Movies are a great way to get away from reality, right?
But newer tech like Screen X is all about putting you in the middle of the action, almost like it was real! Inox Movies have partnered with pioneers of the absolute cinema experience game, CJ 4DX and brought the Screen X format to your friendly neighbourhood (depending on which part of Mumbai you deem as friendly) multiplex at Inorbit mall, Malad. Screen X is a proprietary multi-projection theater technology that takes your experience beyond the main screen of the auditorium. Two additional side screens cover your peripheral vision for a more immersive experience that is different than IMAX and perhaps even more involving as an audience member. The side screens form a natural extension of the image projected on the main screen and depending on the scene and the movie creator’s intent, all three sides can be activated to splash the action across a panoramic 270-degree screen. Inox has been steadily adding new experiences to this particular multiplex in Mumbai and the Screen X auditorium is an addition to the existing ONYX screen, Laserplex, IMAX and MX 4D EFX screens already in operation, making it a regular thrill-seekers destination of choice. With more specialised screens in the pipeline and improved cinema tech at their disposal, expect your traditional movie screen to be a thing of the past.
Screen X sounds cool but the tech behind the name is even cooler. We caught up with the man who spreads the word for this technology globally…Kim Theodore, Chief Partnership Officer - CJ 4DPlex
Stuff: How many projectors do you use to create the Screen X immersiveness?
Kim Theodore: Besides the main front projector, we use at least two projectors on each side, creating the image on the opposing wall. It’s multi-projector and multi-layered technology that makes multiple images look like one seamless picture.
Stuff: Is the content creator’s decision or the technology’s algorithm that decides what goes on the side screens?
KT: It’s a collaboration actually. We pick scenes that we see as most effective and usually about 40-45 minutes of any movie will be converted to Screen X format. It doesn’t make sense to have side screens active during a close-up shot or intense on-screen dialogue. Screen X is used only to heighten the immersiveness of the content.
Stuff: Is the resolution compromised on the side screens or is it identical to the main screen?
KT: That’s a very good question because it depends on the film. Some filmmakers want to use the sides only for peripheral environmental effects whereas some use them actively as part of the canvas. It’s an option to have full resolution images displayed on them, technology-wise but it’s more about the intent of the content creator or producer in this case.
Stuff: We also didn’t spot any ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos. Is this a limitation of the format?
KT: Working with certain sound systems and standards becomes complex when you don’t have a clean side wall. But, we have developed a system that will have speakers beneath the screen on the side or even behind the screen. In the case of Inox at Inorbit (Malad, Mumbai), the speakers are right next to the side projectors, on top of the screen but facing down and that serves very well too. A Dolby Atmos sound system can be installed along with Screen X but that’s a decision taken by the theatre owner as it involves higher cost.
Stuff: How many movies have used the Screen X format so far and what’s lined up?
KT: So far, we are intending to have 16-18 titles in 2019 and next year about 24 titles, all Hollywood movies. We are taking this format to alternate material too like sports and music. BTS, the world’s biggest K-Pop band has used Screen X technology too and i’m Bollywood will follow suit too.
Stuff: Is it mandatory to shoot using a Screen X compliant camera system or can it be a post-production process?
KT: It can be done with various methods. The best would be to shoot with our proprietary 3-camera Screen X technology. Another way to do it is to use CG to enhance the side effects screens that matches content with the front screen and the third is a blend where other assets can be used to complement the main screen.
Stuff: Do you foresee consumers paying a premium to see movies in this format?
KT: Of course, in the West where we already have a lot of Screen X auditoriums in operation, the movie-goer typically pays $4-$5 more per movie to view it in the Screen X theatre. But you can also choose to run the movie in 2D mode as a theatre-owner if the movie doesn’t make use of the Screen X technology so it’s a win-win for all.