How IMAX Makes Movies Sound as Big as Their Screens

December 17, 2013 6:01pm
Source: Gizmodo

It takes more than just overwhelmingly humongous visuals to create the immersive "IMAX Experience" that moviegoers have come to expect. The film's soundtrack plays an equally vital role. Here's an in-depth look at how IMAX engineers develop and deliver a sound big enough to match the on-screen action.

As you can see in the incredibly detailed video above, producing IMAX-quality sound takes much more than just blasting it out of oversized speakers, though the system's multi-thousand watt amplifiers certainly help. Every aspect of the theater space is controlled to enhance the film's audio, from utilizing whisper-quiet air conditioning to actively monitoring the room's acoustics and remotely optimizing the various speaker outputs. And through the use of its "Phantom Image" technology, IMAX can create a more well-rounded and realistic 3D soundscape. The amount of engineering that goes into generating IMAX's audio is simply staggering.

But IMAX isn't the only film format to reimagine how we listen to movies. Sound systems like THX and Dolby Atmos also compete to deliver the biggest and most realistic audio possible. Which format do you prefer? Do you even notice the difference?