How are IMAX movie theaters arranged?

From film to digital

It all started with the film, when four Canadian entrepreneurs discovered one Australian invention - a way to scroll the film with a “running loop”. After experimenting with the number of screens and projectors, we settled on the 1: 1 option, deciding that it creates the strongest visual impression. To increase the effective screen size, we made our own, wide film - 70 mm and 15 sections of perforation instead of the usual 35 mm x 5 slots. At the beginning of the 2000s, the figure replaced the film, and IMAX had to follow the progress. Rare cinemas remained for conservative film fans: there are not any in Russia. A film on film is an expensive pleasure for the distributor: 1 reel with a film costs about 20 thousand dollars, and the price of some films - such long and large as Avatar, could be up to hundreds of thousands. The DCP cassette, which replaced the film, was much cheaper, but now the physical media has disappeared altogether, and the cinema just downloads a licensed digital copy of the film from the studio server.

If not for digital technology, movie theaters would have to pay $ 100, 000 for a rental copy

However, in Hollywood, directors who sincerely devoted to the film still work. The most famous (and stubborn) of them is Christopher Nolan, the creator of Batman films and the space drama "Interstellar". He shoots all his films on real film, although in most cinemas the digital version is still scrolling. One of the last “film” paintings of the XXI century may be his new historical film “Dunkirk”, as well as a new episode of the saga about the distant, distant galaxy “Rogue One: Star Wars.” Stories".

How it works

There are now two projectors in every IMAX digital cinema; both of them show the same film, and the recordings are no different. - unless, of course, we are talking about a 3D version. In this case, the projectors work with orthogonal polarizing filters, each of which transmits only that part of the light waves whose polarization corresponds to the polarization of the filter. The same filters are in the glasses of glasses that you put on, going to watch a three-dimensional movie. Each eye of the viewer sees only one, correctly polarized, part of the light waves, and this allows you to deceive the visual cortex, forcing it to believe in the three-dimensionality of the image.

If the screen is not 3D, a second projector is needed so that the second projector compensates for possible misses in the first, and also so that the image in all parts of the screen is equally bright and clear. A camera is installed between the projectors. During the session, she sends the recording directly to the central control center (there are also two of them, in Canada and China). The computer analyzes the camera data and checks whether the image brightness and sound volume meet the requirements of the film. The director can be calm: absolutely all IMAX viewers will see the film in such a color and at such a volume that he himself has chosen and approved. The place of the projectionist was taken by the operator of the computer from which the show starts. This person should be able to configure the network, turn on and off the projectors, correct errors.

If you shout loudly at the IMAX cinema, there will be no echo: the large hall is specially designed so that the sound does not resonate, but spread only where the speakers are sending it. Unlike the Dolby Surround system, in IMAX, the viewer cannot distinguish from which speaker the bass comes from and from which - the voice. Nevertheless, there is a sense of directional sound in IMAX.

The creators of technology have not forgotten that any data transfer is a potential vulnerability. Therefore, the camera and the channel through which it transmits the recording is reliably protected: if someone tries to send the transfer to an external computer, the show will be interrupted instantly and the violation report will be sent to the CPU.

Where is the best armchair in the IMAX cinema?

There is one trick: to find the perfect place to watch, you need to mentally project the screen onto the floor plane in the cinema. In the center of the projection of the upper border of the screen will be the place from which, as is commonly believed, it is best to watch a movie. However, the difference between the image quality for the viewer who is located at the “ideal” point and for other visitors to the session is quite small.

Two projectors in IMAX give an absolutely identical image (unless the film is not in 3D)

3D technology imposes some restrictions on the location of spectators in the hall. In order to create the effect of a three-dimensional image, you need to properly polarize the light entering the retina. Some viewing angles do not allow this, so if the film is shown in 3D, the cinema removes tickets for seats at the edges of the hall closer to the screen: they still can’t see a three-dimensional image.

What's on the poster?

Sometimes old films are shown for screening on IMAX screens - The Wizard of Oz of 1939 and The Best Gun of 1986: they are specially adapted for the wide screen so that viewers can see their favorite pictures in new quality. Not so many new films are made for IMAX - only about 50 a year. IMAX works with space agencies: together they have already made 9 amazingly beautiful documentaries about what is beyond the Earth. Russian viewers are probably familiar with films with photographs of the Hubble telescope. The most popular of the "space" documentaries was the film "Space Station in 3D", in the filming of which NASA and Russian cosmonauts took part.


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