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The Dark Knight


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#1 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 02:17 AM

A video showing portions of The Dark Knight filmed in IMAX .
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#2 Tom Lowe

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:03 AM

Cool video.

I'm still not clear on how the IMAX sequences will be mixed in with 35mm and displayed at IMAX theaters. Is the screen size going to suddenly expand during those sequences?
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:08 AM

Cool video.

I'm still not clear on how the IMAX sequences will be mixed in with 35mm and displayed at IMAX theaters. Is the screen size going to suddenly expand during those sequences?


A couple thoughts come to mind. My first thought was it could be possible to crop it to 2.39, to match the 35mm. Then again, this would be rather a waste, when they could have simply shot 5 perf 65mm, which yields an AS of 2.20, and can be more easily cropped to conform. Having followed the making of this film closely, I continually hear Nolan and DP Wally Pfister comment on how IMAXs size and image area gives them the broadest possible canvas. I get the impression that they chose IMAX for this reason, and would not wish to crop for in IMAX theatres. Moreover, your average cinema goer may not be able to discern the difference between 35mm and IMAX if the latter is cropped to match the former. I think if they were to preserve the original AS of IMAX, it would better serve the audience by making them realize, "Hey, something special is happening."

Some might, understandably, argue that switching between formats and AS might be disruptive, but I think they can get away with it. For one this, it is my understanding that IMAX is to be used for only four or five key sequences. It's not like they'd be intercutting between formats. And it becomes an interesting visual strategy. Look at silent films that used early two-color Technicolor. Because of the expense, many films, like "Ben Hur" and "The Phantom of the Opera" only used it for select sequences, and filmed the rest in black and white. It's rather an endearing strategy, and makes those moments more precious, I think. "Oh boy, another color sequence!" "Yippee, Imax again!" That's how I look at it. If they use IMAX carefully, I definitely think they can get away with mixing it with 35mm.

Now, it'll be very interesting to see what they will do for theatres not equipped to show IMAX. In that case, they will have to crop the IMAX when they reduce it to 35mm. To do otherwise, and preserve IMAX's AS, would mean wasting a lot of space on the prints, as well as leaving some blank area on either side of the screen. I don't think there are many theatres that can show open matte 35mm, or switch back and forth between flat and anamorphic. I wonder if they covered everything shot in IMAX with 35mm as a safety? Sure would make things easier to have that duplicate, rather than having to deal with reducing and cropping the IMAX to 35mm. Anyone have more info on this?
Best,
Brian Rose
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#4 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:09 AM

In Batman Begins the entire film was blown up for IMAX. The action sequences were scanned at 6K to help keep sharp detail in the larger shots.

I imagine this is the idea for The Dark Knight.
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#5 Tom Lowe

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:32 AM

I remain skeptical about mixing formats like this.

IMO, they should have simply shot the whole thing in IMAX.
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:42 AM

I have to go with you Tom on this one the formats are so different ,should have shot whole thing in IMAX .
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:46 AM

Or just split the difference and shoot the whole movie in 5-perf 65mm. I bet the costs would not be that different than splitting the movie between 35mm anamorphic and 15-perf 65mm photography.
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#8 John Holland

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:52 AM

Does anyone know how many IMAX screens worldwide ? I just think most people will see this film projected 35mm or digital and wont notice the bits shot in 15 perf 65mm ,mind you if they had shot 5 perf 65mm where can that be seen now?
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#9 Brian Rose

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:16 PM

I agree with David. I think 5-perf would have been simpler and cheaper. I will be very interested to see how they handle the mixed formats. I'm intrigued to see how the address shooting an action movie in such a large format. They'll certainly have to be careful in editing it. Can't really edit MTV style in Imax. It'd be borderline incoherent!
Best,
BR
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 02:50 PM

Well, since this film will obviously entail a lot of scanning, are they going to have to do a 4K or 6K DI to even see teh difference between 15-perf. 65mm and 35mm? If you can only see the difference in the IMAX version, it kind of defeats the purpose of shooting in IMAX at all, except, of course, for providing a push to actually see the film in IMAX.

I agree that it would have been better just to shoot the whole thing, or a greater portion of the film in 5-perf 65mm for purposes of cost saving, utilizeable image area, and consistancy.

Of course, it's great to see someone pushing LF film instead of digital. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the Superman claim that the genesis was like 65mm. Now we'll have a chance to really see. . .

~KB
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#11 Tom Lowe

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 07:44 PM

Or just split the difference and shoot the whole movie in 5-perf 65mm. I bet the costs would not be that different than splitting the movie between 35mm anamorphic and 15-perf 65mm photography.


I used to think that, but now that I give it more thought, why not just go all the way and shoot the whole picture in IMAX? Sure it's expensive, but for Batman, budget is not really an issue. Singer blew through something like 200 million on his HD Superman movie, so I'm sure Nolan could have gotten approval for IMAX all the way. It would have been very cool! I bet IMAX screens from coast to coast would have been sold out for weeks if not months. At a time when studios are trying to figure out how to make the theater experience better than an HDTV home theater viewing, going all out and doing a big picture like Batman on IMAX would be one surefire way to do it! If the movie and the action turned out good, you'd have one hell of an experience. There is simply no way to reproduce IMAX at home.

Perhaps if Dark Knight does well and people love the IMAX aspects of it, a studio will greenlight a full-on IMAX feature.

Edited by Tom Lowe, 28 November 2007 - 07:45 PM.

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#12 Brian Rose

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:42 PM

I used to think that, but now that I give it more thought, why not just go all the way and shoot the whole picture in IMAX? Sure it's expensive, but for Batman, budget is not really an issue. Singer blew through something like 200 million on his HD Superman movie, so I'm sure Nolan could have gotten approval for IMAX all the way. It would have been very cool! I bet IMAX screens from coast to coast would have been sold out for weeks if not months. At a time when studios are trying to figure out how to make the theater experience better than an HDTV home theater viewing, going all out and doing a big picture like Batman on IMAX would be one surefire way to do it! If the movie and the action turned out good, you'd have one hell of an experience. There is simply no way to reproduce IMAX at home.

Perhaps if Dark Knight does well and people love the IMAX aspects of it, a studio will greenlight a full-on IMAX feature.


Amen to that. The industry has got to adapt to the changing times, if they still want theatres to be important sources of revenue. Large format or something that will convince people to see it on the big screen.
BR
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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 12:39 PM

Amen to that. The industry has got to adapt to the changing times, if they still want theatres to be important sources of revenue. Large format or something that will convince people to see it on the big screen.
BR


Well, we first saw the widespread use of 65mm and Vistavision and the like when television first came out, as well as a push towards color in movies. It wouldn't be too much of a flight of fancy if we saw a push towards 4- and 6K scanning and 5-perf. 65mm, Vistavision and even IMAX. Honestly though, the public is so brainwashed with the notion of "HD" being the ultimate in quality, that it may be difficult to use any of these visual formats as being better than HD, unless they called them somthing like super HD or UHD or somthing along those lines. A still photographer the other day told me the reason why Hollywood still prefers 35mm to digital: because they like the grain (not the much higher resolution, color pallette, and creative potential of multiple frame rates, frame ramping etc)! Granted, a lot of this stuff is possible with the newer HD cameras, but come on, Hollywood isn't using 35mm because they like grain. It is certainly going to take someone going out and throwing money at the problem to get people back into the theatres for the film industry to not succumb to the same sort of mass piracy that music did.

I really don't know if today's audience honestly even cares about image quality though. They certainly aren't as savy as they were 30-50 years ago at any rate. MPEG compression and MP3 compression are arguably worse than the first color films and 78RPM records, respectively, so we are really at a quality low point as far as consumer media is concerned, yet folks are gobbling it up because they have really been sold on the "ease of use" principle.

~KB
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#14 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 02:16 PM

I really don't know if today's audience honestly even cares about image quality though.


I think the problem really is in the movie theater industry itself. The quality of projection is mediocre at most and abysmal at many movie theaters. People become used to scratched prints, misaligned masks, and dim bulbs.

I think people will definitely see better quality if it were shown to them. Recently I went to a movie with friends at the Arclight in LA. The Arclight has excellent projection. After the movie a friend asked me if that was digital projection because the movie was so clear and sharp. I told him it was just really good 35mm projection. Unfortunately many people don't get to see that today.

A still photographer the other day told me the reason why Hollywood still prefers 35mm to digital:


Seeing as anybody (and I literally mean anybody) can buy a camera and call themselves a photographer I wouldn't put much stock in what they have to say. Often their knowledge doesn't run much deeper than the marketing materials from Canon or Nikon.
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#15 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 02:20 PM

After thinking about it I can agree with David, they could have shot this in 5 perf 65mm.

It would be nice if this became a trend. Big action sequences shot in 65mm, while the rest of the film is shot in 35mm.
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#16 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 04:36 PM

I really don't know if today's audience honestly even cares about image quality though. They certainly aren't as savy as they were 30-50 years ago at any rate. MPEG compression and MP3 compression are arguably worse than the first color films and 78RPM records, respectively, so we are really at a quality low point as far as consumer media is concerned, yet folks are gobbling it up because they have really been sold on the "ease of use" principle.


Marcus Aurelius is dead. We are living in the Age of Commodus, which is Latin for convenience.
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 06:28 AM

After thinking about it I can agree with David, they could have shot this in 5 perf 65mm.

It would be nice if this became a trend. Big action sequences shot in 65mm, while the rest of the film is shot in 35mm.

I shot a day of 65mm recently and it is not as easy and flexible as 35mm especially for action scenes. The 765 is very heavy so that rules out handheld and steadicam, which did not bother me, but for your typical action flick this would be a serious drawback. Panavision do have a lightweight MOS camera so that might be the way to go. There is a reason why many action films chose the flecibility and increased of depth of field of Super 35 over anamorphic.
Since 65mm has slightly less depth of field than 35mm anamorphic (instead of a 40mm anamorphic lens you'd use a 50mm) this would be no walk in the park.
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#18 K Borowski

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:15 PM

Since 65mm has slightly less depth of field than 35mm anamorphic (instead of a 40mm anamorphic lens you'd use a 50mm) this would be no walk in the park.


This is entirely out of my realm of knowledge, as the farthest I've ventured up the motion picture ladder is 16mm, but how do lenses for 65mm cameras compare to 35mm anamorphic in terms of their speed? Working with 6x7 cm still film (comparable to 65mm 15-perf. area), I generally work with lenses that only stop down to between 3.5 and 5.6. There are faster lenses, but only about F/2.8, which cost a pretty penny. With 645, which would be comparable to 65mm 5 perf. (are there any other common 65mm formats between 5- and 15-perf, BTW?), again you're generally limited to F/2.8 with the fastest lenses. Is something similar going to be true with 65mm? And, if those figures are comparable to 65mm stops, is that really any worse than 35mm anamorphic? I recall hearing similar stop limitations.

Now, at the same time, I tend to try to match depth of field when I am mixing formats. If I were shooting 8mm and 16mm, or 16mm and 35mm, I would try to stop down the larger format more, using faster film in the larger-format camera if need be, to try to match shots back and forth more. So, in interests of using a depth of field that the audience is "comfortable" with (i.e. 35mm DOF), it would probably entail added expense taking this approach and shooting 65mm at a smaller T-stop.

To me, the only limitation would be the stop limitation over 35mm spherical, and maybe a slight loss over anamorphic. I have never really paid much heed to camera weights, perhaps because I own a 60-lb. Auricon with a 1200 foot mag. for filmmaking. To me, the added negative area far outweighs the added weight. As a camera operator, and not a big man by any means, I would be happy to painfully lug a 765 or IMax around any day.

~KB
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#19 Max Jacoby

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:36 PM

The lenses are rehoused Hasselblad lenses. The fastest stop is T2.1, that's the 110mm, but most lenses are between T2.8 and T4. So you'd be shooting aorund T4, just like most people do with anamorphic. The advantage over anamorphic is that the lenses do not distort at all. It is easier to eliminate distortion because the lenses are longer focal lengths (40mm and up). Especially the 40mm, which is about a 18mm in spherical 35mm looks very interesting. The one drawback I found is that these lenses are very prone to flares. The coatings do not compare to modern ones. Now in general I do like flares, but even I was surprised how much exactly they flare. Even a bright sky in frame gives you a milky flare.

Karl, the camera is really bloody heavy, you'd kill yourself trying to lug it around all day long. If I'm lucky enough to use it again I'll insist on a loader, because the 2nd AC needs to be with the 1st all the time to set up the camera.
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#20 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:04 PM

The 765 is very heavy so that rules out handheld and steadicam, which did not bother me, but for your typical action flick this would be a serious drawback.


Yes I agree their would be trade offs to 65mm. You gain twice the resolution and detail resolving in big shots. The weight of the camera and depth of field would all have to lend themselves to a style of shooting. Namely less freedom of movement. Just imagine the challenge of shooting on IMAX.
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