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IMAX Dome format versus Cinerama


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#1 Thomas James

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 12:12 AM

Two competing formats for the total immersive experience where you are seemingly inside the picture are the IMAX Dome format which is called OMNIMAX and Cinerama. Cinerama is projected on a curved cylindrical screen that wraps around horizontally but IMAX OMNIMAX is the most advanced technolgy because the screen wraps around horizontally and vertically and is projected inside of a dome or a planetarium.
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#2 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 12:14 AM

yep.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 01:18 AM

Cinerama solved the problem of cross-reflection when light hits a curved surface by using a ribboned screen, but curved Omnimax dome screens have terrible cross-reflection problems -- daytime shots become horribly washed-out. I prefer IMAX to OMNIMAX for that reason.
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#4 Thomas James

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 04:40 PM

It is true that the OMNIMAX dome theatre system suffers from washouts but that does not mean that these technical diffulculties could not be solved. Another big complaint is that if a conventional movie is projected inside of the dome it requires too much head turning in order to see the movie. But if a movie is specifically made for dome projection which means that the major subjects are composed in fornt of the screen or at least has dual format capability so that the peripheral areas could be cropped out for conventiona screening I think much can be said that OMNIMAX would provide the total immersive experience. As compared to widescreen formats OMNIMAX has no height limitations and is excellent for capturing tall trees that would be otherwise chopped off. Movie goers also like the idea of being inside of the picture and having aircraft come up from behind you before they are seen in the front of the screen. The ability to look up and see objects as well as side to side ads a lot of realism. I suppose that most businessmen would think that OMNIMAX must be just a gimmick and so these bean counters probably think that the future of cinema will simply be 4K digital video projcected up to 60 frames per second on a flat screen with a 2 to 1 aspect ratio will be all the market requires or at least all that they will be willing to pay for but I dare say that these businessmen cannot call themselves artists because they are just in the business for the money.
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#5 Russell Scott

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 01:06 AM

I suppose that most businessmen would think that OMNIMAX must be just a gimmick and so these bean counters probably think that the future of cinema will simply be 4K digital video projcected up to 60 frames per second on a flat screen with a 2 to 1 aspect ratio will be all the market requires or at least all that they will be willing to pay for but I dare say that these businessmen cannot call themselves artists because they are just in the business for the money.


Dome has its place, in fact, it is unbeatable at certain styles of stories/cinema but after having the artist beaten out of me while making 8k stereo dome (2 x 8k) I can tell you that the bean counters are wise to be counting. dome gets real expensive real quick. Incidentally, not that anyone asked, a 4k camera does not equal a 4k dome camera...

part of the problem with these formats, is the clarity of story is difficult to impart. you lose the directional cues of traditional movies so narrative becomes difficult. Immersivity is good in some scenarios, but maintaining audience focus is hard enough on a typical film where the norms are well established, and with dome you are giving them the choice to look around, potentially at key moments when you don't want them to look around. As a result most narratives on domes tend to adhere to traditional cinema concepts, only to use the dome as a gimmick in certain scenes (as you said) but given the immense technical difficulty of achieving dome shots properly and given the high likelihood that the immersive screen will actually dilute the intent of shots, it begs the question why bother on such projects.

In terms of the future of cinema, its all about risk, why reduce the cinemas you film could play in, increase the cost of production, negate DVD sales, all for a film that doesn't use the dome effectively anyway? Worse there are competing dome standards, so what you make for one dome, might not work in another...
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#6 Thomas James

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 02:26 AM

Maintaining audience focus is a problem that is easily solved. The newest digital sensors for cameras are being developed using space variant technology. Pixels are arranged in concentric circles and gradually increase their size as they aproach the periphery but use smaller pixels which are more concentrated towards the fovea of the sensor. What this results in is that the picture is sharper towards the center and more blurry towards the periphery. Also this is an excellent compression tecnique because high resolution does not have to be maintained for the entire picture frame. This system aproximates the human retina but it is not an exact replicant because if the human retina is exactly copied this would result in either tunnel vision or the necessity to employ rapid eye movements in order to mechanically scan the image.
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#7 jeremy williams

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:25 AM

Personally I dislike OmniMax, or 'IMAX DOME'. Actually 'hate' might be more accurate.

Unless you are sitting in the exact centre of the 'dome' the image is severally distorted. The fact that the screen allows light to pass through it also means some is not all reflected back to the viewer causing a dimmer image. I don't like the color either, washed out compared to other films.

I also don't like that any bright areas show up the frame that holds the screen (looks like dropped ceiling frames!)

The angle to is uncomfortable. It gets back to where you are sitting in the theatre. Too low or high and unless you crank your head around you end up looking at the periphery - not the main subject. That can't be what the director intended.


Ditch the screen, change the aspect back to wide screen and keep the neg size - that would be a better use of the technology.

IMO
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#8 Thomas James

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 01:31 PM

When you say that you hate the IMAX dome format do you mean that you hate the concept itself or rather that you hate the technical difficulties?

When color motion picture photography was first introduced I am sure a lot of people hated it. First of all we had only 2 colors which were red and green which was probably very annoying because without the color blue we ended up with green skies which looked horrible. And we had terrible chromatic aberations were the colors would not line up. Many people dismissed color films as a gimmick and rightfully so.
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#9 Eric Steinberg

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 06:51 PM

Thomas, dude, that is the gnarliest run-on sentence (outside of Finnegan's Wake) that I've ever seen..... :P





........ I suppose that most businessmen would think that OMNIMAX must be just a gimmick and so these bean counters probably think that the future of cinema will simply be 4K digital video projcected up to 60 frames per second on a flat screen with a 2 to 1 aspect ratio will be all the market requires or at least all that they will be willing to pay for but I dare say that these businessmen cannot call themselves artists because they are just in the business for the money.


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