The dome of Science World is an iconic landmark in the Vancouver skyline. But have you ever explored what is hidden below that dome? I don’t mean the 2 floors full of interactive science-wonderfulness, I mean the OMNIMAX Theatre.
The theatre seats 400 people and when it was built (remember Expo 86?) it was the largest screen in the world! It is 5 storeys tall. Even today, almost 30 years later, it is still one of the largest screens in North America.
Science World shows at least four OMNIMAX movies each week day; 6 on the weekends. Every movie is approximately 45 minutes in length and the topics vary wildly. Starting next week Science World jumps into the holiday season with the showing of Santa vs Snowman.
When we visited we watched the Humpback Whale show. Talk about immersion-cinema! The massive screen making the whales seem nearly life-size added to the impact of the show.
After the movie wrapped we had a special experience of seeing behind the big screen! We spotted 2 of the 26 speakers. We also had a peek at the insanely large sub-woofer! Put two household fridges together and you are close to the size of that beast!
The technology in the OMNIMAX theatre is impressive! Despite the screen and the technology all being original it works brilliantly. It isn’t often you hear of 30-year old technology still working let alone performing exceptionally well multiple times every day.
We had a good chat with the projectionist who told us about the 70mm tapes and how each movie weighs nearly 280lbs! The film is so large because 24 images fly past every second. Since each movie runs roughly 45 minutes; that is a lot of film! In the 15 minute gap between shows, the projectionist moves at a hurried pace to manually prepare the next movie.
Interesting fact, the light bulb used to show the IMAX movie is brighter than the sun…yes, brighter! There is an entire piece of equipment dedicated to keep the projection machine and light bulb sufficiently cool.
Did you know Science World actually has two movie theatres? The OMNIMAX is the big one but the Science Theatre has much to offer visitors as well. The 200-seat theatre plays a variety of 6 different movies multiple times a day. Every 3 or 4 months the movies are changed and new features are rotated in. Currently there are movies about bees, microworlds, mammals, the human body, discovering science, and a cartoon about space racers. While tickets to the IMAX movie need to be purchased in addition to your admission, the shows in the Science Theatre are free to all Science World visitors.
The next time you visit Science World be sure to check out the movies playing in the OMNIMAX theatre. You won’t be disappointed with the experience!