3D has certainly become a popular format over the past few years and many of this year’s most highly-anticipated films will be presented in 3D. The format was designed to make you feel like you’re part of the movie, however, all 3D experiences are not the same.
IMAX has been revolutionizing the 3D moviegoing experience for more than two decades and we would like to take a moment to show you what makes IMAX® 3D movies so different.
Watch Coco as she discusses how we see 3 dimensions in our everyday lives and what it takes to create an immersive IMAX 3D experience in our most recent IMAX 101 video on IMAX 3D.
Now that you’ve heard it from Coco, let’s highlight some key points from the video.
Let’s first discuss how you see 3D.
You perceive depth and see in 3 dimensions because of binocular vision, which is when both eyes are used together.
Each of your eyes actually see two slightly different perspectives, however your brain merges those views together through a process called stereopsis.
When it comes to viewing movies in 3D, the same process should be applied in order for the format to work properly. That means there has to be two images projected onto the screen—one from the perspective of the left eye and one from the perspective of your right eye. The 3D glasses are used to channel the correct image for each eye and then your brain works to process a single three-dimensional image. Check out the illustration below as a visual example.
But how is 3D captured and delivered in the theatre?
Before you can display images in 3D, they need to be captured and projected in a very specific way.
There are a few options to choose from.
3D movies can be captured with IMAX® 3D Cameras. These cameras allow you to shoot two separate images from slightly different angles through custom dual lenses that are positioned a similar distance apart very similar to the distance between your eyes.
Regular 3D cameras can also be used; however, before these films were presented in IMAX® theatres we would put them through our DMR process to enhance hundreds of details in virtually every frame.
The way 3D images are projected also plays a big part of creating a better 3D experience. A typical single 3D projector has to alternate between projecting to each eye. The projector flickers back and forth which causes you to lose some of the information onscreen.
IMAX uses two projectors— presenting a separate image for each eye. There’s no alternating between left and right eye images, so you’re able to see 100% of the information onscreen the entire time. The two images run in synchronization through a custom designed dual projection system, unique to IMAX. And that makes a huge difference. This delivers a more consistent image that is approximately 60% brighter.
What makes the 3D images pop off the screen?
Viewing angles also play a major part when watching a 3D movie. Simply put, the wider the angle, the further you can push the 3D effect. IMAX has steeper viewing angles which allow objects to come off the screen and reach further into the audience than in standard theatres.
The use of IMAX 3D technology lends itself well to certain films and filmmakers continue to engage audiences by incorporating 3D into their films. Our objective is to continue to provide filmmakers with the best 3D technology from capture to presentation and to create the most immersive and realistic 3D experience for our audiences worldwide.
Remember, all 3D isn’t created equal.
There are key elements such as using IMAX 3D Cameras, IMAX’s DMR process and IMAX’s dual-projection technology which make seeing a movie in IMAX 3D the most immersive 3D experience available. We’re glad you took the time to learn more about IMAX technology. Stay tuned for our upcoming IMAX 101 posts.
Click here to check out our previous IMAX 101 posts.