FILM lovers in Pretoria were treated to a viewing experience of the new Transformers: Age of Extinction movie by watching it in an IMAX cinema.

For those who don’t know, the IMAX technology is several steps ahead of ordinary cinemas in that it has much better surround sound and a huge screen built to accommodate viewing from all angles.

The president of IMAX, Andrew Cripps, pictured, flew out from the US for the launch and spoke with Tonight about what to expect.

“This is the most immersive cinema-going experience possible. I think in a time where home theatres are getting better and better, the cinema experience has to also get better and IMAX plays a role in that,” said Cripps.

For him, IMAX cinemas strive to make people feel as if they are in the movie and provide a much better viewing experience com- pared to the traditional movie house. While the technology has been around for years, Cripps spoke about how his company has developed in the past five years.

“The old IMAX theatres were based on analogue equipment and they played off 70mm film projectors. Now we use two digital state-of-the-art projectors which use a lot of light on the screen. This is good for 3D movies. We also use uncompressed digital sound and the IMAX sound is very powerful. Also, we are very careful about the theatres’ geometry because we want every customer to see the whole screen, wall-to-wall. We also digitally remaster every frame for IMAX so that when it’s onscreen it looks beautiful and perfect,” he explained.

But how much does a premium experience like this cost?

Marketing executive of Ster- Kinekor, Dough Place, said that compared to the international prices, South Africa has it easy.

“We haven’t had many people complain about the pricing. The same film that people are seeing overseas for about R200 to R300 you only pay R110 for here. There are other ways that make it come even lower like the Discovery movie benefits and the sorts,” he said.

Given that IMAX was once in South Africa and then closed down, we had to find out why the sudden interest to open it again.

“It wasn’t operated by Ster- Kinekor and I can’t go into the financials, but years ago they used analogue technology and had several limitations. Not many Hollywood features were available in the IMAX format, there were like only four or five a year. Now we get 25 to 30 a year,” he said. - Munya Vomo



Film: bigger is better


Imax has just opened their second theatre in Pretoria at The Grove in Lynnwood following the first at Durban’s Gateway with a third on its way at a revamped Eastgate Centre in the latter half of next year.

It’s great for action junkies because there’s no bigger thrill than seeing something like Transformers which is all about the thrills and spills. With 3D part of the package, it’s a double whammy and feels as if you’re at the centre of everything that’s happening. You might as well be in the driving seat because that’s the way you experience the action.

The technology has been advanced in a way that works on this type of movie. Previously inferior documentaries were shown in these cinemas, allowing them to lose their lustre, but they’re back in a big way.

Wait for the movie that will work its charm and see it in the IMAX. If it’s Transformers, go and get your fix, it’s the best way to see it. – Diane de Beer