Sunday, May 31, 2009
The marketers want your five bucks
Have you been to one of those so-called iMax theaters--just another room in the multi-screen complex down at the mall? What is happening is the theaters are giving up a few rows of seats at the front (that none of us want to sit in anyway) so they can hang a bigger screen. Then they use a newer digital projection system to screen what they are advertising as--and that the iMax people authorize them to do--an iMax movie.
But you willingly pay $5 more for the "experience." Truth is, theater owners are facing increased competition from digital home sources that look really, really good, like Blu-ray, and easy-to-obtain films such as via Netflix. I have to admit, unless it is something really spectacular, like the recent Star-Trek feature, I would rather see it on my 48-inch hi-def screen in Blu-ray format, with my store-bought popcorn and dressed in my shorts and t-shirt with no shoes.
But lying to me? Telling me I can see an iMax film when the only real extra I'm getting is a bigger screen? Foul!
See critic Roger Ebert's take on this at his blog. It's interesting reading.
Two notes: one is I disagree with Roger that the new technology--48 frames-per-second--has any chance of catching on. Most people are very happy with the digital projection systems now being used. And it's cheaper for distributors, too. The digital ship has sailed. 70mm film is NOT the future.
And speaking of iMax, how many of you know that the sound system for iMax was invented right here in my hometown of Birmingham? One of the folks involved was Jim Cawthon, who is also a ham radio operator.