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Christopher Nolan is back, this time armed with an all-new 70mm lab in the UK. Nolan has decided to shoot his new movie "Dunkirk" entirely in 70mm. This decision comes at a cost obviously, in his previous films the decision to shoot 4 perf 35mm anamorphic was clearly one of cost savings, timing of the limited equipment availability and of course, speed of lab work. It's a lot harder to work on large format when there isn't a lab next door.

 

Dunkirk is the story of the mass evacuation of troops, stuck in the little down of Dunkirk during the beginning of WWII, 1940 to be exact. History would make this incident, the largest sea rescue in history. Over 338 thousand soldiers from several countries, were pinned down in Dunkirk, cutoff from supply lines and worse of all, constantly being pushed closer and closer until they were literally trapped in the town of Dunkirk. That many people in such a small area, the Nazi's were eager to take them. Heck, had they been taken, perhaps the outcome of the war would have been quite different.

 

The rescue started with British merchant ships, but soon there just wasn't enough ships or time. As the luftwaffe dropped bombs and attacked allied aircraft, the men boarded beached ships, many of which sunk right there on the beach. Local people and those from the UK came out with any type of boat imaginable in order to make the rescue more successful. Once the British troops were safe, there was another wave of ships sent back to pickup everyone else. Unfortunately between 30 and 40 thousand troops, the people on the front lines, were taken prisoner. The whole event took place from the middle of May 1941 to the first days of June.

 

The actual story within the war framework, is yet to be known, but it's clear Nolan wanted to put the big air, land and sea battle on the big screen, using the largest film format possible. Nolan's Dunkirk will feature over 100 minutes of IMAX material, according to sources close to the production. So far almost all of the still and video images coming from set are of the IMAX camera, with only a few brief moments with the 5/70 Panavision cameras. So far the production has been shooting on location in France, close to where the actual rescue happened. They will then move to Holland for exteriors, UK for exteriors/interiors and finish in Los Angeles sometime a the end of the year for most likely studio work.

 

The cast of Dunkirk includes; Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, James D'Arcy and Cillian Murphy, one of Nolan's favorites. Dunkirk also re-unites the main crew that brought 'Interstellar' to life... Hoyte Van Hoytema heading up cinematography. Hans Zimmer writing the score. Lee Smith editing. Nathan Crowley production designer and of course, Emma Thomas Nolan's Producer.

 

Since Nolan is such a purist and despises the over-use of computer effects, he is working very hard on Dunkirk to do everything in camera. This includes hiring hundreds of extras, blowing up air planes and sinking ships. So far the production has been littered with huge stunt sequences, most of them using models and/or sections of destroyed objects. The production does look a bit relaxed, without a video village and the normal rigs that go along with standard modern filmmaking. There are many stills of Nolan running the camera himself and Hoyte standing by on the side. It's reminiscent of a smaller budget production, only the content itself is a rather large scale.

 

What we currently know about distribution of this movie is pretty vague at best. The teaser trailer, gives us some insight to Nolan's beliefs, stating the movie will be projected on 70mm, 35mm and IMAX film. These are of course, the same formats Nolan released 'Interstellar' in and looks to be doing the same thing again. This time around however, Nolan does have something up his sleeve, the fleet of almost 100 70mm projectors installed for 'Hateful Eight'. Could Warner strike a deal with the Weinstein's and perhaps loan those projectors? Would they even attempt that? Only time will tell. Nolan does have enough clout to release the movie on film only, but I doubt that will happen as Warner has too much invested for something to go wrong.

 

So that's what we know so far, it's pretty interesting stuff for me, being a HUGE WWII fan and of course, loving the whole film aspect and Nolan's prior works. So in the next year, there will be more updates as time goes on, mostly due to my excitement. On a side note, rumors say PT Anderson is prepping his next movie, currently untitled... but starring Daniel Day-Lewis and to be shot entirely on large format. Due to Anderson's obsession with VistaVision, I have no doubt he'd go that route if the panavision 70mm cameras are too busy for him. So we MAY "fingers crossed" see, TWO NEW 70mm releases in 2017, only time will tell!

 

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Trouble with VistaVision is that it's not a format that you can project in theaters, and Anderson likes to make contact prints when he can for screenings, though he had to deal with mixed formats in "The Master". But if he shoots a whole movie in VistaVision, he's going to have to chose whether to blow it up optically or use a D.I. to get a 70mm print.

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While IMAX would be nice, there really isn't a nice 15/70 cinema near me. 70mm show I can travel to, and hopefully will if the cinemas in Knoxville kept their 70mm projectors from Hateful 8.

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Trouble with VistaVision is that it's not a format that you can project in theaters, and Anderson likes to make contact prints when he can for screenings, though he had to deal with mixed formats in "The Master". But if he shoots a whole movie in VistaVision, he's going to have to chose whether to blow it up optically or use a D.I. to get a 70mm print.

Well, there are lots of problems with VistaVision, including the lack of a modern "silent" camera and extremely short film loads. The days of using an elephant ear camera in a blimp are kinda behind us. I've just been hearing rumors.. so we'll see! :)

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While IMAX would be nice, there really isn't a nice 15/70 cinema near me. 70mm show I can travel to, and hopefully will if the cinemas in Knoxville kept their 70mm projectors from Hateful 8.

Like 'Interstellar', I assume Nolan will push IMAX to ship 15/70 projectors to theaters which are normally all digital.

 

I'm just not sure if IMAX theaters have projectionist anymore.

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Like 'Interstellar', I assume Nolan will push IMAX to ship 15/70 projectors to theaters which are normally all digital.

 

I'm just not sure if IMAX theaters have projectionist anymore.

 

Both Lowes multi-auditorium IMAX theaters near me do not have projectionists. They are all digital. Everything is setup to screen from a schedule.

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How can one be a fan of WWII?

I like history and the one piece of history I "like" the most is WWII. So I guess my phrase should have read 'I'm a fan of the time period and genera' maybe that would have read better.

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Both Lowes multi-auditorium IMAX theaters near me do not have projectionists. They are all digital. Everything is setup to screen from a schedule.

Yep, the way IMAX works today is they have 24/7 feedback to the headquarters, where they have people physically monitoring each show.

 

It's the old "businessman" attitude. Lets pay 3 million dollars up front (for the digital projectors) so we can replace the labor.

 

I've done the math and running an IMAX film projector costs around $30k - $50k month for parts and prints. Then you add projectionists who are in a union and charge around $1600 for a 12hr shift. You're looking at around a million dollars a year.

 

With the laser projection, you don't need a projectionist and the laser sources don't go bad. So your up keep is basically reduced to nothing. Mind you, we went from 12k worth if resolution on 15/70 IMAX to 4k resolution on digital IMAX. But it's not about quality anymore, it's about how much money theaters can save, even though they charge more now then they've ever charged. The IMAX theaters near me are $20 or $22 depending on 2D or 3D.

 

I personally can't wait for the lawsuit when IMAX tells all those people who invested in these fancy IMAX laser projectors, they're NOT upgradable to 8k. It may be the end of IMAX if they aren't careful.

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Yep, the way IMAX works today is they have 24/7 feedback to the headquarters, where they have people physically monitoring each show.

 

It's the old "businessman" attitude. Lets pay 3 million dollars up front (for the digital projectors) so we can replace the labor.

 

 

Well the IMAX overlords flubbed it with the last feature I saw. Actually, no one in the theater saw anything for about twenty minutes after the feature was scheduled to start and theater management was clueless about the problem. Cost Lowes quite a few free passes for the mistake.

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We all know Hollywood has been perpetuating a giant fraud on the viewing public every time they use the word, "IMAX." 99% of the screenings of these so called IMAX movies are not on an IMAX screen at all.

 

I grew up with IMAX as it was invented in Toronto and the first real IMAX screen was the Cinesphere at Ontario Place, it was built in 1971. The screen is 60 feet high and 80 feet wide, that's IMAX!

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinesphere

 

So I would like to know, is there any other location that will be showing this film on a screen like the one at Ontario Place? If not, then using the word IMAX is total BS and they should stop saying that.

 

I have seen many IMAX movies at Cinesphere, and many so called "Imax" movies lot's of other places, and NONE of the other screens came even remotely close to the proper IMAX screen at Ontario Place.

 

So what other locations globally have a proper IMAX screen like Ontario Place?

 

R,

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If you review this link, you'll notice that the vast bulk of real IMAX screens in the USA are in science centres and museums, and do not show Hollywood movies.

 

http://www.slashfilm.com/qa-imax-theatre-real-imax-liemax/2/

 

Let me guess that POS, Suicide Squad, was promoted as an IMAX movie. Gimme a break, what a fraud.

 

Bull poop Cineplex.....bull poop!!!

http://www.cineplex.com/Movie/suicide-squad-an-imax-3d-experience

 

R,

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100% agreed Richard. I grew up watching IMAX on a dome screen at my local Science Museum in Boston. It was one of the classic IMAX theaters, made in the mid 80's and of course, still runs 15/70 today. In fact, MOST of the science museums still run film because they own the equipment outright and until IMAX stops making prints, they will continue projecting them.

 

I don't know of any non-science theaters that run 15/70.

 

Some IMAX screens are just normal theaters with bigger screens and standard 2k digital projectors.

 

It's a real atrocity and it's perpetuated thanks to the public not caring. Reminds me A LOT of what happened to THX. Originally a certification denoting timbre matching speakers and specific EQ electronics , now just a sticker any manufacturer can put on a device.

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Here is what frustrates me... I go to the IMAX website and it's flooded with top hollywood movies. No mention what so ever of the "science/educational" films, some of which are still being shot on 15/70.

 

I hit up my local "Science" IMAX theater's website and sure enough there is a movie called "National Parks Adventure 3D"... I watch the trailer, at the very end it says "Filmed with 15/70 IMAX 3D cameras"... Thus distinguishing itself from all the other 2k digital crap they've been doing recently.

 

I might go see that tomorrow, just to get my 70mm fix for this month, as we still have a 15/70 theater not far from me. :)

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Part of the problem of course is that IMAX has whored itself out to Hollywood, they have trashed their own name. Oh well....not the first in a long list of companies and individuals to whore themselves out to Hollywood.

 

Few members of the public will understand what, North of Superior, ever was. Let alone see it. Amazing that IMAX all started here in Ontario, and the first IMAX movie was all about Northern Ontario.

 

Oh and BTW Tyler, those "dome" IMAX screens, also an abomination and not true IMAX either, sorry. :D

 

R,

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What kills me about this whole discussion is that IMAX is lying to the public. Yes, IMAX Laser is undoubtedly brighter and more vibrant then 15/70 ever was. Then again, if they used a 70mm x 48.5mm imaging device and tried to deliver 12k like 15/70 does, they'd probably loose some of that brightness. So what they're giving the audience AND filmmakers, is a way to present their movies in a lower resolution format, so they won't see all the "issues" that arise with higher resolution formats like 15/70.

 

It's really tricky to take a 2k or 4k source and blow it up to 15/70, it literally looks like crap, but magically on IMAX Laser it looks acceptable. I wonder why? Well, because IMAX is again, lying to the audiences. I actually know a few IMAX projectionists, guys who use to work for theaters that had laser projection installed. They gave away some of IMAX "secrets" when they lost their jobs. The big "secret" is that the only reason IMAX uses 2 projectors is to cover up for the pixel crispness. There was such a problem with the imager they use having black/dead space between each pixel, the 2nd projector is only there to overlay a "blurred" image of whatever the 1st projector is presenting. This is why you don't go into IMAX 3D theaters and get handed ACTIVE glasses, like the 15/70 3D movies. No, today with IMAX Laser, in fact ALL digital 3D formats are Polarized or Anaglyph which use ONE projector for 3D playback. Two projectors wouldn't make any difference at all, it's all just a gimmick. So the reason movies shot on 2k and 4k, projected on such a large screen look OK... is because they're "blurry". Heck, just watch the INTRO graphic to any IMAX laser projection presentation. It's the IMAX countdown on a white background with blue lettering. You can see the black lines of the imager, it's all over the place. Re-watch that same graphic on 15/70, it's just a solid image, no lines, no aliasing either, it's just solid as a rock. I know this because I've seen a few IMAX 15/70 movies in the last year and of course a bunch of IMAX Laser movies in different theaters.

 

Then IMAX says, with two projectors they're getting MORE THEN 4k worth of resolution... what, what, what? If your source is 4k and your imager is 4k, you can't magically get MORE THEN 4k!?!?! A reminder; you can't magically make more resolution where it didn't exist in the first place. It's a lie and none of the big head honcho's of IMAX (all business men today ... the filmmakers all retired) will admit 15/70 is MORE THEN DOUBLE THE RESOLUTION OF THEIR FANCY NEW DIGITAL CRAP. The whole thing is a lie to make more money, get rid of the projectionists and the studio's get to make more profits. IMAX was suckered into that business model after failing miserably to deliver decent 15/70 content. All they had to do was develop a VistaVision style 35mm camera to save money on the vastly expensive 15/70 format for shooting. More people would have used it and more movies would have been shot that way. Instead, they stuck to the original 15/70 format which is too difficult to use for narrative most applications and when they floundered, they developed a 2k digital 3D camera and when that failed, they developed a digital 4k 3D camera and when that failed... wait a sec, that's today. The original crew were purists looking for the best technology solutions around and they had them, but there was a high cost. Today, IMAX is just a bunch of suits looking to put more money into their own damn pockets. None of the original crew are around and the geniuses who developed the early technology have retired or died off. They could care less about quality because if they DID, they would have developed an 8k system and been the first to come to market with one. But they didn't and they won't because they make plenty of money showing 4k images on a big screen, just like :cough: we've been doing for 100 years.

 

If IMAX Laser was double 8K projectors with 100% 8k sources, on those smaller 16x9 screens... I'd have less to complain about. But they aren't... and they won't be anytime soon.

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Many years ago Slides were awesome. People would come over and watch you project your awesomeness.

 

Then Photos in 4x6 prints were cool, you could share those!

 

Then no one wanted to bother with the consumer unfriendly negatively marketed but technically superior slides.

 

Then prints were larger, and slides were tiny.

 

Then, watch out, here comes a cell phone - digital slides.

 

We've come full circle. Let me hand you my slide projector so you can see my tiny images.

 

Consumers are being guided, no lied to. Consumers likely don't care enough to discern an IMAX experience from a traditional experience.

 

In my home town there is one cinema, which is atrocious. The owners don't want to put any more money into it so they built a larger screen onto the side. Now people are returning to this cinema and always say 'is it on the large screen?' because they see that as a better experience than the smaller screens.

 

Truthfully, this screen is maybe 10% larger than the others, but it's the room that's much larger so it feels like a better experience. At least they don't have GIANT BLUE LED's all the time.

 

Consumers will flock to new and different.

 

I would bet 132% of consumers would believe they had seen nuclear lazer projectrons if you showed them a very good 35mm print presentation.

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I would bet 132% of consumers would believe they had seen nuclear lazer projectrons if you showed them a very good 35mm print presentation.

I was sitting in a screening of Batman V Superman in 70mm and it was sold out. I was of course, looking behind me pre-show to see what the projectionist was doing and yapping to my roomie about it. The people next to me asked what I was yapping about.. I was like, ohh yea... this is a 4k scan out to 70mm film, very unusual presentation. They didn't even know what any of that meant, all they knew was the 70mm logo meant something special.

 

Today, theaters are labeling film prints as being something special and a lot of those shows are instantly sold out. People don't know why, they just know it's not the same as whatever they're use to.

 

This is part of the ebb and flow of technology. Only the pinnacle of the most recent XYZ or the old school ABC are interesting. Everything that's kinda in the middle, is kinda meh. People just want something different, no matter what it is. If all theaters were 35mm, they'd want digital. If all theaters were digital, they'd want 35mm. The problem is choice and a unique viewing experience. If you just give them the same thing every other theater has, it's not as cool.

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Forget everything about the projection methods, etc. The screens these so called "IMAX" movies are being shown on are NOT IMAX. So no matter how you slice it, the argument is lost right there.

 

All the commercial IMAX screens I have seen for these Hollywood movies are still in a 16X9 type of format, so that's it....done.

 

Unless the screen format looks like what I see at the Cinesphere at Ontario Place, IMAX it is not.

 

R,

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Forget everything about the projection methods, etc. The screens these so called "IMAX" movies are being shown on are NOT IMAX. So no matter how you slice it, the argument is lost right there.

 

All the commercial IMAX screens I have seen for these Hollywood movies are still in a 16X9 type of format, so that's it....done.

 

Unless the screen format looks like what I see at the Cinesphere at Ontario Place, IMAX it is not.

 

R,

Agree. The thing about Imax that sets it apart from other formats, is its height. So when you watch Interstellar and the printed 35 or 65mm footage suddenly changes to full screen, you find yourself wanting to peer forward and up and down to take it all in. Its that participation experience that is missing in 16x9 projection. The same thing happened with the old 3 panel Cinerama films, except then it was moving one's head from side to side. Incidentally, they reduced this participation effect with 70mm Cinerama (saving projectionist's wages ironically like today !) but got rid of the joins... I never got to see Cinemiracle which apparently didn't have the joins so noticeable.

On the issue of image quality nothing beats 70mm Imax. Any substandard quality on such a vast screen obviously takes away from the experience.

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Agree. The thing about Imax that sets it apart from other formats, is its height. So when you watch Interstellar and the printed 35 or 65mm footage suddenly changes to full screen, you find yourself wanting to peer forward and up and down to take it all in. Its that participation experience that is missing in 16x9 projection.

 

I once thought about pursuing a career in IMAX filmmaking. I do not believe IMAX lends itself at all to narrative filmmaking. You don't need to see people's heads that big in a dramatic presentation.

 

The subject matter is key for IMAX, which is why North of Superior worked so well in giving birth to this format.

 

If I could find a subject that hasn't been done, and would work, and if I could figure out the IMAX funding model......I too would be an IMAX filmmaker. The proper IMAX of course, not the cheap imitation crap IMAX being fed to the public.

 

R,

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The same thing happened with the old 3 panel Cinerama films, except then it was moving one's head from side to side. Incidentally, they reduced this participation effect with 70mm Cinerama (saving projectionist's wages ironically like today !) but got rid of the joins...

3 strip cinerama wasn't a very good format. The big problem's were lack of lens selection (everything had to be wide angle), a noisy/large camera that required a huge blimp, 3 rolls of film being inconsistent to one another and of course, the cost of shooting, processing, timing and releasing 3 prints for each movie. Remember, back then there were no platter systems, so film was projected using large reels on a rack next to the projector. Some of these big movies required intermissions to re-load and re-time all 3 of the projectors to continue the screening. What amazes me is how long the format stuck around and how many cinema's converted to use it. To me, it goes to show how much of a "gimmick" it was at the time. Trying desperately to drag people away from their black and white TV's and into the awe inspiring world of cinema.

 

The replacement for Cinerama, or the "competitor" that became the replacement (Todd-AO, Super Panavision 70, MGM camera 65), was very good. 5 perf 70mm is no slouch and sure, it was less resolution then 3 x 6 perf 35mm, but the aspect ratio of Cinerama did stay the same at first. It was obviously cheaper then 3 strip AND more consistent when projecting. Plus, you could use longer lenses and make the movie LOOK like a regular movie. Which brings me back to the whole projection thing... now you could run A/B projectors and watch an entire movie without breaks. This saved the theaters a lot of time and "intermissions" started to become a thing of the past.

 

It does kill me that IMAX swears up and down that digital laser projection does "fill the screen", which is absolutely a lie. I seriously hope they aren't ripping out 1.44:1 screens and putting in 1.90:1 screens at "classic" 15/70 IMAX venue's. That would not only be a big mistake, but would instantly kill the brand. I'm OK with a hand-full of 15/70 theaters, as long as every city has one and IMAX keeps printing movies. I'm not OK with the current direction which is BEYOND substandard compared to 15/70.

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I recently had the opportunity to - well - not quite side-by-side 15/70 and dual-projector laser stuff, but within about 45 minutes of each other (I'm not sure there are any venues round here which have both in the same facility). Perhaps the BFI? Anyway.

 

I have to say the laser looked rather better. Particularly for 3D stuff, the instability of the two 70mm frames against one another was really objectionable, and I think people have rather a rose-tinted idea of what dirt, grain and weave look like.

 

It's difficult to comment on sharpness as the material in question was all 4K origination, but I also query the claims of 12K resolution that are widely made for 15/70. On the basis it's three times the width of 35, that would imply that 35 manages 4K. It doesn't.

 

P

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Phil, IMAX 3D using it's double projector, active glasses system, is an entirely different concept to digital projection with passive glasses.

 

Active 3D always has jitter/wiggle, doesn't matter what projection system you use, digital or film. The reason is simple... the brain has to deal with those shutters flickering right in front of your eye. Unlike the film projector shutter, which on IMAX is very fast, the glasses shutter physically blocks every other frame. So your brain has a hard time keeping pace with it all and the net result is a bit of stutter/jitter. The passive system requires more light, but since the brain isn't constantly having to process the shutters within the glasses, it's a "smoother" presentation. In fact, I'd beg to say for 3D applications, IMAX Laser is by far the best.

 

IMAX 3D projectors have registration pins as well, so the film can't shake/wobble at all, it's physically impossible. I've seen 100's of 2D IMAX films and have never once seen one iota of jitter. In fact, the credits on 'Interstellar' were so rock solid, I had to turn around to see if they switched to a digital projector or not.

 

Anyway, we aren't talking about 3D in this thread. That is a whole other can of worms that's really based on each individual. I personally hate 3D, it's turned movie theaters into theme park rides.

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