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Replacing the World's Largest IMAX Screen

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the we're-gonna-need-a-bigger-popcorn dept.

Australia 89

lukehopewell1 writes "IMAX Sydney has replaced its screen — the largest in the world — at a cost of $250,000. Weighing over 800 kilograms, painting the screen took over 12 days and 350 kilograms of paint. Lifting the massive screen and installing it took a year of planning and 31 riggers. A neat photo gallery is included so you can get an idea of just how big a job this was."

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31 riggers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997315)

31 riggers? Uh oh, prepare for intentionally-misreading trolls.

Re:31 riggers (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998175)

Maybe it's the font but I did a double-take when I read it...

Re:31 riggers (3, Funny)

Metricmouse (2532810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38999651)

I HAVE A BIG BLACK CLOCK and it could be the font too.

Re:31 riggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38998191)

Yes, as a founding member of the Chigger Anti-Defamation League, I strongly object to the wording of this article, as it is a thinly anti-chigger hit peace.

It's All Randall's fault (0)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39003363)

http://xkcd.com/1015/ [xkcd.com]
Kerning, I hate ye....

Pffft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997321)

I have a bigger one in my living room. Of course, we all have to sit 8 inches from it and have really cool tans.

Riggers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997325)

It took 31 riggers to irstall it? Amazirg

Re:Riggers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997643)

This was much more creative than I expected, kudos. I'm laughing.

Re:Riggers? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997761)

They prefer to be called Laughrican-Australians!

Re:Riggers? (3, Interesting)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997907)

Not Really... I just raised one in New England two weeks ago. We had 13 people up top pulling, 10 more below helping to pull, and numerous other people who were assisting below to keep the screen surface raised as much as possible. There easily need to be that many, as the screen is extremely heavy and difficult to pull up as a dead load. Additionally, ours had a silver surface for 3D, which means you can't touch the screen or you will ruin it.

Then there was the joy of bringing a 60' box holding the screen through a mall, raising it 2 stories in a food court all night, and then raising up the screen itself...

Re:Riggers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38998879)

Woosh!

Soon with crappier image quality! (1, Redundant)

jaskelling (1927116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997349)

Will it soon have one of IMAX's crappiest digital projectors to fill the world's largest IMAX screen? Or will it still be allowed to have the clarity that is IMAX 70mm?

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (4, Informative)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997439)

At 4:30 into the video, the CEO of IMAX Australia mentions that they have been using 70mm for quite some time.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997441)

i know i know.. but how about watching the video? answers your question.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

Falc0n (618777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997447)

No, in the interview he talked about some of the issues regarding digital, and that it basically sucks right now (for IMAX quality at least). He likes the current film, and it doesn't look like they will be changing anytime soon.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997463)

WTFV (Watch..... Video). He does say he will not be switching to Digital because the quality is not on par with 70mm film.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1, Informative)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997829)

How can I watch the video?

The article literally has maybe two sentences before you need to go to the next page. They can get the advertisement dollars somewhere else.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (3, Informative)

Jesse_vd (821123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38999261)

You don't even need to OPEN the article. The video is in the damn summary

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002889)

I guess he didn't WTFV. (And thus, a new term is born.)

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (2)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997491)

Sorry, my previous reply was based on my misunderstanding your question.

A better answer to your question is that the Mark Bretherton (CEO) expresses a reluctance to "upgrade" to digital until digital at least matches the quality of 70mm.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (0)

jaskelling (1927116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997563)

I take no offense - the video is blocked here at work. ;-) The answer however, fills me with much happiness.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997819)

the video is blocked here at work

It was also mentioned in the article, I also did not watch the video.

IMAX CEO Mark Bretherton said that IMAX Australia is replacing the screen to give viewers a bigger, better and brighter 3D experience, but added that the company won't be replacing the projector anytime soon in favour of digital due to the issues involved.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

WeatherServo9 (1393327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998861)

A better answer to your question is that the Mark Bretherton (CEO) expresses a reluctance to "upgrade" to digital until digital at least matches the quality of 70mm.

It says he's CEO at IMAX Theatre Sydney, the CEO of Imax Corporation is Richard Gelfond (according to Wikipedia). I'm not entirely sure what that means, is that CEO of an Australian division of Imax, or did they mean that theaters general manager or something similar? I'm glad at least at this location they're keeping 15/70 film, but as a whole Imax has really been in a rush to replace film with digital on screens that are far too big for the 2k resolution of the projectors they use.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997555)

The video made it clear that it would use "crappiest digital projections" new crappy digital projector. I'm surprised you knew the TM name for the technology.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997919)

Still more clear than 4K digital at that size. In this case, analog has it's benefits.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998611)

Not true, actually. I recall hearing about an experiment that some IMAX engineers did a few years back, where they put black and white squares in a checker pattern up on the screen. They started with a 2x2 grid of squares, then went to 4x4, then 8x8, etc., but they ended up stopping well before they ever hit 4K because the screen had become gray. What that meant was that the film was not able to provide the level of contrast actually necessary to discern the shapes any longer. In other words, the level of detail it provided was below that of a 4K image.

Of course, the problem with 4K is that the details are so small, even at the scale of IMAX, that viewers would need to sit in the first five or so rows to really be able to appreciate any difference at all. And, as was noted in the video, lighting and quality concerns are still major factors with digitial projectors, more so than the issues with resolution.

Analog has some advantages, to be sure, but they mostly are in the fact that it can provide good enough resolution without other compromises. Digital resolutions surpassed IMAX several years ago, but digital projectors still have enough drawbacks that analog continues to have a place in some of these theaters, though time is running out for that.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (4, Interesting)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38999177)

Your eye is not a camera. Just because you cannot resolve the space between two dots, does not mean your eye cannot resolve detail at much higher resolution, e.g. vernier acuity [filmicgames.com]

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38999443)

That's cool, and it's something I wasn't aware of. Even so, I don't really see how it applies. About the only thing it seems relevant to is my comment about viewers not appreciating the details until they're in the first few rows, and I don't see how that changes with vernier acuity. Maybe they'll appreciate the details of an edge a row or two further back?

I'll be honest, I was just pulling a number from memory when I said "first five or so rows", so it could have easily been more or less than that, and wherever it was that I heard that may have already accounted for vernier acuity. Even so, thanks for the link. It's something that I feel like I've noticed over the years, but could never really put a name to.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39000695)

4k is certainly not "too much resolution" for an IMAX screen (which is not meant to cover just the centre of your field of vision). Most "digital theatres" these days use HD or 2k projectors (1920 to 2048 pixels per line), and people with good eyesight can notice pixellation even on medium-sized screens. The "advantage" of film is that it doesn't have a fixed grid-like pattern, which means small details can end up being visible on some frames but not on others (which is enough to make our brains "see" them there all the time). Overall you have a less resolution in a 70mm film frame than in a 4k grid but, due to the way human vision works, the former can look more detailed.

For a normal screen (meant to cover less than 70 of your FOV) 4k is fine.

Re:Soon with crappier image quality! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39003079)

"its"

Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geode. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997415)

Nice, but the IMAX crown goes to La Geode in Paris.
Although it has a slightly smaller screen (1000 m^2), the screen is not planar but hemispherical with a diameter of 36m.
The public is literally at the center of the action, and no cinema and certainly no home theater how ever high end it is can compete with this kind of cinema experience.

Re:Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997529)

Quite common in the states, dome theaters are popular for the all immersive experience and our local one carries the IMAX brand.

Re:Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geo (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997749)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMAX#IMAX_Dome_.2F_OMNIMAX [wikipedia.org]

Not that uncommon. I've been to the Chicago one at the MSI many times.

Re:Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geo (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997975)

Detroit has had one for at least 2 decades as well.

Re:Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001381)

The Science World OmniMax in Vancouver was built for Expo 86.

Re:Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geo (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002601)

I've only been there once, but the experience was absolutely astounding. With one minor annoyance: the projector was really loud.

Re:Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geo (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998225)

We've got one of those in Spain since mid 1990's: http://cac.es/hemisferic/ [cac.es]

(And yes, I've played video games on it...)

Re:Pftt australia's imax can't compete with La Geo (1)

mcmaddog (732436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002215)

Not according to wikipedia...

The biggest IMAX dome theater in the world is the Hackworth IMAX Dome theater at the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA.

What...how...? (3, Interesting)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997421)

Why in the world would it take an entire year to plan hoisting a 800kg screen? That weighs less than my car. A few winches could get it in place without putting even the most fragile screen at risk. I wonder what they did with the other 9 months of that year?

FWIW, I have hung a full-sized non-IMAX screen in about half an hour with zero issues. Not 800kg, but at least 100.

Re:What...how...? (5, Informative)

YankDownUnder (872956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997481)

If you saw WHERE our IMAX is, and what parking is available - aside from the logistics of human traffic, amongst other things - you'd understand. "Plan the work, work the plan" - ergo, no hiccups, no unforeseen issues - and hey, we just got finished with our city's "Festival Season" - which has been full on since November...therefore, I think I'd rather laud the whole lot of 'em - and I look forward to getting inside and seeing what they've done! (the tourists will love it - and more than enough Sydney-siders will be checking it out as well)

Re:What...how...? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38999615)

Oh come on. In Canada we can move a series of 45,000kg fermentation tank [thestar.com] (120,000kg on a weekend from the ports in Hamilton to their new home in Toronto. And that's moving them down some of the busiest roadways in Canada(remember ~60% of the population of Canada lives between Windsor and Montreal). I'd say that it was more of an issue with poor timing of the installation than anything.

Re:What...how...? (2)

Ninja Engineer (224395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000365)

Ha!
I now live in Australia. It has become clear to me that any field construction work here suffers from the fact that there is nil supervisory capability, and the whole industry can't organize its way out of a wet paper bag.

Re:What...how...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39000561)

Your link is corrupt. Here is a corrected link for the 45,000kg fermentation tank [thestar.com] .

Re:What...how...? (4, Informative)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997559)

The whole project took a year. They probably spent most of it researching the logistics and what they wanted in a new screen. After that, that screen had to be manufactured and delivered. It says in TFA that it only took about half and hour to lift and secure it.

Re:What...how...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997577)

The screen is likely worth more than your car. Probably more than your house.

I work for a place with a massive IMAX Dome. It cost a pretty penny.

Re:What...how...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997591)

Good thing that company wasn't used for building the Large Hadron Collider, we would've all been dead of old age by the time it was done.

Re:What...how...? (1)

flux pinner (1170311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997695)

800 kg must be a typo...the paint alone supposedly weighs 350 kg.

Re:What...how...? (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997839)

Must be lead paint, then.

Re:What...how...? (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998315)

Silver, actually.

Re:What...how...? (2)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998305)

You have a sheet of vinyl that is 30m by 35m. That it weights 800kg (~750g/m2) is quite plausible.

The paint weights 350kg because it is made out of silver, and they are putting on several coats. The screen has to be very reflective, and silver works best.

Re:What...how...? (2)

WeatherServo9 (1393327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998691)

The silver is only important for 3D; it is reflective enough to better maintain the polarization so the 3D image has less ghosting. For normal 2D images though, silver is a little too reflective; depending on how the screen is curved and where you are sitting it tends to create hotspots in the image instead of appearing more uniform. Personally I find silver screens look awful, there are good reasons theaters don't normally use them (except for 3D processes like RealD).

Re:What...how...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997817)

FWIW, I have hung a full-sized non-IMAX screen in about half an hour with zero issues. Not 800kg, but at least 100.

Yeah, but if they hired you in all your screen-hanging glory, there wouldn't be a story and that would be a shame.

Re:What...how...? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998201)

Yeah, that's only, like, 10 pounds.

Re:What...how...? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998281)

It weighs less than everybody's car, unless you have an S1 Elise or some little open-wheeled track toy like a Seven clone, Ariel Atom or KTM X-bow...

Only 160kg less than mine though B-)

Re:What...how...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38999083)

And I'm sure it was hung well.

Re:What...how...? (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000963)

. I wonder what they did with the other 9 months of that year?

So you think it took them 3 months to hang it? I am sure the planning involved more than just hanging the screen, and painting it. Maybe they needed to find someone to create the screen? Maybe they wanted to do some research on replacing the screen, since it has never been done before. Maybe they wanted to find the time to hire the best riggers?

Re:What...how...? (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39003713)

I was implying the entire process should have only taken three months(from "we have a new screen" to "we're done"). There's planning, and then there's overdoing it.

I can see how this might be plausible (a year, that is) if it includes the time that it took to decide which company to get the screen from, which screen to get, custom CAD work for the product, manufacturing time, and whatever other specific considerations go into an IMAX screen.

Re:What...how...? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39003433)

Why in the world would it take an entire year to plan hoisting a 800kg screen? That weighs less than my car. A few winches could get it in place without putting even the most fragile screen at risk. I wonder what they did with the other 9 months of that year?

The actual hoisting takes a few hours. There's a how it's made or something episode that shows how it was done on another IMAX screen. They basically have the hours between the last film of the day (past midnight), and before the first screening of the day.

But there's a lot of logistics involved so it could be simply ordering the screen (custom made), and getting put on a waitlist. Then from that waitlist comes the actual delivery date to which you can use to plan the whole teardown and hoist.

There's a lot to plan - you need ironworkers and the like to scurry around the frame of the screen and tie it off. You then need technicians to recalibrate the equipment to the new screen (IMAX has exacting standards - so focus must be redone, color calibration, and sound (sound levels have to be requalized to compensate for the new screen - the sound reflectivity (audience-side speakers) and transparency (behind screen speakers))

And most likely, you need to coordinate with IMAX to do it so they can send technicians and everything.

And no, it's not completely unusual - planning for events can often take a whole year. People who do conferences basically start planning the next year's conference just as the current year's conference ends.

Dizzying array of numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997435)

That array of numbers was so dizzying I crapped my pants!

31 What?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997445)

Oh... 31 Riggers... never mind.

Re:31 What?! (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997581)

Yeah, I did a double-take on that one too. Thought it said naggers. God, I hate naggers.

Re:31 What?! (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998219)

They really annoy me.

Conversion? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997461)

For those of us in the US, how many football fields is that equivalent to?

Re:Conversion? (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998251)

Dunno...but if you're British I believe it's about a third of the size of Wales.

misread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997499)

definatly misread riggers.

Most impressive (4, Informative)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997501)

On page 7 of the photo gallery they quote the theater's CEO that they'll be using 1570mm film, which commentors were quick to point really means 15/70 sprockets per frame/width. The idea of film as wide as a compact car is interesting to envision, though.

Size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997573)

A more informative measurement of the screen would be its height and width, rather than its weight.

or even diagonal size.

riggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997667)

Did anyone else misread "riggers"

I did a octuple-take.....

Re:riggers (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998193)

You're not alone.

Not a big job (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997681)

$250,000 is not big, even for some individuals around here. (I wish I were one of them) Simply being the worlds largest x doesn't mean it's all XTREME!!!

doesnt look that big........ (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997743)

from here anyway.........

Wha slashdot?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38997877)

31 niggers? Why would you allow a summary like that to be posted?!

HOW many *iggers? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38998021)

"Lifting the massive screen and installing it took a year of planning and 31 riggers."

Come on, how many of you thought that said '31 niggers' at first...

Re:HOW many *iggers? (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001567)

Came here looking for this. Was not disappointed.

Sydney? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998069)

Just project the movie onto the roof of the opera house.

Re:Sydney? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39003745)

I am sorry to inform you that your humour attempt has failed.

31 What?! (0)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998127)

Wow I totally misread that as something else...but I'm tired and sick, so :P

HOW BIG IS IT THEN ?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38998303)

A story containing the phrase "The largest in the world" might be considered to be missing some salient facts if it does not say HOW farking big it is.

Time for a journalism course, editors ?

At last, a venue worthy of displaying my... (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998851)

...Roseanne Barr beaver shot collection.

ni4g6a (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38999193)

AAproximately 90%

Steve owns iMax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38999817)

Isn't IMAX's trademark owned by Steve Jobs?

Annoying Video (-1, Redundant)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000761)

Seriously--how many times can they show the same stupid clip of the screen being moved up?

And when I go to another country, my name and it's pronunciation doesn't change--so why it he saying 'zeddee net'? It's fscking 'zeedee net'.

Re:Annoying Video (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001053)

"And when I go to another country, my name and it's pronunciation doesn't change"

Umm, actually it does. (Ever been to China?)

Yeah, Americans say 'Zee'. Big whoop. I still remember starting school and exasperated teachers beating it into everyone, "it's ZED, not ZEE, this isn't Sesame Street!!!!"

WHY? Why oh why? (0)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000919)

My first thought was why replace the screen? What was wrong with the old one?

IMAX Australia is replacing the screen to give viewers a bigger, better and brighter 3D experience

Really? You think I'm going to get a better 3d experience from a 2d image? And somehow the same size screen will give me a bigger experience? Please, can we let this "3d" nonsense die?

New Zealand!!! (1)

Obble (1680532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001999)

I've been to this place and in the exit stairway there is a picture of the earth on each level showing Australia in the center, but they DONT HAVDE NEW ZEALAND!!!! wtf. That is very annoying. They know about New Zealand because they are there too. How could they leave it out :-(

(Note: This was back in 2010)

Re:New Zealand!!! (1)

fj3k (993224) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002607)

I have a world map by an Australian company which doesn't include Tasmania... It has Campbell Is. (NZ), but not Tasmania.

OK If you make all theaters like this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39003019)

I would be willing to pay 5 bucks to see a movie again.

I Don't Understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39006749)

Billboard workers(2 -3 men) can replace the surface of a billboard, perhaps half the size of this iMax screen, in a couple of hours. They can erect an entire billboard structure in a couple of days. Why does a movie theater screen, even a ginormous one, take so much time and effort?

Is the article trying to say that the riggers are lazy?

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