DAVID KEIGHLEY is the Chief Quality Officer at IMAX and has been involved in the post-production of more than 400 IMAX films. He oversees as president of IMAX’s post-production image and quality control subsidiary, DKP 70MM Inc., co-founded with his wife and business partner, Patricia, in 1972 and acquired by IMAX in February 1988. Keighley was appointed Executive Vice President of IMAX in July 2007 and previous to that had been Senior Vice President since July 1997. As CQO, David Keighley is an icon in the industry, earning a sterling reputation through his meticulous attention to detail and his sense of personal responsibility to the work he’s done for the best, brightest and most innovative filmmakers. In his 43+ years working with IMAX film, digital and dome formats, David has been involved with the vast majority of large format films to be released. To this day, no film or trailer leaves the IMAX lab without his personal approval and his vast knowledge and experience are the central pillar on which the quality of the IMAX brand is based. Keighley is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and participates in the Academy’s Science and Technology Awards Committee. He is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and a recipient of its Herbert T. Kalmus Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Color Motion Pictures. He has also received the Giant Screen Theater Association’s inaugural Special Achievement in Film.





  1. Erik Dumas says:

    Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a lecture from David Keighly like we expected. However, Matt Scott gave a great seminar in his stead! Honestly, before that seminar, I had not idea what made IMAX different besides the fact that it is in a larger format than standard cinema. Hearing the description of what it’s like to work with those enormous cameras and all of the huge rolls of film that they have to use was shocking. It was also really cool and incredibly useful to hear the differences in composition filmmakers need to consider when working with IMAX format versus regular. It was really inspiring stuff and it almost makes me with I was working with live action so I could go out and shoot footage with those fantastic cameras.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed the film we watched at the end, “Flight of the Butterflies.” I’ve only ever watched a couple of IMAX educational films before when I was very young, so it was a really good experience to see one again now that I’m older and can really appreciate a lot of it. I can’t imagine a better format of film for capturing the extreme scale and beauty of the natural world.


  2. Evan Tedlock says:

    I was looking forward to David Keighly’s lecture but when James Bond calls, I can understand. In lieu of Mr. Keighly Matt Scott gave a thorough introduction to the IMAX form. It was news to me how vastly different from standard cinema it is to work with IMAX. It’s not just bigger higher fidelity film but the composition needs to be tailor fit as well. The lower third becomes the focal point and every shot needs to be further pulled out than normal films. The main deterrence for filmmakers is the gratuitous expenses involved with shooting on IMAX film. It’s super heavy and takes extremely specialized equipment to produce. One of the most difficult restrictions is the 3 minute limit per camera load. Given all of its pitfalls, this medium is to this day the highest quality theater experience on the market and so, worth all of the trouble. IMAX has an amazing ability to show the natural world and all of its beauty in a very realistic vision. It’s inspiring to see a 30ft butterfly flapping around on the screen.


  3. David Nessl says:

    Matt’s introduction was informative and I’m glad he stepped in to give us some information on IMAX film and digital production. I now look back to watching Interstellar and The Dark Knight and vaguely remember the changes in aspect ratio from 2:40:1 to 1:43:1. Now that I know this I’m definitely paying attention to the next IMAX film I watch to see if it interrupts the storytelling.
    Blending IMAX with 35mm looks like a collage of ideas that can’t be pinned down to one singular presentation, if presentation even matters when a story is strong enough on its own. I’m not sure how VR works, but there is a possibility that IMAX will be left behind, like the many devices and film processes in the long line of media archaeology we only read about in history books. I’m very excited to be able to use an IMAX screen. I just hope this new theater can stand the test of time in relation to the exponential growth of technology. It’s been around since 1967 so whose to say it won’t standardize the industry in the next 50 years.


  4. Okike Franklin says:

    Matt’s talk on IMAX was seriously innovative!!!. Honestly speaking I really hate IMAX screens in general because the experience always feels like the pictures were too huge and stretched that if an action was happening far left and another ignites far right, I had to literally rotate my head and frankly speaking I sometimes feel like I missed something during my head movement but that was because I always sat close to the screen but my experience with the butterfly documentary was insane because I took the back seats (sweet-spot-unlocked)!!

    It almost felt like I was on a roller-coaster due to the smooth camera movements.
    The best part of that documentary for me is probably Matt’s least favourite, the CG butterfly in the sky. I wish I could crop that section of the documentary and keep it on an infinite loop. The attention to details and secondary actions from the wings to the hairs on the butterfly were impeccable.

    It was funny when Matt pointed out the grey area with the documentary where they show the life cycle of a precious and delicate insect on one hand and they kill some butterflies to show the same life cycle of once said precious and delicate insect on the other hand.
    It was a productive experience and now, I wait for GAME NIGHT!!!


  5. Joseph Etemadi says:

    IMAX is truly unbelievable. I personally love IMAX, and I always enjoy watching IMAX films. The best IMAX I have ever seen has got to be Kelly Slater Ultimate Wave Tahiti. I always wish they would show it, but they never do…

    There is a level of clarity and focus in IMAX films unlike anything else. I couldn’t help but think of how amazing it was that these film makers managed to capture those millions of butterflies in such a high degree of detail and focus. IMAX does a great job of bringing the natural beauty of the world to the big screen, and enhances all of the color and intensity in the process.

    Big thanks to Matt for presenting to our class. He did a great job explaining the differences between IMAX film and ratio. I am looking forward to working more with IMAX art and animation in the future.


  6. Amir Arzanian says:

    I was so excited to see David Keighly but unfortunately he could not attend in this seminar. Instead of that Matt Scott had a very useful and informative presentation about IMAX format. I watched so many movies on IMAX and I always thought IMAX as just enormous images but I had no idea that it needs a specific artistic considerations in composition and other aspects. For example focal point in IMAX images should be at the lower third of the picture. It was interesting to know about IMAX cameras. They are giant machines which they are really heavy and complicated to operate. Matt showed us a 3D IMAX documentary that it was absorbing. The subject of the documentary was something that it seems not really compelling to me but experience of watching butterflies in 3D IMAX was really exciting. The reason that this film absorb me more than that I expected was that it was shot specifically for IMAX 3D and all of the settings required for this medium were considered in this film. So the film became really enjoyable to watch.


  7. Kun Xia says:

    Matt Scott’s presentation detailed described the process of IMAX history and the way it works. IMAX really can grabs audience senses. Visually, there is no frame. The picture’s bigger, higher, and wider than people’s field of view. Audience no longer at the window peeking out. And that sensation is intensified by the sound. It’s all around the audience and it’s real. Whether the audience are in a theater or a dome, the effect is amazing. The screen is large enough to fill people’s field of vision. By doing this, the screen gives audience an incredible feeling of immersion, and it also enhances the feeling of motion. It has the highest-resolution cameras in the world. Projection lights is very bright. And also the sound system so precise audience can hear a pin drop from across the room and know exactly where it fell.


  8. Katie Smith says:

    I really enjoyed Matt Scott’s presentation!! It was incredibly informative, and made me feel very inspired for our final project. There are so many intricacies with IMAX, and I’m very thankful to have received some intel from Matt – it will really help when it comes down to storyboarding and finalizing work for our projects. Specifically, how sound plays such a big part, how you want to slow down things so the audience can take in everything, and where the ‘sweet spot’ is on the screen. (And how you want to make sure you ‘close up’ isn’t TOO close up, that it could end up looking like whatever is on the screen is going to eat you.) It was also really interesting seeing just how large the actual IMAX film reel is… it’s insane. I’ll certainly be taking Matt’s advice and also doing film studies of movies that were made specifically for IMAX, like ‘Interstellar.’ I’m looking forward to learning more of the rules of IMAX and how to make work for it, since it really is such a big part of our film-going mainstream. I’m very much looking forward to seeing David Keighly’s presentation down the line and getting more invaluable knowledge about this format.


  9. Hyeon Jeong Cho says:

    For very long time, I just thought IMAX is just bigger and clearer screen than the normal one. However, thanks to Matt, I’ve got the idea of what actual IMAX is.
    As the size is bigger, the time to accept the information in a screen should be longer, and the composition is totally different than the normal screen – are absolutely new information for me. The information gave me the passion of Expanded Animation project! Thank you Matt Scott for introducing what the IMAX is!

    The presentation made me want to watch the ‘proper’ IMAX movie again so that I can figure out the difference and special feature of IMAX film consciously.

    It is such a big fortune that our school has IMAX facility, hope to use it as many as possible before I graduate here! Also, I’m so happy for the presentation from David Keighly, tomorrow!!


  10. Yijie Li says:

    Long ago, the IMAX for me is just a purely technological method to show “bigger” and “clearer”, but tonight, Matt Scott’s presentation, reveal the IMAX’s secrets in his own special perspective.

    Go back to my previous experience of IMAX like “The Dark Knight Rises”, to be honest, I couldn’t feel it really comfortable when watching it even at the middle line of the theater. I must say it was really stunning when watching the scene of hijacking the plane over ten thousands feet, its emotional punch is outstanding in conveying the tension of the shot which served the story really well. However, the drawback is I can not focused on the other characters’ acting or details which is quite unsatisfied to me.

    Matt’s theory about the bigger resolution brings the slower pace of the shot then to change the rhythm of the film which I find it reasonable to accept. What is interesting is that Matt reveals that filming the documentary especially is about the nature, it contains the grey zone such as interfering the nature to achieve its goal.


  11. Yu Yu says:

    The screen became smaller and smaller today. But at the same time, they could be bigger and bigger! A wider screen can make audience get in to the plot more than the smaller ones, but shooting on an IMAX camera also has lots of thing have to pay attention on. To avoid audience to turn around their heads to sense that they were watching a film, it’s interesting to learn some difference skills to film an IMAX movie. It also surprised me that IMAX began at 1967. I wonder when did people found out the down line shooting rule!

    David Keighley also showed us what’s the difference between traditional films and digital films. If we enlarge those two kinds of films, the digital will be flat color squares, and the traditional film will be irregular dust, more organic. No wonder people kept saying that traditional films are warmer! I think I will film a traditional film someday if I have the chance.


  12. Tuo Kan says:

    This introduction of IMAX told us some basic knowledge of how to make a film showing perfectly in IMAX screen. Some of the tips I got is total brand new for me. Like when you decide a composition of the shot, you have to make the center that you want people to focus in the middle of the screen and a little bit lower. And the upper part of the screen is better without any information, only leave the environment there.

    After that, they showed us a documentary about butterflies’ immigration. And I noticed that all the compositions are follow the rule. But I could not questioning myself more. As a film maker, we have our ideas to deliver. And these feelings, ideas have to deliver to audiences by the compositions that we want. If we just simply follow the rules, will we be controlled by the screen and lose the possibilities to extend our imaginations out of the screen. So IMAX screen is bigger or smaller?


  13. Shang Song says:

    IMAX is the future. Perhaps the future of the screen than IMAX huge. This is what I have to think about as an animation director. MostlyI just facing the display of his 15 inch MacBook Pro, and sometimes is 22 inch LCD Dell and, of course, YouTube little play window.
    Now I’m thinking more about “my animation is playing on a super wide screen,” “if my animation is shown in IMAX” and so on.
    Finally, I like the documentary about the butterfly migration. I rarely see this wonderful documentary, I have learned a lot.


  14. Yingzong Xin says:

    I, as a fan of the IMAX film, been looking forward to David Keighly speech, although unfortunately I did not see the speech, but Mr. Matt Scott explained to IMAX’s still very exciting. Before I just feel for the IMAX movie very very clear, we do not know the shooting IMAX movie takes so much technology and science and technology. Mr. matt IMAX cameras for very understanding, and we are very detailed introduction to the process of shooting and recording IMAX movie, and in the classroom IMAX 3D shows a short film, a short film about butterflies, very amazing, very pleased that Mr. Matt’s speech, made me more deeply understand and feel the charm and meaning IMAX movies.


  15. Although we couldn’t have Mr. David Keighly to give us a speech, Mr. Matt Scott pinpointed some significant dimensions of IMAX’s development and history which truly broadened my horizon and helped me to catch up with the latest trend precisely and deeply. He also mentioned that it’s essential to experiment and take advantage of advanced technology to shoot and screen films for preventing own works from disappearing in the future. At the same time, it is the best way to echo evolution of modern era, keeping every creation immersive and organic. Besides, with his clear introductions about color contrast, I will keep an eye on that part when I start to make an animation for IMAX.


  16. Jing Huang says:

    IMAX is amazing. The future of the screen than IMAX huge which is what I have to think about as an animation director. The best part of this work for me is also Matt’s favourite, the CG butterfly in the sky.
    I wish I could follow up the animation that the attention to details and secondary actions from the wings to the hairs on the butterfly are really incredible.
    I am happy that we have the opportunity to have the privilege of IMAX, hope to use it as many as possible before I graduate here! Also, I’m so happy for the future work on IMAX with thus amazing people!


  17. Jinyue Wan says:

    I really enjoy the experience of IMAX screening. It’s fantastic!

    The story of butterfly’s movie maybe is not that touching, but its looks great in IMAX screen. When the butterflies fly to the camera, it’s just seems like it will hit on the audiences’ face! I really stunned by the visual experience that the IMAX gave to me in this class. I believe the IMAX will become more and more popular.

    Last semester, I used to have a chance to make a 3D video for IMAX screen in class, It’s very awesome to test our own film on such a great device. And the camera movement really can let the audience more involved in the film. I think we all need to learn more about the IMAX.


  18. Min Shi says:

    Matt’s presentation was informative.

    What impressed me most is film we watched at the end, “Flight of the Butterflies.”
    in my opinion, i can not really imagine how film makers capture such millions of butter fly is a frame, these butter fly which be shown is really have a pace, a melody.
    Of course, IMAX does a great job of bringing the natural beauty of the world to the big screen, just like these amazing butterfly. however what imax also do is that it really enhances all of the color and dimension which make every frame more convincing .


  19. yudu says:

    I am a big fan of IMAX, and also I am a big fan of huge images! I have always enjoyed in watching movies or short films in IMAX. Even sometimes I will get sick and dizzy for a little bit because of the overwhelming images, I feel like this is the experience that no other thing can bring to me the same.
    Although David Keightly couldn’t come, I am appreciated Matt for clearly explaining the IMAX film and ratio. Big thanks for that. In addition, I could never imagine the IMAX film is that big compared to the normal film!!! That explained why shooting in IMAX is a lot more expensive….


  20. Mayra Flores says:

    This IMAX presentation took me back to my first semester here since it was the one that was given to our class in preparation for our final project in Expanded Animation. IMAX is awesome. The IMAX experience is unlike any other cinematic experience. I don’t know how I feel about this push to make it more and more commercial but it makes sense that it needs to make money since it is so expensive. I don’t know how well traditional narrative works when exploring scientific subjects. Those scientist characters in the butterfly films were a little much and I don’t think we need to name the butterflies and give them a dramatic story line to be engaged in their life cycle. That whole thing about IMAX films being “too educational” and placing cheesy narrative in between the field footage is lame because IMAX is the perfect medium to explore far away places without mediocre actors telling us what’s going on through awkward dialogue and acting.


  21. Jinzhi Du says:

    Thanks for Matt’s presentation to fill up this unfortunate absent. Got these IMAX knowledge agian. I still remember that last semester we put our 579 projects on IMAX screen. That was amazing. I really appreciate this experience. And I also wish I can put my work on the IMAX screen again.

    I still have a question about the butterfly film. I just do not know why those real butterfly look so fake on the IMax screen. >皿<


  22. xiruiliu says:

    It is so sad that we cannot have David Keighly lecture in this semester. Thanks to Mr. Matt Scott to take this lecture and showing a really beautiful movie in Imax theater. This is not my first time to watch Imax movie, but it is my first time to learn the basic knowledge of Imax. Scott shows the different film roll of normal film and Imax film to us. It is really heavy when I touch it and I can image how precious of those film roll it is.

    After I learned the expensive price of making an Imax film. We watched a film named butterfly at the end. It is describe the migration of butterfly and showing a lot of really beautiful scenes in this film, when I watch this film, I am already been involved in the butterfly world.

    It is so amazing that I can learn such a cool thing in this semester.


  23. Aya Kashima says:

    Even though we couldn’t get lecture from David Keighly, I enjoyed learning about IMAX theater. As an animator, it is important to think about what kind of media is the best choice to show animation. Since there is more 3D animation, IMAX is crucial because it helps audience to feel presence of movie’s atmosphere. While watching “flight of the butterflies”, I felt like many butterflies are flying in the theater. I even try to touch them. I usually don’t watch movie in IMAX but this class shows me the potential for IMAX.


  24. Joe Stucky says:

    Thank you Matt for filling in during our original scheduled lecture from David Keighly. Your lecture was great, and the information was good to hear.

    I did enjoy the Monarch film, but where were the bees:)?

    It was so great to get to hear David talk about IMAX and his experiences from his early interests in the medium. It is refreshing to hear from specialists that are still so thrilled in their mediums of choice. I do appreciate the difference between digital and film. It would be so great to create on IMAX film one day. Until then I will hold onto my little artifact.

    Thank you.


  25. Zhaoyu Zhou says:

    It is sad that we missed him but I love what I saw in the IMAX theatre, IMAX is an amazing epxerience for audience because we are emerged with such a big screen. The visual experience is so different nowadays with the existence of IMAX.


  26. mengna Lei says:

    after this speech, I really obtained a good knowledge of IMAX film which I totally have no idea before. I feel shocking when I see the huge roll of film is so different than the regular one. what is more, I am appreciated that I got a good explanation about how to shoot the IMAX film and how difference of the camera for IMAX. I really like the butterfly film. it is a really good topic and with a very good visual experience. It is funny when he tell us which part is artificial and faked.
    I really like this lecture and I feel satisfied about the IMAX equipment.


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