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How IMAX 3D Works

How IMAX 3D Works

In case you were wondering, IMAX 3D works with the help of a simple technique that helps give any picture a life-like quality. Here's more on the same...
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Many of us have experienced the excitement of watching an IMAX 3D movie, but very few of us have actually stopped to think how it works. This is a wonderful technology that helps bring so many scenes to life! Whether it is the dinosaur leaping at you or the waves crashing in your face, you have the 3D experience to thank. This article gives you some more information about how this interesting technology works.

Stereoscopic photos and movies, which are commonly known as 3D, are made with the help of two cameras, which record an image for each eye. Thus, true color stereo ends up requiring two projectors to shine on the screen at a time. With a separate image present for each eye, one can manage to see depth. This is the reason that the pictures seem to come to life, with them floating in an ethereal manner right out of the screen! In simple words, this happens because, without even realizing it, you are actually watching two movies, and special polarized glasses are present which separate the two images. The preferred method of viewing 3D is with the help of polarized lenses, as there are two synchronized projectors bringing two views on screen, each with a different polarization.

The images for the left eye, which are made by the left camera, are projected onto the screen with the help of the first polarizer. Similarly, the images for the right eye which are made by the right camera, are projected onto the screen with the help of the second polarizer. The light waves from these two images shine down onto the screen, thus, making two pictures come on the screen at once. The silver screen acts as a reflective surface that bounces the light that is falling on it back out in nearly the same direction and polarization which it came from.

An interesting part is that, as the two projectors project polarized light in one plane, similarly, each of the lenses accept light that is coming in only one diagonal direction. So, the left lens accepts light waves that are oriented from the upper right to the lower left, and vice versa for the right lens. Furthermore, the left lens blocks images for the right eye and vice versa. This is the mechanism by which two distinct images are created and separated for each eye, leading to some amount of depth between them. Thus, anything coming out of the screen seems to head straight towards you!

Some Interesting Facts About IMAX 3D
  • Each frame of an IMAX movie is nearly the size of the film that is used in a 4" by 5" camera.
  • The reel that is used in the projector of a film is so big, that it can be laid out on a table!
  • A typical film's production cost comes to somewhere around USD 8 million to USD 15 million for 3D, with these 3D films involving computer-generated effects that are running at the high-end of the scale.
  • The screen that is used for these films is the size of an entire basketball court!
  • There are only two IMAX 3D cameras in the world! This means that if a person was to have a breakdown, he would end up spending around USD100,000 a day on production costs.
  • IMAX is special in many ways, as it uses both polarized glasses and LCD shutter technology to display very intense 3-D films.
  • The screen on which these movies are watched actually has holes in it to let the sound pass through.
  • The sound system that is used is actually a multi-channel stereo that utilizes output from many CDs. This is reproduced in a spectacular manner with the help of speakers that are present in the movie theater and also behind the screen. This is the reason why there is an illusion that the sound seems to be appearing out of nowhere!
Quite interesting, isn't it? Well then, the next time you go for a movie, be sure to boast to your friends about how this amazing technology helps to bring movies to life!