Movie Projectors
The Tech's Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater provides one-of-a-kind movie experience

The Tech's Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater provides one-of-a-kind movie experience

When The Tech Museum of Innovation opens the doors to its brand new permanent home on Oct. 31, 1998, it will also debut the Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater, the only IMAX dome theater in Northern California.

Unlike traditional flat-screen IMAX theaters, the new, state-of-the-art Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater features a giant hemispherical, domed screen 82 feet in diameter with a surface of 9,188 square feet. The image on the screen covers 80 percent of the dome; 180 degrees horizontally and extends vertically through 120 degrees. The wrap-around sound system features the latest in digital sound -- a digital theater audio controller, providing 13,000 watts of power amplification coming from 44 speakers.

The 12,000-square-foot dome theater has 295 comfortable, reclining seats with head rests. The seating is steeply terraced so that every member of the audience is close to the screen and enjoys a full view. Access for wheelchairs is provided.

To minimize obstructions within the theater, the dust-free projection and operator's room is below the theater floor. The projection room is glass-walled, allowing the public to view the equipment. Once loaded with film, the projector is lifted by a hoist 22 feet into the projection box, called a "dog house." Film prints are led through the projector at 24 frames per second, or 5.6 feet per second, more than three times faster than in conventional 70 mm movie projectors. During the run of a 40-minute movie, over three miles of film will pass through the projector.

The azure-colored dome on The Tech's new building which houses the IMAX screen has become a stunning landmark in downtown San Jose's skyline. The theater is named for Mike and Joan Hackworth who contributed the first $1 million individual gift to The Tech's Capital Campaign in 1992. Mike Hackworth is a member of The Tech's Board of Directors and President and CEO of Cirrus Logic Inc. in Fremont, CA.

The Tech is a joint project with The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Jose. Additional funding for the $96 million project comes from corporate and individual donors, and The Tech Capital Campaign. The total includes an unprecedented $25 million of in-kind contributions.

The Tech will open its IMAX dome theater with the critically-acclaimed film, Everest. Everest chronicles the IMAX film crew's breathtaking 29,028-foot ascent to the top of Mt. Everest in this story of amazing achievements. Audiences are taken on an inspirational and spell-binding climb with an international team of climbers who found hope, beauty and triumph in the wake of tragedy.

Produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films of California, Everest has been hailed as the most spectacular large-format film ever made. It is a compelling story about the human spirit and a mountain that is loved, respected and sometimes feared. Viewers will feel as if they are shoulder to shoulder with the climbers as they scale sheer vertical walls.

The Tech's new permanent home will open on October 31, 1998. The new 132,000-square-foot museum, at the corner of Market Street and Park Avenue in downtown San Jose, is made possible through a partnership with The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Jose. The new museum will include four theme galleries -- Innovation: Silicon Valley and Beyond; Communication: Global Connections; Life Tech: The Human Machine; and Exploration: New Frontiers, the 295-seat Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater and the Robert N. Noyce Center for Learning.

Author Notes:

Laura Tucker contributes and publishes news editorial to  An online look at projectors, home theatre and accessories; such as digital, video, screens and slides.

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