What Is The Difference Between IMAX And Standard Theaters?

I’m sure you are choosing movies or other entertainment according to the storyline or the cinematography. I mean, at least I do. Talking about IMAX and Standard, both have done their best job in cinematography, from the lighting of the set or scene to preferences for different camera angles, lenses, filters, and special effects.

In this article, we have mentioned how IMAX could be differentiated from normal theaters. This will help you decide whether it is worth spending extra money on IMAX.

What Does IMAX Theater Mean?

A proprietary system of extremely large display screens that are taller than those used in traditional theaters, high-tech cameras with great clarity, and film formats are all parts of the IMAX system. IMAX projects an aspect ratio of either 1.43:1 or 1.90:1. 

Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr, and William C. Shaw are the co-founders of the corporation. It was established in September 1967 and was called first the Multiscreen Corporation, Limited. This team worked to develop the first IMAX cinema projection standards in the late 1960s in Canada.

The IMAX theaters are popular for their visual and audio effects which were introduced in 1971 but flourished in the 2000s. Earlier, these used to display only nature films, but nowadays there are various kinds of visual movies that can be watched in theaters.

The IMAX features a large circular dome plus a flat screen, due to which the real effects of the movies can be felt, as if the viewers are in the movie. These theaters work on linear polarization technologies and use advanced cameras. One such specialized feature of the theater is that the scene from one point of view can be viewed from all sides, i.e. the pictures are so enlarged on these screens that the scene is separated from the left and right eye points of view.

Currently, there are 697 IMAX theaters in 52 countries.

What Does Standard Theater Mean?

Standard, also known as just “digital”: This is your standard trip to the movies, whether it’s at Regal or a tiny independent theater.

The usual standard screen is typically around 30 feet long and ranges in width from 45 to 65 feet. This can also vary greatly depending on the theater you visit, and as PLF (premium large format) theaters become more popular, larger non-IMAX screens are beginning to appear all over the world.

High-definition movies are still superior, but Standard is still ideal for downloading and streaming the film with reduced data usage.

Standard Theater VS IMAX Theater

The main thing that differentiates the two of them is that the IMAX uses a high-resolution screen display with a 70 mm film format. Meanwhile, the Standard uses a conventional resolution audio-visual quality with a 35 mm film format. 

Now talking about the features, IMAX has cameras, laser projection, a large theater, and stadium seating. In standard theaters, you will find usual cameras, televisions, and movie theater screens.

Whenever we talk about big-screen cinematography, we think of IMAX. It features a wide film format that is times larger than standard theater. To provide movie admirers just like you with high-resolution videos, the IMAX company upscaled its audio and video clarity in 1967.

Additionally, IMAX primarily uses equipment including cameras, laser projection, large theaters, and stadium seating to achieve its cinematography ideas. On the other hand, Standard is ordinary screen cinematography that just uses a certain pixel resolution. 

Henri Chretien, a French physicist, founded it sometime between 1879 and 1965 while conducting a science experiment. Modern methods use the standard as a guide to developing cinematography in televisions, cameras, and movie screens in addition to its discovery-related purposes.

Differentiation Table

LaunchedIMAX was launched on August 20, 1967, by the Canadian theater chain IMAX, in order to offer moviegoers high-resolution video quality.French physicist Henri Chretien developed the Standard screen between 1879 and 1965.
Audio & Video ClarityIMAX produces a wide film format that is 10 times larger and has exceptional audio and visual clarity.Since Standard theater cinematography is screened with low pixel resolution, their audio and video clarity is comparatively less.
Picture QualityIMAX uses three different projection formats, including the 70 mm film system, IMAX 2K Digital, IMAX 4K with laser, and 15 Perforation.Standard has a square perspective and a rectangular screen with a 35 mm film format.
Display RatioThe IMAX display screen has an aspect ratio of 1.43:1 or 1.90:1.For its ultrawide displays, the Standard has a 16:9 aspect ratio. Standard also offers two ratios for PCs, such as 3:2.
FeaturesIMAX uses equipment including cameras, laser projection, large theaters, and stadium seating to achieve its cinematography ideas.The Standard still uses the usual television, cameras, and movie screens.

IMAX’s Biggest Competitors 

As IMAX digital cinemas started to grow in popularity, competitors are trying to imitate the IMAX experience. Here we have conducted a brief comparison of IMAX and its rivals that are most in demand currently.

Dolby Theater

The same theater frequently has a digital IMAX auditorium and a Dolby Cinema. They both have big-screen viewing options, but IMAX has a bigger screen and more seats. Dolby is renowned for its thunderous sound, leather recliners, and clearer, more graphic images.


Like a Dolby, an RPX theatre includes a huge screen and a lot of seats that are available. Even though they have superior sound and picture quality than typical projection, RPX projectors are not any longer than IMAX screens. Rather than emphasizing the height, they accentuate the width.


Instead of the screen, D-BOX is all about the chairs. With movies, D-BOX seats sway, creating a 4D experience. So, if you’re interested in “feeling” a flick through the seats, D-BOX might be the way to go.

Are IMAX films worth the price?

Although pricey, IMAX films are worthwhile. Nothing compares to the thrill of watching an IMAX movie. It’s like experiencing the characters’ emotions in the movie alongside them.

When you could just lay on your couch and enjoy TV or go to a conventional movie for half the price, you may ask whether it’s actually worth it to spend money on a movie ticket. Sure, this might seem absurd in case you have never seen an IMAX movie, but once you do, I am confident enough to announce that you’ll become a fan.

Because of the size of the screen, it would seem as though you’re truly sitting in front of the outdoor view or maybe peering through someone else’s eyes who is playing the role in a scene.

You’ll get to know what it’s like to have a head that’s 100 feet tall. Watching a movie on such a large screen for some reason magnifies tragic or even humorous scenes, making them appear even more dramatic. Moviegoers are frequently debating whether or not to pay the additional cost for an IMAX ticket.

You should be aware of how much more expensive an IMAX cinema ticket is than a conventional movie ticket to decide whether you must try it or not.

The average cost of a movie-going experience is anywhere from $10–$12 per ticket. So if two people go, they’ll mostly spend $20 altogether. IMAX tickets can cost up to $25 per person, which is at least double the price.

IMAX Youtube Video

Final Thoughts 

This article could be summed up by saying that IMAX has a wide range of incredible features that could differentiate it from normal theaters. IMAX refers to “Image Maximum” which explains that the display screens in IMAX theaters are comparatively larger than the standard ones. IMAX theater tickets cost almost double that of the standard theaters. But the experience it offers is surely worth the money.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you have to wear glasses for IMAX?

Not every IMAX film calls for 3D glasses. You do need to wear the 3D glasses to watch any movies that are marked as explicitly being in 3D. You don’t need the 3D glasses if the 3D is not for notes.

Are IMAX films any good?

More pixels are only one benefit of IMAX. Up to 40% more of the images acquired by the film cameras are displayed during an IMAX presentation. They accomplish this using extremely large screens and their unique 1.43:1 aspect ratio. Simply put, the image is larger, allowing viewers to take in more of the set and performers while watching the movie.

Why does IMAX make you dizzy?

Because the brain receives contradicting information from the senses, watching 3-D or IMAX movies can cause nausea, headaches, and dizziness.

Do IMAX theater seats recline?

No, recliners are not allowed at IMAX since they violate their viewing design standards. They have IMAX-approved seats that resemble recliners but only partially recline and lack a footrest. However, the IMAX auditorium’s front row is the only one with all of the recliners in place.

Is watching an IMAX movie good?

In an IMAX theater, sitting in the first row is almost certainly a mistake. Since you’ll be so near to the screen if you sit in the front row, it will be quite challenging to follow any motion on the screen, especially any activity that takes place on the screen’s edges.

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