IMAX Finally Debuting its Laser Projector in Los Angeles This Week
This might be some big news that they're keeping quiet on for the moment, but we're making noise anyway. Thanks to a tip from our friends at SlashFilm, they've noticed that the first official public use of an IMAX laser projector happens this week at the world premiere of James Wan's Furious 7 at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Los Angeles tonight (Wednesday, April 1st!). This is not an April Fool's Joke! At least far as I know. IMAX has an official press release about the Furious 7 event on their site, and hidden in the details is this little nugget: "IMAX will be launching its revolutionary new laser projection system." Finally! We've been waiting years and years for this, writing about it ever since IMAX has hyped it up back in 2011. And now it suddenly gets a debut in Los Angeles at their new landmark theater. How I wish I could be there.
It was first announced about four years ago that IMAX was working on a laser projection system they were building with Kodak, now it seems they're ready to reveal it. Laser projection is the next step forward in projection technology, as it allows for perfect presentation with uniform brightness across an entire screen and color depth unmatched by incandescent bulbs. So mo more dark spots, no more brightness issues, and hopefully better looking projection. Some may not notice much, but I'm sure others will be stunned by how much crisper, and cleaner it all looks. Here's more from the press release about the Furious 7 laser debut:
Additionally, IMAX will be launching its revolutionary new laser projection system at the Furious 7 global premiere event to be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Los Angeles. This marks IMAX's U.S. debut of the new technology as well as the first film ever to receive a global premiere with laser projection. IMAX has undertaken a significant R&D investment to develop its next-generation projection and sound system, which incorporates the laser digital intellectual property IMAX exclusively licensed from Eastman Kodak and Barco's unique laser innovations. IMAX with laser represents a quantum leap forward in cinema technology – providing audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest and most vivid digital images ever, combined with a whole new level of immersive audio.
"Not only are we excited to be releasing Furious 7 globally in record-setting fashion, we are delighted to be partnering with Universal Pictures on the first-ever movie premiere event screened with laser," said Greg Foster, Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. "As the most action-packed Fast and Furious installment yet, Furious 7 deserves to be seen in the most awe-inspiring and intense way possible across IMAX screens worldwide."
While it is a big event to launch the laser projector during a movie premiere, it's rather odd that they seem to be rolling this all together instead of singling out just the laser. Why not demo it for press? Then again, I have a good feeling there will be quite a few laser demos at the CinemaCon convention later this month. A few years back, IMAX CTO Brian Bonnick talked about how laser projection could provide a "significantly better" experience, saying that "with IMAX Digital Laser we are looking at contrast ratios of 8000:1 and higher." For years many cinema purists have been protesting the shift to digital projection at all, but we're already stepping into the next series of technology by finally bringing the laser out into the public. I, for one, can't wait to experience their new laser ("frickin' lasers!") system in person. I've got a good feeling about it…
As far as we know, the IMAX laser is now installed in the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX indefinitely (and likely more soon). So book your ticket, give it a test run and tell us how it looks, or if you don't notice anything.