Difference Between IMAX and RealD 3D

Sometimes, it may occur to many people how watching movies in the theatre feels so extraordinary than watching it on a regular TV screen. Why?


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Find out here!  The movie theatre companies are more reliant on latest and existing technologies to offer seamless watching experience for their audience 

Cinema is not only about high-quality picture display, but it’s a combination of every aspect including projectors, speakers, lamps and cameras and the electronics that drives them all. 

In the old times, formats used to be very basic, even in the early 21th century, there were not many innovations seen in movie-theatre arena. But then 3D otherwise called RealD 3D came into existence in this arena which succeeded wonderfully.

This technology use the projectors with polarized light that creates an delusion of depth in the images, making movie-watching highly immersive. 

IMAX vs RealD 3D

The difference between IMAX and RealD 3D is the 3D technology that they use. IMAX uses Linear polarizing technology and RealD 3D uses Circular polarizing technology. 

IMAX vs Real 3D 1

You must have heard about the word IMAX abbreviated as Image Maximum. It’s the new way people enjoy watching movies. IMAX theaters have the biggest screens than any other theatre formats. 

Surprisingly, the movie “Dunkirk” was the first movie that was made available in 70mm IMAX screening especially Christopher’s part that was shot from an IMAX camera.

This is the version that is higher than the standard 35mm film screens we see in the theaters. Real D 3D and IMAX are both latest genres of cinema technology that give cinematographers more choices for editing and projecting the movies in a more riveting way. 


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonIMAXRealD 3D
3D TechnologyThe Imax theatres use a linear polarizing technique for picture generationReal 3D chores over the circular polarizing format for picture creation
ProjectorsIMAX theatre use dual projectorsOn the other hand, Real 3D features a solo projector having a 3D lens
Screen sizeIMAX theatres offer big screens for a great watching experienceReal 3D theatres have the standard size for their screens.
Glass lensThe lens used in IMAX theatres make use of curved polarizersWhereas Real 3D uses straight polarizers for their lenses.
Sound QualityThe sound in IMAX theatre is uncompressed and has perfect accuracyThe sound quality varies depending upon the movie type.


What is IMAX 3D?

Imax 3D is the movie format that many theatres have these days. Bigger is much better when it comes to enduring the latest blockbuster films and IMAX guarantees to do so.

Watching movies in an IMAX theatre is significantly different than watching it in a regular multiplex cinema because IMAX 3D has better laser projection technology, bigger screen size, great quality sound system, and digital rem mastering (DRM). 

IMAX 3D has two projectors to be projected on the screen. Each projector is dedicated to each eye just to ensure that the audiences get the perfect amount of clarity and brightness. 

IMAX Corporation is a renowned company in the entertainment technology business. IMAX has been in the business since the year 1968 known for its innovation in making stadium seating movie experience highly immersive. 

IMAX Corporation offices are present in many cities like New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Dublin, and Toronto

In today’s time besides making IMAX theatres, they are also known for developing the world’s highest-resolution cameras and inaugurating laser projection technology. 

The world’s best film studios and filmmakers put forth IMAX theatres to make the experience extraordinary for the audiences, so that audience loves their movies watching them on IMAX 3D theatres. 

As per the exploration, there are a total of 1,514 IMAX theatres working in 80 different territories around the globe. There will be more upcoming IMAX theatres in the near future. 

imax 3d

What is RealD 3D?

Real D is an American company that docked in 2003 to introduce the established technology of 3D cinema in the world. Real D 3D delivers an astounding and highly immersive movie-watching experience to their audience.

They successfully create a lifelike effect in the eyes of the audience by adding depth that literally makes the audience feel they have stepped into the movie themselves. 

RealD 3D is the widest 3D cinema platform in the world where 26,500 theatres are installed in 72 different territories worldwide. 

RealD offices are headquartered in California, Hempstead, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Moscow, Tokyo, and Oxford

RealD has two unique formats for Cinema i.e Premium format that goes up to 50’ screen size and Luxe format with 50’ above size. 

Many filmmakers rely on RealD 3D for their movies because RealD involves intriguing technologies like TrueImage, TrueMotion that allow filmmakers to present the movie the way they want without any flaws. 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was one of the movies that used TrueImage technology from RealD. 

Main Differences Between IMAX and RealD 3D

  1. Polarization type: Real D 3D uses the circular polarization technique for their projectors, while IMAX uses the Linear polarization technique for their projectors.
  2. Viewing: IMAX screens are huge and curved and refines the viewer’s angle on the screen and also reduce the ghosting effect that is seen in many 3D screens. RealD 3D has a better viewing angle that allows the audience to tilt or turn their heads while watching the movie. The ghosting effect is negligible in RealD 3D movie formats.
  3. Projectors: IMAX theatre makes use of Christie 2K dual projector systems that offers 2X times resolution of 1080p along with the bright and clear 3D images. RealD 3D on the other hand, uses Sony’s 4K Digital Cinema projectors with a special 3D lens inbuilt to offer the audience 4X times the high resolution 1080p.
  4. Audio: IMAX has undoubtedly the best sound system with pitch-perfect tuning and high accuracy. RealD 3D sound system varies by the size of the theatre.
  5. 3D Glasses: IMAX uses Large 3D glasses whereas RealD 3D offers standard sized 3D glasses.


  1. https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA271335527&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=1930160X&p=AONE&sw=w
  2. https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1119/1.3317467
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