Author Topic: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE - modage wuz robbed!  (Read 4287 times)

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Reelist

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Re: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE - modage wuz robbed!
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 07:16:12 PM »
+7
 
   I've kept this close to my chest because it's been a difficult transition to make and I still have almost no idea what I'm doing, but over the past two weeks I've started training to be an IMAX projectionist. We use 70mm film on a massive domed screen, which is supposedly the only one in the Northeast.  All films shown are Nature/Science/Historical documentaries, but for the last 2 months out of every year 'The Polar Express' is screened. My boss has recently started pushing hard to get prints of 'The Force Awakens' and 'Rogue One' but our Museum simply can't afford them. Over the next 3 years our film projectors will be phased out as we upgrade to Digital, and I'm making it my goal not only to see every goddamn thing I can up there, but also to screen any kind of Narrative film besides 'The Polar Express'. The kind of films I'd want to see, like '2001' or 'Tron' unfortunately aren't 'family friendly' enough for our audiences. Some examples of what we've shown in the past are 'Harry Potter', 'Night At The Museum' and 'The Lion King'. I'm too new to the job to even begin to discuss how our programming and distribution from the studios works, but it's the next thing I'm really curious about after I've gotten the whole projection process down.

  I feel really lucky to be in this position for a myriad of reasons. I get to learn a process that won't be around for much longer in this format and use my knowledge to contribute to keeping it afloat wherever possible. I will also finally have a thorough understanding of how film works at the highest level. I've always been really intimidated by it, and thought it'd be too expensive for me to ever use myself, but the more I project it I may reach a comfort level with the technology that allows me to learn the photography side of it just as well. I'm also seeing how a movie theater runs, in the most old fashioned sense of everything depending on the film being perfectly locked in and ready to go.

  Unfortunately our ticket sales have been really low for a long time. I think it's an issue with our programming. Most customers are parents with their young children, and our movies don't quite appeal to that crowd. They're all really dry documentaries, these kids aren't gonna settle for anything less than Pixar. The films that do really hold their attention are the ones full of all different kinds of animals, but we haven't been playing anything like that for MONTHS! It's peculiar to me, that we wouldn't try to milk everything we can out of our most successful movies. Maybe it's that we need clearance from the distribution company before we screen their prints? This is all stuff I'll need to go over with my boss once I've gotten into the swing of things.

  I've been enjoying myself, learning a lot and trying to immerse myself in film more and more everyday. Watching tons of movies and feeling less guilty or lazy about it, because it only makes me care more about my job. Whereas watching movies was something I used to do to distract me from the day. They take on a much grander scope in my mind now because my interests and aptitudes towards it have been affirmed, instead of always brushed aside by myself and others as some worthless hobby. Everyday I feel a little closer to being a filmmaker, but for now I just have to focus on being a good projectionist, or 'Reelist', if you will.
 
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Lottery

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Re: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE - modage wuz robbed!
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 08:29:09 PM »
+1
  ...or 'Reelist', if you will.
 

Aaaayyyyyyyyyy.

But really, that's awesome to hear.
Very specific technical knowledge. The last of our local 35mm projectors were converted to digital back around 2012.
I'd hate to see IMAX become a 'historical' format. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any film IMAX theaters left in my country.

Hopefully, Dunkirk will get more butts into them IMAX them seats. Relevant to this thread, Dunkirk is shot entirely on IMAX and 65mm.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE - modage wuz robbed!
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 08:35:01 PM »
+1
That's fantastic! I'm jealous and/or happy for you.

The Science Museum of Minnesota has had the Omnitheater for a while. I remember going there on field trips in elementary school. Seeing high-definition nature and space documentaries projected on this dome absolutely blew my mind. Think about it... you'll have the chance to create those transformative experiences for today's youngsters.

Meanwhile, the IMAX theater I grew up with (we're talking floor-to-ceiling curved screen IMAX) has literally been demolished.
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Sleepless

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Re: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE - modage wuz robbed!
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2017, 10:34:57 AM »
+1
That's awesome. Really happy for you (I know you're in your element) and I'm just as fascinated about the business decisions behind it all too. The science museum near me is, I believe, one of the few remaining genuine IMAX theaters in Texas. Their documentary programming smacks of the same issues you described, but they often get non-family-friendly blockbusters screened there too. Last movie I saw there is going back a ways (Dark Knight Rises) and it was a full house, plus a packed lobby waiting for the next showing when we came out.

Reelist

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Re: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE - modage wuz robbed!
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2017, 06:12:16 PM »
+10
Well, I've been doing it a little over two months now and I can handle every part of the process on my own, but I don't think I've fully grasped what all of those steps are for, if you follow. I'm really just trying to memorize everything in the correct order so it becomes second nature and it's almost impossible for me to screw up as long as I go by that drill. So, even though I've threaded up and played many films by this point, I haven't yet been entrusted with running the theater entirely on my own. Which I am prepared to do, but it will be a stressful day when it does come. I will like working on my own because there won't be the feeling of eyeballs on my every move, making sure I don't miss anything. I'll also have that sense of pride in knowing that these people got to watch their movies today because of me, and only me.

It's bizarre to work with Film everyday, the relationship is so intimate. You're lugging these massive reels around and touching the film in this variety off odd ways that feel so unnatural at first. The celluloid itself is very strong, it's the equipment that's super sensitive and prone to mess something up with the smallest glitch. Man, I've made pretty much every blunder you possibly can, but I've learned that it's all pretty much to be expected and the training process is really closer to 5 months. Where I am now, I can do everything, but that doesn't mean I understand how it all works.

Anyways, today was good because I got to work with the 3rd projectionist of our crew who I hadn't been with before, and he's exactly the type of mentor I need in this whole learning process. He's been projecting films for 60 years and it seemed like everything that came out of his mouth was something even more helpful and interesting. The other guys I work with are a little more jaded by all of it, their particular life circumstances seemed to have gotten in the way of them handing me down any real wisdom. It's a weird give and take because the one guy, who I've known for years really hounds me and gets on my ass when I mess up, and the other one is the most easygoing guy about it, but he seems to really want to do all the work himself. Since he's not there to see what I'm being taught everyday he really doesn't know how far along I am in the training and freaks out whenever he see's me doing stuff on my own.

I've been unnecessarily stressing out about this job when I make little mistakes and assume their thinking "well, maybe he's not cut out for this after all," but working with a guy like George today who's been doing it for so long and seen the worst of it finally got it through to me that a lot of things are going to fuck up along the way and our job is basically just damage control.
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Reelist

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Re: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE - modage wuz robbed!
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2017, 07:40:13 PM »
+4
That's fantastic! I'm jealous and/or happy for you.

The Science Museum of Minnesota has had the Omnitheater for a while. I remember going there on field trips in elementary school. Seeing high-definition nature and space documentaries projected on this dome absolutely blew my mind. Think about it... you'll have the chance to create those transformative experiences for today's youngsters.

That has been the single most gratifying part of the job so far. Right now we're getting an influx of school groups everyday since their year is winding down and it's the only time we ever have a packed house. We keep a microphone in the theater that's feeding into the projection booth so we can check on the sound quality at all times, and after eavesdropping on whatever inane bullshit they're talking about, when the lights go down there's always this cacophony of screams. Then the image comes up and there's a resounding "WHOOOAAAAA!!!" throughout the theater.  And you'll hear kids like "Oh my god! This is awesome!" What's so cool about it is that we are using IMAX for it's highest function right there, to amaze and educate. Our regular theatergoers are very skeptical about the whole thing, I don't think most of them come into the theater having much of a grasp of what they're about to see. It's hard to gage their reactions unless they speak up about it. I've heard a guy say "Oh, it's one of the old fashioned ones that feels like you're in a bubble and make you all dizzy," and people who flat out loved it and want to know everything on our schedule. Those kids have no financial stake in the deal, they get to be in a movie theater instead of a classroom. We don't get any happier customers than that.
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