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» 8mm Forum   » General Yak   » Star Wars: The Force Awakens 70mm IMAX

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Author Topic: Star Wars: The Force Awakens 70mm IMAX
Jason Smith
Master Film Handler

Posts: 350
From: Tohoku, Japan
Registered: Oct 2015


 - posted January 06, 2016 12:31 AM      Profile for Jason Smith     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I just got back from seeing Star Wars on 70mm IMAX and it was amazing. I heard there around 11-12 theaters around the US that you can see it non 3D IMAX on 70mm film.

I had a chance to look at the projection room and wanted to share a few random facts that I learned from the projectionist.
  • They received the movie about four days before release on forty reels.
  • They used splicing tape to combine it into one big 272kg/600 lb reel.
  • The 70mm Projector system used a 25000 watt Xeon bulb.. I can't remember the exact wattage.
  • The lab that did the Star Wars 70mm print had one month to make 22 70mm prints for worldwide distribution.

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Bill Brandenstein
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1627
From: California
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted January 10, 2016 12:29 AM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jason, there was only one chase scene using full-frame Imax 15/70 negatives, at least that I caught. The rest should have been from a 1.85:1 digital internegative at 2K resolution. Was that apparent to you?

We're very jealous that you got to see it on film.

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Jamie Biggs
Junior
Posts: 16
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted January 10, 2016 10:42 AM      Profile for Jamie Biggs   Email Jamie Biggs   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I had the pleasure of seeing it in 15/70mm IMAX yesterday, and it looked amazing! The IMAX cinema in the London Science Museum is (sadly) the only venue in Europe to be showing it in 70mm, and I count myself very lucky that I live within easy travelling distance.

I only noticed one sequence that expanded to full frame too, but the picture quality was absolutely stunning, and blew any digital image out of the water in my opinion.

It must have been great to see inside the projection room Jason! From where I was sitting I could hear the projector's shutter clicking during the very quiet moments, but that's as close as I got!

--------------------
Jamie :D

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Jason Smith
Master Film Handler

Posts: 350
From: Tohoku, Japan
Registered: Oct 2015


 - posted January 11, 2016 11:39 PM      Profile for Jason Smith     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Jason, there was only one chase scene using full-frame Imax 15/70 negatives, at least that I caught. The rest should have been from a 1.85:1 digital internegative at 2K resolution. Was that apparent to you?
Bill, to be honest when I watched the chase scene I was so caught up in the moment,I failed to notice. The IMAX theater I saw Star Wars at had a dome screen that put the viewer very close to the action. The one thing i do remember was the footage of the chase scene was very vibrant.

Here`s a picture to give you an idea of what the theater looked like. For the scenes that were not filmed on 70mm IMAX cameras, the footage only covered half of the screen. Here`s a diagram of the theater to give you an idea of what it looked like.

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quote:
It must have been great to see inside the projection room Jason! From where I was sitting I could hear the projector's shutter clicking during the very quiet moments, but that's as close as I got!
Jamie, it was really cool seeing a 70mm IMAX projectionist at work. At one point after they finished rewinding the film, the film leader dropped onto the floor. Even though I was about ten meters away, I could clearly read STAR WARS EPISODE VII written out on the leader.

It seems like the only 70mm IMAX projectors are in science and history museums around the world. I was told by the theater that that Episode 7 would probably be the last feature film they would ever show.

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Lee Mannering
Film God

Posts: 3201
From: The Projection Box
Registered: Nov 2006


 - posted January 12, 2016 07:44 AM      Profile for Lee Mannering     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Went to view the Imax projector at Bradford last year only to be told it was now in storage blast!

https://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/National_Media_Museum/film/star-wars-the-force-awakens-imax-3d

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Bill Brandenstein
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1627
From: California
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted January 12, 2016 10:12 AM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I went to an Imax dome once and enjoyed very much the full-field-of-view experience, all the time annoyed by the fogging of one side of the picture by the other.

Would LOVE to see Star Wars 7 in 15/70 on a flat-screen Imax facility, but that's thousands of miles away from Southern Cal, so won't be happening.

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Adrian Winchester
Film God

Posts: 2902
From: Croydon, London, UK
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted January 12, 2016 06:47 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jamie and Jason,
That's astonishing news regarding the presentation at the Science Museum - I feared that genuine 70mm IMAX was now a thing of the past. Does anyone know why this version was specifically 2D? I wonder if the BFI IMAX had the option of screening it?

--------------------
Adrian Winchester

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Jason Smith
Master Film Handler

Posts: 350
From: Tohoku, Japan
Registered: Oct 2015


 - posted January 13, 2016 12:28 AM      Profile for Jason Smith     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Went to view the Imax projector at Bradford last year only to be told it was now in storage blast!
Lee, I was told the same thing was going to happen at the 70mm IMAX theater I was at unless they get a 7 figure donation from somewhere.

quote:
Would LOVE to see Star Wars 7 in 15/70 on a flat-screen Imax facility, but that's thousands of miles away from Southern Cal, so won't be happening.
Bill, if you can put up with seeing it in digital 3D, I think the Mann's Chinese Theatre might be a good place to see it. I was reading that they have one of the largest IMAX screens in North America and I believe they`re using the new 4K IMAX projectors.

quote:
That's astonishing news regarding the presentation at the Science Museum - I feared that genuine 70mm IMAX was now a thing of the past. Does anyone know why this version was specifically 2D?
Adrian, For the IMAX Dome facility that I was at, I don`t believe they can show a film in 3D using their 70mm film projector...perhaps I`m wrong.

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Lee Mannering
Film God

Posts: 3201
From: The Projection Box
Registered: Nov 2006


 - posted January 13, 2016 03:18 AM      Profile for Lee Mannering     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Such a sad demise for a great projector and absolutely fascinating to watch in action. Thankfully I filmed it a few times years ago on visits to sunny Bradford so can relive the moment.

www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/Plan_your_visit/IMAX/star-wars-the-force-awakens.aspx

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1733
From: London, UK
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted January 13, 2016 01:53 PM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When I went to the Museum in 2009 there were 2 Imax projectors for the Harry Potter film with some parts in 3D. I took these pictures of the projection box and building.
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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted January 13, 2016 02:07 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Nice photos Brian! Thanks for sharing them. [Smile]

--------------------
"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Jamie Biggs
Junior
Posts: 16
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted January 13, 2016 04:50 PM      Profile for Jamie Biggs   Email Jamie Biggs   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the pictures Brian. It never ceases to amaze me how massive the reels are!

quote:
It seems like the only 70mm IMAX projectors are in science and history museums around the world. I was told by the theater that that Episode 7 would probably be the last feature film they would ever show.
Thanks for your pictures too Jason. I don't think we have IMAX domes in the UK! It's really sad that it could be the last film they show. I'm still hoping film projection in cinemas makes a comeback one day in the same way vinyl records have for music.

quote:
That's astonishing news regarding the presentation at the Science Museum - I feared that genuine 70mm IMAX was now a thing of the past. Does anyone know why this version was specifically 2D? I wonder if the BFI IMAX had the option of screening it?
I don't know Adrian. I read that all 20 odd of the 70mm prints made are all in 2D. I think the film was originally shot in 2D and converted to 3D afterwards, so I don't know if that affects anything?

--------------------
Jamie :D

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1733
From: London, UK
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted January 14, 2016 01:30 AM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The BFI Imax showed the Harry Potter films in 3D IMAX and they were converted 3D, IIRC. Not a bit as good as the "Space Station 3C" in 70mm originated 3D to me.

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Dave Groves
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 503
From: Southend on Sea, Essex, UK
Registered: Feb 2015


 - posted January 15, 2016 06:38 AM      Profile for Dave Groves   Email Dave Groves   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Went yesterday afternoon to see Star Wars in 3D Imax at the Empire Leicester Square. I've seen Imax documentaries in one or two other locations but this is the first actual story film I've seen and I mainly went for the fact that it was a Laser presentation. I followed up this visit with one to the Odeon Leicester Square to see the 70mm showing of 'The Hateful Eight'. The laser picture was excellent but no better than Tarantino's effort. Just bigger. I found Star Wars overwhelming and felt I was being assaulted by size and volume, especially when the floor shook at times. Don't think I shall be visiting again very soon. The Odeon, being a large single screen venue was far more impressive and enjoyable in every way (apart from the freezing building) but concerend staff quickly moved me into the dearest seats upstairs where I luxurated in warm comfort watching a superlative 70mm presentation with sound that was effective and not overwhelming. As to the two films, I found Star Wars was spoiled by the venue and 'Hateful Eight' talky, static and long. It did start out as a reading so perhaps that's why it seemed more theatrical than cinematic. But I loved the building with it's tabs and lady on stage to welcome us. A most enjoyable experience and one that must have been shared by the huge crowd for an afternoon performance. The manager told me they weren't prepared for so many wanting to see it and the evening performance had 1000 bookings!!

--------------------
Dave

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Alan Rik
Film God

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From: New York City, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 17, 2016 10:55 PM      Profile for Alan Rik   Email Alan Rik   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Finally got the chance to see it in 70mm IMAX Dome. Wow..Beautiful and stunning image. The scene that was shot with the IMAX camera was breathtaking. Definitely the best way to see the movie in my opinion.

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David M. Ballew
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 113
From: Burbank, CA USA
Registered: Nov 2009


 - posted January 18, 2016 04:59 PM      Profile for David M. Ballew   Email David M. Ballew   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My family and I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The presentation was outstanding, big and bright and clear. Others in my party are nowhere near as enthusiastic about 3-D as I am, but they raved about how lovely it looked and how very little eyestrain they experienced. In my view, it's a very, very good 3-D conversion, maybe one of the best.

With regards to IMAX Dome 3-D, I wonder if the spherical shape of the screen impedes cancelation in the left- and right-eye images. In other words, I wonder if the shape of the screen contributes to ghosting or crosstalk, where faint traces of the left image bleed through the glasses into one's right eye, and vice versa, spoiling the stereoscopic effect. Ghosting is one of the great bugbears of stereo projection, and I can only imagine that an unusual screen shape would only exacerbate it.

With regards to 70mm IMAX generally, I suspect several factors went into the decision to release the film in 2-D 15/70 only. If it was considered a hardship for one lab to create 22 15/70 prints in one month, as reported, then imagine creating 44 prints, which is what they would be doing for two-strip 3-D. And of course this would also mean double the financial expense. If the powers that be did not anticipate that 3-D would add substantially to box office revenue in those venues with full-on 15/70 projection, then it only makes sense that they would leave 3-D to the digital cinemas, which can handle stereo much more easily.

I find the film itself very entertaining; although the ticket prices were higher than I'm used to, taking my family to see it was money well spent. SLIGHT SPOILER: Some have criticized the film for being derivative of earlier installments, but I think a calculated decision was made to echo plot movements from episodes four, five and six to demonstrate to Star Wars fans that, going forward, Abrams and Disney intend to hew to the spirit of those films and avoid the perceived missteps of episodes one, two and three. That's how I see it.

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