TMCnet Feature
November 30, 2021

What is IMAX? And how is this technology different from a regular movie?

To start, let me explain what this is all about.

In a nutshell, IMAX refers to a collection of film, processing, and viewing formats. With its assistance, the image becomes exceptionally bright and contrasted, and the film immersion becomes outstanding. As a result, the term is an acronym for Image Maximum. Not only does IMAX require specialized technology for filming and editing images, but it also requires specialized equipment for projecting a film in a cinema. Below, we will try to explain the technology and why producers shoot movies in this format.

How does it brighten the image?

It brightens the image in a variety of ways. As previously stated, IMAX is a collective word for a variety of technologies. Additionally, they are constantly evolving and changing:

  1. They utilize their own potent (and, of course, costly) cameras.
  2. The editing. The IMAX DMR technology, which is also patented, enables you to brighten and clarify the image even if you film with the usual camera. In the word's best sense, the tiniest details become visible, and colors become more vibrant. For instance, the black color in IMAX becomes blacker, and white becomes whiter, and so on.
  3. The film screening is broadcasted simultaneously using two robust projectors that complement one another, resulting in an image with consistent contrast over the entire screen.
  4. The image in IMAX is 26% larger than in standard cinemas.

Where did this technology originate? Is it a recent addition?

Not recent at all. Indeed, the initial prototypes date back to the 1960s. A group of Canadians devised the multi-screen system with many displays and projectors during this period. They were not particularly successful, but they developed a more sophisticated (and commercially successful) system using only one screen and one projector and the 70 mm film a few years later. That is how IMAX came to be.

In other words, are viewers paying for the brightness and the overall better picture?

No, not exclusively. However, the large screen and dazzling visuals are the primary features that define IMAX technology. IMAX cinemas are markedly different from conventional cinema theaters. The sound and image quality give the same feeling that you can get from live musicals or shows that you can find on Cheapo Ticketing. The immersion makes all the difference.

The big screen is covered with a special silver particle coating. Simultaneously, the image fills the entire screen from ceiling to floor, making the screen 26% larger than traditional movie theaters. Another characteristic is sound. IMAX manufactures its self-developed speakers, which are extremely powerful. 

You get a surround sound feeling through the speakers that are placed evenly throughout the theater. This placement ensures that the volume is consistent regardless of where you sit: the sound will be the same in the first, second, or third row. All of this is important to maximize the immersion effect of what is occurring on the screen.

Does 3D give more immersion than IMAX? 

Sure, 3D has more immersion than usual IMAX, but there is an IMAX 3D: the films are shot using specialized twin cameras (separately for the left and right eyes). The resulting image is viewed in cinemas using well-known 3D glasses. To ensure that both projectors generate a distortion-free image, IMAX developed a program that, among other things, measures and adjusts the brightness of both projectors. As a result, the 3D becomes even more detailed and realistic.

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