The IMAX Private Theatre … WOW, just WOW!

2015-02-17T13:33:33+00:00February 17th, 2015|Audio, Beginner Articles, Features, Home, Video|Comments Off on The IMAX Private Theatre … WOW, just WOW!

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IMAX Private Theatre Rendering 2 (Custom)The above image shows a view of the IMAX compound curvature screen in the first IMAX Private Theatre installation measuring in at 24.2 feet wide by13.3 feet high.

Together these components cause audiences to feel as if they are a part of the on-screen action, creating a more intense, immersive and exciting experience than in a traditional home theatre.
The room measurements of the first IPT installed are 38.4 feet wide by 40.4 feet long by 15.7 feet high, and it can “comfortably” seat 40 people. The following image shows the seating configuration along with the custom lighting system that can change colours via remote control.

The IPT incorporates the standard dual digital 4K projectors positioned in a projector room behind the rear wall of the theatre. The images from the two projectors are combined via a patented mirror system to enable 3D projection and also to ensure the high lumen light output required to provide sufficient contrast and brightness (see for more detailed specifications).

The IMAX Private Theatre uses the same technology the company uses in commercial multiplexes: a curved floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screen; a high-resolution, dual-projection system that can handle 2-D and 3-D formats; and an audio system with laser-aligned loudspeakers and microphones that perform daily calibrations to ensure perfect sound. It is modeled after the private and relatively small screening room IMAX built in Santa Monica, California, for filmmakers to see their movies in the format before the public release.

IMAX recently signed an agreement with startup Prima Cinema to make select first-run films in the IMAX format available to customers on the same day they come out. Prima electronically delivers first-run studio movies to private screening rooms for about $500 each. The Prima Cinema movie server system costs approximately $35,000. Although the Prima Cinema system can be used for any home theatre, only the IPT can leverage the benefits of the IMAX DMR films in their original format. The Prima system for non-IPT home theatres, actually stores a modified version of the IMAX film that is suitable for more typical home theatre environments.

One of the key attractions of the IMAX Private Theatre is that it is designed as a complete and integrated system, rather than a number of disparate components assembled in a room as is often the case with many home theatre systems. Every aspect of the IMAX Private Theatre – from IMAX’s renowned projection and sound technology to the room acoustics and theatre geometry – work as a fully integrated solution that IMAX optimizes specifically for your home.

Furthermore, there is great attention to custom detail when IMAX creates the optimal viewing environment by engineering the room’s shape and seating placement to fully exploit the features of the legendary IMAX screen. The screen, which is curved and spans from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, results in a full panoramic view that fills your peripheral vision more than any other cinematic experience, giving you the feeling that you are part of the action.

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This first IMAX Private Theatre was a replacement of a relatively recent Asian made 4K projection system. To re-iterate, when asked about the performance of the IPT the proud new owner was quoted as saying; “WOW … just WOW!”

The IPT Installation And Support Process

As I am sure you can appreciate, the installation process is pretty involved and goes through the following steps:

  • The homeowner’s architect and local IMAX distribution / support representative (typically a local technology / home theatre consultant) meet with the Mississauga-based IMAX design team to determine the room dimensions and characteristics based on the desired number of seats and the owner’s house layout.
  • Then a custom design is created by the IMAX team, including the IMAX proprietary dual digital 4K projection system and the 7.2 audio system (IMAX manufactures its own proprietary speakers, surround systems and amplifiers including some components from third party suppliers). The key is that it is engineered as a fully integrated system based on the situational demands.
  • The IMAX team then provides a final design for approval and works hand in hand with the local IMAX homeowners architect on the deployment plan.
  • Although IMAX does not perform the actual theatre construction, every phase of this activity is supervised by the IMAX team to ensure proper quality control.
  • Once the theatre shell, racks and cabling requirements are completed, the IMAX team then installs all of the IMAX technology (with the involvement of the IMAX local representative) and tunes it as necessary.
  • When all of the pieces are in place, a short period of customer acceptance testing is performed and then the IPT is ready for regular customer use.
  • An IMAX Network Operations Centre (NOC) has been established to provide 24/7 monitoring and tuning support to ensure real time optimum performance and very little downtime for IPT customers.

This rigorous installation and support process for the IPT (modeled after the IMAX commercial theatre processes) is also one of the key differentiators for IPT customer satisfaction.

What’s Next for the IMAX Private Theatre?
IMAX completed the first IPT installation to rave reviews in Beverly Hills, California in December 2013. Since then, seven more theatres have been sold; three in California (in addition to the original installation), one in Arizona, two in Florida and one in India, totaling eight in all. And so as not to be like the shoe cobbler’s children, IMAX also has plans to install a full IPT at its headquarters facilities in Mississauga.

The second IPT which is underway will be installed in Bel Air, California by the end of 2014. It will be a 60 seat theatre using all of the standard IMAX IPT technologies / components and a screen size of 32 feet wide by 18 feet high … another “comfortable” home theatre.

The first IPT that was actually sold will be the third to be installed. The home is an 80,000 square foot mansion on four acres of oceanside property in Hillsboro Beach, Florida just north of Fort Lauderdale and is named “Le Palais Royale”. The house is currently for sale and listed for $139 Million, the most expensive residential real estate listing in the USA.

Construction details for Le Palais Royale are nearing completion and the theatre is currently in the design stage, with a “working plan” for 17 seats and a screen size of 22.5 feet wide by 13.0 feet high. Installation completion for the theatre is scheduled for January 2015.

The IMAX IPT Team has also received a number of requests for full IPT theatres in smaller high-rise situations. So the team is currently working on a design that can be accommodated within in a 12 foot height limitation, without compromising the IPT standards of performance. It will utilize all of the same IMAX projection and sound technologies but with a smaller screen size of 18 feet wide by 10 feet high, in a room size of 30 feet long by 22.5 feet wide. This smaller theatre size will accommodate 15 people.

While the strategy for the IPT is to look for opportunities in markets like Russia, Europe and the Middle East, new configuration opportunities are currently being explored for IMAX Private Theatres in exclusive multi-dwelling condominiums in the USA.

IMAX is also currently in negotiations with an international yacht manufacturer to install IPTs in very exclusive high end yachts.

So it appears that the demand for the IMAX Private Theatre is alive and growing, and over time will become a significant part of the IMAX portfolio.

Finally, let’s take a look at other initiatives on the go at IMAX that will impact the IPT product and should be of interest to home theatre enthusiasts.

The IMAX Private Theatre

“Le Palais Royale”, an 80,000 square foot mansion in Hillsboro Beach, Florida is among the first IMAX Private Theatre installations

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