IMAX Technology

The key to the IMAX experience is cinema's largest film frame, being projected by the world's most sophisticated projector onto a huge screen that encompasses the viewer's peripheral vision.

IMAX Camera

IMAX Projector

The IMAX projector is the most advanced, precise and powerful projector system in the world! The filmmakers who developed the IMAX system, started by using multiple cameras and multiple projectors to create that 'in the picture' sensation. There was no single camera or projection system available to provide the image with the clarity and size that was required, so they searched for a new system that would enable them to deliver the experience without the joins. They developed a system called 15perf/70mm, the height of the film being 70mm and the width 15 perforations wide. No soundtrack was added to the film as this would take up valuable picture area.

IMAX projector

The film travels through the projector at 24 frames per second, at a rate of 334 feet per minute! That translates to nearly two miles of film in a typical IMAX film! A 35mm projector also projects 24 frames per second but only travels at 90 feet per minute.

35mm film moves vertically through a projector. IMAX moves horizontally. The film moves through the projector in a continuous wave like motion (Rolling Loop), unlike conventional projectors that use an intermittent transport system.

Each frame of film is rolled onto registration pins over special optical glass called field flattener. The film is then held in place, flat against the glass, by a vacuum whilst the image is projected on the screen. This system keeps the film perfectly still, further enhancing the illusion that you are really there.

The projector's patented shutter mechanism additionally transmits one-third more light than the shutter in conventional projectors. The lamps used in the projector are 15, 000 watt xenon arc lamps that are water-cooled.

IMAX Sound System

The sound system is also larger than life. In order to support an image 20m high and 26m wide it needs to be! The Sonics system, specifically designed for IMAX theatres, eliminates variations in volume and sound quality over the theatre seating area. This allows all members of the audience to experience superb sound quality regardless of where they may be seated.

Six tracks of sound are sent to 6 large cluster speakers - 4 behind the screen, 1 to the rear left and 1 to the rear right behind the audience. There is also a huge bass speaker located behind the screen. 11, 600 watts of power wrap the audience in a crystal clear world of sound that completes the marriage with the image on screen. The digital soundtrack is loaded from a DVD disk onto a computer, which locks the projector and soundtrack together and controls the show. This system is called Digital Theatre Audio Control, or DTAC.

IMAX Cameras

IMAX Cameras, an integral part of the IMAX system, are extremely versatile and for each special situation IMAX designers and engineers have had to come up with innovative solutions.

IMAX Camera

The IMAX film format is so large that the film canisters in the IMAX camera can only hold 3 minutes of film at a time. This means you can shoot a scene for three minutes and then you have to stop and reload the camera. Reloading the camera takes approximately 30 minutes!

IMAX 3D Camera

A 3D film consists of two films being shown simultaneously. The 3D camera has two lenses set the same distance apart as our eyes, and films both the left and the right eye images at the same time.

The two pictures are then projected through polarized glass, each eye polarized differently so that the left eye does not see the image of the right eye and vice versa. The viewer wears polarized glasses to help keep the two images separate. Your brain then converges the two images and the magic is complete - the picture is within arm's reach!

The screen is lit with two 15, 000 watt (30, 000 watts of power in total!) water and air-cooled xenon lamps, one lamp for each eye when showing a 3D film.