Imax 3D vs. Real 3D

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Difference between Imax 3D and Real 3D

3D is one of the hottest tickets in the movie industry, and Imax 3D and Real 3D are just two of the most formidable technologies duking it out for box-office supremacy. Both technologies have something unique to offer, as you will see in this comparison article.

Imax 3D
Real 3D

Definition

IMAX 3D produces the illusion of three-dimensional depth by way of two camera lenses that each represents the left and right eyes respectively. These lenses are separated by an interocular distance of 64 mm, which has been determined to be the average distance between the eyes of a typical person. With images recorded on two separate film rolls for each of the eyes, and then projecting them at the same time, viewers can then see a 3D image even on a 2D screen.

Real 3D Cinema is the digital stereoscopic projection technology developed by RealD Inc. The technology is currently the most widely used in 3D film viewing in movie theatres. Samsung recently announced that it would be using RealD technology in its line of HDTVs.

Features

IMAX 3D is the oldest of three standards that achieved widespread popularity primarily because of their huge screens. Nevertheless, the technology has yet to take off in other parts of the world, and most IMAX cinemas currently operate only in the United States. Previous versions of IMAX 3D was analogue, with movies shot on 70mm film in order to provide better image quality on screens that typically use the standard 35mm film. While a digital version of the technology was later released, relatively few cinemas employ the new version, and its screens are still smaller than those used in analogue versions. IMAX 3D also requires the use of large linear passive polarized plastic glasses that many viewers aren't comfortable with.

Real 3D is a newer standard than IMAX 3D, and it is digital through-and-through. The movies are recorded on digital format right from the start, and even the projectors used are digital. RealD also uses circular polarized plastic glasses that are better than IMAX’s linear polarized glasses, particularly for stereoscopic viewing. These glasses allow viewers to move their heads to whatever position without losing the 3D effect. On the other hand, Real 3D requires silver screens that are more expensive than those used in IMAX 3D and regular theaters.

In Use

IMAX 3D cameras are quite large and cumbersome, with typical ones weighing more than 113 kg. The weight of these cameras poses significant challenges when filming on-location. In terms of viewing experience, IMAX 3D generally provides more of a “pop-out” screen effect as opposed to the greater depth that Real 3D provides. Although quite a novel experience at the start, this can get a bit tiresome over the length of a long movie.

Real 3D on the other hand offers a more in-depth 3D experience that contrasts sharply with IMAX 3D's more jarring effect. According to many viewers, this experience is a lot easier and more comfy to sit through than the IMAX system.

Similarities and Differences

IMAX 3D

  • Produces the illusion of three-dimensional depth by way of two camera lenses that each represents the left and right eyes respectively
  • The oldest of three standards that achieved widespread popularity primarily because of their huge screens

Real 3D

  • The digital stereoscopic projection technology developed by RealD Inc.
  • Currently the most widely used in 3D film viewing in movie theatres

Which is better?
  • Imax 3D
  • Real 3D
 
 

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