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updated: 8/19/2011 3:30 PM

Go behind the silver screen at Randall 15 in Batavia

Go behind silver screen to see how 3-D IMAX takes film to another level

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  • Warren stands behind the four-story IMAX screen, which displays movies to a theater of 383 seats.

       Warren stands behind the four-story IMAX screen, which displays movies to a theater of 383 seats.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The woofers, or speakers that deliver the thumping low bass sound, are more than 7 feet tall and are stacked behind the middle of the IMAX screen.

       The woofers, or speakers that deliver the thumping low bass sound, are more than 7 feet tall and are stacked behind the middle of the IMAX screen.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Paul Warren, IMAX/Projection manager at Randall 15 in Batavia, stands at the base of the 43' x 70' IMAX movie screen as credits roll for the latest Harry Potter movie.

       Paul Warren, IMAX/Projection manager at Randall 15 in Batavia, stands at the base of the 43' x 70' IMAX movie screen as credits roll for the latest Harry Potter movie.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The 6,000-watt xenon bulbs have to be replaced every 500 hours.

       The 6,000-watt xenon bulbs have to be replaced every 500 hours.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Digital IMAX trailers are loaded and shipped on jump drives.

       Digital IMAX trailers are loaded and shipped on jump drives.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

The process of putting moving pictures on the silver screen has remained relatively unchanged for many decades.

Recently, digitally formatted movies have been replacing traditional film movies. These days, at theaters like the Randall 15 in Batavia, fans can see a digital, 3-D IMAX movie on a screen that is four stories tall.

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Paul Warren, IMAX/projection manager at Randall 15, says all 15 theaters are now being outfitted with digital projectors. The first to be converted was the IMAX theater. The screen is 43 feet tall and 70 feet wide.

To create the illusion of depth in a 3-D show, two digital IMAX projectors play the movie at the same time. They represent the left and right eyes. The image is also filtered with opposing polarizing lenses, and viewers wear polarizing glasses to cancel out parts of the projected image and the opposing lenses to give the illusion of depth.

The projectors are liquid-cooled and have a 6,000-watt xenon gas bulb. Movies arrive from California on their own massive hard drive. 3-D IMAX movies are 150 to 300 gigabytes in size. Warren easily controls the IMAX projectors with simple computer keystrokes from the fourth floor projection room.

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