IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) and Maximus, a next-generation visual effects company founded by artificial intelligence entrepreneur Dr. Daniel Nadler, have announced a joint venture to deliver A.I.-based high-resolution video enhancement technologies across home entertainment, including solutions for streaming services and smart devices. Previously, Dr. Nadler founded Kensho Technologies, the artificial intelligence firm he sold in 2018, establishing Kensho as the world’s most valuable independently owned A.I. company at the time.
The new joint venture, IMAX AI, will advance A.I.-based solutions for Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K enhancement across smart devices, new and library content, as well as real-time enhancement of live entertainment and sports. The IMAX Enhanced home entertainment initiative will work closely with IMAX AI to accelerate its current growth across streaming platforms and high-end consumer devices around the world. Dr. Nadler will also serve as Special Advisor to the IMAX Board of Directors.
“With the exploding need for high-resolution video content across platforms and devices, artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize how we create, distribute and enjoy entertainment,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “From analog to digital to laser, IMAX has pioneered in entertainment technology throughout its history and we’re now working with Daniel and some of the world’s brightest minds in artificial intelligence to unlock the potential of machine learning for image enhancement.”
“Growing up in Toronto — the birthplace of IMAX — meant that my love of science was entwined with the transportive experience of an IMAX theatre from a very early age,” said Dr. Nadler. “I watched Rich Gelfond take IMAX from what began as a single theatre in Toronto to a global entertainment powerhouse, and to now help write a new chapter in my hometown company’s long history of technological innovation is a just-so story that normally only happens in the movies.”
Following the sale of Kensho to S&P Global in 2018, Dr. Nadler, who received his PhD from Harvard, focused on his work as a visual artist under the pseudonym Daniel Wallace, which involves generative artificial intelligence algorithms, photography, motion capture, digital painting and digital sculpting techniques. To support this work, Dr. Nadler founded Maximus as a privately-held visual effects firm, on the model of Industrial Light & Magic. Maximus ultimately developed A.I.-based high-resolution video enhancement technologies that are broadly applicable beyond visual art, and Dr. Nadler is partnering with IMAX to commercialise those technologies in the entertainment industry.
IMAX will leverage its leading technologies and brand, relationships with creators and content owners, and ownership of high-resolution content. Maximus brings extensive R&D in A.I. video enhancement, and has developed, tested, and put into production proprietary algorithms to enhance content to Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K and even 8K+ in near real time. The joint venture will be overseen by Vikram Arumilli, Senior Vice President of IMAX Corporation; Samantha Whitmore, COO & Head of Engineering of Maximus; and Zachary Ziegler, Head of A.I. of Maximus. Arumilli most recently served as Chief of Staff for IMAX. He joined the company in 2019 from McKinsey & Company and holds a B.A. and M.S. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School. Whitmore most recently served as Head of Engineering at Kensho Technologies and holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.S. from the University of Cambridge. Ziegler is currently completing his PhD at Harvard University.