What is the difference between IMAX and conventional cinema?

We’re pretty used to seeing a blockbuster movie hit theaters on IMAX technology, but did you know that this entertainment format is pretty new? In Brazil, the first IMAX movie theater was only inaugurated in January 2009, at Bourbon Shopping, in São Paulo. At the time, nearly US$ 1.5 million were spent on the site that would house 334 people for a unique experience.

However, IMAX has existed in Canada for much longer: more specifically since 1971, when it was officially launched at Cinesphere in Toronto. In 1997, the first projection in Brazil took place in Rio de Janeiro, but as it was a unique event, the inauguration was in fact for years later. Currently, the country has rooms in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Recife, Cotia, Campinas and Riberão Preto.

When a movie is about to be released, distributors often hit the show key in IMAX theaters a lot, as if the broadcast were more fun, immersive and advantageous — which is true, given that, with current technology, big studios already they think about showing feature films in this modality from the filming on set; just thinking about what kind of experience you can offer to the audience.

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But do you know what is the main difference between the IMAX and a conventional cinema and the main experiences that the two exhibition models can offer you when watching a movie? To clarify this doubt, Canaltech has prepared a complete guide on this technology.

After all, what is the main difference between IMAX and conventional cinema? (Image: serhiibobyk/Envato)

What is a conventional cinema?

To begin with, it is necessary to know what a conventional cinema really is. Preferred by the public for a long time, traditional cinemas worked with the exhibition through film reels and an analog projector. However, with modernity, there were changes in the way of capturing and storing images, now made by digital cameras and using various techniques that aim to improve the audience’s experience in a movie theater.

Still, today what we consider “conventional cinema” is still those whose theaters have straight and simple screens and which, to accommodate a large audience and offer the same view for everyone, have chairs placed in straight rows, in the front position and usually arranged on a sloping floor. In this case, the image quality is limited precisely because the screen format is capable of incorporating only a limited range of pixels and resolution.

What is IMAX?

IMAX, on the other hand, already offers a more immersive experience with very high technical quality: either image or audio. Described as a more “engaging” broadcast, the changes already begin when the user enters the venue: IMAX movie theaters are called “classic design” or “multiplex”, meaning they were built just for that purpose or adapted for that purpose. such.

(Art: William Johnny / Canaltech)

The construction of an IMAX movie theater differs completely from conventional cinema precisely because of the distribution and arrangement of seats, designed so that users are closer to the screen and, thus, have a more immersive experience. The rows of seats are placed at a sharp angle, whereas in a regular movie theater they are all in a straight line.

That’s also because the IMAX screen itself has a circular dome and huge flat screens that extend from end to end of the wall and cater to the entire audience, no matter what angle people are seated at. The difference is not just in the size: the IMAX screen is more concave and the resolution reaches 10,000 by 7,000 pixels, while a conventional screen is 2,048 by 1,080 pixels.

The difference with the IMAX is also in the light that projects the film: it is a super-bright 15,000 watt Xenon lamp, which allows for a better, stronger and sharper image with a higher contrast ratio compared to that of a normal cinema, which are limited by the amount of pixels. This considerably improves the resolution of the transmitted images and proposes a more colorful and high-quality experience for the audience.

What’s the difference between the two?

(Art: William Johnny / Canaltech)

As we mentioned before, a film that will be shown in an IMAX theater is thought of from an early age, when the production is still working on film sets. Feature films for conventional cinemas are shot in 35mm, while those planned to be shown with this more up-to-date, high-definition technology are already shot in 70mm. This means that the movie size is about 10 times larger than the standard, giving a clearer, more colorful and sharper viewing experience.

Got confused? Canaltech created a table to show in a clear and didactic way the difference between the two experiences in each aspect.

Conventional cinema IMAX Film size 35 mm 70 mm Graphic Good quality images High definition images, more colourful, sharper, clearer and naturally longer and more descriptive Screen types Straight and simple, with a resolution of 2,048 by 1,080 pixels Large and concave , with a resolution of 10,000 by 7,000 pixels Geometry Seats available in straight rows and usually on a sloping floor, diminishing the view of the spectator who sits in corners or places that are not part of the screen. of the screen in a way that provides a more immersive and realistic experience as its shape brings the viewer closer to the screen Sound Standard speakers, placed behind the projection screen Patented 12.1-channel digital speakers at 15,000 watts , offering an immersive experience with a wider frequency. The devices are developed by sound and audio engineers who are experts in creating loudspeakers with a more powerful output and crystal clear quality.
Additionally, theater geometry adds to the experience and sound travels through the auditorium making the film a more enriching experience. Technical projection Images projected from traditional xenon lamps High power laser light mechanism. With two 4K digital projectors to light up the huge screen, providing sharper, brighter, clearer and more vivid images. More Affordable Production with Traditional Cameras More expensive and heavier cameras, plus film loading time — while still offering unrivaled image quality Cost More affordable tickets More expensive tickets

With information from: Difference Between, MAAC, Showmetech, Quora

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