Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 23, 2022

Aquarium hosts giant screen-raising party at IMAX theater

Work crews at the Tennessee Aquarium have been busy tackling a big job: replacing the six-story-tall screen at the IMAX 3D Theater. - Photographs provided

The Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater was closed Sept. 15-16 for a monumental undertaking: the replacement of its six-story tall, 89-foot-wide screen.

The behemoth is one of the features that sets the IMAX 3D theater apart from conventional movie halls.

In preparation for hosting the Giant Screen Cinema Association’s annual international conference at the end of September, the aquarium partnered with IMAX Corporation to replace the existing 6-year-old screen so the theater would look its best for the international event, which draws giant-screen filmmakers, distributors, theaters, suppliers, manufacturers and students from around the world.

“Theaters normally replace their screens every 10 years or so,” says IMAX Senior Operator and Manager Corey Cobb. “We’re changing ours even sooner to ensure our audiences and visiting giant-screen industry leaders enjoy the best viewing experience possible.”

The two-day process is nearly as impressive as the giant-sized screen itself. First, crews construct scaffolding below the screen to facilitate the removal of the old screen. Next, the old screen is sliced vertically into sections to make it easier to lower and remove.

The new screen arrives rolled into an aluminum tube and packed inside a shipping container on a flatbed truck. Workers use a crane to unload the enormous parcel and then hoist the 1,500-pound roll onto their shoulders and carry it into the theater.

The crew then places the screen on a special device that will allow it to be slowly unspooled across the theater’s seats, which are covered with plastic to protect the screen from damage.

Finally, the workers use riggers to unfurl the screen and raise it into position and then stretch it into place.

Source: Tennessee Aquarium