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Author Topic: The Dark Knight - Parts of movie to be filmed in IMAX
Bobby Henderson
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 - posted 05-29-2007 09:50 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Link to News Article

quote:
First look: Enter the Joker — in the IMAX format

By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — All directors promise that their sequels will be bigger and flashier than the predecessors'. But Christopher Nolan doesn't mess around.

The director's sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, will become the first feature film to be partly shot in the IMAX format, an expensive and cumbersome process that typically is the province of documentaries and short films.

Nolan will shoot four action sequences — including the introduction of the Joker, played by Heath Ledger — on IMAX.

The move is one of Hollywood's most pronounced steps yet in its embrace of IMAX theaters, which are increasingly showing commercial fare on their giant screens.

"There's simply nothing like seeing a movie that way," Nolan says. "It's more immersive for the audience. I wish I could shoot the entire thing this way."

Typically, the feature films that play in IMAX theaters are simply stretched out to fill the enormous screens. That can dilute the picture quality and give the movie a wide, squat look.

Shooting on IMAX, Nolan says, will have a twofold effect. The four scenes will fill the IMAX screens, some of which are eight stories high. And in traditional theaters, the scenes will appear more vivid (think high-definition television over standard).

Don't expect many movies to follow suit. Only 280 IMAX theaters are in operation worldwide, and fewer than 100 show feature films.

And shooting in the format is difficult. IMAX film, which is 10 times the size of standard film stock, is costly and must be shot using bulky cameras.

And "they're loud," Nolan says. "We had to figure a way to eliminate the sound so we could shoot dialogue."

In a rarity for Hollywood, the payoff isn't primarily financial, so far. "It doesn't have a huge effect yet on the money you bring in," says Chris Aronson, a distribution chief with 20th Century Fox, which carried Night at the Museum on IMAX. "But it does help make your movie more of an event."

For Nolan, IMAX makes the moviegoing experience unique again.

"You can't do this on any home theater," Nolan says. "Batman has some of the most extraordinary characters in pop culture. We wanted the Joker to have the grandest entrance possible.

"I figured if you could take an IMAX camera to Mount Everest or outer space, you could use it in a feature movie."

I applaud Christopher Nolan for this move. It's certainly a step in the right direction. I assume the rest of the movie will be filmed in anamorphic 35mm (like Batman Begins and Nolan's other movies).

I think some of the same kind of awe and scale Nolan mentions could have been achieved if the entire movie had been shot in 5/65mm format. Cameras like the Arri 765 are much quieter and easier to use than a hulking IMAX camera. It would also make for a more seamless transition to IMAX theaters. A normal 5/70 projector could even be used instead of striking much more expensive 15/70 prints.

It should be mentioned Jean-Jacques Annaud filmed Wings of Courage in IMAX back in 1995. That wasn't a feature length movie (it ran 40 minutes in the U.S. and 50 minutes in France), but it's one of the first dramatic works to be shot in IMAX.

Facing the long term prospect of much higher resolution home video playback formats as well as the possibility of increasing resolution of theatrical digital projectors, it is in Hollywood's best interest to at least keep shooting movies on 35mm and start moving toward using large format processes again. It is very expensive to produce and market a major movie. It would only seem prudent for Hollywood to try to future proof its products.

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Ramon Lamarca Marques
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 - posted 05-29-2007 04:06 PM      Profile for Ramon Lamarca Marques   Email Ramon Lamarca Marques   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Typically, the feature films that play in IMAX theaters are simply stretched out to fill the enormous screens. That can dilute the picture quality and give the movie a wide, squat look.
He is absolutely right.

quote: Bobby Henderson

I applaud Christopher Nolan for this move. It's certainly a step in the right direction. I assume the rest of the movie will be filmed in anamorphic 35mm (like Batman Begins and Nolan's other movies).

I applaud him as well. I wish the rest of the movie was shot in 5/65mm, that would be the best decision.

This could be Kodak's golden opportunity, they could offer Nolan to shoot the rest in 65mm for the same money as 35mm. They could prove how good 65mm could be for IMAX presentations and for 70mm prints and even 4K presentations.

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Lyle Romer
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 - posted 05-29-2007 04:33 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Definitely a move in the right direction (although I agree it would make more sense to shoot the whole thing in 5/65 instead of parts in IMAX). If the joker entrance is composed for IMAX, I wonder if the 35mm prints will be pillar boxed for those scenes.

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Ramon Lamarca Marques
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 - posted 05-29-2007 04:46 PM      Profile for Ramon Lamarca Marques   Email Ramon Lamarca Marques   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But this reminds me of the problems with the blow-ups I mentioned in the old 70mm versus digital debate. Because IMAX has been selling the dreadful blow-ups like Batman begins as the IMAX experience, how are they now going to sell this film, which at least in some sections contains the real IMAX experience? People will say, but wasn't Batman Begins in IMAX as well? They killed 70mm with the blow-ups and they may have killed real IMAX with the digital blow-ups. Shame on them!

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Mark Lensenmayer
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 - posted 05-29-2007 05:24 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Shades of Doug Trumbull's BRAINSTORM?

Sounds like a silly idea to me. Most of the new Imax installations are of the "Imax Junior" variety with the MPX units. These are nowhere NEAR a full old-style Imax screen. It would be great to see a scope-type image bloom out to full Imax splendor, but they can't do that anymore with the MPX screens. There would be some difference, but slight.

I don't think its going to be a difference that is really noticed by most.

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 05-29-2007 06:29 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Typically, the feature films that play in IMAX theaters are simply stretched out to fill the enormous screens. That can dilute the picture quality and give the movie a wide, squat look.

quote: Ramon Lamarca Marques
He is absolutely right.
How so? Unless I'm misunderstanding the passage, the writer is either confused or is not effectively articulating his point.

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Ramon Lamarca Marques
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 - posted 05-30-2007 02:11 AM      Profile for Ramon Lamarca Marques   Email Ramon Lamarca Marques   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
quote:
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Typically, the feature films that play in IMAX theaters are simply stretched out to fill the enormous screens. That can dilute the picture quality and give the movie a wide, squat look.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote: Ramon Lamarca Marques
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
He is absolutely right.
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How so? Unless I'm misunderstanding the passage, the writer is either confused or is not effectively articulating his point.

I think he refers to 35mm being shown on IMAX screens through IMAX's propietary digital blow-up system. 35mm origination is not good enough to be shown on such big screens, even on blow-ups. I think this dilutes the picture quality. This is how I understood him.

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Mike Heenan
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 - posted 05-30-2007 02:28 AM      Profile for Mike Heenan   Email Mike Heenan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So how will this film end up being post produced? Will the IMAX footage be scanned down to a 2k digital intermediate (blech) along with the rest of the 35mm originated film, and then use the DMR process to output the IMAX version? Or will they use the DMR'd stuff and splice in the IMAX footage with that, so that the IMAX originated footage is at it's highest quality (I dont know how IMAX films are post produced)? Coate will have a field day trying to figure out what I'm saying here, but hopefully someone gets the gist of it.

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Bobby Henderson
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 - posted 05-30-2007 09:50 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Some of that will depend on whether the native-IMAX sequences have CGI effects in them.

If the IMAX 15/65 footage is live action with practical sets and effects then I would figure the native IMAX material would just be spliced into the other stuff that is blown up DMR style.

CGI and digital intermediate makes the process more problematic. If the IMAX filmed material has to be scanned and digitally manipulated, then there's a serious risk the sharpness and level of image detail in the IMAX imagery will be softened and "diluted."

I would say even 4K resolution is just stupidly low for anything the scale of the IMAX format. 6K or 8K might possibly yield more acceptable looking results, but it still may not have the "pop" of a native 15/70 image. Laser film recorders have been able to output to formats like IMAX at up to 16000 lines of resolution. Newer models may be able to go even higher than that. But it's all a question of rendering time.

Computer technology is many times more powerful than it was just a handful of years ago. I see little excuse for mainstream movies to keep using 2K, other than it just being a cost cutting measure. 4K is a very practical standard. But moving up to 8K or even 16K may be very demanding even with the most state of the art rendering farms, especially if the effects are really complex.

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Mark J. Marshall
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 - posted 05-30-2007 10:35 PM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
YES! This is a good sign. I hope this turns out to be a huge success if for no other reason than to serve as a "proof of concept." And I hope the WB studio execs realize the advantages of doing things differently like using this format by the time HP 7 gets filmed. Whether they shoot HP 7 in IMAX (unlikely), 5/70 (somewhat less unlikely) or 3D (more likely) it will be a huge step in the right direction of making the theater experience something that can not be replicated in the home.

As far as what it will take to create CGI for the IMAX resolution, I sincerely hope that the film makers have every intention of doing this right.

Kudos, and best of luck to Chris Nolan. Maybe we have a director in Hollywood that gets it after all. And kudos to WB for letting it happen.

[thumbsup] [thumbsup] [thumbsup]

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 12-11-2007 07:44 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
article

quote:

Dark Knight Gets IMAX Preview

Friday, December 07, 2007
By: Ryan Ball

The first six minutes of Warner Bros.' Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight, will screen at IMAX theaters next week prior to screenings of Warner’s adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel I Am Legend. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Christopher Nolan used IMAX cameras to film portions of the movie, which has Christain Bale returning as the caped crusader and Heath Ledger taking on the role of The Joker. The preview will roll out on Dec. 14.

The six-minute prologue involves a team of crooks entering a bank wearing clown masks for a heist that goes wrong. Audiences will get their first look at Ledger as Batman’s arch enemy, a role origniated on television by Cesar Romero and more recently embodied by Jack Nicholson in the Tim Burton movies.

When the movie screens in IMAX theaters, scenes shot in the 70mm IMAX format will fill the entire screen, while the 35mm footage will be letterboxed. The effect will be similar to early experiments with the Cinerama format, which had theater curtains open wider to reveal more screen real estate for certain sequences in films. The Dark Knight is scheduled to debut on July 18, 2008.


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Mark Lensenmayer
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 - posted 12-11-2007 08:43 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are they going to have 2 different versions of this: One for the MPX units with the smaller screens and one for the traditional units with the higher screens?

There really won't be much impact on those smaller screens, but it should look great on the taller ones. Shades of early Imax films like TO FLY!

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Brian Michael Weidemann
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 - posted 12-12-2007 11:06 PM      Profile for Brian Michael Weidemann   Author's Homepage   Email Brian Michael Weidemann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
While I was assembling the prologue onto the beginning of the I Am Legend print, I took a gander at several scenes. While it is indeed full frame IMAX, and it looks as crisp as any IMAX documentary, it apparently was not shot with the traditional IMAX low horizon!

I'm used to seeing IMAX frames exhibit an awful lot of sky, but on screen it will look amazing, as most of that sky is meant not to be "looked at" so much as give the center of the screen lots of contextual, ambient, peripheral vision. The Dark Knight footage looks like the action was centered and fills the frame in a traditional manner. So I'm worried that, on screen, everything will just look too big. We'll see ... I'm screening this tomorrow morning.

EDIT: I take it back! If viewed on a television, you would probably think the cinematographer liked looking at ceilings. There was a good balance between things happening all over, and a rather low horizon. It looked really good! The opening shot is an aerial shot of buildings that zooms in, and it's just as crisp and engulfing as it would be if MacGillivray Freeman Films did a documentary on Gotham City.

As for the story, this is a good opening to a movie. I can't wait to see Dark Knight this summer. ESPECIALLY with its IMAX sequences thrown in.

I really hope that more directors see how beautiful this is and start getting ideas!

[ 12-13-2007, 05:15 PM: Message edited by: Brian Michael Weidemann ]

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Scott Jentsch
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 - posted 12-20-2007 10:35 AM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Has anyone else seen the IMAX Dark Knight intro before I Am Legend?

I'm trying to decide whether it's worth a road trip to Madison or Lincolnshire, IL to see it.

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Frank Angel
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 - posted 12-20-2007 06:07 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson

quote: Bobby Henderson
I applaud Christopher Nolan for this move. It's certainly a step in the right direction. I assume the rest of the movie will be filmed in anamorphic 35mm (like Batman Begins and Nolan's other movies).

Yah, well Mr. Nolan had better hope he gets to release his film before IMAX rips out their film projectors to put in those two Sony 4K video projectors instead. Once they do that, that branding phrase "IMAX Experience" will be quite a joke. It won't matter what they choose to film it in, the end product will be the same -- The IMAX 4K VIDEO Experience [puke]

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