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Workers climb a scaffolding to help raise the new IMAX screen at Pacific Science Center.
Workers climb a scaffolding to help raise the new IMAX screen at Pacific Science Center.

Installing an 80-foot wide screen inside a movie theater isn’t an easy job. But employees at the Pacific Science Center teamed up with a construction crew and folks from IMAX to make it happen this morning at the Pacific Science Center.

The new screen is part of a big renovation at the Boeing IMAX theater in Seattle, which includes a laser-powered digital projector that only exists in two other theaters worldwide.

GeekWire got a sneak peek at the installation process on Friday, which started with the screen rolled out across brand new seats.



Workers then inserted a metal rod across the top of the screen (which was at the bottom of the theater) and attached ropes along the edge. A handful of people without a fear of heights — including interim Pacific Science Center CEO Cory Sbarbaro — climbed to the top of a scaffolding to help hoist the screen, which went up similar to the way a mainsail is raised on a sailboat.






The screen itself was custom-built for the new laser projector, which allows for better picture and contrast than what was previously installed. It’s painted silver to brighten the image itself, and tiny perforations allow sound to come through.


The Boeing IMAX Theater will re-open April 30 and includes much more than a new screen, which is already the largest in Washington. There’s also a new “immersive” 12-channel sound system installed, with six 600-pound speakers and eight more “effects” speakers.

“Sound has always been awesome in IMAX, but this is next-generation IMAX sound,” said Diane Carlson, vice president of guest services and theaters for Pacific Science Center.

Another neat aspect of the renovation are lighting trusses that can be lowered from the ceiling, making it easier for employees to swap out new bulbs. There is also new Internet-connected monitoring technology that allows engineers at the IMAX headquarters to remotely fix any software bugs or issues that arise.

Check out the installation process here:

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