Located in the centre of a roundabout just south of Waterloo Bridge, there is a large circular building. This is an IMAX cinema with a screen, which is the largest in Britain being 20m high and 26m wide. The cinema is owned by the British Film Institute but is currently operated by Odeon Cinemas. Odeon will maintain the film programmes, and booking of tickets online and by telephone. Customers can also have the opportunity to watch Operas on the giant screen. However, the BFI will retain a great deal of power over the cinema’s operation including parts of the film schedule and the technical operation
The cinema has a seating capacity of just under 500. There is a 12,000 Watt digital surround sound system. The combination of a perfectly tuned integrated sound system and the precise speaker orientation ensures that the audience can hear a pin drop and be able to tell exactly where it landed.
Although the site is surrounded by traffic and has an underground line just four metres below, the architects and engineers accounted for this in their design and the entire upper structure sits on anti vibration bearings to prevent noise propagation. The cinema won several awards at the time of opening, including a Design Council Millennium Product Award in 1999 and a Civic Trust Award in 2000.
IMAX, which is an acronym for Image MAXimum, is a motion picture film format and a set of cinema projection standards created by a Canadian company IMAX Corporation. This format has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems. Since 2002 some feature films have been converted or upgraded into the IMAX format for display in IMAX theatres and some have also been partially shot in IMAX. The format is the most widely used system for special-venue film presentations including 3D. At the beginning of January 2016, there were 1061 IMAX theatres in 67 countries.
For information about films and to book tickets go to http://www.odeon.co.uk/cinemas/bfi_imax/211/
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