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Cinemark XD 
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Post Cinemark XD
"Cinemark XD is an Extreme Digital Experience where viewers get face-to-face with the action and experience cinema like never before! Extra large, extreme entertainment for the senses. Mega-sized ceiling-to-floor screens, wrap-around custom sound and a maximum comfort entertainment environment ensure that every seat is an intense sensory experience.

The Cinemark XD auditorium greets customers with an enormous screen, plush seats and Cinemark's custom sound system with speakers that produce crisp, clear digital sound. Experience Cinemark XD in 2D and in RealD 3D."

Strangely enough, the only two theaters in California offering this are within driving distance of me. (Same with the third theater that's coming soon.) Only ten in the whole country right now. I was wondering if anyone knew of this development. They're charging IMAX-like prices for what seems to be a similar experience, so I guess my question is if it's like fake IMAX or not. Either way, I'll probably test out the theater during the week. They're playing Precious in SF and 2012 in Union City. Choices, choices.


Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:52 am
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Let us know how it goes. Precious is an odd choice to see on a super-massive screen though. I don't know if 2012 is a great choice either. Sounds like an epileptic fit waiting to happen.


Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:13 pm
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Yes, it sounds good!


Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:14 am
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Sounds like this is like faux IMAX with digital projection, but without the IMAX name.

Avatar is playing at my local Cinemark in "Real D 3D XD" and "Real D 3D" and non-3D as well. Any suggestions as to which I should choose? My main concern is the aspect ratio on these XD screens.


Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:01 pm
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Darth Ed wrote:
Sounds like this is like faux IMAX with digital projection, but without the IMAX name.

Avatar is playing at my local Cinemark in "Real D 3D XD" and "Real D 3D" and non-3D as well. Any suggestions as to which I should choose? My main concern is the aspect ratio on these XD screens.


I vote "Real D 3D" if you're not near a real IMAX theater/dome.

I still haven't tested out Cinemark XD. None of my friends want to go with me, and I don't want to schlep into the city without a laundry list of things to do.


Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:54 pm
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Pedro wrote:
I vote "Real D 3D" if you're not near a real IMAX theater/dome.

Really? I was leaning the other way. XD appears to be an IMAX clone, so much so that IMAX is suing Cinemark for patent infringement and disclosure of corporate secrets or something like that, according to what I googled.

How do (faux) IMAX theaters typically handle the widescreen aspect ratios of most films? Do they chop the sides off or pan-and-scan the frame or what?


Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:23 am
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Darth Ed wrote:
How do (faux) IMAX theaters typically handle the widescreen aspect ratios of most films? Do they chop the sides off or pan-and-scan the frame or what?

Faux IMAX handles aspect ratio the same way as regular IMAX -- there are black bars to accommodate for frame size. The faux IMAX screen, however, is not 1.33:1 as a regular IMAX is... it's usually closer to 1.5 depending on the build. As a result, there may be some croppage on movies shot specifically for IMAX in 1.33:1 (like, say, "Under the Sea 3D"), but all "normal movies" are in the accurate aspect ratio. The one exception I can think of is I saw "Madagascar 2" at a faux IMAX and it fit the full screen, but I'm guessing that this croppage was done specifically and artistically as a part of the IMAX DRM blowup...

Faux IMAX is actually pretty good for 3D. It preserves brightness in a way that REAL D doesn't. The big problem with the technology is the dual 2k digital projectors on IMAX just don't match 35mm or 4k digital projection quality, in my book. Also, the frame size is TINY for 2.35 films as there are huge black bars on the top and bottom. It's not even the size of a big Scope screen in a regular auditorium.

As a result, there are only 3 reasons to see a movie on a faux IMAX: A) it's in 3D, B) it's 1.85, not 2.35, and you want to get a huge frame, or C) it's animated and/or has never touched film at any point in its development, so digital actually does preserve some quality.

I say "Avatar" is a go for faux IMAX if the real thing isn't readily available because it meets ALL THREE of the above criteria. Not only is Cameron a big proponent of digital, presumably bringing out the best in the technology, he also is using 1.85:1 for the 3D versions of the film so you'll get a nice and big picture. There will not be any croppage, unless there was some done specifically in the DRM blowup to fill the frame (which, knowing Cameron, would have clearly been done with director's approval). You will see the film as Cameron intended it. In fact, he even matted the movie down to 2.35 for the 2D version because he likes that better for 2D.

Also a plus for any type of IMAX: no aspect ratio confusion. Because this movie is 2.35 on the 2D version and 1.85 on the 3D version, there will undoubtedly be many projection screw-ups on normal digital projectors. I predict that many projectionists will see the 2.35 ratio listed on their sheet for the 35mm version and not check the 3D sheets, hence presenting the digital versions in the same 2.35 ratio. Instead of stretching the picture, as a film projector would, digital projectors just "zoom" to fit the ratio set by the projectionist and unknowing audiences often just sit by watching a cropped film. While this is all entirely speculation on my part -- I'm sure that Fox will make a big deal of the difference on the notes that come with each print -- I fear it will happen an awful lot. To the best of my knowledge, IMAX -- because there's no masking -- doesn't require any setting of the format. Then again, maybe my faith in the projectionists at big theaters is too low due to bad experiences in the past, both as a patron and an employee... just a word of caution.

If there's ever been a time I felt comfortable dropping $16 on a faux IMAX ticket, it's "Avatar".


Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:33 pm
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Likewise, Pedro, I'd say that Cinemark XD is pretty similar to Faux IMAX. "Wall to wall screens" ensures that you're going to get a giant 1.85 frame and a pretty tiny 2.35 frame because it's top-down masking, not side masking. That said, XD probably has a leg up on faux IMAX in that it probably has masking, so those pesky black bars won't be visible.

Plus, who wants to see anything that was shot on 35mm on digital?

If you're going to go to San Francisco for "Avatar", there's no reason to be going anywhere but the Metreon IMAX, where you'll see a true, huge 70mm IMAX image -- perfect for a Cameron movie.

That said, "Princess and the Frog" is probably the best experience you could have with Cinemark XD as the negative image was digital and the aspect ratio is 1.85, meaning you'll get a nice and tall image to fill out that "great" (yeah, right) wall-to-wall screen.


Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:43 pm
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Wow! Thanks, Danny. You answered all of my questions and many I hadn't asked.


Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:17 pm
Post Re: Cinemark XD
Cinemark XD uses Real-D 3D according to their website.
http://www.cinemark.com/pressreleasesform_general.asp?step=2&PressReleaseItem=654

I also found something on it from a newspaper article on the web.
http://www.examiner.com/x-17667-Tucson-Film-Industry-Examiner~y2009m12d18-Avatar-in-XD-3D-is-the-most-stunning-visual-experience-ever-and-thats-not-all


Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:31 pm
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