It seems like every couple of years movie chains and the major studios introduce a new gimic into filmmaking in order to attract more moviegoers and keep people from staying home. Whether it's 3D, D-Box seats, or smell-o-vision (that's a thing right?), nothing really makes the movie going experience that much better than just good old fashion 2D. IMAX however, when shot natively and well, is truly a breathtaking and amazing way to experience a movie.
Hundreds of movies are released into IMAX theaters every year, but only a small portion of those movies are actually shot with the intention of being shown on such a massive screen, and because of this we have movies that actually look worse on those big screens than they would in just a regular movie theater. If you have seen any of the Dark Knight films in IMAX you would have noticed that certain scenes in the movie take up the entire IMAX screen and look sharper and more vivid than anything you have ever seen before, and that's because Christopher Nolan is a big fan of the IMAX format and shot large portions of his movies with IMAX cameras, and because of that those scenes from those movies are some of the most memorable and immersive experiences I've ever had in a cinema.
The reason movies that are shot natively with IMAX cameras look so much better is because the Film/Digital Film Sensors that the movies are captured with are significantly larger and thus can capture MUCH more information.
Above you can see the difference in size between a standard 35mm film cell and the massive 70mm IMAX cell. That's the analog example, and is sadly becoming less and less relevant, but for digital it isn't much different. Digital Cameras capture the image with an imaging sensor that translates the image into pixels. Movies like the Avengers were shot using the Arri Alexa camera which records at 2880 x 1620, a resolution that is higher than you're average computer monitor/Television, but when projected on a massive IMAX screen starts to look very pixelated and not very impressive.
Last week when Marvel announced that the next two Avengers films would be shot entirely in IMAX using Arri's new 6k IMAX cameras I almost exploded with excitement. As you can tell by this article I love cameras, projection, and how the technical side of filmmaking works, and I'm trying to do my best to explain it in terms that most people can follow.
The new 6k camera records at 6560 x 3100.
That is a massive resolution, and it's finally a digital format that can be projected natively on these huge IMAX screens. One of the main reasons directors hadn't shot entire movies in IMAX in the past is the fact that dealing with 70mm film cameras is a huge pain in the ass. The cameras are huge, the film is huge, not to mention everything is way more expensive. With these new digital cameras filmmakers finally have tools that are easier to work with and can still produce the beautiful images that we've grown accustomed to with the 70mm film cameras.
As of right now no movies have been shot on these new cameras and released into theaters, but I love that Marvel is taking the next step into making their flagship films something truly special. Some people have said that the movie going experience is slowly dying, and watching movies in your homes is going to be the future, but I say all those people need to go and watch a movie that was natively shot in IMAX.
This is a huge deal for not only Marvel, but the future of filmmaking and I am really excited. Does this make any of you excited? I'd love to hear you thoughts in the comments!