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Christopher Nolan Films Inception on 65mm Film


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#1 Thomas James

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 09:22 AM

Now that we have 4K digital projection as well as IMAX theatres the public is now screaming for more 65mm content. Christopher Nolan who produced the first IMAX feature film has now completed filming of the movie inception with some of the scenes filmed with 5 perf 65mm film negative. Although most cinematographers consider 65mm overkill because 35mm film can be scanned at 4K the fact is that even the Blu-Ray format can benefit from 65mm aquisition just because of the fact that 65mm film can reduce grain even if it can not be fully resolved at 1080p. So 1080p which is totally free of film grain will look liquid once the fine detail becomes unmasked not to mention the extra pop from the increased color fidelity.
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#2 Brian Rose

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 09:46 AM

I wonder if anyone has heard what was shot in 65? Are we talking a few random things, or specific sequences, as they did with "The Dark Knight" ?

This'll help, considering there won't be an aspect ratio change to signal the change in footage. Though I'd expect the 65mm will have quite a good jump in clarity over the 35mm...

And I wonder where the VistaVision fits in. They reportedly shot some of that too!

Boy, don't you wish Nolan'll get to shoot something in all large format? Panny's system 65 is pretty compact, not nearly as unwieldy as Imax's cams.

BR
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#3 Thomas James

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:30 AM

Key sequences of Inception will be shot on 5 perf 65mm film. With the limited amount of IMAX and 4K digital theatres available its hard to justify to the producer the need to shoot the whole movie using 65mm film. However once 4K digital projection becomes mainstream theatre owners will be screaming for more 65mm content.
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#4 Brian Rose

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:38 AM

However once 4K digital projection becomes mainstream theatre owners will be screaming for more 65mm content.


Tom, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hope you're right. I truly think, for the big budget pictures, studios are crazy not to shoot on 65mm 5 perf. Blows up wonderfully to Imax, reduces near perfectly to anamorphic 35, and while it won't fully resolve on blu-ray high def, it'll be about as shimmering, crisp, grain free as you can possibly get. And there's so much information in a 65mm neg that it's a good insurance policy as new technology rolls out.

What's too bad is studios that use large format aren't doing more to capitalize on it. I've heard nary a mention in the mainstream of Inception's use of large format, nor even when Dark Knight rolled out. Studios need to educate their audiences, and convince them why these films are worth paying a little more for Imax. As I've said before, I'd pay to watch a movie about paint drying, if it was shot in Super Panavision or Imax!
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#5 Thomas James

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 12:18 PM

I think what killed the 70mm Grand Theatre was the invention of the Multiplex. However what people fail to realize is that a Grand Theatre can still be built which is surrounded by smaller theatres. And yes with the advent of the 1080p Blu-Ray disc format there is now another distribution medium to showcase 65mm film origination.

The problem is that a lot of Cinematographers love to tickle the ears of the budget conscious producers. They will first say that 35mm resolves up to 8K therefore 65mm film is overkill and then they will say that these big screen 65mm formats such as Showscan and IMAX HD look like video. So rather than going to bat for the best possible picture quality they take the "Don't Rock the Boat Attitude". I hope that a lot of younger Cinematographers although they lack the resume of a Cinematographer with decades of experience will be able to get a job by insisting on shooting a movie using the best possible picture quality. These younger Cinematographers have nothing to lose by rocking the boat because if they take the more conservative approach they will probably be passed up for the Cinematographer with more experience.
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#6 Thomas James

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 12:25 PM

By "younger Cinematographer" I do not mean age discrimination but rather a Cinematographer with less experience than the average.
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#7 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 04:30 PM

Now that we have 4K digital projection as well as IMAX theatres the public is now screaming for more 65mm content. Christopher Nolan who produced the first IMAX feature film has now completed filming of the movie inception with some of the scenes filmed with 5 perf 65mm film negative. Although most cinematographers consider 65mm overkill because 35mm film can be scanned at 4K the fact is that even the Blu-Ray format can benefit from 65mm aquisition just because of the fact that 65mm film can reduce grain even if it can not be fully resolved at 1080p. So 1080p which is totally free of film grain will look liquid once the fine detail becomes unmasked not to mention the extra pop from the increased color fidelity.


The public are "screaming" for more 65mm content?

Really?

I mean I wish this were true...
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#8 Thomas James

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 11:05 AM

Yes back in the day my family went out of their way and drove a long way to take us to see movies which were projected in 70mm. I remember seeing the signs in front of the movie proudly advertising 70mm film projection. Today the general public may not really know what 70mm film is however they certainly are aware of the IMAX experience and are amazed at its big screen and its ability to put a person inside of the movie as if you were really there. So I think the public demands 65mm film content but not in a direct way. And I think that the public is getting ripped off when they see a so called IMAX movie but it is just a blowup of a 35mm negative. Vista Vision or 5 perf 65mm film origination should be the minimum qualification for the IMAX experience.
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#9 Chris Durham

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 03:04 PM

I think the public are torn between two desires: The desire to spend fewer bucks and the desire to get the greatest value for their buck. It seems to me that the hubbub about digital projection started with the Star Wars prequels which, being shot on digital, tended to look better in digital. On top of acquisition, many films which are captured in analog even, have a heavy digital effects element which benefits from digital projection. Since it is these movies that are often the blockbusters and have the public exposure it's easy to sell audiences on the notion that digital is better. But if the studios and cinemas were to laud the 65mm format or IMAX format correctly, then there are dollars to be had.

People were scrambling to see "The Dark Knight" on IMAX because it looked great but also because "this IMAX is better than what you normally see in IMAX;" because, unlike most movies screened in IMAX, the IMAX sequences were shot with IMAX cameras. There was a hook and people ate it up. Not everybody. Like I said, there are two forces at play here value vs cost. If I had a family and kids I might not be able to afford the extra $$ plus the trek across town to the one IMAX theater to see the special format. That's fine. That's why there's not an IMAX on every corner. But for even my non-cinephile friends in the 18-34 demo with no family and a bit of disposable income, it was a no-brainer. Go see it in IMAX. (honestly, even if I had a family and kids, I'd go see it IMAX first then take the family to the megaplex).

People will buy into your marketing if you're marketing what you're doing right. Film may be losing its place as a distribution format, but it doesn't have to lose its place as an acquisition format. Modern film technology and larger formats will keep the edge and you have to applaud guys like Chris Nolan and Wally Pfister who are going ahead full steam with analog.
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#10 Brian Rose

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 01:08 PM

I put a lot of the blame on marketing. People will absolutely pay more if they were made aware of what they are getting by seeing Inception in Imax, as opposed to 35mm. This is arguably the first film in fifteen years to use Super Panavision (at least, for more than special effects) and screen it in a format that fully resolves the information contained in the 65mm neg. Yet there is nary a mention of this. Look at the trailer for "Hamlet," the last all 65mm feature. They make a point of the format, saying "Seen in Glorious 70mm Format." Sell that opulence for god's sake. You've spend 200 million on a picture, so say, "With scenes in Glorious Super Panavision 70mm."

I'm not even sure you have to explain what 70mm is...just say that it is special and new, and has incredible resolution, and people will say to other people, "I hear they shot parts of it in some new format...let's see it in Imax."

And whatever happened to the plain ole informational trailer? When Disney shot "Sleeping Beauty," in Super Technirama 70, he shot a trailer where he told the audience exactly what Technirama was, and how it was better than anamorphic 35.

Likewise, "This Is Cinerama," explained the process to its viewers before demonstrating it, and it was one of the top grossers of the year.

If I could fix one thing in Hollywood, it'd be marketing. They blow obvious selling points like large format, and make god awful, unoriginal trailers that either show all the best parts, blow the spoilers, or say nothing at all. Like "Dinner for Schmucks." I've seen several different trailers, and I still can't tell what the hell this movie is about, aside from the fact that some guy has to some idiots to a dinner. I'm just left scratching my head, and I sure as hell ain't spending money to go see it.

BR
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#11 Thomas James

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:49 PM

And thats the problem its the marketing that gets in the way of the adoption of 70mm film. The bean counters try to figure out if they can get more money for a movie ticket and if the public refuses to pay more for a movie projected in 70mm the bean counters conclude that 70mm film is a failure. What the bean counters fail to realize is that the public when they buy a movie ticket at the regular price is already paying and expecting a higher quality experience than what they can get at home yet end up receiving picture quality that is worse than Blu-Ray disc.

I saw the same thing happen in the wedding video industry when the videographers refused to shoot in high definition because the brides would not pay them more money yet ignoring that the reason why you pay a professional to shoot your wedding is so you can get better picture quality than if you had your uncle Charlie shoot it for free. Yet what ended up happening is that uncle Charlies footage turned out better because consumers now have access to high definition cameras.
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#12 Chris Durham

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:53 PM

If only the bean counters were counting popcorn instead.
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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:57 PM

Glorious 3D seems to be the current 70mm. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as good.
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#14 Nathan Edwards

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 05:23 PM

Glorious 3D seems to be the current 70mm. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as good.


YES! I'm so glad others feel this way. I was so excited when I found out that Nolan shot parts of TDK in IMAX format. It looked phenomenal and gave me extra incentive to see it in an IMAX theater.

Now that the industry is going toward 3D, it is being plastered all over every movie poster and trailer.
Films like Inception or TDK, however, have no mention of the shooting formats.

Sure, your typical moviegoer isn't going to care about all of the technical details, but if you can tell them "HEY! 3D is better than 2D!" Well, shouldn't that work for larger format film as well? There's all the hype about Blu-Ray, and most people don't know what the difference is except that it looks better.

If large-format shooting is marketed better, we'll get more large-format films. Thank you, Mr. Nolan for trying to forge a path to these formats.
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