Andrew Stewart | Manager, Corporate Communications
As the first in a new series of FRIDAY FEATURE stories profiling the unsung heroes of IMAX, I’d like to introduce one of the IMAX engineers who helped bring an exciting new initiative — along with many other IMAX innovations — to life.
His name is Craig Chambers; the initiative is called IMAXShift (studio pictured above).
For those of you who haven’t heard, IMAXShift is an immersive group cycling concept built around the primary components of The IMAX Experience®.
It’s been a huge undertaking for many people here at the Company, including Chambers, who as one of just three full-time IMAX installers, helped drive the whole nuts-and-bolts operation of IMAXShift.
Trained to do standard IMAX installs, Chambers says he began his work at IMAX in 2010 installing theatres internationally. Since then, he’s shifted his focus to unique and new installations (insert IMAXShift).
Based in Toronto, Chambers, 31, earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto. He describes himself as an enthusiastic hockey player and weightlifter, with experience in “hands-on electrical technology,” as well as robotics and nuclear engineering.
Chambers says all three of the full-time IMAX installers come from different backgrounds and bring with them different expertise — a must-have, according to Chambers.
“You couldn’t put a fully technical person in there … and you couldn’t have a purely managerial type in there either,” Chambers says.
With IMAXShift, Chambers says the biggest challenge was balancing the unknown — the greatest test of developing any new technology. But he describes the end product as a “magnetizing and empowering” experience.
“It was entertaining enough just to watch the class without trying it,” Chambers says. “I’m not a natural athlete, but I’m interested in the concept of ‘entertaining fitness.’
“[IMAXShift] is truly unique in that way,” he adds.
With IMAXShift (mostly) in his rear-view mirror, Chambers says he’s shifted his attention to implementing a new mechanism that would drastically help in-theatre installations by unrolling the generally 700-pound IMAX screen like a toilet-paper roll.
And similar to IMAXShift, seeing the final product in action makes the efforts by Chambers and the team of installers all worthwhile.
Gearing Up With Some Fun Tidbits About IMAXShift:
· Initial test studio is located in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood.
· The purpose-built studio can accommodate up to 50 riders at a time.
· The IMAXShift screen is about 40-feet wide and weighs in at approximately 200 pounds, which according to Chambers, “for a fitness center, is massive.”
· Studios feature a raised platform putting users on the horizon of the image.
· Participants will feel like they are cycling through the solar system, soaring over the coasts of Hawaii or pedaling to the beat with music-reactive visuals — all designed to pair seamlessly with each instructor's choreography.
· Content is produced with the instructor so that each class is unique and designed to maximize the workout experience.
If you enjoyed this post, please stay tuned to FRIDAY FEATURE for more exciting news from IMAX.com!