Timing is everything. Earlier this week, Achtel released the 9x7, a 65MP digital cinema camera in hopes to expand Giant Screen and IMAX productions into the hands of more filmmakers. Today, IMAX said hold my beer.
Previously, only the ARRI ALEXA 65 IMAX camera that's part of ARRI Rental was IMAX-certified but all that has changed. The new "Filmed in IMAX" program certifies the ARRI ALEXA LF, MINI LF, the Panavision DXL2, RED Ranger Monstro, and the Sony VENICE as part of the program. You can look at it as IMAX's version of "Netflix Approved" cameras.
All of this was most likely in the works prior to Achtel's announcement, but yikes. IMAX has squashed some of the potential of the 9x7. Unless a filmmaker needs a camera with an ultra-small footprint, they're most likely going to choose something they're familiar with (and has support behind it). Goliath 1, David 0.
In the press release, Megan Colligan, president of IMAX Entertainment says, "This program will help IMAX work with a broader and more diverse group of top filmmakers, sparking new and exciting collaborations that can take advantage of our proprietary technology and global theatrical platform."
The silver lining is that IMAX will only select a limited number of films to participate each year. Additionally, IMAX will certify independent camera rental houses that can supply certified cameras. Queue the "we're IMAX certified" press releases. As of now, only Panavision, ARRI, and Keslow Camera have been certified on the rental side.
What the program aims to do is "implement best practice guidelines for each production to take advantage of each cameras' highest possible capture qualities and settings in order to maximize The IMAX Experience – including IMAX's exclusive expanded aspect ratio, which delivers audiences at least 26% more picture than standard theatres."
So when it’s safe to go back into theaters, you can expect more IMAX content down the road.