According to Motion Picture Association, the number of movie theater screens has been growing rapidly, with over 200,000 cinema screens in operation worldwide as of 2020. This number includes outdoor movie theaters as well as drive-in theaters.
ScreenX and IMAX are undoubtedly some of the best movie theaters, each offering a unique and memorable experience to moviegoers. Ideally, both theaters have offered an improvement over the traditional movie-watching experience in unimaginable ways.
But, what’s the difference between IMAX and ScreenX, and which is the best option? In this article, we will unravel everything you need to know about these two iconic movie theaters. Without further ado, let’s get started!
ScreenX vs IMAX at a Glance
|Created by||CJ 4DPLEX||IMAX Corporation|
|Recommended aspect ratio||1:1:5 or 1:2||1.43:1 or 1.90:1|
|Number of screens worldwide||364||1624(as at 2019)|
ScreenX is a movie technology that enables multi-projection cinema experiences, allowing movies to be shown across multiple screens in a way that creates a panoramic and immersive viewing experience for the audience.
ScreenX is a relatively new technology, and is not yet available in all movie theaters. However, it is becoming increasingly popular, and more theaters are starting to offer this format. ScreenX is often used in conjunction with 3D or 4D technologies to further enhance your movie experience.
The idea behind ScreenX technology is to allow for the creation of unique movie experiences that cannot be replicated on traditional cinema screens, making it an attractive option for movie lovers looking for something new and exciting.
Features of ScreenX
ScreenX uses multiple projectors to create an immersive and panoramic viewing experience for the audience. The technology works by projecting different parts of the movie onto multiple screens placed adjacent to each other. By expanding the film onto the side walls of the theater, it provides a panoramic 270-degree view that surrounds the viewer, making them feel like they are part of the action.
The multiple screens used in ScreenX technology create a wider and more engaging view for the audience, allowing them to be fully immersed in the movie. As we have mentioned, this technology utilizes three projectors to project images onto the main screen as well as the walls on either side of the screen.
ScreenX technology ensures that transitions between screens are seamless and smooth, creating a continuous viewing experience for the audience. The transitions between the screens are carefully designed and calibrated to ensure that there are no jarring jumps or interruptions in the image.
What is IMAX?
IMAX is a motion picture film format and projection standard that was developed by IMAX Corporation. It is designed to provide a larger, higher-resolution image and a more immersive audio experience for moviegoers.
The IMAX format uses larger film frames and a specialized projection system that allows for a larger and more detailed image to be projected on a specially designed IMAX screen. This creates a more immersive movie experience for viewers, with sharper and more vivid images, and enhanced sound quality.
IMAX technology is often used for large-format films, such as nature documentaries or action-adventure movies, as well as for special events, such as concerts or sports games. In addition to the traditional IMAX cinema experience, there is also IMAX 3D and IMAX Dome versions that add an extra layer of immersion to the viewing experience.
Features of IMAX
Large screen size
IMAX screens are typically much larger than traditional movie screens and offer a higher resolution and brighter picture. Additionally, the high resolution and brightness of the image on an IMAX screen create a more realistic and vibrant picture, bringing the movie to life in a way that cannot be replicated on smaller screens.
IMAX cameras utilize sophisticated cameras designed to capture high-resolution and high-fidelity images that are optimized for display on large-format screens. IMAX cameras use larger film formats and larger lenses, which allows them to capture more information and detail in each frame of film. The cameras also have a wider field of view, which allows them to capture more of the scene than traditional cameras.
Enhanced sound quality
IMAX theaters feature a specialized sound system that provides a more immersive audio experience for viewers, with clearer and more dynamic sound. In addition, many IMAX theaters also use specialized acoustical treatments and design features to optimize the sound quality in the theater itself, such as sound-absorbing materials and carefully calibrated speaker placements.
Tiered seating arrangement
IMAX theaters are specially designed to provide the best possible viewing experience, with tiered/stadium-style seating and optimized sightlines that ensure that every seat in the house has a great view of the screen. The seating arrangement features each row of seats placed slightly higher than the row in front of it. This design ensures that every seat in the theater has an unobstructed view of the screen.
Differences between ScreenX and IMAX
Both IMAX and ScreenX use unique and advanced technologies to provide an immersive audio experience to the viewers. However, they achieve this in different ways, as highlighted below;
Screen size and layout
IMAX screens are significantly larger than those used in ScreenX cinema theaters. This allows for a wider and more engaging view, with the movie expanding beyond the boundaries of a single screen. Similarly, ScreenX uses multiple screens placed adjacent to each other to create a wider and more engaging view for the audience.
IMAX uses a specialized projection system that projects a larger and more detailed image on a single screen. This system uses a high-resolution camera and film format, which captures and displays images with more detail and clarity than traditional cinema projectors.
Additionally, the IMAX projection system uses a specialized lens and film stock that allows larger image to be projected on the screen without losing resolution or clarity.
In contrast, ScreenX uses multiple projectors to display different parts of the movie on multiple screens. ScreenX projectors are typically standard digital cinema projectors, which are synchronized to display different parts of the movie on different screens.
In terms of the supported sound systems, IMAX theaters utilize a specialized sound system with channels that are strategically placed throughout the theater to create an immersive sound field. The system also uses specialized speakers that are designed to provide better sound quality and clarity.
ScreenX uses the existing sound system in the theater, which may be a standard 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system. However, the sound is enhanced by using speakers that are placed throughout the theater to create a more immersive sound experience.
As we mentioned earlier, IMAX technology is often used for large-format films and big-budget, action-packed movies that are designed to take full advantage of the larger screen and immersive sound system. IMAX screens are also used for documentaries, nature films, and other types of movies that benefit from the larger screen and immersive audio experience.
On the other hand, ScreenX technology can be used for a wide variety of movies, but it is typically used for live-action films, mostly from Asia. ScreenX can also be used for regular movies, such as dramas, animations, and comedies. However, ScreenX is rarely used in Hollywood-studio, but it is not uncommon to find Hollywood films produced in ScreenX including blockbusters.
While both technologies aim to enhance the cinematic experience for viewers, the viewing experience may differ from one theater to the other. IMAX is known to provide a larger, more detailed, and more immersive image and sound. This makes IMAX better suited for films that have highly detailed visual effects or large-scale action scenes.
On the flip side, ScreenX provides a wider and more engaging view by using multiple screens. ScreenX is more about delivering larger-than-life images, and it is best suited for films that take place in large, expansive environments, such as adventure or action films.
The price difference between IMAX and ScreenX can vary depending on the location, theater, and specific screening time. But generally, IMAX tickets tend to be more expensive than ScreenX movie tickets due to the higher quality and immersive experience they offer.
ScreenX tickets can also vary in price depending on the location and specific screening time, but they generally tend to be slightly more expensive than regular movie tickets and slightly less expensive than IMAX tickets.
Both IMAX and ScreenX are state-of-art movie technologies that provide an unforgettable cinema experience. Whether IMAX or ScreenX is better depends on your personal preferences and the type of movie you are planning to watch. That said, it’s always a good idea to check with your local theater to see what formats they offer and to consider the type of movie you are planning to watch before making a decision.