June 13, 2014

IMAX Announces a Dual 65mm 4K Digital 3K Camera, Fully Integrated & Michael Bay Tested

Imax cameraIMAX announced today that they have developed the first fully integrated dual 65mm 4K digital large-format 3D camera, designed to give moviegoers a "truly immersive IMAX 3D experience" with the camera's exceptional crispness and clarity, as well as its 1.9:1 aspect ratio that offers a reported "26% more of the image than standard cinemas." Oh, and guess what -- it has already been used and vetted by none other than explosion maestro Michael Bay and cinematographer Amir Mokri on Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Though the announcement will no doubt be met with quite a bit of intrigue, many of the questions raised won't have answers, seeing as IMAX hasn't really shared much in terms of information on their new camera -- like a basic specifications or potential rental prices. However, they did offer some info. Here's a bit from their Quick Facts/FAQ page:

The IMAX® 3D Digital Camera delivers stunning image quality and is less than half the weight of other 3D digital camera systems on the market. The IMAX® 3D Digital Camera will provide filmmakers such as Michael Bay with versatility that only 2D digital cameras have been able to deliver in the past. In Transformers: Age of Extinction, the production team was able to capture chase scenes and helicopter shots in high-resolution 3D in a way that [was] previously impossible.

Exclusively in IMAX® theatres, sequences captured with this camera will expand to fill more of the IMAX screen with unprecedented crispness, clarity, color and 3D for a truly immersive experience.

This new camera is a true 4K stereo camera, meaning that both the left eye and the right eye images are captured at full 4K resolution, but how does the resolution of this digital camera compare with IMAX's 15perf/65mm film cameras, ones known for being the highest resolution cameras in the world? Well, according to IMAX, the digital camera was designed to complement them.

IMAX® designed the IMAX® 3D Digital Camera as a complementary tool to its other 2D and 3D IMAX® film camera systems as well as other camera technology that filmmakers may be using. Filmmakers typically use several different types of cameras on set for different types of shots so IMAX wanted to be able to provide them with the right tool for the right job to help achieve their creative vision.

While digital is advancing at a rapid pace, IMAX®’s 15perf / 65mm film cameras continue to be the industry gold standard in terms of resolution and it expects they will to continue to be for quite some time. For this reason, IMAX® is continuing to build more of these cameras to meet the demand it is seeing among today’s leading Hollywood filmmakers.

Check out this video to learn more about IMAX's new digital 4K 3D camera:

In the end, IMAX has built a 4K 3D camera that is relatively small and lightweight, which will certainly be beneficial to all of the documentarians making nature docs that have become a staple of the IMAX brand. (The first IMAX show I ever saw was a doc about deep-sea monsters at a special IMAX theater in Seattle, so -- ) And for feature filmmakers, it may offer them a chance to capture images that will really make the moviegoing experience more immersive. That's IMAX's end goal, anyway. To prove that 3D isn't just a fad.

Even though we don't know much about IMAX's new 4K 3D camera, what are your initial thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

Link: IMAX 3D Digital Camera Makes Big Screen Debut in Transformeres: Age of Extinction: IMAX

[via Studio Daily]

Your Comment

54 Comments

That is a nice projector. Now, where is the camera?

Seriously, love the idea. No for the sake of 3D but for the developing of new tech that will mark a significant step to a further step. Plus IMax rocks just because. By the way, I heard about the modified 65mm poker camera... Clap clap... Clap clap clap. Nice

June 13, 2014 at 8:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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edgar

I think it's a bad move. 3D is a bad move. I don't know how there's still an audience for it. And 4k isn't even equivalent to the resolution that 35mm film brings so why is this camera only shooting 4k? IMAX should forget 3D and focus more on making their cameras out of lighter, stronger materials.

June 13, 2014 at 8:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Peter P.

I love 3D. I don't want to see it go away. So I think this is awesome. Good job IMAX.

June 13, 2014 at 9:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

7
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I don't know where the idea suddenly came along that 3D is dying. It's grossing billions. People have to pay an extra $5.00 for the glasses every time they go to a 3D movie---even if they already have a pair of the glasses in their hand---and they're paying it. 3D is doing pretty friggin good.

What I'm going to do, again, is pay attention to what I see happening in the real world and not to what I read on the internets. :-)

June 14, 2014 at 1:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Its not about the consumer, its about the practicality of shooting a 3d film. The rig is huge. You use two cameras at once, one pointing straight down that uses mirrors to align the cameras up. Going handheld is ridiculous and a standard tripod won't work. You also need an extremely beefy media management system as you are doubling your files as compared to a 2d picture. Nothing is really practical. So, this new camera solves most of those issues.

Notice how they are claiming that its the new camera that might 'save' 3d, it has nothing to do consumers not being able to afford the glasses.

June 15, 2014 at 3:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ricky

Billions are being made with 3D. 3D movies will continue to be made, cumbersome cameras or not. There isn't even a hint of 3D being in trouble. No movie maker is saying, "Hey, those 3D cameras are bulky. Let's quit making those millions hand over fist". ;-)

June 15, 2014 at 11:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

And I should add, everything is about the consumer. They want 3D. 3D will continue to be made---until people stop going to 3D movies.

June 15, 2014 at 11:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

The one piece lens system probably helps as well. Maybe it takes some creative freedom from the DP as far as the look is concerned, but the streamlining of 3D production the new camera offers seems like a good compromise.

June 17, 2014 at 4:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Chuck

No studio or theatrical chains is going to give up on 3D as they have put millions of dollars into it . teh tech( as with everyting else) is still developing and the next generation of laser projectors and 3D glasses are going to make the experience even better in the next few years.

June 13, 2014 at 10:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mattix34

Good thing you're not in charge of Imax's business model then. They probably know a bit more about the camera market than you do.

June 15, 2014 at 4:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bertzie

35mm resolves 4K most of the times. Or slightly less. 70mm and 15-perf is another question.

June 19, 2014 at 7:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

IMAX can shoot 18K, but there is no market for it. (yet)

July 8, 2015 at 1:16PM

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avatar
A.Estna
Director, cinematographer
74

I think "fully integrated dual 65mm 4K digital large-format 3D camera" might just be the most techno-jargon-filled product description I've ever heard

June 13, 2014 at 9:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ben

Am I right in saying that this is basically 2 Phantom 65's in the same body? Did I hear that somewhere?

June 13, 2014 at 9:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Matthew Rogan

Exact same thought I had. In fact I'm almost certain it is. Look at the top of the camera and you'll see two Phantom logo.
http://i.imgur.com/Ht9sPh8.jpg

June 13, 2014 at 10:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Derek

Ah very well spotted. I thought as much, although I cant for the life of me remember where I picked the thought up.

June 13, 2014 at 10:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Matthew Rogan

Probably from me. :-)

That's effectively what it is. The Phantom 65 Gold has been around for about seven years and still delivers the most beautiful images of any camera in the world. Really incredible stuff. IMAX has been shooting with this for a few years now on its own productions. I believe Transformers is the first contract job.

June 14, 2014 at 1:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mitch Gross

Mitch Gross, I was reading your posts on cinematographer dot com about this camera and you said you were gonna do a big post on this camera. Did you ever do it? Where can I find it? Would love to hear more about the tech behind this camera, and how it looks when projected on a imax screen.

June 14, 2014 at 12:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Drew

The only things missing is a torso, arms and legs.

June 13, 2014 at 9:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

I fail to see how this camera is a "large format'' camera. Medium format yes, but large format starts around 4x5 inch film.

June 13, 2014 at 10:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

10
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It's large format in motion picture terms, not still photography terms.

June 13, 2014 at 10:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
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Michael

What lenses does it take? Whats the mount?

June 13, 2014 at 10:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Matthew Rogan

They make a single lens unit; no realignment like in double-lens systems. It's covered in the video.

June 16, 2014 at 12:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Reply

Only 4k?

You may as well watch Netflix.

June 13, 2014 at 11:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jene

Great! more big boring movies to come with this latest gimmick - content is king, this device is never going to make anything better if it's used to camouflage crappy scripts laden with cartoon quality CGI - and you know that's just what Hollywood is going to use it for. Wait - they already have!

June 14, 2014 at 12:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ed Wright

You're right. WIm Wenders is *totally* only using this kind of technology for CGI laden crap.

June 14, 2014 at 4:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Coty

*That* discussion doesn't belong *here*, you idiot.

June 15, 2014 at 10:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James Calinaya

3D is in trouble???

June 14, 2014 at 12:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
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Gene

I wonder when Panavision is going to release their digital 70mm camera?
http://cdn.cinescopophilia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/70mm-Panavisio...

June 14, 2014 at 3:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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neil

They've been working on it for over two years. If the rumors are correct, and I don't know if I can believe this rumor, it will record 8K in uncompressed RAW. If that really does turn out to be true all the complaints of how much memory 4K needs, and how slow 4K work flow can be, will be bloody silly.

June 14, 2014 at 8:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

I remember this rumor. It was started when Michael Bay was being interviewed for Pain & Gain, and he said they were gonna be using an 8k crazy Imax camera. But Michael Bay is sort of an idiot when it comes to actual camera tech, and I have a feeling it was just him over-hyping a technology he barely understands. Does anyone remember when he went to the mat for HDDVD with made-up specs, only to walk back his statements a week later?

June 14, 2014 at 3:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Drew

So then it looks like it will be 4K and not 8K?

June 14, 2014 at 7:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Whoops, I think I may have missed the concept of this comment thread. I don't really have any info on the panavision camera (except my personal opinion that it has been scrapped by them in favor of renting modified Alexas and f55s), but I thought the OP was referring to the supposed 8k IMAX camera.

Here is a link to the interview Michael Bay did a little over a year ago, claiming this new IMAX camera did over 8k. Haha, what a tool.

http://www.hfrmovies.com/2013/04/17/transformers-4-will-shoot-with-new-8...

June 15, 2014 at 12:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I just found this link that it is/was supposed to be a 4K camera.

http://www.eoshd.com/content/9424/new-70mm-panavision-nasa-digital-cinem...

Maybe the idea of 4K really was scrapped by Panavision because of the 6K Red Dragon looks so good and they are shooting for something better than 4K. Who knows. Lots of rumors flying since video tech is advancing so fast.

June 15, 2014 at 12:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Also, if rumors are correct ARRI is working on a 65mm 6K sensor, and Red is working on an 8K sensor.

One thing that is not a rumor is Sony is developing a curved sensor. I haven't found what the K's X p's will be. This is the first image Sony has released of it:

http://petapixel.com/2014/06/13/first-image-sonys-revolutionary-curved-s...

June 14, 2014 at 8:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Unfortunately the digital Imax in most theaters is unable to project these gorgeous images because it's only 2k wide. They need to bring back the 70mm film projectors or upgrade those crappy digital projectors for this 3d to work.

June 14, 2014 at 5:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert A.

Wow! After forty years Imax has finally come out with a camera that's almost as good as 35mm. Which we can then view in glorious 2k at a Lie-Max theatre. Ugh... how do those hacks who hijacked the company sleep at night?

June 14, 2014 at 7:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JFR

I believe you mean 'digital camera'. Because their 70mm film camera is top of the line.

June 15, 2014 at 10:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James Calinaya

It looks like my old car pull-out radio/ cassette.

June 14, 2014 at 2:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marcus

Really cool to see more self contained 3D cameras.

June 14, 2014 at 4:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Zack

Pointless to see this in a true IMAX theater with that ratio. That's a LIEMAX ratio, and they can't do 4K projections. What a shame, honestly.

June 14, 2014 at 6:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Glasty

IMAX film resolves around 12k so 4k digital 65 is a bit underwhelming. It's far from being the pinnacle of quality we would expect from IMAX.

June 15, 2014 at 9:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rich

Hear Hear!

June 20, 2014 at 7:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bas

The title should be "Digital 3D Camera" and not "Digital 3K Camera"

June 15, 2014 at 9:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kosowar

The title should also be, "Newsflash to IMAX: 3D Doesn't Need Saving. It's Doing Quit Well, Thank You Very Much".

June 16, 2014 at 8:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

It looks like those are just two Phantom 65 strapped together ( http://www.visionresearch.com/Phantom-65/ ). You can clearly see two cinemags on top of the housing.

June 16, 2014 at 8:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nej

It is two phantom 65s.

June 16, 2014 at 12:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Drew

If you all just go too your retail store like bestbuy or any and see,. look for 4k ultra high definition tv sony samung have it. Know upscaled huge size imax 3d screen,. It is perfectely bought for 4k 3d display but the shocking is breath taking. Remember honey i shrink the audience disney mgm studio., that's how it will be in imax 3d 4k display but all on you. My thought's when i went to bestbuy sony 4k tv was cleanest clear and 3d display was in without 3d glasses. 3d with 4k is best real experience for you too feel like you is really survive the time of your life. Putting both that will be the 3d 4k real impact too your eyes up close personal. Like grimlock face in your face. Sincere thank you

June 17, 2014 at 1:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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June 19, 2014 at 2:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Two Phantom 65s? I hope they improved the latitude since the model was discontinued.

June 19, 2014 at 7:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

First of all, I thought a 35mm film strip scanned in 4K is quite the accepted standard nowadays. Wouldn't a 'large format 65mm sensor' need to be of a much higher resolution in order to be of any value?
Second, my super-duper +4 euros-thank-you-very-much IMAX projection in Amsterdam is only 2K wide. Which is fancy talk for fullHD plus my old nokia worth of pixels stuck to the side.
The day they uninstalled the 70mm projector was the day we got f*cked in the a** all-together.

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