IMAX vs. Digital IMAX

Digital IMAX is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now. I’ll be very clear about this — IMAX is watering down the name brand by licensing out their name and “technologies” to a series movie screens around the country which aren’t anywhere near the size of a traditional IMAX screen.

In the past, I’ve praised IMAX, specifically Christopher Nolan’s use of IMAX cameras in The Dark Knight. While I haven’t really been on board with the IMAX upconversions of Hollywood films, I’ve been a huge supporter of the format and the company. But digital IMAX is not something I can support.

Actor/comedian Aziz Ansari went to see Star Trek: The IMAX Experience at the AMC Theatre in Burbank over the weekend. He paid $5 more per ticket for the IMAX presentation, but was shocked to discover that the IMAX Digital screen was only slightly larger than a normal movie theater screen. You can read Aziz’s rant on the experience on his tumblr blog azizisbored.

Not only are the IMAX Digital screens much smaller in size, but also a much lower resolution. IMAX digital currently uses two 2K-resolution Christie projectors to project two 2K images over each other, producing an image that is potentially of a slightly higher resolution than common 2K digital cinema. But with AMC installing Sony 4K digital cinema projection systems in all 309 theaters and 4,628 screens by 2012, why would anyone want to pay $5 more for a lower resolution theatrical experience?

The most appalling thing about the practice is that the Digital IMAX theatres are simply marked as “IMAX,” drawing no distinction to the traditional 15/70mm IMAX theater. Read this article on LF Examiner for more information.

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