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Any Impact of the Success of "The Dark Knight" in IMAX?


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#1 K Borowski

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 06:09 PM

It was sold out 4-5 days in advance at some IMAX theatres. All of the average-joes I asked that don't even know what the hell IMAX or 65mm-15-perf. or 70mm really are were noticeably impressed by the picture quality and the way the cinematic magic of the movie really sucked them right into the screen.

Has this movie proven the viability and worth of the 65mm experience for Hollywood Blockbuster Epic films to studios? It has for me. Comments please. . .
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#2 Evan Winter

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:41 PM

I wish the Dark Knight's IMAX success would make a difference but I don't believe it will. Consumers tend to work from a 'good enough' worldview and while IMAX looks better than the typical movie-going experience the typical is almost assuredly good enough.

Prime example of this mentality is the relative failure of Blu-Ray. Despite becoming the only next-gen DVD format it is still struggling because consumers find regular DVDs good enough and they don't see enough of an improvement in Blu-Ray to justify the extra cost.

I think IMAX is the same. Purists love it, event films benefit from it, but the consumer won't spend the extra money on the average movie. Indeed, we can go one step further and see that computer saavy consumers already prefer the ease of use and extremely on-demand nature of downloading (illegal or not) over regular TV viewing and HDTV viewing despite the lesser image quality. To win over the masses to a new format one needs to better 'good enough' while simultaneously matching or bettering the old standard's prices.

So, IMAX won't win out over the regular theatre experience unless, at the least, IMAX matches prices.

Evan

Edited by Evan Winter, 25 July 2008 - 12:43 PM.

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#3 John Holland

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:53 PM

Bit off subject but does tie in with the Blu Ray thing , HD tv isnt really going anywhere here . We dont need it we have a really good 625 Pal system which i have been told by people who know what they are talking about , that it is 1 raster less than what is called HD so if we had 626 ,wouldnt need all this marketing hype i have watched off air HD set next to 625 Pal both high end screens .The answer is it just isnt worth investment for the such a tiny difference .
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#4 Liam Dale

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 01:32 PM

I wonder if the difficulty that blu-ray faces has more to do with most people not having the proper equipment/knowledge about equipment rather than carrying one way or another about quality. I mean, I know more than one person who bought an HDTV, but doesn't even have it set up to actually watch anything in HD.

It is probably true that most people just settle for "good enough", but I think that would be more true when looking at home entertainment then going out to see a show. You don't expect your home set-up to be as good as what you see when you go out. You pay for a movie to see it on a big screen in a better format then what you are capable of seeing otherwise. IMAX presents a format that can't be compared to by anything else and certainly showcases the beauty of film. Sure, HD video is eventually going to take over for 35mm as a capture medium, but large format film is still going to hold an edge over it.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 01:37 PM

Only time will tell. I'm sure your every day movie isn't going to be shot in imax.

I do think that The Dark Knight's success could push some big blockbuster movies into shooting all or part of their films in imax for a similar release.

In any case, I hope batman's success will make it at least a possibility for certain releases. I would love to see 70mm become a bit more prevalent.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 05:16 PM

A lot of it also has to do with cost. Why would I want to spend $400 on a BluRay player when I can buy a DVD player for $40. And, on the same token, why an HDTV when they still costs in the thousands. . . Once prices come down, you'll probably see a lot more people buying them. I think $1000 is a psychological barrier in a lot of ways for the HDTVs, setups or not.
IN terms of IMAX, I know most of the people here in Philadelphia went out of their way to see The Dark Knight in IMAX. . .So, hopefully, and probably, it will reiterate to other big action films for their specific sequences.
Funny thing, My smart phone, which I got free with a plan, has more computing power than the $2500 computer I bought in 1995.. . HDTV, IMAX and all that, are technologies, and as they move forwards their prices should, theoretically, come down, to the point that it's commonplace to use/have them across all socioeconomic conditions.

My 2 cents.
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#7 Phil Connolly

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 10:19 AM

I don't think that Dark Night will result in much more large format production.

If anything it might be 15/70 film productions swan song.

The new IMAX installations that are currently being built are digital and I believe they are using 2 X 2K DLP projectors, I can't believe that this is going to be remotely as good as 15/70 projection or even 5/70 projection. So IMAX will be a just about big screens and good sound, but not ultra high resolution images.

I'd have thought that there would be less 15/70 production, since for the new digital IMAX houses 35mm or 4K digital production would be sufficient.

If you go on the IMAX web page, theres very little mention of film, its all about their new digital systems. I think more films will come out in IMAX and there will be more screens to play them on - but its going to be a watered down version of IMAX.

Hopefully they will keep improving and make 8k or 12k digital IMAX screens that are capable of matching 15/70 film projection. Personally I doubt it as this is the company that thinks a DMR blow up from a 2 K source is good enough to be labeled an IMAX presentation.
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 02:59 PM

Prime example of this mentality is the relative failure of Blu-Ray. Despite becoming the only next-gen DVD format it is still struggling because consumers find regular DVDs good enough and they don't see enough of an improvement in Blu-Ray to justify the extra cost.


I don't think thats entirely the reason for the failure of blu-ray but I do think that is the very big long term threat to blu-ray now they have made such a mess of things.

I think that the whole blue ray/ HD-DVD thing created a climate of fear and uncertainty around the products. This was very bad because as you rightly point out, the people out there already have a product that does the job of playing movies at home and blu-ray doesn't offer anything that more compelling than better quality video. In a situation where there is fear and no compelling reason to move then people will probably stay put safe in the knowledge that good is good enough. Especially with an economic situation that may make them question buying fancy luxuries.

It was incredibly stupid and arrogant of the electronics companies to create this situation because they really NEEDED a next generation disc format a lot more than the customers did. Without a next generation format the whole home video market could find itself under threat.

The sensible thing to do now would be to accept defeat and start work on a 2k disc format with some kind of new and revolutionary capability (no idea what that would be!) and to get everyone to agree to it and get it out there fast.

Comparisons were often made between Beta and VHS, but those formats offered something new and revolutionary.

The truth is that blue-ray is the new laser disc.

love

Freya
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 04:24 PM

The truth is that blue-ray is the new laser disc.


I'm going to have to completely disagree with you here Freya. Laserdisk never caught on because it was very very expensive and very bulky, and very prone to not playing with dust or scratches of any kind.

The prices stayed high, much higher than VHS.

The only thing keeping blue ray from catching on, which it will, is the high price of HD TVs. I mean, the Blue-rays only cost 20-30 per cent more than DVD, and the players can already be had for under $400. Give it a year. But again, it's HDTV prices holding the market back right now.

Blu-ray is going to keep piracy at bay for at least another decade too, so studios are all for it.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 04:30 PM

Bit off subject but does tie in with the Blu Ray thing , HD tv isnt really going anywhere here . We dont need it we have a really good 625 Pal system which i have been told by people who know what they are talking about , that it is 1 raster less than what is called HD so if we had 626 ,wouldnt need all this marketing hype i have watched off air HD set next to 625 Pal both high end screens .The answer is it just isnt worth investment for the such a tiny difference .


John, forgive my ignorance. I know you Imperials are in PAL land, and that it's 25 fps or 50i, and that the resolution is slightly higher than NTSC. . .

Is HD the same internationally or still subject to some sorts of PAL/NTSC-like differences? I.e., do you still have 720p 1080i standards or are they different?

I'd think that 720p wouldn't be anything to write home about compared to 625 line, but 1080i would jump out. Compared to even NTSC, 720 isn't much.

And how does this all compare to higher-end video formats, like Beta? Weren't those more lines than NTSC or PAL but less than 1080i? I know that HD is very nearly 2K, so its definitely going to look better than even professional standard def. stuff, like Beta.
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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 03:53 AM

I'm going to have to completely disagree with you here Freya. Laserdisk never caught on because it was very very expensive and very bulky, and very prone to not playing with dust or scratches of any kind.


Feel free to disagree! :)

Laserdisc was actually quite popular with the niche videophile audience before dvd came along.

The prices stayed high, much higher than VHS.


They went through a period of being incredibly cheap actually but then it became a niche thing and prices went back up.

The only thing keeping blue ray from catching on, which it will, is the high price of HD TVs. I mean, the Blue-rays only cost 20-30 per cent more than DVD, and the players can already be had for under $400. Give it a year. But again, it's HDTV prices holding the market back right now.


I think it might be more than a year even if it wasn't for the situation economically.
Blue ray might have some success if the studios stick at it and if they are smart they will, but there is now a lot of fear and uncertainty regarding blu-ray and the sensible thing might be to market a new disc format, even if it is a re-named and somewhat upgraded blu-ray.

I think blu-ray may drift into peoples world over time because it is sensibly a 5 inch disc format so it has the major advantage that you can make combined CD/DVD/blu-ray players.

The problem will be if something else steps into the niche in the meantime.

Blu-ray is going to keep piracy at bay for at least another decade too, so studios are all for it.


The studios might be for it because as I say, the studios need it. It's whether the customer needs it.

Hopefully the studios will realise they need it and stand by it but we will see.

love

Freya
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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 04:27 AM

John, forgive my ignorance. I know you Imperials are in PAL land, and that it's 25 fps or 50i, and that the resolution is slightly higher than NTSC. . .

Is HD the same internationally or still subject to some sorts of PAL/NTSC-like differences? I.e., do you still have 720p 1080i standards or are they different?

I'd think that 720p wouldn't be anything to write home about compared to 625 line, but 1080i would jump out. Compared to even NTSC, 720 isn't much.

And how does this all compare to higher-end video formats, like Beta? Weren't those more lines than NTSC or PAL but less than 1080i? I know that HD is very nearly 2K, so its definitely going to look better than even professional standard def. stuff, like Beta.


I think it's 1080p that people say is very close to 2k. Thats not a format available for broadcast yet.

It's 720p and 1080i here too but there isn't much in the way of tv broadcasts outside of Rupert murdochs satellite subscription network (Sky TV). The BBC have experimented with a terrestrial HD broadcast channel but there isn't really any room on the airwaves for HDTV so it has to be VERY compressed reducing resolution further. In fact they have that problem with a lot of the standard definition broadcasts too where the bitrate is VERY low.

A lot of people with new tv's have HD sets over here but they just watch standard def stuff on them mostly, unless they have a playstation 3 or something.

No idea what the resolution might be like between 625 line tv and 720p although to be fair, one is progressive and the other isn't! People confuse lines and pixels all the time tho so it's really hard to get information. I know NTSC DVD's can do 480p but what about PAL DVD's, anyone know?

BTW, not sure what you mean by Beta, I assume not betamax or beta SP! ;) If you mean Digibeta, then the pixel resolution is identical to that of mini DV.

love

Freya
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#13 David Auner aac

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 07:25 AM

The only thing keeping blue ray from catching on, which it will, is the high price of HD TVs. I mean, the Blue-rays only cost 20-30 per cent more than DVD, and the players can already be had for under $400. Give it a year. But again, it's HDTV prices holding the market back right now.


Hm, strange. Because IMO HDTV have become kinda cheap really. But that might be the Euro-USD exchange rate. My Samsung 40" FullHD LCD cost me 1300 Euro when I bought in spring, now you get the same set for around 900. Comparing this to the prices of 32" Sony Wega Flatscreen CRTs about 10-12 years ago, this is really cheap in my book.

Cheers, Dave
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 03:17 PM

Hm, strange. Because IMO HDTV have become kinda cheap really. But that might be the Euro-USD exchange rate. My Samsung 40" FullHD LCD cost me 1300 Euro when I bought in spring, now you get the same set for around 900. Comparing this to the prices of 32" Sony Wega Flatscreen CRTs about 10-12 years ago, this is really cheap in my book.

Cheers, Dave


David, someone said it here already that $1000 or 1000 E$ will be the breaking point, and since they are still hovering over 1000, at least the last time I checked, they won't become mainstream until then.

IIRC, we bought ours for $2000 a couple years ago. Was that the breaking point for filmofiles, cinematographers, and HD buffs? ;)

Freya, I've never seen 1080p, but 1080i is the closest we currently have to HD, and, since I have access to a great deal of HD programming right now (fortunately the States have been faster to go HD, at least with cable), I can say that it is right on par with a 2K DI, you can see the grain. i and p are actually kind of miniscule differences aren't they? Just every other line refreshed every half second as opposed to every line refreshed every second, no? I can only see the interlacing when I am watching HD and switch back to SD that I can actually notice it.

It is very frustrating for me, and you're right that a lot of people with HD TVs don't even have HD! That's like having a movie theatre and putting an SD video projector with stretch in the projection room. Aargh! I never allow our HD TV to be operated in stretch, despite the salesman's warning that having grey or black bars on the side will damage the set. What a bunch of bullshit! That's just a cover so that people didn't notice how little HD programming is actually out there and didn't get angry and bring their sets back becuase there was nothing on the air for them.
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#15 Tom Lowe

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 07:52 PM

I don't think that Dark Night will result in much more large format production.

If anything it might be 15/70 film productions swan song.

The new IMAX installations that are currently being built are digital and I believe they are using 2 X 2K DLP projectors, I can't believe that this is going to be remotely as good as 15/70 projection or even 5/70 projection. So IMAX will be a just about big screens and good sound, but not ultra high resolution images.

I'd have thought that there would be less 15/70 production, since for the new digital IMAX houses 35mm or 4K digital production would be sufficient.

If you go on the IMAX web page, theres very little mention of film, its all about their new digital systems. I think more films will come out in IMAX and there will be more screens to play them on - but its going to be a watered down version of IMAX.

Hopefully they will keep improving and make 8k or 12k digital IMAX screens that are capable of matching 15/70 film projection. Personally I doubt it as this is the company that thinks a DMR blow up from a 2 K source is good enough to be labeled an IMAX presentation.


First off, to say that Dark Knight will be 15/65's swan song seems absurd to me, since it will be the most successful film since Titanic! Alot of the buzz has centered around its IMAX action. As pointed out, IMAX screenings have been sold out for weeks. If anything, studios are going to follow suit and start prepping more films for 5/65 or 15/65. Mark my words on that. These executives are are sheep; they copy success.

Also, the digital projectors for IMAX are for DMRs of 35mm films, not for 15/65-acquired films. The new IMAX theaters will have both 70mm projectors AND digital, not just digital.

Dark Knight will have a very, very positive impact on IMAX. You can take that to the bank.

Edited by Tom Lowe, 27 July 2008 - 07:52 PM.

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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 02:24 PM

I am really hoping the suits will green-light the sequel to this film to be shot in IMAX in the entirety. Pipe dream? I hope not. . .

Tom, I got that impression too, that these double 2K projectors would be like souped-up Kristies in regular theatres, just adding to their multimedia abilities rather than replacing 35mm.

I was really impressed to see an integrated IMAX theatre integrated into a regular multiplex. I hope that is a business model that other theatres choose to emulate in the near future. I've never seen that structure before, but it seems to work really well, and the theatre can afford to charge a bit extra for IMAX showings too.
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#17 Brian Rose

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 02:47 PM

Well, I'm not holding my breath, but this excerpt from an article at CBS provides a glimmer of hope that a new resurgence of large format pictures might be on the horizon:

"Part of the film's visual allure comes from the fact that 30 minutes of it were shot with IMAX cameras, including an elaborate bank-heist scene at the start.

'Chris (Nolan) has clearly hit upon something," said Greg Foster, chairman and president of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "There are many important filmmakers who we've spoken with in the last couple of weeks about shooting with IMAX cameras.'"

Here's the link to the whole article:

Dark Knight Success

Fingers crossed!

Best,
BR
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#18 Paul Bruening

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 03:13 PM

When you think of how tiny film and lab are in relation to the rest of the budget in these modern blockbusters, why not go IMAX? A general sense of proportion alone compels one to assume that it is the right thing to do. Why sink $200 million into a product and only record it on 35mm? If you're going to risk that kind of cheese on an illusion you might as well kick the viewer's a** all over the theater with IMAX.
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#19 Tom Lowe

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 05:06 PM

Well, I'm not holding my breath, but this excerpt from an article at CBS provides a glimmer of hope that a new resurgence of large format pictures might be on the horizon:

"Part of the film's visual allure comes from the fact that 30 minutes of it were shot with IMAX cameras, including an elaborate bank-heist scene at the start.

'Chris (Nolan) has clearly hit upon something," said Greg Foster, chairman and president of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "There are many important filmmakers who we've spoken with in the last couple of weeks about shooting with IMAX cameras.'"


This comes as no surprise. The IMAX brand is on the rise. Watch for an announcement in the next couple of months that an entire feature will be shooting IMAX - or, at a minimum, another hybrid like Dark Knight.

Karl, regarding the whole situation with 4K projection: the real motivation for that is economics. As Mullen has pointed out, it's really pointless and wasteful to DMR a 35mm movie onto full-size IMAX prints and project them. These new 4K projector systems will mean they can scan a 35mm film at 4K or project a CGI film like Shrek 4 digitally without wasting tons of money on IMAX prints. It makes good sense.
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#20 K Borowski

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 05:14 PM

Karl, regarding the whole situation with 4K projection: the real motivation for that is economics. As Mullen has pointed out, it's really pointless and wasteful to DMR a 35mm movie onto full-size IMAX prints and project them. These new 4K projector systems will mean they can scan a 35mm film at 4K or project a CGI film like Shrek 4 digitally without wasting tons of money on IMAX prints. It makes good sense.


I agree that DMR blowups are pointless, and highly wasteful. Even worse is the prospect of spending $20,000 on a digitally-acquired movie to IMAX blowup. That's a mindboggling amount of money to waste to print a movie as opposed to paying $50 for a harddrive. As long as they don't digitize IMAX-acquired stuff, I'm fine with them taking a "hybrid" approach.
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