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Australia Movies Entertainment

Replacing the World's Largest IMAX Screen 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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Replacing the World's Largest IMAX Screen

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  • 31 riggers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    31 riggers? Uh oh, prepare for intentionally-misreading trolls.
  • Riggers? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It took 31 riggers to irstall it? Amazirg
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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

  • 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?
    • by MisterSquid ( 231834 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:30PM (#38997439)
      At 4:30 into the video, the CEO of IMAX Australia mentions that they have been using 70mm for quite some time.
    • by Falc0n ( 618777 )
      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.
    • by mrops ( 927562 )

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

    • 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.

      • I take no offense - the video is blocked here at work. ;-) The answer however, fills me with much happiness.
        • by Jeng ( 926980 )

          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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

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

      • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @04:10PM (#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.

        • by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @04:48PM (#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 []
          • 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 whe

  • Print Page Link.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:25PM (#38997391)

    If you want to view all pics at once, view it here: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:28PM (#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.

  • (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:28PM (#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.

    • (Score:5, Informative)

      by YankDownUnder ( 872956 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:34PM (#38997481) Homepage
      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)
      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Oh come on. In Canada we can move a series of 45,000kg fermentation tank [](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.

        • 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.

    • (Score:5, Informative)

      by T-Bone-T ( 1048702 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:41PM (#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.

    • 800 kg must be a typo...the paint alone supposedly weighs 350 kg.
      • Must be lead paint, then.

      • 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.

        • 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).
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

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

    • 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-)

    • . 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?

      • 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.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      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

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • Most impressive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ol Biscuitbarrel ( 1859702 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:35PM (#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.

  • $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!!!
  • from here anyway.........
  • Just project the movie onto the roof of the opera house.
  • Wow I totally misread that as something else...but I'm tired and sick, so :P
  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @04:29PM (#38998851)

    ...Roseanne Barr beaver shot collection.

  • 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?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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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