On the BIG Screen: Why see Oblivion in IMAX?

On the BIG Screen: Why see Oblivion in IMAX?

By: Justin Rule, SCI Chief IMAX Projectionist

Disclaimer: I’m not a film critic, so I won’t be giving a critical review of the film. I am, however, an avid movie watcher and, more specifically, a sci-fi fan!

Oh, I'm also in charge of the Science Center of Iowa’s Blank IMAX Dome Theater, and I was able to preview the film on our six-story IMAX dome this week! All of these things qualify me to let you know why IMAX is the best way to see Oblivion, Tom Cruise’s new action-packed sci-fi flick!

If you’ve heard anything about Oblivion, you’ve heard that - above all - it’s visually stunning. Writer/Director Joseph Kosinski (who's also from Marshalltown, Iowa) knew from the very beginning that he wanted his vision to be shown and look amazing in IMAX. 

Here are a few of the things that make this film perfectly suited for IMAX:

  • Sony's CineAlta F65 camera was used for filming. This digital camera captures images at 4K resolution (that’s 4,000 lines of horizontal resolution), which results in an image with twice the clarity of most digitally captured films.
  • To avoid using green screens, Kosinski utilized a 500 ft wide, 42 ft tall, 270 degree wrap-around screen that used 21 projectors to create a super-high-definition, 15K resolution video of clouds and background action. This means that the background images you see in the movie were filmed in real-time using a super-HD projection that looks stunning on-screen SCI’s six-story IMAX screen.
  • To utilize the larger IMAX screens to their full advantage, the IMAX version of Oblivion is presented with a larger aspect ratio. This means most of the letterboxing (black bars at the top and bottom of the image) have been removed. While most Hollywood films only use 60% of the IMAX screen due to the standard theater letterboxing, Oblivion is shown with minimal letterboxing, presenting an image that fill 80-85% of the entire screen! This is very, very rare, but quite a treat while watching Oblivion at SCI! Tom Cruise even said, "This film is made for IMAX!"
  • Lastly, the cinematography has been done perfectly for the large IMAX screen! When a film is shown in such a large format, steady camera movements, beautiful wide-angle scenes and screen-centered action are key! Oblivion does all of this and more.

For more behind-the-scenes action from Oblivion, check out this 3-minute video Oblivion: IMAX Behind the Frame

The Science Center of Iowa’s Blank IMAX Dome Theater is your place for this summer's most-anticipated sci-fi summer flicks, kicking off with Oblivion, then Star Trek Into Darkness on May 15 (2 days early in IMAX) and Man Of Steel starting June 14! It’s going to be an action-packed summer at SCI!

Oblivion runs through May 2. Get your tickets here!

Justin Rule is SCI's Chief IMAX Projectionist.

Category: IMAX