Archive for December, 2003

Pass the popcorn

December 17th, 2003 by dstmartin

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Move over, multiplex cinema with 16 theaters. We’re going to get a sneak preview of what real wide-screen viewing is all about, today on Engineering Works!

Most of us never get to swim with whales or see the earth from the International Space Station. Seeing it through a high-tech movie called the IMAX may be the next best thing. It’s that real. But what make the IMAX so special?

IMAX technology’s beginnings came from popular multi-screen, multi-projector movies shown during the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal, Canada. The first actual IMAX movie premiered during EXPO ‘70 in Osaka, Japan.

Let’s start with the screen. It’s big. Bigger than your house. In fact, you could set down two average houses in the middle of an I-MAX screen. But there’s more to it than that. Most movie screens are flat. The IMAX screen curves around toward you. Some IMAX theaters are shaped like domes. That huge curved image makes you feel like you’re in the action, not just looking at it. It’s so real that a few people get dizzy or seasick, just watching.

Add the sound. Special audio amplifiers and speakers put IMAX viewers in the middle of the action. Then there’s the film. Ordinary movies are projected from 35-millimeter film — the film in your camera. The film IMAX movies are projected from is 10 times bigger. No wonder the picture is bright and clear! In fact, it’s so big that the projector has to use a special vacuum-powered system to move the film.

So, next time you get the urge for wide-screen entertainment, think big. And pass the popcorn!