HOW DOES IMAX 3D WORK?
IMAX 3D is one of the world's most popular and well-known cinematic experiences, but how does IMAX 3D work? And what's so special about it? In this post, we'll explore the history of IMAX, the technology behind IMAX 3D and why it's so captivating. Stay with us, and you'll be an expert on all things IMax in no time!
Terrence Malik’s “Voyage of Time”
THE HISTORY OF IMAX
IMAX movies have been wowing movie lovers and docu-connoisseurs since it was invented for EXPO ‘67 by a small group of Canadian experiential filmmakers in Montreal. Created to win a competition to create the largest screen for films, the masterminds behind IMAX used 9 projectors to create the first-ever IMAX experience. The screen was a huge feat that pushed the limits of the available technology in the 1960s.
After 3 years of innovation, the groundbreaking tech was given the name IMAX, which stands for “image maximum,” and premiered at the Fuji Pavilion at EXPO ‘70 in Japan with its extraordinary camera, projector, and domed screen system. Little did they know, IMAX was on its way to becoming a huge success that would awe viewers with some of the most immersive and breathtaking cinematic experiences for many years to come.
The larger-than-life domed screen and projection system required a very specific theater which was usually housed in museums, science centers, and esteemed commercial locations. The first permanent location for an IMAX theater was at Ontario Place’s Cinesphere in Toronto, where it has remained in operation since 1971. As time passed, more IMAX theaters began to pop up around the globe, mainly showcasing films about history or nature, such as a deep sea exploration or soaring over the Grand Canyon.
There was no stopping the limits of this innovative theatrical marvel; as technology continued to advance, so did IMAX with the introduction of the IMAX dome and IMAX 3D. The company went public in 1994, which saw the rapid growth potential of turning it into a new way for Hollywood to release films. For this reason, the company decided to invest in IMAX-capable theaters across North America, which brought a massive hurdle: Hollywood could not produce enough content, and the theaters couldn’t fill the movie time slots. But how would they solve this issue?
Filming "Interstellar" on IMAX Cameras
IMAX AND THE FILM INDUSTRY
Well, IMAX again revolutionized the film industry by introducing a bespoke technology called Digital Remastering (or DMR). In a nutshell, the process involves turning existing movies or documentaries into stunning IMAX films, allowing the company to leverage the already exciting movies into a grandiose IMAX experience. This fix benefited both IMAX and the studios that created the film; it was like releasing the film all over again without the significant investment but with the same (or even larger) return on investment (aka, cash money).
The first film to go through the DMR process was the blockbuster Apollo 13, which was an incredible success again months after its initial release. With that, Hollywood and IMAX began their relationship that only blossomed more as the years progressed. Today, IMAX continues wowing viewers from around the globe, seeing some of the best films in cinematic history.
One of the most successful DMRs of IMAX history was Christopher Nolan’s Avatar which was shown in IMAX just one year after its initial release in 2009. Already considered one of the highest-grossing films, it broke multiple world records and clocked in at $749 million in its first year alone. The re-release in IMAX saw an additional $256 million and earned the title of the highest-grossing IMAX movie ever. The release of the movie on the colossal IMAX 3D screen brought fans returning over and over to be immersed in the world of Pandora. So what is so special about IMAX theaters and why choose a 3D IMAX experience over a regular theater? How does IMAX 3D work, even?
IMAX THEATER - HELSINKI, FINLAND
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REGULAR THEATERS AND IMAX THEATERS
How IMAX 3D works, and what makes them exciting, is that the theaters provide a far different—and far superior—viewing experience than regular theaters. IMAX 3D movies are shot using IMAX cameras, which have a much higher resolution than standard movie cameras. This results in a sharper, more detailed image that really brings the action to life on the big screen.
In addition, IMAX 3D movies are projected onto a giant IMAX screen that is up to eight stories tall. This gives you a much wider field of view than a traditional movie screen, making you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action.
IMAX 3D movies are accompanied by state-of-the-art sound systems that provide an immersive audio experience. Whether you’re watching a heart-pounding action movie or a beautiful nature documentary, IMAX 3D is the ultimate way to experience it. So let’s learn more about 3D IMAX.
About 3D IMAX
IMAX 3D adds an extra dimension by projecting images onto the screen in three dimensions. This allows viewers to feel as if they are inside the movie, rather than simply watching it. When viewed with special IMAX 3D glasses, the images appear to merge into one three-dimensional image.
IMAX 3D technology provides a number of benefits over traditional 3D movies. For example, IMAX 3D movies have a higher resolution and image quality, and the IMAX screens are much larger than standard movie screens. As a result, IMAX 3D movies offer a truly unique and immersive experience that is not possible with traditional 3D movies. So how does IMAX 3D work, exactly?
IMAX 3D GLASSES
How IMAX 3D works
IMAX 3D uses a unique combination of lenses and mirrors to create a three-dimensional image that is projected onto a giant screen. The result is a moviegoing experience that is incredibly realistic and totally immersive.
IMAX 3D also has a special sound system that adds to the sense of realism. The sound is designed to envelop the viewer, making them feel like they are right in the middle of the action. IMAX 3D movies are shot using special cameras that simultaneously capture the left and right images.
This allows IMAX 3D projectionists to create a film with amazing depth and detail. IMAX 3D is truly a revolutionary way to watch movies, and it is an experience that everyone should try at least once.
3D IMAX TECHNOLOGY VISUALIZATION
How the experience of watching a movie in an IMAX theater compares to other types of theaters
IMAX 3D technology uses two different images that are projected superimposed onto the same screen, one for each eye. This creates a stereoscopic effect, making the images appear three-dimensional. The larger screens and higher-quality projection systems than regular movie theaters, improves the clarity and detail of the images.
Some people believe that IMAX 3D theaters provide a more realistic and lifelike experience than regular movie theaters. IMAX 3D technology can make certain scenes in movies more visually stimulating, such as action scenes with fast movement. However, IMAX 3D theaters are not without their drawbacks. IMAX movies often cost more than regular movies, and the IMAX 3D glasses can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Additionally, IMAX 3D technology can sometimes cause headaches or dizziness in some viewers.
Whether or not IMAX 3D theaters are worth the extra cost and effort is a matter of personal preference. Some moviegoers prefer the immersive experience that IMAX 3D theaters provide, while others find the glasses uncomfortable or the technology gimmicky. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether an IMAX 3D theater experience is right for them.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Film Set
Although many great movies have been released in IMAX and IMAX 3D, here are our top 3 favorite IMAX films.
Our Top 3 IMAX Movies
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
The Star Wars universe has captivated fans, young and old, for decades, and what better way to enjoy the galactic battles and loveable characters from a big screen? The beautiful soundtrack from John Williams heard on the crisp sound system, and stunning visuals of planets far, far away in IMAX are unforgettable. With state-of-the-art sound systems playing the nostalgic trumpets and strings, you'll feel like you can reach out and touch the stars.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the perfect movie to experience in IMAX. Its epic scale and stunning visuals make it a true cinematic spectacle. It’s an unforgettable movie-going experience that will fill any fan with wondrous joy and reminiscence.
"Interstellar" Film Set
2. Interstellar (2014)
There's no question that Christopher Nolan's movies are the best watched in IMAX, with "Interstellar" being one of the most visually stunning films of recent years. The sweeping vistas of space, the detailed renderings of other worlds, and the intimate moments between characters all come together to create a truly immersive experience. And while the film can be enjoyed on a standard movie screen, it really comes to life when seen on an IMAX screen.
The huge field of view and powerful sound system with the incredibly talented composer Hans Zimmer, provides an immersive experience that transports viewers into the world of the film. In addition, the IMAX format allows for much higher resolution than standard movie screens, providing a sharper image that further enhances the viewing experience. For all these reasons, "Interstellar" is best experienced on an IMAX screen.
Avatar 3D Imax Visualization
1. Avatar (2009)
As already mentioned, Avatar is one of the highest-grossing films, both regular and IMAX, of all time, indicating why there's no doubt that Avatar is one of the best. The visuals are simply stunning, and the story is totally immersive. But what sets Avatar apart is how it uses IMAX 3D to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.
For starters, IMAX 3D allows you to really feel like you're inside the world of Pandora. The depth and detail of the images are truly breathtaking, and the vastness of the landscape is truly awe-inspiring. It's like nothing you've ever seen before. In addition, IMAX 3D also provides a much more immersive sound experience. The audio is crystal clear and completely surrounds you, making you feel like you're in the middle f the action. Finally, IMAX 3D can also create a sense of simply unmatched scale. When you see the massive flying creatures or the gigantic trees, you'll feel like you're tiny in comparison. It's an incredible feeling and one that will stay with you long after you've left the theater.
L&F "Melt" Dome at SxSW Festival
Possibilities of Imax and Domes
One of the most popular IMAX theaters is the IMAX dome theater. The dome-shaped screen and surround sound system create an immersive experience that is perfect for action movies and documentaries. However, IMAX is not just limited to theaters. IMAX domes have also been used for planetarium shows, educational films, and even live concerts. The possibilities are endless! And with the recent advancement of projector technology, it is now possible to create even more realistic and lifelike images on the big screen. So whether you're looking for an exciting night out at the movies or a unique educational experience, IMAX has something to offer.