3D and IMAX

| Category: News | | Comments (0) | Views: 69

After reading a short blurb on IMDBPro about the state of 3D and IMAX generated films, I started thinking about the future of the industry, and where it will be headed.

With the advent of large format screens, HDTV coming to the masses over broadcast channels, and simple PCs able to handle the brunt of visual effects work, how will the film industry stay competitive? Given that movie piracy is rampant, how will the companies be able to bring the audience back into the theatre?

I love going to theatre. Besides the whiny little kids and teenagers, and the commercials, and the overpriced popcorn and drinks, and the crappy seating (however that is getting better), why should I go? I could wait for the DVD and the wonderful large screen at home!

For arguments sake, the pluses of a theatre are high quality picture and sound. The negatives are everything I listed above, and on top of that, some of the prints for some films truly suck. And some of their audio is in horrible disrepair.

After seeing Robots in DLP and Aliens of the Deep in IMAX 3D, I have come to the conclusion that for film to remain profitable and bring in new audiences, they're going to have to do several things. One is to go to a totally digital projection system. DLP is an excellent example. Robots was an amazing film in DLP, as was Finding Nemo, Shrek 2 and even some films not originally created out of the box, like Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Constantine, both showing in DLP.

Consumer level DLP projectors do not have the resolution and clarity that a feature film DLP projector has. To top that off, your source is usually a DVD, which is lower quality already! Over the weekend I visited a pal that works at a highend audio and video store where I purchased my gear a couple years ago. I was given a test viewing of their latest DLP projector, a Runco, which ran for about fifteen thousand dollars. Looking at it on a 100 inch screen is impressive, but the quality of the picture didn't compare. Even if it was sampling up the image to 720p, the source is still 480 lines!

The other thing that film-makers and studios will have to do is to create either larger, high quality pictures using 4K or higher, or shoot in stereo. The problem with both is that the current technology is at its limit. 4K is approximately the highest resolution you can scan a 35mm film print and still get decent detail. Anything higher and the grain becomes quite apparent, and you have to get a larger film stock to compensate. The 70mm of IMAX is truly great, and I think is a necessary step in advancing. While HD cameras do give some exception picture at a great value; Collateral, Episode 3, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico were all shot using HD cameras; they still don't have the quality of film, and watching it, you can see the differences.

Where can I see my work going in the future? Hopefully filmmakers and studios have got it in their head now that story sells, and the time of the extravagant effects laden blockbuster will slow down. So instead of creating great environments and complex particle and dynamic effects at 2K resolution (which I'm sure will still be done and never go away), I see visual effects artists starting to composite and create in 4K and higher. And when stereo imaging becomes much more developed and involved, allowing for 3D viewing without stereo glasses, compositors will have to learn to adapt and create their magic in true 3D.

That's what will make you see a film in the theatre again.

Leave a comment