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Ben Brahem Ziryab

Dunkirk 70mm

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I don't think people really noticed the difference in quality at the 15/70 showing in London. The reduced height of the 5-perf was the letdown. And disappointing to see the final shot like this, if I remember correctly.

 

The difference was 4 generations between the 5 perf 65 and the 15 perf 65 OCN. The 15 perf prints were stuck off the original camera negative. However, the 5 perf scenes were blown up to IMAX IP then an IN was made and cut into the IMAX shots. So 5 perf OCN > IP> IN > Print, 4th generation. On the print we had here in So Cal, which was actually the test bed print Nolan approved personally, the 5 perf scenes looked like poop. They were noisy, colored differently and most importantly VERY dirty.

 

Since there were over 200 SFX shots in the movie, all lasered out to film, why couldn't Nolan have just scanned the 5 perf shots at 8k and lasered them back out at 8k? Nobody would have known the difference.

 

I do think Nolan focused on the 5 perf prints, because they were 100% flawless.

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The difference was 4 generations between the 5 perf 65 and the 15 perf 65 OCN. The 15 perf prints were stuck off the original camera negative. However, the 5 perf scenes were blown up to IMAX IP then an IN was made and cut into the IMAX shots. So 5 perf OCN > IP> IN > Print, 4th generation. On the print we had here in So Cal, which was actually the test bed print Nolan approved personally, the 5 perf scenes looked like poop. They were noisy, colored differently and most importantly VERY dirty.

 

Since there were over 200 SFX shots in the movie, all lasered out to film, why couldn't Nolan have just scanned the 5 perf shots at 8k and lasered them back out at 8k? Nobody would have known the difference.

 

I do think Nolan focused on the 5 perf prints, because they were 100% flawless.

That's interesting. Here in London the 5 perf shots to me looked clean. More grainy yes than the rest of the movie, but certainly very acceptable in definition and colour, if more contrasty. I was comparing them obviously with the scope 35 shots in Interstellar, which were very grainy and inferior. But in a strange way these were more acceptable in that movie because of the fantastic subject, and they didn't seem to upset the story. Dunkirk on the other hand would have been better wholly 15 perf squarish ratio, maybe in homage to some of the WW2 films of old, but mostly as the 'widescreen' footage didn't add anything to the story and was a giveaway that a dialogue scene was about to begin. I would have thought the dialogue problem could have been overcome either with ADR or using a blimp with long lenses.

That said, I thought it was a great film. Would have liked to have seen the 5 perf print too.

Edited by Doug Palmer

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I think the blowups have always been an issue with Nolan's films. Most IMAX DMR films are taken from either fresh scan of the negative or DI file from a neg scan. So the process Nolan takes by colour timing first and scanning an element thats a few generations down seems strange. Your still going to have to do a digital blow up from 70 or 35 to 15/70 - so why not colour time digitally rather then doing it photochemically and save a generation.

 

I feel the desire to be analogue in all things hurts the finished result. Since on an IMAX screen its a bit enlargement and any optical generation loss is going to show. I didn't see Dunkirk projected - but the last 2 Batman films had the problem. The 35mm segments looked like arse, super grainy for anamorphic 35mm. Sure 35mm will look bad when its intercut between 15/70mm and you asking the audience to make a direct comparison. But I saw some super 35 Harry Potter to 15/70mm blowups that looked much better. I would say the Nolan IMAX blow ups look worse then most 35mm DMR blowups to 15/70mm.

 

So the idea of sticking to photochemical really hurts the final quality since your degrading the smaller format and suffering a generation loss you wouldn't get if you'd just scanned the camera neg at 6k/8k. Then to make it worse its intercut with pristine contact printed 15/70 of the camera neg which is going to highlight the differences more.

 

5/70mm blown up to IMAX with modern stocks should look pretty flawless.

 

I do find the Nolan IMAX approach hard work - sure shooting on large format should be applauded. But intercutting different formats and aspect ratios is quite jarring. As an audience member it takes me out the film because it forces me to notice the technology. Switching formats and textures makes sense if your having a clear storytelling point, e.g the cuts between 35mm and MiniDV in Run Lola Run are motivated by the script - but in the Nolan films it seems quite random and the format is more about what camera could get what shot rather then the specific frame to tell the right story. I think Hunger games 2 had a better idea of one long 50min sequence in IMAX, was more consistent and worked for the storytelling rather then against it.

 

I'm also not a fan of different aspect ratios for different formats of the film. Surely you have one composition thats the correct one and everything else won't have the same power. Thats my problem with IMAX increasingly offering films in taller aspect ratios that were composed in 2.39:1 and robbing the film of its original intent.

 

Q: What do my parents and IMAX have in common?

A: They both mess up the aspect ratio when they screen films

(sorry)

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I don't really understand. Why didn't Nolan just shoot the whole film 5/65, the old 'SuperPanavision' that Lean sometimes used. Why mix and match bits of this and bits of that?

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Because he wanted to shoot on the biggest film format for the most impressive screen image. A better question might be why not shoot the boat sequence and other dialogue scenes in IMAX and accept having to use ADR?

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I feel the desire to be analogue in all things hurts the finished result. Since on an IMAX screen its a bit enlargement and any optical generation loss is going to show. I didn't see Dunkirk projected - but the last 2 Batman films had the problem. The 35mm segments looked like arse, super grainy for anamorphic 35mm. Sure 35mm will look bad when its intercut between 15/70mm and you asking the audience to make a direct comparison. But I saw some super 35 Harry Potter to 15/70mm blowups that looked much better. I would say the Nolan IMAX blow ups look worse then most 35mm DMR blowups to 15/70mm.

 

So the idea of sticking to photochemical really hurts the final quality since your degrading the smaller format and suffering a generation loss you wouldn't get if you'd just scanned the camera neg at 6k/8k. Then to make it worse its intercut with pristine contact printed 15/70 of the camera neg which is going to highlight the differences more.

 

The UHD versions of his films were sourced from the IPs, and I bet the 35mm films would look better in that format if they scanned the negs and digitally graded them to match the IPs instead. It seems that in his insistence on staying in the photochemical realm as long as possible he's actually compromising image quality, depending on the exhibition format.

Edited by Ravi Kiran

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Because he wanted to shoot on the biggest film format for the most impressive screen image. A better question might be why not shoot the boat sequence and other dialogue scenes in IMAX and accept having to use ADR?

 

To me, this is the biggest question. The sound was a nightmare on location anyway, you can hear how much noise reduction they had to use.

 

It's funny, he's so stuck on "doing it right" that he forgot there were over 250,000 troops on that beach and 1600 boats in the water.

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To me, this is the biggest question. The sound was a nightmare on location anyway, you can hear how much noise reduction they had to use.

 

It's funny, he's so stuck on "doing it right" that he forgot there were over 250,000 troops on that beach and 1600 boats in the water.

The beach indeed looked rather empty at times. How would you have solved this, without resorting to digital crowds ? The cut-outs only half worked.

Maybe Christopher should have told everyone what he was trying to pull off beforehand. Then throngs of people, inc. crazy WW2 types and so on, would have definitely turned up on that beach. You'd only have to provide some paper khaki uniforms.

Richard Attenborough famously used this approach for Gandhi's funeral. Result: the biggest gathering of extras in cinema history. The only problem Nolan may have had would be insurance though <_<

 

The Desert Island Discs on BBC4 radio was interesting when he talked about super-8 and film stuff.

Edited by Doug Palmer

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It got the BAFTA for best sound.. its only Gong I think..and TBH I think that was its main attribute .. the sound was amazing in a cinema.. more moving that the actual film I thought personally ..and I do have a lot of influence with the BAFTA awards committee .. :)

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The beach indeed looked rather empty at times. How would you have solved this, without resorting to digital crowds ?

Easy... Fill it with vehicles. Truth is, if you look at any pictures, you'd see the beach was just littered with vehicles. That's what they did in atonement and it worked great.

 

With how clean the beach was and the logistics of re-building the Mole, maybe government probably told them they couldn't put anything on the beach. Also wrangling all those vehicles would be a mess as well. So who knows! If I get to talk with him again, I will for sure ask!

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Easy... Fill it with vehicles. Truth is, if you look at any pictures, you'd see the beach was just littered with vehicles. That's what they did in atonement and it worked great.

 

With how clean the beach was and the logistics of re-building the Mole, maybe government probably told them they couldn't put anything on the beach. Also wrangling all those vehicles would be a mess as well. So who knows! If I get to talk with him again, I will for sure ask!

Cut-outs would work for vehicles ! Remember Be Kind Rewind (2008)

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Cut-outs would work for vehicles ! Remember Be Kind Rewind (2008)

Yep, but maybe not on IMAX... You can kinda tell the cut outs for people on the beach if you look carefully on the IMAX version.

 

Alas, there doesn't seem to be any really good excuse.

 

Also... and this kinda pissed me off, they didn't do a great job at covering up the 50's architecture when facing the town. That kinda irked me as well, it's such an easy thing these days to fix that in post for those 4 shots in the entire movie, you accidently turn the camera towards the town and saw more modern buildings.

 

Honestly the entire film felt too modern. It's what separates the great WWII films like Shaving Ryan's Privates, I mean saving private ryan (hehe) from the not so good ones.

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Well, that's the point I was making earlier. Shoot the whole film on a normal format, like 35mm or 65mm. Why on earth shoot a picture like that, a narrative thing, on IMAX? IMAX is really for nature type films and other visual feasts. Where are you David Lean? Come back and back me up. Yes, don't worry, I know that in his day 65mm was as big as he could get. But really, this contemporary thing for incredible resolution is self-defeating in my opinion. The old slightly fuzzy look of a lot of the old 70's/80's 35mm anamorphic prints at the cinema actually worked in favour of narrative story. It helped create the world of make believe. If you've got good actors, story, sets and locations but above all good story and directing you don't need incredible definition. 65mm is always more than good enough for any movie, any subject.

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Shoot the whole film on a normal format, like 35mm or 65mm. Why on earth shoot a picture like that, a narrative thing, on IMAX? IMAX is really for nature type films and other visual feasts.

 

Because it looks amazing. Why can't a narrative be a visual feast? There's no rule that certain formats should or shouldn't be used for certain kinds of films.

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15/65 is surely impossibly expensive for a full length feature movie, and there are too few cinemas. I don't know of any real film IMAX theatres in my country. Anyway, do what you want.

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Because it looks amazing. Why can't a narrative be a visual feast? There's no rule that certain formats should or shouldn't be used for certain kinds of films.

Dunkirk 15/70 did indeed look and sound amazing. A pity about the cutouts and the format changes, but Nolan was pushing the boundaries of 15/70 feature-making. When we look at Shaving Ryan it was yes, a better movie maybe, yet would we be saying this if shot in 15/70 ? So much harder to make story films in Imax, partly because the audience is distracted by the visual feast, and any discrepancies are more obvious. Also harder to cover up the odd bad shot by cutting away sharply to something else. Having said this, Lean didn't seem to have anything imperfect in Lawrence... and 5/70 in those days was very impressive and big. It probably comes back to lack of time available making modern films. Nolan apparently though keeps under-budget for some reason.

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