Mazer's Rant: Digital IMAX Camera!!!

by Free Reyes

Pleasantly surprised by Red Digital Cinema's big announcement at NAB that they would be releasing "Epic" a 5k camera next year, I started thinking. Who the hell is going to be able to use 5k. The top of the line post facilities can barely handle 4k. In the last couple of years or so you have been able to buy a system that can work with 2k fairly well if you can afford to buy the required RAID storage.

Thinking beyond 4k (the debatable full film resolution of 35mm) got me thinking what is the resolution of IMAX, and what if Red released an IMAX format camera. Also on a technical note. When you watch a movie thats been converted to IMAX it's only upped from 2k to 4k. If you think of it in those terms we already have a Digital IMAX Camera. But what I'm thinking of is full IMAX 70mm chip size and resolution. With some investigation and some math it's somewhere in the ballpark of 9.5k ...yes 9.5k

The "full" IMAX resolution is currently ridiculous. In five years or so it could be manageable. I don't for see problems with processor speeds or storage capacity five years from now. But I see two potential bottlenecks for a fully digital IMAX pipeline.

Number one the speed of storage, Red's 5k Epic will be using Red Flash for storage because it captures at up To 100MB/Sec with Redcode Raw. As IMAX has nearly four times that resolution, it's safe to assume it will be four times the data. The fastest storage I could find works a 250MB/Sec. Red would most likely release a new codec, but I feel that would only take it so far.

Number two monitors, 4k monitors or 4k digital projection is rare. Having a graphics card that can support that is almost myth. 9.5k monitors would again be ridiculous, I'm not sure DVI can even support that much resolution.

If we put 3D into the mix it gets crazy.

- Mazer

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