Free Lance-Star profiles Science Museum of Virginia IMAX Dome

December 18, 2008 – 12:12 pm

The Free Lance-Star takes a look at the Science Museum of Virginia’s Ethyl IMAX Dome theater, the largest movie screen in Virginia:

Putting films like “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa” on the IMAX Dome requires more than an ordinary projector to produce its massive, high-resolution picture.

The modified 70 mm film of the IMAX projector has about 10 times the surface area of conventional 35 mm film–the kind used in regular movie theaters.

The film also passes over a 15,000-watt lamp, compared with the 4,000-watt lamp used with 35 mm film in theaters.

“If you were to take 35 mm film and blow it up, it would just be grainy and the picture would be awful,” [director of the IMAX theater Eric] Melenbrink said. “When you blow the 70 mm film up, you have a huge image that is just as good as anything you’ll see. We’re projecting a larger picture than anyone else in the state, and it’s crystal clear.

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