The IMAX

The IMAX at Pittsburgh Mills is the only true IMAX-sized screen in the area, and the sound system is fantastic.

It’s not necessarily the best place to see an IMAX movie though, but I’ll come back to that in a second.

As for The Waterfront… at some point, they started letting theaters use the IMAX name on standard theaters that were retrofitted with new equipment. The front few rows are removed to accommodate a somewhat larger screen and they install a better sound system – the one at The Waterfront is one of these.

Bigger and louder than normal, but nowhere near true IMAX screen size.

The one at the Science Center is Omnimax, sometimes called IMAX Dome. The screen is gigantic, but spherical. It looks great for movies (mostly documentaries) that are filmed to be seen on that kind of screen, but pretty terrible (in my opinion) with regular theatrical releases.

Now back to the Pittsburgh Mills IMAX. Several years ago, like most true IMAX theaters, it was “upgraded” to IMAX Digital and the old 70mm IMAX film equipment was taken out of service.

Unfortunately, IMAX Digital uses projectors with the same resolution as any digital movie theater, so although the picture you’re seeing is projected onto that giant screen, there is no more detail to fill the space, so what you end up seeing actually looks softer and less detailed than seeing the same movie in a regular theater – and dramatically less crisp and detailed than an actual 70mm film print would look.

Christopher Nolan is a big fan of the IMAX format, and he specifically requires that a certain number of prints of his movies be distributed on 70mm IMAX film. Last time around, with The Dark Knight Rises, we were fortunate enough to get a copy at the Pittsburgh Mills location.

It looked fantastic.

Unfortunately, Interstellar is only going to be shown there in IMAX Digital.

If you’re in it for the big screen and big sound, by all means go there, it’s still a pretty great theater. If you’re more interested in the visual details, though, there are other screens around Pittsburgh that will be showing the movie (on standard sized screens) in the newer 4K resolution, which should offer a much sharper image.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *