Behind the Scenes at Empire Leicester Square’s IMAX
When it was announced that Screen One at the Empire Leicester Square was to be taken down, the initial reaction was one of sadness. The venue had played hosts to a number of memorable film events, and this writer can definitely attest to its rich atmosphere. However in its stead comes a new IMAX screen – the 26th in the UK – and HeyUGuys were offered an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the customised installation.
As always, what immediately strikes you upon walking into an IMAX screening room is the sheer size. The 87-foot wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling curved IMAX screen comes in at a substantial 26.5m x 15.6m, and the room has a seating capacity of 727. Speaking of the seats, they’ve been upgraded to a lush leather that ensures a comfortable viewing experience.
Empire Leicester Square’s IMAX is also strictly digital, and a look at the sleek hardware reveals a powerful system at work. From the speakers to the projector almost everything has been customised for peak performance, and by all accounts the automated and efficient system is easy to operate. It all comes together to deliver the punchy sound and the crisp picture that is now associated with the IMAX brand.
It was explained that each day the system goes through pre-programmed tests – including the light output and the lens output among others – which take roughly an hour. Once those checks have been completed then the system does its work, with the slate for the day already programmed.
Should something go wrong, there are plenty of contingencies in place too, though there have been no incidents so far which have necessitated any action. As our IMAX guide for the day elaborated; “We haven’t had anything severe enough to trigger a signal. They can dial in to help us with anything should it come to that. A computer stays on permanently. We reboot it every morning but they can dial in even with everything turned off”.
Finally we were treated to a number of trailers for upcoming releases, including Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Interstellar. It will be the seventh major Hollywood film to utilise the IMAX camera, and possibly the last time we’ll see a 70 mil IMAX release. If the clip shown was anything to go by it will be a memorable experience, one that’ll be especially enjoyable on an IMAX screen.
This article was originally posted at HeyUGuys.