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Imax/Omnimax Motion Picture Projection Systems

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: IMAX SYSTEMS CORPORATION. 1980s flyerDate: 21.08.2020
IMAX and OMNIMAX are high fidelity motion picture systems that use state-of-the-art technology to create images of unsurpassed clarity and impact. The IMAX image is projected onto a giant vertical screen which can be ten times the size of a conventional screen, as much as seven storeys high.

The counterpart OMNIMAX system presents an extraordinary experience when images are projected to fill 86% of the surrounding dome screen of a planetarium.

The key to the superior performance and reliability is The Rolling Loop film movement, used in no other projector. The Rolling Loop advances the 70mm film horizontally through the projector; during projection, each frame is positioned on fixed registration pins, and the film is held firmly against the rear element of the lens by a vacuum. As a result, picture and focus steadiness are far above normal standards. The 68 per cent shutter transmits one-third more light than does the 50 per cent shutter in conventional projectors. Each projector incorporates a unique Leitz Canada lens; wide-angle for IMAX and 180° fisheye for OMNIIMAX. For IMAX screens over 5,000 square feet in size and OMNIMAX domes over 57 feet in diameter a powerful 12 kw water-cooled Xenon lamp is used. For smaller screens and domes an economical 4.5 kw air-cooled Xenon lamp is sufficient.

Both systems incorporate a six-track stereo sound system, with four screen channels and two surround channels. The specially designed IMAX or OMNIMAX Camera photographs the largest frame ever used in motion pictures on horizontally moving 65mm film. Because of the increased information carrying capacity of this huge frame, the camera records images with much greater detail than does any other motion picture camera. IMAX and OMNIMAX are undisputed as the finest motion picture systems in the world.

• Go to's IMAX Page
• Go to IMAX, IMAX Dome, IMAX Solido, IMAX 3D, IMAX Magic Carpet, IMAX HD
More in 70mm reading:'s IMAX Page

Internet link:


Film Format Comparison


70mm, 15 perforations/frame
1.91" x 2.74" Area = 5.23 sq. in.
48.5mm x 69.6mm Area = 3376 sq. mm

Both IMAX and OMNIMAX projection systems use the largest film frame in motion picture history. The IMAX frame is ten times the size of a conventional 35mm frame, and three times the size of a 70mm frame. The larger the film frame, the better the picture quality.


70mm, 15 perforations/frame
2.00" x 2.74" (Elliptical) Area = 4.30 sq. in.
50.8mm x 71.25mm (Elliptical) Area = 2775 sq. mm


Standard Todd-AO Format

70mm, 5 perforations/frame
.870" x 1.91" Area = 1.66 sq. in.
22.1mm x 48.5mm Area = 1072 sq. mm

35mm, 4 perforations/frame
.825" x .600" Area = .50 sq. in.
21.0mm x 15.2mm Area = 319 sq. mm


16mm, 1 perforation/frame
.284" x .380" Area = 11 sq. in.
7.21 mm x 9.65mm Area = .69.5 sq. mm
Typical IMAX theatre

IMAX/OMNIMAX theatre design is sufficiently flexible that both small and large theatres work well. IMAX theatres range from 120 seats to over 1000, OMN IMAX theatres from less than 100 seats to 400.

IMAX and OMNIMAX Motion Picture Projection Systems are available only from Imax Systems Corporation, the sole owner of the patents, as well as the trademarks IMAX and OMNIMAX

Go to The First 70MM IMAX Cinema in England

Typical OMNIMAX theatre

• Go to Temporary Closure of the Iconic La Géode

For information:

38 Isabella Street,
Ontario, Canada M4Y 1N1

Telephone: (416)960-8509
Cable Address: "IMAXSYS"
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Updated 21-08-20