IMAX vs Standard: Difference Between Imax and Standard

IMAX offers a larger, more immersive cinematic experience with its massive screens and enhanced audio and visuals, while Standard theaters provide a more traditional movie-watching setting. The choice between them depends on personal preference for immersive viewing or a more conventional movie experience.

IMAX vs Standard

The film industry is one of the important industries of a country. Sometimes a movie can show the viewer a country’s social situation. A country’s social, lifestyle, culture, and economic condition can be judged by the quality of movies of that country.

There are a lot of things like story, song, casting, and a combination of many elements to measure the quality of a movie.

These have become secondary elements in this new era, and the quality of videos and sounds is becoming the main priority. Most people are now going to different multiplexes, theaters, or cinema halls to watch 3D movies.

That’s why theater owners are trying to transform their theater’s viewing materials from standard or old to the latest technologies supported.

Recently, there are many various technologies to give the audience a more elegant and realistic feeling of the movie. You may hear about IMAX, and it is one of these technologies that bring a new experience to the audience.

It allows viewing movies with higher picture quality by increasing the size of the screen and the number of pixels.

As a new technology, IMAX comes with a larger screen, higher sound, and picture quality. The main difference between a standard or regular screen and an IMAX screen is that Imax screens are larger and approximately six times larger than regular screens.

At the theater, a standard screen has restricted and traditional pixel resolution. Compared to regular screens, Imax screens are far better in the context of audio and visual representation quality.

If you are a movie lover and have a habit of watching movies at the theaters, then it would be helpful to you to get the best viewing experience if you understand the differences between the regular and Imax screens.

In this article, you will get to know how different it is to watch a movie on a regular screen and an Imax screen.

In the world of cinema, IMAX has become synonymous with an immersive and larger-than-life movie-watching experience. But what exactly is IMAX, and how does it differ from standard cinema formats?

In this article, we will explore the differences between IMAX and standard cinema, including screen size, picture quality, sound, and overall viewing experience, to help you understand which format may be right for you.

About IMAX Cinema

This theater technology is not new in this area; it was introduced in 1971. But at that time, that was not that popular; it started to flourish in the 2000s. In the beginning, nature films are shown by using these theaters.

But it has developed its own technology, and now different types of visual films can be shown on these screens. According to Imax data, there are about 1,500 Imax theaters in eighty countries worldwide.

In Imax theaters, you can enjoy the realistic effects of the movies as like you are present in the movie because it has a big rounded dome and flat screen. To produce this amazing feeling, these theaters need to perform on linear polarization technologies and have to use advanced cameras.

Another benefit of these theaters is that you can watch the movie clearly from a wider angle. In this special feature, the scene from one point of view can be viewed from all sides. It is possible because of the enlarged pictures separated from the right and left eye point of view.

There are specialized sound engineers and sound system arrangements in Imax theaters for crystal clear and powerful sound.

IMAX, which stands for Image Maximum, is a proprietary motion picture projection format that was developed by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation in the late 1960s.

IMAX theaters are known for their massive screens that are significantly larger than those found in standard cinemas. These screens can measure up to 100 feet in width or more, providing an immersive and panoramic viewing experience.

One of the key features of IMAX is its unique aspect ratio. IMAX movies are usually filmed using special IMAX cameras that capture images on 70mm film stock, resulting in a taller and wider aspect ratio compared to standard films.

This means that when you watch an IMAX movie on an IMAX screen, you get to see more of the image, with a larger field of view that can make you feel like you are a part of the action.

About Standard Cinema

Standard theaters are the traditional theaters that are found in all cities and even in the rural and underdeveloped areas. These theaters are running from the beginning of the film industry. They used the old technologies, but as time progressed, these theaters also developed their technologies.

They bring changes in cameras, equip the latest cameras, and add some modern entertainment techniques in the cinema halls. That’s why now these theaters are popular for 2D movies. You can enjoy the movies of the ’80s and ’90s more thoroughly.

You have to sit in front of the screen to watch the movie clearly because, in these theaters, screens are straight and plain. You can’t expect high-resolution picture quality from these theaters because they can incorporate only a limited range of pixels and resolutions.

Difference Between IMAX and Standard Cinema

IMAX vs. Standard
  • Imax was introduced in the industry in 1971 by IMAX Corporation, which is a Canadian theatre company. It was introduced to simplify the use of high-resolution videos to the audience using the latest technologies. On the other hand, Standard theaters have been available in the industry for a very long time.
  • Standard theaters provide traditional screen cinematography with limited pixel resolution. Imax is popular for its large screen, which produces a wide film format. It is ten times bigger than a standard theater and also gives you high-quality sound and video.
  • As we already stated, Imax is six times larger than a standard screen. It provides high-resolution video quality. While Standard theatre screens for their ultrawide displays are common with an aspect ratio of 16:9, Imax comes with an aspect ratio of 1.43:1 or 1.90:1. Its large and dome circular screen involves the whole theatre.
  • There are three types of projection formats that Imax follows in different products and have a 70 mm film system. They are Imax 4K including laser, 15 perforations, and Imax 2K Digital. But Standard theaters has only one film format that is 35 mm on a rectangular screen, and its view is squared.
  • Screen Size: The most noticeable difference between IMAX and standard cinema is the screen size. As mentioned earlier, IMAX screens are significantly larger than standard cinema screens, providing a more immersive and larger-than-life viewing experience. Standard cinema screens, on the other hand, are usually smaller and do not offer the same level of visual impact.
  • Picture Quality: Another key difference between IMAX and standard cinema is the picture quality. IMAX movies are filmed using special IMAX cameras that capture images in high resolution and with greater clarity compared to standard films. This results in a more detailed and lifelike image on the screen, with vibrant colors and sharp visuals.
  • Sound: Sound plays a crucial role in creating an immersive movie-watching experience, and IMAX theaters are known for their exceptional sound systems. IMAX theaters are equipped with a sophisticated and powerful sound setup that can deliver an immersive audio experience, with rich and detailed sound that surrounds the audience from all directions. Standard cinema theaters also have good sound systems, but they may not match the level of detail and immersion offered by IMAX.
  • Viewing Experience: IMAX theaters are designed to provide a unique and unparalleled viewing experience. With their massive screens, high-resolution images, and powerful sound systems, IMAX theaters offer a sense of scale and grandeur that can transport viewers into the world of the movie like never before. Standard cinema theaters, while still providing an enjoyable movie-watching experience, may not offer the same level of immersion and impact as IMAX.

IMAX sound vs. Standard sound

The Imax audio department is the only thing that is dependent on the size of the room. But as IMAX says, its sound system is a mixture of accurately tuned sound systems and precise speaker orientation.

That’s why there is no point in the cinema hall having bad audio, no matter how far you sit from the speakers.

It is necessary to re-record the dialogues of the movie actors to provide the best sound quality to the audience in the theatre at the time of remastering of cinema pieces.

The sound of the Imax theatre can be immersive because about 12-channel or mostly 6-channel sound systems are used in the Imax theatre, which gives unsophisticated sounds. But it normally varies on the properties of different theatre rooms.

Though there are various types of sound systems used on Standard theatres, most Standard theatres are using 5.1 or the same kind of sound systems. The sound quality is average, but it is not as great and clear as an Imax theatre sound quality.

The main difference between an Imax theatre sound and a Standard theatre sound is the lack of constant guidelines for the characteristics of their sound objects.

IMAX 3D vs Standard 3D

In the standard or conventional 3D, you can perceive the small elements pretty well, but in Imax 3D, you will have the capability to identify the large objects more precisely.

It is the same principle of its digitalization that Imax is used to develop its 3D technology. Imax produces the perfect picture quality using the combination of two different projectors’ images. For 3D technology, Imax uses the characteristics of the human eye and simulates it, and the functioning of the projector depends on that.

Is IMAX Worth It?

One question that often comes up when comparing IMAX and standard cinema is whether IMAX is worth the higher ticket price. IMAX tickets are generally more expensive than standard cinema tickets, and this can be a deciding factor for many moviegoers.

However, it’s important to note that IMAX offers a unique and premium viewing experience that may be worth the extra cost for some viewers, especially for movies that are visually stunning or action-packed.


The main difference between IMAX and a regular screen lies in the screen size, picture quality, sound, and overall viewing experience. IMAX screens are much larger, providing a more immersive and panoramic view, and the picture quality is typically higher with sharper visuals and vibrant colors. The sound systems in IMAX theaters are also more powerful, delivering more detail.

After learning the different characteristics of the Standard and Imax theaters, it is understandable that Imax is far better and gives more advantages than Standard theaters. Imax is growing in popularity for its amazing picture and sound quality.

In conclusion, we can identify that screens are placed at the center of the room in Standard theatres while Imax screens are set up to the whole wall. Fifty thousand watts of Xenon Bulb is used to project the film in Imax theatre, which is super bright and provides a clearer, better picture with a high resolution. But in the Standard Theatre, the light is less bright, and that’s why the picture quality has a limited resolution.

As for sounds, there is no question that Imax sound is ahead of any Standard sounds. In Imax theatres, the picture resolution is increased with the enhanced audio effects; that’s why it will not create any problems for the eye and ears of the audience.

At last, if you look at the higher cost of an Imax theatre than a Standard theatre, it is worth watching a movie with perfect picture quality and sound effects.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

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Lance Ulanoff is a renowned tech journalist, commentator, and on-air expert with over 36 years of experience. He has held esteemed positions including Editor in Chief of Lifewire and Mashable, where he delved into the impact of technology on daily life. Lance's expertise has been featured on major news programs globally, and he has made appearances on Fox News, CNBC, and the BBC.