Ask about cinematic experience on IMAX to those who have experienced a movie at IMAX. They usually use such words like “Huge”, “Giant”, “Ultimate” etc words in their phrase. This is what exactly the creator of IMAX had on mind – a cinematic experience like none other have ever seen.

History of IMAX

Initially the early film makers of 1960s experimented multiple screen method. They filmed a very wide format of movies by using three cameras that has played in three different projectors for audience to experience. This method faced huge difficulties such as using 3 cameras to film at a time. The film should be exactly arranged and synchronized. There was a major issue of brightness over the edges of each projector that tends to vary the picture quality and colour.

These multiple screening experience got a major attention between a folk of Canadian film makers and business people were very much interested on design a huge scale screen that equals the size of multi screening film but with single camera and single projector. After years of research, in the year of 1970 the first IMAX film premiered at World Expo in Osaka, Japan. The immense experience was entirely loved by audience through out the world and since then IMAX theatres have built and used all over the world.

IMAX Characteristics

The charm of IMAX motion pictures is due to the combination of specialist technology utilised to film and project IMAX films. Every component of the system was designed specifically for IMAX films.

  • Screen Size: The screen size is likely to be the first thing an IMAX cinema visitor notices. The average IMAX screen is 50 feet tall and 70 feet wide. With this big screen and the location of the seats in the theatre, the screen fills even the audience’s peripheral vision. As a result, when the camera moves, the spectator feels movement. The impression of motion is enhanced when the footage is filmed at high speeds, such as from the cockpit of a jet fighter or the front car of a roller coaster. Some IMAX flat displays are up to 100 feet tall. IMAX dome displays are much more impressive. IMAX dome displays may have a diameter of over 90 feet. The audience in the dome sits at a reclining angle, such that viewers look up at an angle toward the centre of the domed screen. Even in flat-screen IMAX cinemas, the audience space is constructed such that each seat gets a clear view of the screen. Patrons in an IMAX cinema feels as though they are in the movie rather than just observing it.
  • Sound System: Almost everyone has heard of a surround sound system in a typical movie theatre, but IMAX cinemas feature sound systems that are powerful and stunning enough to complement their unique visual experience. Six-channel wrap-around sound systems are standard in IMAX cinemas. That implies that up to six separate audio channels may be funnelled anywhere in the theatre to give the audience the impression that not only the sights, but also the sounds, are moving. The sound systems are loud enough to mimic the concussion felt during a space shuttle launch, with up to 13,000 watts of electricity driving hundreds of speakers.
  • Film Size: Frames are used to separate motion picture film. The film is transferred behind the lens and shutter of the camera, and each frame is exposed for a fraction of a second. The moving frames mimic the motion caught by the camera when the film is processed and played again in a projector. The size of the film frame has an effect on the quality of the image generated. The width of standard motion picture film is 35 mm (millimetres) and the height is 4 perforations. The perforations on the borders of the film are small holes used by the camera and projector to move the film. High-quality motion picture film is 70 mm wide and contains 5 perforations in height. The size of an IMAX film is significantly greater. It is 70 mm in width and has 15 holes in height. Furthermore, because IMAX film is fed horizontally through cameras and projectors, the perforations are at the top and bottom of the picture. Regular film is fed vertically through cameras and projectors, resulting in perforations on the frame’s sides. Because of its size, IMAX film is sometimes known as 15/70 film.
  • Special Cameras: IMAX films are not simply conventional films produced on 15/70 film. Filming for an IMAX picture begins with the use of special IMAX cameras and 15/70 film. The cameras each weigh more than 50 pounds, and the film is stored in cartridges that weigh roughly 5 pounds. Each film cartridge will only produce 5 to 7 minutes of footage due to the speed of the IMAX film in the cameras. This necessitates a significant amount of film reloading or the use of many cameras.
  • Mega Projectors: The projectors used to provide the unrivalled IMAX movie experience are the size of a small vehicle. To begin, the film is placed into the projector on truck-wheel-sized reels. Because IMAX film runs horizontally rather than vertically, the reels are positioned horizontally on each side of the projector. The film itself goes through the projector in an unusual manner known as a “rolling loop.” Air is utilised to temporarily hold each frame on the back of the lens, resulting in an image that is significantly more stable and clearer than a standard motion picture projector. The projectors utilise special xenon bulbs that take up to 15,000 watts of power to generate a picture bright enough to light up the massive IMAX screens. This is the same as 150, 100-watt light bulbs. With such a brilliant light, particular precautions must be taken to keep the projector cool. The bulb is cooled by air flowing at 800 cubic feet per minute and water flowing at 5 gallons per minute. The surface temperature of the bulb may reach 1,300° F.

IMAX Movies

Because of the cost and technical constraints of making IMAX movies, the majority of the 110 or so films that exist are short films, lasting 40 minutes or less. Many films are documentaries that are meant to offer the audience pictures that are ordinarily unavailable due to the extraordinary visual quality of the IMAX format. As a result, films involving space exploration, animals, wilderness places, or severe conditions have an indelible influence.

For viewers all over the world, the IMAX film system provides an unforgettable experience. Because everything about the IMAX system is like a conventional movie increased by multiple factors, the cliché “bigger is better” may truly apply to the IMAX system.

IMAX Now a days

However, majority audience in late 1970 period, IMAX experience was loved by majority of people. Then major film corporations such as Marvel, Walt Disney, Warner Bro. etc, and majority of Christopher Nolan movies were initiated full-length IMAX movies. So far there over 1800 IMAX screens have opened all over the world. From Tiger Child (1970) to Spider man – No way Home (2021) there are numerous films experienced and loved by movie fans.

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