Larger-than-life cinema

The Cincinnati Museum Center’s OMNIMAX Theater has a track record of going big.


Ever since opening in 1990, audiences have enjoyed memorable, cutting-edge educational experiences through documentary-style films projected onto the theater’s giant, five-story, domed screen.


In 2016, the OMNIMAX won international recognition among giant-screen cinemas for its launch of the film “National Parks Adventure. Cincinnati’s ambitious premiere event kicked off with climber Rachel Pohl, cast member, perched alone atop the Union Terminal dome before repelling down the façade of the building.


“National Parks Adventure” a celebration of America’s natural wonders and the National Parks Service’s 100-year legacy — was the final film to be shown in Cincinnati’s OMNIMAX Theater before Union Terminal closed its doors for renovation.


While the facility underwent its historic restoration, IMAX singled them out to demonstrate the latest in cinematography technologies for domed theaters.


“IMAX has enjoyed a longtime partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center in delivering unforgettable entertainment experiences to guests for generations that educate, inspire, and showcase the wonders of our world,” says David Keighley, president and chief quality officer at IMAX.


“Cincinnati Museum Center shares our passion for innovation and pushing boundaries,” he says, “and together we look forward to taking the IMAX experience to the next level with the launch of IMAX with Laser at Cincinnati Museum Center’s OMNIMAX Theater.”


Until now, Cincinnati’s OMNIMAX has operated with the same film projection system it began with 28 years ago. When the theater reopens to the public at the end of this month, it will be newly equipped with IMAX’s next-generation digital laser technology. This update will serve to further enhance the experiential impact of the giant, five-story, domed screen.


In other words, an already-immersive experience is about to become even more immersive.


In addition to the newly installed laser technology, the updated theater will feature a brand new dome screen with a seamless, fresh-white projection surface. All the upgrades together will deliver more vivid images, significantly improved contrast and brightness, and even an expanded color range.


The OMNIMAX will also be equipped with new seats, lighting, and carpeting. And every seat in the house will enjoy the same listening experience, optimized for complete audio immersion thanks to six laser-aligned sound speakers.


“After a two-and-a-half year closure to accommodate the historic restoration of Union Terminal, it is fitting that the timing of the release of this new technology will line up with the reopening of the theater,” says Dave Duszynski, president of Mercury Museum Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cincinnati Museum Center.


Stay tuned for further details on the 2018–2019 winter reopening of the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater, which will kick off with “Volcanoes the Movie.”


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Read more articles by Sarah Dupee.

Sarah Dupee is a freelance writer, teacher, translator, and musician with a background in French and Francophone Studies.