Archives For IMAX

It’s been a Batman kind of a week. It’s also been a pretty crazy few days at this blog. My post about angry Batman commenters was featured in the Freshly Pressed section of the WordPress.com front page. I’ve gotten a lot of views from this. Like, an abnormally high number. Basically, in the last 48 hours I’ve gotten more hits than any previous single month. I’ll try not to let it go to my head, but for now I’d like to say thank you to all the people who have been reading my piece and some of the other pieces I’ve written. I’d also like to thank and welcome those who intend to stick around. Hopefully I can continue delivering content worthy of your readership.

As for what I’ve been watching this week? Well. Not much. Not much at all. It’s mostly Batman’s fault. Click to see what I’ve been watching.

I’ve worked as a projectionist. Not on a reel-to-reel system, or with digital projectors, but I’ve put films together to sit on a platter, threaded them, projected them, broken down the reels, all that jazz. As someone who’s worked with these system, it bothers me every time I see people complaining on Twitter or in articles about what are clearly unavoidable projector accidents. The latest incident to cause a stir was at a press screening of The Dark Knight Rises in 15/70mm IMAX.

Let me be clear. People, particularly critics and media, need to understand that film projection is a complex process, whether it’s on film or digital, and unless it’s a clear mistake like the picture being out of frame, improperly masked, or out of focus, problems can happenĀ and things can go wrong. Now, these problems are often human error, sometimes they’re mechanical, or electrical, or electronic. I’d imagine that on digital systems there are also potential software glitches. When there are so many potential points of error, errors are going to happen, and frankly it’s a miracle of modern fool-proofing that they don’t happen more often. People should be looking at these failures and cutting some slack, and they definitely shouldn’t be holding such incidents up as examples for why a particular projection system isn’t good enough. Click to read more.

If you’re going to see Brave this weekend (which you should be doing), and you happen to be in one of a few lucky cities, you could be one of the first to experience Dolby’s brand new theatrical surround sound system, Dolby Atmos. I got to check out the new system at a showing of Brave at the SilverCity Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto, and the results are quite impressive. First off, the system is loud. Very loud. But it’s also the first time outside of an IMAX theatre where I’ve heard a sound system be this loud without also losing fidelity. This has everything to do with the way Atmos is designed.

If you’re unfamiliar with how surround sound in theatres generally works, well, let me give you a primer. Theatres have operated with what’s called 5.1 surround for a few decades now, and recently have been upgrading to a 7.1 system. Those numbers are simply an indication of how many separate audio channels a system can support. 5.1 has one subwoofer channel and five regular speaker channels; one in the centre, two on either side and two more on the sides of the cinema. There are often multiple speakers on the sides as well as the back walls, but these all share the same two channels of sound. 7.1 is effectively the same, except that it adds two more channels specifically for the back. A sound mixer on a movie now has control of a more full environment of sound. Dolby Atmos takes that control to a whole new level. Atmos can support up to 128 channels of sound plugged into up to 64 speakers. You don’t need to be good at math to know that’s a huge difference. Click to read more.