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IMAX laser projectors and 12-channel surround sound to arrive in UK by summer

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News Based on facts, either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

(Pocket-lint) - IMAX will introduce its first laser projectors into the UK, alongside a new 12-channel surround sound system, at the end of this summer.

IMAX senior executive VP Greg Foster told Pocket-lint that the first UK cinema to receive the IMAX laser projectors and new 12-channel surround sound system would be the Empire in Leicester Square.

The Empire features the widest screen in the UK which currently can't be filled with traditional bulb projectors. The new laser IMAX projector will mean the full 15.6 metre by 26.5 metre screen is filled. It also means contrast, colour and brightness will be enhanced thanks to the laser's power.

IMAX will also be adding its new 12-channel surround sound system in this cinema as a UK first. This will feature four overhead speakers that offer true surround sound - much as Dolby did with its Atmos system. The new IMAX surround features double the number of channels that the current system offers. Since the current sound system is stunning, you can imagine how encapsulating this new version should be.

IMAX also recently announced that its brand new digital 2D cameras, created with camera specialist ARRI, will be used to film the entire Marvel Avengers: Infinity Wars movies. Despite these being 2D, the movies will be edited to offer a 3D option also. The first use of this new camera will be seen in Captain America: Civil War, where some scenes are to be shot using it - this is due out in May 2016.


As to which film will be used to show off the opening of the new laser projector and sound system at the Empire is not yet clear. It depends on installation time, but with films like Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation all due for IMAX release, it should be an impressive debut.

When asked about what technology is next, after 3D, high frame rate and high dynamic range, Foster teased that IMAX is working on something else for next year, but wouldn't give any details.

Foster also told us that IMAX private theatres, which can be installed in homes for $2 million, may drop in price by as much as half in the future. Although right now that isn't a priority for the company.

Foster also teased he dreams of a time when IMAX will offer film releases early, ahead of traditional cinemas. While he says this is a dream, the move into Empire Leicester Square, and having Avengers: Infinity Wars shot entirely on IMAX cameras, makes us think this could become a reality.

READ: Why Avengers: Infinity War will be the best IMAX release ever

Writing by Luke Edwards.