Although interest in 3D movies is continuing to decline in North America, the recent success of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity proves that if you give people a unique experience on the big screen, they’re still more than willing to pay a premium for it. Filmmakers and exhibitors are still trying to capitalize on this idea even further by building in additional moviegoing enhancements from IMAX and D-Box to Dolby Atmos and HFR. Now this month yet another new technology has emerged from the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, where director Kim Jee-woon premiered a 30-minute film using a new format called ScreenX. Described by some as being the equivalent to “horizontal IMAX,” the technology aims to immerse viewers by providing imagery for their entire field of view. Could this be the next big thing?
ScreenX technology is created by South Korea’s largest cinema chain, CJ CGV Co., and it makes use of projected images along the theatre walls to create a 270-degree view. The additional screen space can be used in many different ways, but Kim Jee-woon chose to shoot some scenes with three cameras simultaneously set up at different angles in order to create the final product. There are currently 23 theatres in Seoul that are now ScreenX capable, an upgrade that reportedly cost between $139,300 and $185,800 U.S. dollars.
While it’s unclear if this technology has the potential to expand to other parts of the world, it does have a few advantages. It’s an improvement on 3D because viewers do not need to wear glasses in order to get the immersive experience. Also, it is potentially an improvement on IMAX because viewers can take in more of the horizontal image without moving their head as opposed to a vertical image. However, there are some concerns about problematic seat placement, especially closer to the sides of the theatre. What do you think, does ScreenX seem like it has potential? Could you see it eventually replacing 3D or IMAX? Check out a couple of sample videos below.