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IMAX look vs 35mm look


Alan Kovarik
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2 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

If you’re using the same lens, and assuming the lens covers the larger format, sure. But then again, if you use more of the lens image circle, you end up seeing more of the edge distortion. So it’s possible that using the same lens to get a wider shot by moving up to a larger sensor increases the visible distortion.

Sure, if you're using the same lens, that's accurate. 

I'm not really a lens guy, so I'm welcome to learning more about this, but from what I've been told, the main reason why longer lenses (32mm - 85mm range) are better, is because they have larger elements and fewer of them. Thus the image can be crisper as well. The distortion issue as you pointed out, maybe a non-issue in the long run since you're right, you are mostly using "special" lenses for large format anyway with a larger image circle. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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Again, “32mm - 85mm” lenses are not “longer” lenses unless you’re looking at a smaller format like S16. For S35 a 32mm lens is not long, it’s the wider side of normal. If you were shooting Imax a 32mm lens would be an extreme wide angle. What you call long is relative to the format.

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1 hour ago, Dom Jaeger said:

What you call long is relative to the format.

I don't know what you'd call lenses in the 32mm - 85mm range. I was just assigning a name. Once ya get much over 85mm, the lenses get more complicated again. My point is the range of lenses that are least complicated. 

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Here’s a Zeiss 50mm for full frame 35mm format, a classic symmetrical design which is excellent for distortion control:

31CB6760-C0C6-412F-8AF8-67DBA42554E6.thumb.jpeg.37aa3466592c0e5d154a132d0bbf3d85.jpeg
 

And here’s a Zeiss 50mm for medium format:

9941C4E0-220B-4821-B498-4AFDD8F53E0D.jpeg.2a9f65f69c929b459ad3f5cb4a75eb35.jpeg

One is a “normal” lens, the other is an “ultra wide angle”. Same 50mm focal length. The Hasselblad lens needs a lot more glass to correct for distortion and other aberrations because it has to cover a much larger angle of view.

For comparison, here’s the f/2.8 150mm Zeiss Hasselblad, described as a “normal” lens for medium format:

E5B7F685-2CB9-47F8-81D3-80C8EE0A2507.jpeg.d8a256e21b7fb467cf7d414c1a47ae8e.jpeg

It’s easy to see that the 150mm is a lot less complicated than the 50mm. Nothing to do with focal length, or even speed as they’re both f/2.8, it’s purely due the angle of view.

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On 9/27/2021 at 7:04 PM, Doug Palmer said:

Maybe indies should take over...

They might. My hypothesis is that the future of cinema is IMAX. Real IMAX, not just a bigger projection surface for widescreen compositions. We have really good 5K, 6K and 8K and even 12K sensors now. Why not use them?

IMAX features don't have to have a big budget, because the screen is the attraction. No need for space battles or strange worlds or odd creatures. Point a camera down from atop the Empire State Building and you have something at least as impressive as a space war. Add to that good writing, tension, suspense - people will love it.

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6 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

My hypothesis is that the future of cinema is IMAX. Real IMAX, not just a bigger projection surface for widescreen compositions. We have really good 5K, 6K and 8K and even 12K sensors now. Why not use them?

Honestly, I kinda feel the same way. I'm still kinda shocked nobody has tried to directly compete with IMAX in that arena with a better system. Dolby Vision doesn't really offer anything and it's designed for more standard screens. But in the world of digital, that's the only other system. Someone really needs to develop something that's as good as IMAX laser, but for a lot less money. 

I'm unaware of ANY narrative mainstream digitally shot studio feature that's been finished entirely in 8k. There is also only one 8k camera system in the world, made by Red. One 12k system, made by BMD. So we're not talking a lot of adoption. The reasoning is quite simple tho; the tech is not there yet. Where shooting in 8k is nice for re-framing and removing the bayer pattern entirely during a 4k finish, it's also rarely used as a finishing format due to the cost of visual effects. Do you really want your 8k movie to have 2k effects shots? They RARELY do 4k effects shots today, due to the time it takes to render them. 

Where I agree 8k finish/8k projection on an IMAX style screen in full HDR with double projectors for real 3D, I just don't see that happening. Audiences simply don't care. Look what happened when IMAX started shifting away from film, they raised prices and still had the same amount of ticket sales. They went from a 12k format to a 4k format, raised prices and nobody cared. They went "ohh look pretty image" having nothing else to compare it with. It's depressing... very depressing and it's why, I don't hold my hopes up at all for any change in the current paradigm. 

I do think studios will eventually give up on most theatrical releases, focusing on only a few per year and putting the rest on web streaming platforms, but that's a whole other subject. 

If I was a studio exec, I would develop my own system to attract people back to the cinema. I personally would use Film only because it's a technology you can't get at home. 

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15 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

 

I do think studios will eventually give up on most theatrical releases, focusing on only a few per year and putting the rest on web streaming platforms, but that's a whole other subject. 

If I was a studio exec, I would develop my own system to attract people back to the cinema. I personally would use Film only because it's a technology you can't get at home. 

When Imax started in the 1960s,  film emulsions were nothing like they are today.  Projection light output not as good either.  So it made a lot of sense to create a very big film format.  Maybe something could be done today using a new Vistavision projector, and utilising the full Imax width screen.  Keeping the film-grain tight as possible with slow emulsion. After all, 35 is (supposedly) much more available than 70.  So you'd end up with a slightly different aspect ratio with a non-digital film appearance.  Cameras much more user friendly.  I don't know if it would be feasible to put registration pins in the projector.  Obviously everything would need to look rock steady.

Ellston Bay was a short made in Vistavision in 2018, then shown in London Imax. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it. Maybe someone here ? Don't know if 15/70 or digital.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5852116/

 

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You're not going to compete with 4K laser projection by going down in size from 15P IMAX film, not if you want to offer a noticeably better viewing experience. Otherwise you might as well revive 5-perf 70mm rather than build new VistaVision projectors.

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32 minutes ago, Doug Palmer said:

Maybe something could be done today using a new Vistavision projector, and utilising the full Imax width screen.

Vistavision is still smaller in frame size to 5 perf 70mm. You'd also have to develop a rolling loop projector similar to the IMAX one in order to make it work well, which would be grossly expensive. 5 perf 70mm can be rock steady as well, depending on projector. 

You need the big IMAX frame to pump the huge light through in order to make the screen bright. Otherwise, you can't really pump that much light through the MUCH smaller vista vision or even 5 perf projectors. 

IMAX is the best format to use for this because there are 100's of projectors sitting around ready to roll. The only "issues" are cost to make prints. If you could fix that issue, you'd be good to go. I wonder if anyone has approached IMAX to see if they'd be willing to sell off their film division? 

 

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10 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Where shooting in 8k is nice for re-framing and removing the bayer pattern entirely during a 4k finish, it's also rarely used as a finishing format due to the cost of visual effects. Do you really want your 8k movie to have 2k effects shots? They RARELY do 4k effects shots today, due to the time it takes to render them. 

Yeah, but who cares though? As I said, you don't need VFX for IMAX movies. You can of course render a CGI animated IMAX film if you wanted, but that would take ages to render as well. But, CGI is so pure that you don't need 8K output for a full IMAX screen. 4K would be enough. But I haven't seen this in action, so what do I know, really.

But, my hypothesis makes sense at the end of the day. An IMAX feature, shot on a Red or BMD camera, will be way cheaper to make than an average feature. You won't need stars (if they even exist anymore), you won't need VFX, you won't need a big advertising budget. IMAX releases can last for years, because the audience throughput is not near as high as for conventional cinemas. And if someone records it to pirate it, nobody will care, because you can't sell the IMAX experience on a street corner, and you can't download it either.

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12 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

An IMAX feature, shot on a Red or BMD camera, will be way cheaper to make than an average feature. You won't need stars (if they even exist anymore), you won't need VFX, you won't need a big advertising budget. IMAX releases can last for years, because the audience throughput is not near as high as for conventional cinemas. And if someone records it to pirate it, nobody will care, because you can't sell the IMAX experience on a street corner, and you can't download it either.

I guess I'm confused, you're talking about non-studio low-budget feature productions that people will pay $25+ to see in IMAX? 

Or are you talking about bringing back the science/travel films that have been the mainstay of IMAX? 

Currently, most of those science/travel films are shot with Digital cameras and projected digitally as well of course. They do have a lot of VFX these days, I've seen many of them and they're FULL of VFX and normal movies are as well, they're just so well done, they're hidden. 

So can you explain why people would spend 2hrs in a dark theater watching something without a star for $25+ ticket? 

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9 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

I guess I'm confused, you're talking about non-studio low-budget feature productions that people will pay $25+ to see in IMAX? 

Or are you talking about bringing back the science/travel films that have been the mainstay of IMAX? 

I like both, as most of us do, but I was referring to the former. And yes, people will pay that for a well written story that makes full use of the IMAX format. If it's written and produced well. Horror films will probably get the ball rolling, for obvious reasons.

I mean, I'm giving away a primo idea here. Who is going to take it and run with it?

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14 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

I mean, I'm giving away a primo idea here. Who is going to take it and run with it?

HAHA, I'd love to see you get ANY no-name, low budget movie into ANY wide theatrical run these days.

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