Reframing the frameless: The evolution and future of large format and premium format film
Fink, John Joseph
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This thesis examines the relationship between artistic practices and market forces that has forced the history of cinema to repeat in large format. The evolution of the IMAX format mirrors the development of 35MM cinema; like early cinema, IMAX initially developed and presented itself as a medium of spectacle with the goal of reproducing reality. In response to over capacity in the North American motion picture exhibition market and the studio-imposed transition to digital projection, the IMAX format, along with other proprietary large screen digital formats have become attractions in regional multiplexes. Initially influenced in large part by the documentary traditions of the National Film Board of Canada, IMAX films were traditionally produced in five genres for institutional markets. This paper traces the evolution of the format including early attempts to subvert the format's NFB origins including experimental filmmaking (Stan Brakhage's Night Music ), and the Sony Corporation's first narrative films ( Across the Sea of Time 3D and Wings of Courage). Trends in exhibition chronicled in this paper include the addition of new experiences within existing commercial multiplexes, including luxury amenities and enhanced experiences such as Digital 3D, Dolby Atmos sound, and D-Box Motion Code seats; often commanding premium upgrade fees from patrons. This paper is a call to action: content must respond to new modes of spectatorship and filmmakers must rethink the use of cinematic space fully leveraging new technologies and modes of spectatorship that have paradoxically moved us closer and further from Andre Bazin's Myth of Total Cinema.