to educational centers?
    If they're all in museums and such, then I don't see the point in releasing the latest summer blockbuster there.
  • by Apreche ( 239272 )
    course all the good movies have already been taken. So I'm going to put my money on Akira, Transformers The Movie, Battle Royale, Monty Python(any one of 'em), and the Super Mario Bros. movie just for laughs.
  • 70mm vs 35mm (Score:4, Informative)

    by pagercam2 ( 533686 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:52PM (#4034641)
    I beleive that the average theater uses 35mm film but in the high end theaters they often also can use 70mm. In a multiplex that I used to go to in VA they had two screens of 70mm for new/big releases and featured that they were 70mm while the other 10 screens were 35mm. IIRC IMAX is a 70mm format, but I assume different from the run of the mill 70mm film projector, so they could use the higher quality 70mm film in an IMAX, but it wouldn't be up to full IMAX standards, what they are suggesting here is that they can digitally enhance the film from 35mm to make it acceptable on IMAX screens.
    • by Fzz ( 153115 )
      If I recall, IMAX is 70mm film, but run sideways though the projector. Normal 70mm file runs vertically, so the width of the film corresponds to the width of the screen. With IMAX, the width of the film corresponds to the height of the screen, so each IMAX frame is a lot larger than a regular 70mm frame.


    • IMAX negatives use a rotated orientation compared to normal movie film. The images are horizontal along the length of the film rather than running across the width of the film. This results in the image size being 10 times larger than the image on a standard 35mm film according to the IMAX website []
  • What movies do I want to see on IMAX?

    Armatage III OVA version - Especially the final battle.
    Tenchi Muyo OVA
    Princess Minoko
    The Rats of Nihm

    [Before you flame me, I freely admit my spelling sux]
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
  • The English Patient
    Licence to Drive
    Chairman of the Board (with the irrepressable Carrottop!)
    Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
    The Master of Disguise
    The Country Bears
    and finally, the #1 Movie I would like to see at an IMAX: Air Bud 4: Seventh Inning Fetch!

    A guy can dream, can't he?

  • "... as well as enlisting Tom Cruise as the narrator of our new hit 3D film SPACE STATION."
    He'll probably ramble on about Xenu or something. Hoo boy. This could be a conspiracy, huh?

    It's a joke. Laugh.
  • imax dmr (Score:4, Informative)

    by intuition ( 74209 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @02:59PM (#4034708) Homepage
    If a feature length film was shown on an IMAX screen, the studios and IMAX were probably looking the other way.

    IMAX and the Hollywood studios don't want some hack to display regular film onto an IMAX sized screen. Its going to look bad, period. Even if you go to a multiplex that has a "very large screen" (General Cinema's Green Monster Screen in Boston, MA comes to mind) movies look like crap on it. Jittery and grainy.

    However, IMAX and the Hollywood studios are waking up to the fact of revenue potential from full feature length films being shown on IMAX sized screens. Of course this must be done according to IMAX's brand level of quality. IMAX DMR represents the initiative to do get this done. The first feature length hollywood film to be shown with this technology will be Apollo 13. So if you think you have seen a movie with this technology and it wasn't Apollo 13 pre-screen and you were a member of the public when you saw it, then you are deluding yourself.

    Disney's Beauty and the Beast represented an earlier "beta" generation of this technology. So if you saw that you get some idea.

    Text of a press release follows :

    Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and IMAX Corporation bring Apollo 13: The IMAX Experience to IMAX screens worldwide.

    Apollo 13 tells the dramatic true story of the heroic actions needed to bring a three-astronaut crew safely back to Earth after the Apollo 13 space mission suffered catastrophic mechanical problems en route to the Moon. Made with NASA's collaboratioin, the highly-suspenseful film is scientifically and historically accurate. Apollo 13 features strong performances from the ensemble cast, led by Oscar®-winning actor Tom Hanks, and brilliant direction by Ron Howard, another Oscar winner. Apollo 13 will be digitally re-mastered into IMAX's 15/70 format using the revolutionary IMAX DMRTM technology.

  • I'm sure lots of people have seen the matrix or star wars on their i-macs.
  • Fat Bastard 3 stories tall!

    Yeah baby!!
  • The Newport, KY Imax theatre showed the Matrix for a few nights back in April, i believe. Having seen it, I can only make two comments about huge-screen movies:

    1. Too big.

    2. Too loud.

    I know that sounds kinda prudish and totally un-male of me, but there is a line that you have to draw when pursuing that "bigger, better, faster, more..." method of evolution. When you actually have to turn your head from side to side because the screen exceeds your field of vision, you're well across that line.
  • How about Honey I Shrunk the Kids?

    Micrososmos would be pretty amazing too.

  • The Bridge on the Rive Kwai
    Dr. Zhivago
    Lawrence of Arabia (oh yeah!)

    in fact, pretty much anything by David Lean.

  • IMAX theatres display video in approximately a 180 degree field of view. Most non-imax movies are shot with a much narrower field of view since it's meant to be displayed on a flat rectangular screen. So these movies are going to have to be stretched out to fill up the whole screen. Watching regular movies in an Imax theatre is going to be like watching yourself in a fun house mirror.
  • First on a personal note I'm really pleased to hear this since I moved half a mile away from a beautiful new IMAX theatre! :)

    Back to the post...I'd love to see the shots in Contact where Jody Foster is "time/space traveling" in IMAX, tho I'd be afraid of flashing back to my Deadhead days. (who am I kidding..I've never completely left)

    And not to restate an obvious Slashdot reader favorite but Lord of the Rings would translate very well IMHO. The orcs would be THAT MUCH BIGGER and the battle scenes gargantuan to add to their already epic look.

    My $.02 over and over again!

  • I know I don't speak for everyone on Slashdot (I imagine it's pretty diverse crowd), but I don't think I'd enjoy The Crying Game in IMAX. :)

  • So what movies would you want to see on IMAX?

    I want to see Creamy Banana 21 in all it's glory!!!

    Oh, wait ... did i said creamy banana? Sorry about that - please disregard this post
  • No point upconverting 35/70mm fare.

    It would be great to see Toy Story I/II, Antz, Monsters Inc. and Ice Age rendered at hundreds of megapixels per frame.

    • What would be the point? Digital animation is not that detailed. The tricky part is making textures and lighting look realistic - CG tends to lack the truly fine details that high resolution (IMAX, HDTV) can give you.
    • No.. the larger size isn't what would be cool. What would be cool is to re-render the Pixar films to be shown in Imax 3D!

      I don't think the Imax film reels are large enough to a feature-length film, but I'd certainly pay $20 to go see Toy Story (2), Monsters, Bugs Life, etc.
  • Uhhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ryanvm ( 247662 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @03:26PM (#4034926)
    Neat idea - but I've got one nitpicking question:

    How the hell does DMR stand for "Digital Re-Mastering"?
    • Re:Uhhh... (Score:3, Informative)

      by glitch_ ( 48803 )
      Neat idea - but I've got one nitpicking question:

      How the hell does DMR stand for "Digital Re-Mastering"?

      DMR stands for Digital Movie Remastering
  • First off- I do know what I'm talking about
    How is 'remastering' an image that is shot on 35mm film improve when you blow it up to 70mm? I mean, realistically, what this is saying is that you don't need to ever shoot 4x5 cameras- just shoot 35mm and all that precious details will magically come out when you digitize it. Poor Ansel Adams- if he had been alive now he could just use his $35 disposable camera and get those huge blowups with startling detail

    OK I think you've caught the drift. Film has a limited resolution. Original IMAX uses 70mm film to get 4x the negative area (hence they can resolve quite a bit more detail than standard film). The only advantage I see to this is the marketing ploy- Genuine IMAX Film SIZE!. You don't gain detail, you don't gain ANYTHING that isn't already on the film. And since you are starting off on a small format to begin with, its not going to get better.
    Now don't get me wrong, you can improve some work with digital sharpening and whatnot- going to a larger format helps there. But it in't going to give you the same quality of an IMAX experience compared with a film that is 70mm. It just can't be done. See my earlier jibes about 4x5 cameras if you need further humour ;)
    • I think the point of their process is to avoid multiple 35mm generations between the camera negative and release print. If you blow up the camera negative to 70mm and stay at 70mm throughout the print-making process, the result will look (marginally) better than a release print made from 35mm intermediates.

      Of course this process isn't going to achieve the same quality as if you actually recorded 70mm film in the camera. But cutting out one or two generations of 35mm printing can help - e.g. SW:Episode II had very little grain in the film release prints, since they were all first-generation copies of ILM's digitally-recorded negatives.
  • by mgessner ( 46612 )
    How about:

    a) Pink Floyd's "The Wall?" That was messed up enough on the "big" screen; I can only IMAGINE what it would be like to be wasted and seeing that on an IMAX screen.

    b) I always liked "Battlestar Galactica" but I don't think it was ever a full screen movie, was it?

    c) Indiana Jones was probably already mentioned.

    d) Titanic, while predictable, would probably be pretty cool blown up 3-4 times.

    e) "The Fast and the Furious" would be REALLY cool big AND loud.

    My $0.02 worth.
  • image resolution (Score:2, Informative)

    by beefguts ( 529522 )
    Typically, good 35mm lenses have much higher resolution (i.e. lines/mm) than good quality medium or large format lenses. This means that there is more information available in a 35mm frame than is available in a comparable portion of a larger IMAX film frame. Assuming the film can out resolve the lense, the transfer from 35mm to IMAX shouldn't completely be due to interpolation. This means that with good algorithms etc, they should scale well (not perfectly tho').
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @03:38PM (#4035024) Homepage
    Here's the IMAX DMR process [] description. It's basically digital grain removal, plus some color correction and an audio remix. Won't help reformat for the huge screen, though.

    Digital grain removal is going to be useful. I look forward to when it's a filter in most video edit programs. There's lots of old 16mm historical footage that could use cleanup for grain and transport jitter.

    Amusingly, there's a commercial process for film grain insertion [], which is supposed to make video "look like film".

  • DMR sounds like a promising new technology, sure.

    How many of you realize that DMR is just a cleverly disguised ANAGRAM of D R M!!!
    Yes, it took me several months of painstaking research to find the truth, and I may be killed or worse for posting it here!

    That's right! DMR is just a way for the MPAA to sneak DRM past you unsuspecting tech junkies.

    You poor bastards, you're unwittingly HELPING the MPAA!!!

  • Detailing why this isn't a potential violation of the DMCA :)
  • I think Saving Private Ryan would be cool in Imax format. Especially the opening scene of the D-Day invasion.
  • ...and I can't see why nobody else has mentioned it. Battleship Potkemkin. Imagine the Odessa Steps scene ("The Odessa Staircase" and "Suddenly") in full IMAX.


    ...I'll get my coat

  • Fantastic Voyage
    Incredible Shrinking Man
    Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
    The Iron Giant
    My Dinner with Andre the Giant
    anything with Ray Harryhausen animation
    The Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse
  • it was the last major feature shot in true 70mm film.
  • Here in San Francisco, the Loews Cinemas Metreon theater complex regularly screens first-run films on their IMAX screen, if the demand is there. I've seen "Apocalypse Now Redux" in the IMAX theater, as well as "Minority Report," and maybe some others. I think the first film they did this with was "The Matrix."

    As far as I'm concerned, the movies look just fine as it is. I'm betting that one of the criteria is that the theater have a 70mm print available, but otherwise it's great. The picture stretches to both edges of the screen (though not the full height). So long as it's not an old, battered print, the image looks fine. Sound is great.

    I think what IMAX is offering here is to take a film and blow it up to full IMAX specs. As far as I can tell, all this means is that IMAX will be able to capitalize on what's already common practice -- IMAX theaters screening non-IMAX movies on the big screen.

    So let's see. Average cost of a 120 minute film on a regular screen at the Metreon? $9.50. Average cost of a 20 minute IMAX movie at the Metreon? $9.50. Average cost of a full-length IMAX format film, then, would be ... what? $58? No thanks.
  • It just has to be David Lean's

    Lawrence or Arabia

    Not the best film of all time, but one of the greats. The shots of the desert simply take my breath away. And I've only ever seen it on TV.

    And on IMAX?

    Well, I'd probably wet my pants ;)
  • by Apotsy ( 84148 ) on Thursday August 08, 2002 @06:01PM (#4036023)
    Here is what I had to say [] when this subject came up on Metafilter:

    IMAX is the wrong aspect ratio for most movies.

    The proportions are almost like TV (about 1.4:1), whereas most movies made in the last 50 years are much wider than that (some are more than twice as wide). Nearly all movies seen in theatres in the last 20-30 years are one of two aspect ratios -- 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. Fitting those wider frames into an IMAX frame presents exactly the same problem that showing them on TV does. You have to fit a rectangle into a square, rougly speaking. That means either letterbox or pan-and-scan.

    However, Apollo 13 will probably transfer to IMAX fairly well, because it was shot in Super 35, which even though it usually is used to produce a 2.35:1 widescreen image, actually has a negative area that is much more squarish (again, about 1.4:1). So I would imagine that the IMAX transfer will make use of that extra image area. For more info on Super-35 see here [], about 3/4ths the way down the page.

    Still, many of the movies people mentioned in this article were shot in widescreen processes other than Super-35, and would have to either be severely cropped, or letterboxed within the IMAX frame, in order to be shown from IMAX projectors.

    The right thing to do would be to bring back 5-perforation 70mm, which has a nice wide aspect ratio of 2.20:1. During the years from about 1976-1996, most major studio releases had at least some 5-perf 70mm prints struck. Chances are, if you went to the movies in a major US city during that time, you saw a number of films in 70mm six-track, perhaps without even knowing it. (The process was killed off by digital sound in the mid-to-late 1990s.) Everyone saying "I want to see Star Wars!" should realize that it has already been released in 70mm -- back in 1977.

    Of course, 5-perf 70mm existed long before the years I just listed, but it was mainly used for films that were actually shot in 65mm. The time period I'm referring to is merely when 35mm->70mm optical blow-ups were popular. This new IMAX process sounds like a bit of a throwback to those days, but at the expense of correct aspect ratios. And the blow-up is now done digitally rather than optically.

    Not only is IMAX the wrong aspect ratio for a lot of movies, it's also incompatible standard feature films in many other ways. 35mm feature films these days are shot with lots of tight close-ups and quick cuts, and if you look at the IMAX Filmmaker's Manual [], they very clearly suggest that you not do things like that, because they are very jarring on the IMAX screen!

    Due to the above problems, I think people are likely to be disappointed with this in the long run. IMAX is probably pushing this idea because they are hoping this will boost their stock price [].

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.