Disney + has enriched its catalog with 13 Marvel film in IMAX Enhanced. The films, which according to the announcements were to be added to the catalog from 12 November, are actually already available since yesterday in IMAX format expanded , so called because it expands the area actually used vertically compared to the versions normally offered on Disney’s streaming service. This novelty, on which the official communication has focused, is not the only one coming. IMAX Enhanced is in fact a certification program that includes a whole series of specifications and features offered on specially created titles.
The expanded format is therefore only the first of the planned innovations, such as the rest could be guessed by scrolling through the press release issued in recent days. In fact, the information reported includes the following:
In the future, the collaboration will offer even more audio and video technologies advanced and will include DTS IMAX Signature Sound.
In perspective there is so much more than what we wanted to communicate at first: we talk about solutions for both video and audio tracks and a series of requirements to be respected, not only as regards the contents but also for the hardware on which these are reproduced, i.e. televisions, projectors and audio systems. In this in-depth analysis we will better explain all the news available immediately and those that will arrive at a later time, also explaining the benefits available for all and those who instead need certified products.
- THE EXPANDED IMAX FORMAT ARRIVE IMMEDIATELY FOR EVERYONE
- HDR 10 AND DOLBY VISION
- THE OPTIMIZATIONS MADE BY IMAX ON AUDIO AND VIDEO
- FOR A FULL EXPERIENCE YOU WILL NEED A CERTIFIED PRODUCT
- COMPATIBLE PRODUCTS
THE EXPANDED IMAX FORMAT ARRIVES IMMEDIATELY FOR EVERYONE
The IMAX expanded aspect ratio, i.e. the new expanded format, is available to all users regardless of the device used for streaming . Each title in IMAX Enhanced indicates the availability of the additional version with the words “Streaming now in IMAX Enhanced”, highlighted in yellow. Checking then under “Versions”, available in the film tab, you can select the original format or the expanded one.
What changes in practice? Expanded IMAX format is 1. 90: 1 and can therefore show a larger portion of the frame , adding other information on the screen where previously only the black bands were seen. Making a quick comparison is very simple: if we take the case of “Black Widow”, we go from 2. 39: 1 of the original version released in cinemas to the new 1. 39: 1. In the image shown below you can see how streaming in IMAX widens the view both above and below the two actresses; the sun is no longer cut in the same way as the busts and the scene acquires a slightly wider breath.
What reported translates into the possibility of showing up to 26% more than the original frame, in order to propose a vision more faithful to the artistic will of the directors. For this to happen, however, the scenes must have been shot in IMAX format: it is no coincidence that we are talking about streaming in 1. 90: 1 during some scenes . Therefore, we should not expect that the vision will expand for the entire duration of the film but that it will change according to the sequence shown. Obviously there are exceptions like “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame”, shot completely in IMAX and therefore proposed entirely in the new format.
The titles available at the moment are the following (more will arrive soon):
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Avengers: Endgame
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Black Panther
- Black Widow
- Captain America: Civil War
- Captain Marvel
- Doctor Strange
- Iron Man
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Thor: Ragnarok
HDR 10 AND DOLBY VISION
All announced films are available in Ultra HD and HDR resolution in double format. On compatible products, viewing in Dolby Vision with dynamic metadata is offered; on all the others we use HDR 10 with static metadata . The audio is currently offered in Dolby Atmos.
Obviously, for the aforementioned technologies, hardware support is required on the device in use: unlike the expanded IMAX format, this is therefore not a solutions available for everyone.
THE OPTIMIZATIONS MADE BY IMAX ON AUDIO AND VIDEO
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, IMAX Enhanced goes far beyond the expanded format. There are in fact other functions that will arrive later on Disney +, as also clarified by the support page:
Please Note that other IMAX Enhanced features are not currently available on Disney +.
Which ones are precise the optimizations and interventions aimed at improving the user experience? A technology called Digital Media Remastering ( DMR ), developed internally by IMAX. DMR reduces video noise and grain with the aim of still ensuring a faithful representation of artistic intent . An advanced algorithm performs overall image cleansing to eliminate imperfections and ensure vibrant colors, a higher contrast ratio and greater sharpness.
The video part is then completed by the IMAX Signature Sound edited by DTS . Under this name there is a audio processing that starts from the track created for the IMAX rooms . IMAX Enhanced uses the DTS format to replicate the experience of cinemas within the walls as much as possible domestic, trying to preserve the dynamic range of the original mix.
The IMAX Signature Sound will arrive on Disney + with a future update. However, the audio and video enhancements will not be available to all users: to take advantage of them you will need an IMAX Enhanced certified device.
FOR A FULL EXPERIENCE YOU WILL NEED A CERTIFIED PRODUCT
The full experience offered by IMAX Enhanced necessarily requires a TV , projector and certified audio system (clearly you don’t need to use them all together). The program promoted by IMAX and DTS requires compliance with certain quality requirements which include various aspects: video mode, resolution, color reproduction, brightness, contrast ratio and audio capabilities. The ultimate goal is to ensure a high quality audiovisual experience.
Precisely for this reason certified TVs are equipped with a video mode specifically tuned to optimize viewing of IMAX Enhanced content . This means that the products are also subjected to a calibration process to guarantee the aforementioned fidelity to the directors’ artistic vision. From the audio point of view, the certified products recognize the re-adapted version of the DTS and automatically enable the mode capable of exploiting the peculiarities of the IMAX Signature Sound.
It should also be noted that all IMAX Enhanced TVs support DTS decoding , a necessary condition to ensure users have a complete experience with all sound improvements. At the moment there are therefore no certified models that are not compatible with the tracks in DTS.
A selection of the latest IMAX Enhanced certified products is available on the official website. However, it is not a complete list, as you can easily verify by checking the TVs present. It should also be noted that not all models are distributed globally: Hisense televisions, for example, are those for the North American market and differ from those that can be bought in Italy. For completeness of information we also mention Xiaomi, which has some certified models in its catalog that are not available in our country.
We still managed to draw up a list with those that should all be TVs in Europe and Italy:
- 8K Series ZH8
- OLED A9 Series
- OLED A8 Series
- XH Series 95
- XH Series 39
- 8K Series ZG9
- OLED AG9 Series
- OLED AG8 Series
- XG Series 95
- ZF9 Series
- Series OLED AF9
- OLD AF8 series
- OLED A1 series
- 8K Z9J Series
- OLED A Series 90 J
- OLED A Series 80 J
- X Series 95 J
- Series X 90 J
- 8K X Series 915
- Series 8K X 925 Pro
- 8K X Series 925
- Series C 825