This article may help you to enjoy the big screen in regular and especially in IMAX theater. Other than screen size, a wide angle of view is also determined by distance of seating position to screen. A big screen definitely needs high resolution image.
[Indonesian version click here or my facebook note]
First of all, let's observe human eyes characteristic related to angle of view (please see diagram above):
- Angle of human visual is wide enough toward the front, approximately 120° horizontal (left-right) and vertical (top-down bottom). Human down view is more wide than up view. In the diagram, it shown as Limit of Visual Field represented by the outer ring.
- Although angle of view is 120°, human center eyesight is only below 60°. In the diagram, it shown as the second ring, inside the outer ring.
- Actually, human eyes are only able to recognize symbols (letters, words, numbers etc) in small angle of view below 30°. In the diagram, it shown as a small circle in the center. Therefore, if there is a symbol outside 30° circle, it will be difficult to read or recognize. However, eyes will sense the object's position certainly.
Naturally, human steer their eyes ball actively to observe objects which needed more attention. In other words, range view of 120° is an extra view which has function as "visual radar". Therefore, human could have an awareness of objects surrounding in advance, in case any danger approaching or just to view scenery in wide angle. Further, eyes muscles will move eyes balls and stare the object inside of symbol recognition area.
Once gaining focus at something in symbol recognition area, then human will ignore all information in wide angle view (both eyes still can see the object at surrounding). It is the reason, not allow to texting (SMS) during driving a vehicle. Driver's attention will move from road to the smart phone's screen, even though the road still can be seen by the driver.
Refer to the diagram, a screen size of IMAX classic attempts to fill in the area of view, as wide as possible. In the biggest IMAX theater: LG theater, Sydney or Keong Emas Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, while we sit at sweet-spot and stare to center screen then we are (almost) difficult to feel and see the edge of screen. The screen seems without edge (frameless) except we have to glance to the edge. Aspect ratio of IMAX screen (classic) is almost square, so that top/bottom view will be filled by screen.
[in addition: IMAX dome, screen shape of IMAX is almost half sphere. we have to turn our head to see the screen edge]
Initially, IMAX was designed for short documentary movie which is below one hours duration (mostly 45 minutes). IMAX film maker understand that the film will be shown at huge screen of IMAX which human's center of sight is below 60° only. Therefore, IMAX documentary movies have typical style i.e.:
- It is very rare to watch the extreme close up or face of actors/actress (to fulfill their face on the screen's area). Mostly the closest scene is medium shot, where actors/actress are shown half-body. Quite frequent to use fish eye lens (wide angle lens) in documentary movies. Landscape will be seen spacious at IMAX screen. Comparing a movie which be planned for TV screen only (for example tele-novela/soap opera), close up at actor's face is appeared frequently, This style is to focus at face expression of the actor/actress which be watched easily at small screen and below 30°- angle of view. Indeed, movies for TV screen have less landscape scene. It will be difficult to observe the detail of landscape in glass screen TV.
- Camera movement in IMAX movie is smooth and steady, therefore there is almost no shaking camera. It void audience feel nausea and headaches. If there are camera movements, usually in one direction, going forward, slow panning etc. The advantage of IMAX, for example, a flying scene to the edge of cliff, we feel involved in scene. Audiences (spectators) become nervous to see a deep ravine at front. Moving forward sensation will be sensed by audience. This effect is called as "sensation of motion". The sensation can be effective if eye perceive wide visual information as wide possible. The sensation will be no effect if the same scene is watched at small screen, below 60°. Because there is no visual movement information between 60° ~120° except we only see our furnitures around our TV. Indeed, we can make our TV view become 100°(angle of view) by seeing closely to the screen or using multimedia projector. Unfortunately, TV and movie for home entertainment (home theater) are not able to display the high resolution picture as highest detail as IMAX, aren't it. Otherwise, the pixels will be noticeable if we watch the screen at extreme close distance.
|combined photos from Wiki-IMAX|
Refer to the comparison diagram above, center eyesight almost cover the screen of regular theater, except most edge (left and right side) which wider that center eyesight. A Regular movie uses 2:35;1 aspect ratio which it has addition view and is wider than symbol recognition. Therefore, we still has to leering the eyes to read subtitle or there are two actor/actress where their position in opposite way, very left and very right on screen. In regular theater is still possible for close up scene for show the expression of player (actor/actress).
Yup, indeed you can also feel an IMAX sensation if you sit at very front row. However, please remember that the film makers are not prepared their movie to be watched at the very close distance or wider view. Except a colossal movies, which is still has landscape scene or medium shot. Definitely, this is also depend on a quality of projector in certain theater. Some theater is not good enough to watch the image closely due poor quality system. Also at very close distance, the picture will be appeared hazy and tiny holes will be noticeable on screen. The tiny holes in theater screen are for passing through sound from speakers which installed behind the screen.
DMR (Digital Media Remastering) is a technology to convert a conventional movie become IMAX format. The result is conventional movie can be shown at a gigantic screen of IMAX theater. It become confusing at the beginning, to watch a feature film (movie) in IMAX theater. The early DMR movie still followed IMAX style as mentioned before, no extreme close up except medium shot and more landscape scene, camera movement was smooth and one direction. However, some of movie converted to IMAX have still styles for regular theater. Therefore, some DMR movies are not comfortable to watch in huge screen, thus make nausea for some audiences due to camera shaking. Also, it is difficult to heed the story because whole screen surface is used by film maker as center of visual attention. As the consequence, spectator struggle to see whole screen surface in IMAX theater. If you have a plan to watch kind of this movie (after reading its review), you must choose a seat at the last row in theater.
[shaking camera style is used by few movie director to dramatize a scene: it seems to be covered by TV reporter or shot by handycam]
IMAX DMR movie list at:
Today. IMAX digital is still to attempt as close as possible to IMAX classic which is using celluloid 70mm film. It will be available at near future. 12K resolution digital image is needed for replacing 70mm celluloid film. I had an opportunity to watch IMAX digital at IMAX classic screen. Unfortunately, the picture was not fulfill whole the screen surface. If attempting to fulfill the screen surface then the pixels will be noticeable by audience who sit very near to screen. IMAX movie (digital) today, fit and suitable for IMAX digital theater only. Indeed, screen size of IMAX digital is height X width: 8.5 m x 18 m, it means is only a half of IMAX classic screen (mostly screen size approx. 20m x 26m. The biggest IMAX screen is 29m x 35m). See the comparison below.
|source of this image from this link (for big size) or its web or the bigger size here|
A compromise of IMAX (classic/digital) and IMAX DMR
Number of movie directors had successfully combined two format in one movie and present the movie at IMAX screen. They combined IMAX format with IMAX DMR, for example Batman (Dark Knight), Mission Impossible, Interstellar. In the middle of movie, some scene were shot with IMAX camera. The audience will notice the changing of aspect ratio. Most of scene were not shot with IMAX camera, the pictures are noticeable at IMAX screen (there are black are at the top and the bottom of IMAX screen). Screen will be full with image when the scene was shot only by IMAX camera. Of course, aspect ratio changing will not be found at regular theater because extra pictures had been cropped and removed to fit for regular theater screen.
|source of this image from this link or from its discussion|
Film Tomorrowland (2015), as movie (feature film) IMAX digital which it used 1.9 : 1 aspect ratio at all scenes, so whole surface of IMAX digital theater fulfilled with images.
Further information about IMAX Tomorrowland (2015).
Some new IMAX movies had released with 1.9 : 1 aspect ratio.
Right then, enjoy the movie on BIG screen :)
further information about IMAX
[I'm still reviewing this article. So, any feedback & update are very welcome]