Technology Talk


Does IMAX Have A Future?


For years, cinemagoers have been promised a truly refreshing cinema experience that beats the home theater experience they can get on their own couches. Moviemakers thought that 3D would be the one factor that would transform the industry and bring movie watchers in droves to the cinemas. For a moment, it appeared to work: when James Cameron’s Avatar hit the screens in all its 3D glory back in 2009, people swooned all over it, but soon, people realized that the compromise in brightness and those clunky 3D glasses were not worth the improvement in experience brought by the 3D technology. Now, people prefer 2D movies to the 3D lot. However, moviemakers hardly have anything else to pull people to the cinemas, and are left clinging to 3D as their last resort. The couches in people’s living rooms are getting more and more comfortable, their televisions are increasingly featuring higher resolutions, and the HDR is delivering stunning picture quality. Why would anyone “waste” loads of money on cinemas, when they can get much better experience back in their own home?

The answer is IMAX.

While 3D is on the way out, IMAX is on the way in, and in a big way. IMAX does not come with any of the problems associated with 3D, and yet delivers a far superior, stunning, and a more exhilarating experience than 3D ever could. Not all moviemakers make use of IMAX technology at the present, but the few who do deliver a masterpiece unlike anything you have ever seen. If you saw the movie Batman vs Superman on the IMAX screen, then you know exactly what we are talking about. This is the savior for which all moviemakers had been waiting all along. And, the best part is that they have already addressed all the bugs, and perfected this beauty.

IMAX requires massive devices. Earlier, they used to make use of a large qualities of film to capture the videos. Lately, they have gone digital. Even then, they use hard drives to record digital videos. Then, they project the IMAX videos onto screens as big as 8-stories. The end result is simply beyond words. Nothing can capture the blissful experience you get with such technology. So, when someone is jumping off a cliff or an aircraft on the screen, you can literally feel your palms sweat. All these systems are getting cheaper by the day, and therefore, you can expect other moviemakers to start using IMAX too.


If IMAX was the height of movie experience before, wait till you hear the latest news. IMAX recently tested a groundbreaking technology that makes use of laser projections. These projectors are as big as 6 feet in height and depth, and make use of about 100 lasers. These lasers are shooting at about 800,000 tiny mirrors, and are capable of influencing each pixel. This level of control enables the projectors to deliver pictures that have darker blacks, and brighter whites. This is true for both 3D pictures as well as 2D pictures. So, out with the brightness compromise that is inherent of traditional 3D projectors, and in with a breathtaking 3D experience.

This is not the first time that someone has delivered a masterpiece in IMAX 3D. Christopher Nolan did it with The Dark Knight. Brad Bird flirted with IMAX 3D with the now famous Burj Khalifa scene in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. These were examples of two of the best directors of our time creating an unforgettable experience for their audience.

It will be many years, if not decades, for the televisions to catch up with this technology. If movie producers and directors start making use of this technology in a big way, then the audience will actually have a good reason to visit the cinemas to catch movies, instead of doing so at home.

The good news is that cinemas all around the world have already started showing interest in IMAX Laser Projection technology. At this very moment, this technology is being adopted in hundreds of cinemas across the world. This is a promising sign for moviegoers across the world, especially considering the high costs of this technology.

The IMAX Laser projection technology is a product of 47 years of research and development, and it has been available to the moviemakers for quite some time. However, the moviemakers have been adamant in their adoption of this technology, in favor of traditional 3D. That being said, it is inevitable for IMAX to become a standard movie format eventually, as the costs decrease and become comparable to the traditional 3D technology. Until then, we will have to content ourselves with a limited number of IMAX movies by some celebrated moviemakers.


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