Chelsea, AL, February 7, 2007 — MediaMerge, the largest third-party IMAX servicing agent in the world, has added an 11th IMAX theater to its technical support roster. The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore signed MediaMerge as its IMAX Service Provider recently, activating a multi-year support program for the renowned museum’s St. John Properties 3D IMAX theater.
The Maryland Science Center is a leader in IMAX film production and exhibition. The museum has received National Science Foundation grants for its involvement in the production of large-format films, and it has been a showplace for IMAX films since its theater opened in 1987.
Now the Maryland Science Center has made the decision to protect one of its crowd-pleasing assets with MediaMerge and the IMAX Service Partnership Program. Through this arrangement, MediaMerge will provide the regular maintenance required by IMAX, and the Maryland Science Center will have access to 24-hour phone support and emergency on-site service by MediaMerge’s IMAX-certified personnel.
“The reason we chose MediaMerge is the company has grown in its experience with servicing IMAX theaters over the last five years, and they obviously know how to handle the servicing and maintenance issues,” said Jim O’Leary, Senior Director of the Maryland Science Center. “They have an experienced staff that we have confidence in, and not the least of the reasons is the fact that it’s a money-saving venture for us to go with MediaMerge and share the service plan among MediaMerge, ourselves and IMAX Corporation. IMAX service and maintenance has been a significant part of our budget, so anything that we can do to reduce those costs while maintaining a high level of on-screen time is really important to us.”
A bit of shared history provided further impetus for the Maryland Science Center to work with MediaMerge’s personnel. MediaMerge’s Director of Technical Services, Doug Jackson, launched his IMAX career at the Maryland Science Center, where he worked as a projectionist in the theater when it opened in 1987. “Doug Jackson used to work for me years ago, and I trust him,” O’Leary added. “He’s good to work with, and he is dependable. Those were additional factors in our decision to go with MediaMerge.”
Having worked in and around IMAX theaters for 20 years, Jackson knows that 24-hour support can be a tremendous benefit. “Our goal is to ensure that our clients and their respective customers will not be disappointed by cancelled showings caused by technical failure,” Jackson said. “We are proud that our clients experience almost zero down-time with their IMAX systems as a result of regular maintenance and support.”
Another benefit of the IMAX Service Partnership Program provided by MediaMerge is training of internal Maryland Science Center staff. “Our chief projectionist will attend a two-week training course, so she’ll learn even more than she knows already about the system,” O’Leary commented. “She’s performed IMAX projection duties here and other venues for more than a decade, so she’s very experienced, but this intensive course will bring her level of understanding and expertise up a notch.”
“We work with our clients to create the best possible IMAX experience for their audience,” said Jackson. “Whether we’re working with them on the phone, or checking in with them during one of our regular site visits, we share our expertise and learn from the experience of those working in the theaters every day. Through our constant involvement with IMAX systems, we are able to provide real value to our partners.”
The Maryland Science Center upgraded its IMAX theater to 3D in September 2000. The following year, the center premiered a film it produced in collaboration with the BBC, The Human Body. The large-screen feature was recognized as the Best Film For Lifelong Learning at the 2002 Giant Screen Theatre Association (GSTA) conference, the giant screen industry’s key annual event. Next on the marquee for the Maryland Science Center will be the release in March 2007 of another collaborative production effort, Dinosaurs Alive, a 3D IMAX film.
Of the Maryland Science Center’s commitment to IMAX, O’Leary spoke of the format’s enduring appeal to audiences. “IMAX really takes people to places that they wouldn’t normally otherwise go — the Amazon, the top of Mount Everest, underwater or even the moon.”
MediaMerge, Inc. was established in February 2001 to provide design, installation, service and support for sound, video, control, acoustics and theatrical lighting systems. In 2002, the company established an IMAX service division which rapidly grew to become the largest such operation in the world.
The company?s media integration customer base consists primarily of houses of worship and other facilities utilizing media systems to deliver high-impact audio and visual presentations. Since its inception, MediaMerge has been growing at a steady pace and currently has a client list that includes churches in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.