What Does IMAX Mean?

IMAX is a film format used for motion pictures, as well as a set of cinema projection standards that was created by the IMAX Corporation. Compared to the traditional Academy format, IMAX is able to capture images of greater size and resolution because it uses film that is 70 mm high and 15 perforations wide, which is ten times larger than standard 35 mm format. Because the film and resolution is so big, the cinema screen size can also be expanded to ten times as large as a normal cinema screen, making for a better visual experience.


Techopedia Explains IMAX

The IMAX format started with the company Multiscreen, which was made up of people from the National Film Board of Canada who came together to develop a simpler approach than multi-projector, multi-screen systems for projecting large-format video. Although it is sometimes assumed IMAX stands for "image maximum," that is a misconception. "IMAX " is just a made up name to describe the film format and the name of the corporation.

It was later determined that it was more viable to project a bigger picture on a big screen than to project multiple pictures on smaller screens, and at this time Multiscreen changed its name to IMAX. Most installations of IMAX screens in the U.S. were originally dedicated to specialty applications such as planetarium pieces and documentary viewings because the cost of shooting full-length movies on IMAX was usually cost prohibitive. It is only in recent years with the booming popularity of 3D that IMAX has become synonymous with a great visual experience for regular movies.

IMAX increases the image size and resolution by using a 70 mm large-frame film that is ten times larger than Academy format 35 mm film. it is called the 15/70 film format because it is 15 perforations, which are the number of holes on side of the film gripped by the gears that make the film move across the camera, wide and 70 mm in height. Because of this increased size, the 15/70 format can hold 18k lines of resolution compared to standard 35 mm which is only capable of 6k lines of resolution. A typical IMAX screen is 22 m wide by 16 m high but the largest IMAX screen in the world is a whopping 35.7 m by 29.7 m.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…