With time technology is becoming more advanced. We are no longer being excited about 3D as we were before, as cooler features in a film like 4D and 5D are emerging. To help you understand this new innovation in the film we will have a comprehensive discussion of 4DX Vs. IMAX to determine which is the best. Let’s dive in!
IMAX, which mostly offers 2D and 3D experiences, features large screens and impressive soundtracks which make you feel like part of the story. 4DX, on the other hand, has all that IMAX has to offer combined with Elemental effects like rain and scents. It also has motion chairs. These cool features make a movie experience in 4DX theaters an out-of-the-world experience.
Despite all the fantastic features offered by 4DX, some people are still hanging on the IMAX theaters, saying it is way better. We will look into what might be the reason for people ate not yet been camping on the 4DX side.
Before we give a side-by-side comparison on a table, we will discuss what both 4DX and IMAX screens are and what movies work best for each.
What is 4DX?
4DX is state-of-the-art cinematographic technology that was developed and launched by CJ4DPLEX. This film technology incorporates on-screen visuals, environmental effects such as wind, water, rain, fog, snow, scent, and many others, and synchronized motion chairs to achieve an immersive multisensory cinematic experience.
The CJ4DPLEX technology is the leading 4D film tech for the latest Hollywood blockbusters, animations, and live concerts.
4DX is perfect for;
- Action flicks
- Horror movies
- Animations, and
- Live-action films
4DX is not suitable for;
- Slow movies
So if you are planning to watch fast and furious 9, then the 4DX screen is definitely for you.
What is IMAX?
IMAX is a film technology that embraces big screens and amped audio systems. When IMAX was launched, IMAX corporation saw the need to improve the watching experience from the basic standard screens, which have shallow image quality and mediocre audio system.
The large screens at IMAX theaters occupy the whole wall, leaving no room for distraction. However, the seating arrangement is frustrating. Chairs are closer to the huge screens. Therefore, you will have to watch for a whole 2hours at an angle making your neck sore.
IMAX is great for;
IMAX is not great for;
- Everything else.
Okay, that may seem harsh. But, there is no point in paying so much money for you to come out of the theater with back pain, swollen legs, and a sore neck. I would choose to watch Avengers at IMAX because Avengers was shot using IMAX cameras, and all the extraordinary effects were perfectly achieved.
The table below will help us differentiate 4DX and IMAX further.
|Standard size screens like those in standard cinemas
|Large and tall wall stretching the whole wall.
|A little bit low quality than IMAX
|Very accurate 3D displays with dual 4k resolution laser projection
|21 signature effects
|Real 3D film
|Over 700 theaters worldwide
|Over 1500 theaters worldwide
4DX Vs. IMAX: How do the Two Compare?
Screen size and image quality
The screen size and how clear the ages are will determine if you will enjoy the film. So how do our two picks compare to each other?
When it comes to screen size, IMAX is clearly the winner. Screens at IMAX theaters run from wall to floor, most being 75 feet tall and 60 feet wide. IMAX, with advanced features, has screened 117 feet tall.
As for the image quality, the large screens have a balanced brightness and saturation. Some IMAX screens show films in 4k. The screens are curves, with the main focus being at the center. So, no matter what corner you sit in, you will clearly see the film. The images move out of the screen towards you, giving that real-time action and scare.
Screens on 4DX theaters are tiny, almost the same size as standard screens. The brightness does not compare with IMAX’s, but the picture seems to be projecting out towards you. In 4DX theaters, you can watch movies from any corner and get the same resolution and brightness without tilting your neck.
Each screen format displays unique effects, determining the type of movie experience one will have.
As discussed above, IMAX concentrates on the quality of images and the screen size. The screens have a balanced brightness and color correlation making every movie appear more colorful than the standard movie experience. You get to enjoy the movie on large screens with an aspect ratio of 1:90:1. This means you can watch a 3D film at IMAX.
4DX, on the other hand, shows its movies in 4D. Here you do not just see a movie; you feel like you are in the movie. The North Korean technology features 21 sensory effects like water, rain, fog, fire, etc. There is a tingling effect every time there is an action on TV, let’s say when a car is moving.
Comfort when watching a movie plays a huge part in my selection of movie theaters.
There is no special thing about seats at IMAX. The seats are padded, making them comfortable. However, they are tiny for plus-size people. Since the seats do not move, as in the case of 4DX, you can eat while watching the movie. Another disadvantage is that you will have to position your body, so you do not tilt your neck too much.
4DX, on the other hand, features moving chairs. Every time a car moves, you feel the seat move. In the case of a bomb in the movie, you will be forced to feel the effect. This is a disadvantage as you cannot concentrate on a movie entirely due to the constant movements. Again you can also not eat in 4DX theaters due to these random motions.
Despite the chairs being comfortable, you are likely to get a headache, nausea, and feel motion tired.
Application and Availability
IMAX is ideal for both 2D and 3D films. The seats do not move; the screen is large and bright enough. You can feel like the images are projected to you, especially for theaters with 4k laser projectors. You can choose the best row to watch longer movies despite the uncomfortable chairs.
There are over 1500 IMAX theaters in over 80 countries.
4DX, on the other hand, is ideal for action movies. The multisensory environmental effects incorporated by the technology can make your movie experience amazing and yet annoying. For example, when there is a rain scene in the movie, you will feel the mist but not get wet.
These sensory effects, however, might not be ideal for longer movies. The motion seats might give you a headache or motion sick. There are around 700 4DX theaters worldwide.
What you are paying to watch a film determines your experience in the theater.
For an IMAX ticket, you will pay $20. Here you will experience 12 high-quality sound channels, large screens, and high-quality images, and you can enjoy a snack in the theater.
As for the 4DX ticket, you will pay $28. This might be attributed to the 21 multisensory environmental effects you experience while watching a movie. So, is the 4DX movie experience worth it?
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4DX Vs. IMAX: which screen technology would I recommend?
Both IMAX and 4DX have been there for a while. However, I would not recommend you to watch a movie on 4DX screens; here is why.
- Standard screens:
we all buy movie tickets because of the large screens available in the theaters. 4DX screens are the same size we get in standard movie theaters. The screen does not have the same brightness and color correlation provided by IMAX. For this reason, if you are looking to watch a film on a large screen, IMAX is your better option.
IMAX features large screens with an aspect ratio of either 1:43:1 or 1:90:1, which is about six times the size of 4DX films.
- Silly features:
Various people have different opinions when it comes to the features offered by 4DX. 4DX technology has 21 multiple sensory effects like rain, mist, fire, and others. When watching a movie with either this effect, you will get to experience it in real-time.
I happened to watch spider man homecoming in a 4DX theater with my sister. And I can assure you, that was the last time I paid any cent to watch a movie in 4DX theaters. I wouldn’t say I liked the experience.
Being a keen follower of dialogues and scenes, the constant scare and the gushing of wind for no reason was annoying. There was one kid who started crying in the theater when the chair would move when the earthquake happened in the movie.
The moving seats was another thing I did not enjoy. I mean, I want to munch on my popcorn when watching my favorite film.
My sister, on the other hand, loved the experience 100%. She told me she enjoyed every scare and sad scene, every punch, and all the environmental effects.
So depending on how you love your movies, you can either enjoy or get annoyed with the experience 4DX has to offer. As for me, I better watch my movie on my laptop, sleeping on my couch.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is 4D cinema?
4D cinema is a combination of 3D technology and other sensory effects. In 3D films, you wear glasses to make the film appear real.
The added sensory effects on 4D, like wind, fire, rain, and the moving chairs, do not make you seem as though you are part of the movie, but also feel what the movie is intended to make you feel.
For example, in a rain scene in a movie, you will feel the mist hit you, but you do not get wet.4DX is the leading 4D cinema.
- Can I switch the moving chairs in the 4DX cinema?
Unfortunately, you cannot switch off the moving chairs in 4DX. The chairs are controlled by a technology that makes all the chairs in the theater move together. So in case, a car is passing on the screen at high speed, everybody in the theater will feel the same motion.
- Can I have motion sickness in 4DX?
I have heard a few individuals complain of motion sickness. However, this is dependent on various factors.
If you are prone to migraines, it would be advisable to find alternative screens with less motion. You cannot switch off your single chair from moving.
Another factor is hunger. Do not go to a 4DX theater hungry; you cannot eat any food in the theater.
If you have any underlying health conditions or old age, you can have motion sickness. Otherwise, the movements are minor and cannot cause any harm.
- What is unique about IMAX?
With over 1500 theaters worldwide, IMAX is one of the leading movie technology in the world. This is attributed to its large screens, affordability, high-quality audio system, and images with 4k resolution. You can enjoy either a 2D or 3D movie in the theaters.
The debate on 4DX Vs. IMAX is just a guide to help you know what to expect when visiting either cinema.
Although 4DX has the most advanced technology, some movie lovers find the constant motions and excessive effects annoying. However, you cannot rule out if you will like the experience by reading this guide. You can pay for a 4DX ticket, which is $28, and judge for yourself.
If you do not like the experience in the 4DX cinema, I am sure you will enjoy a movie at IMAX.
Graduated with a Bachelor of Audio Engineering and Sound Production. He has worked with a number of studios as a Recording Engineer, with over 10 years of servicing experience in both re-recording mixing and sound editing.