Star Wars Episode VII gets the 70mm IMAX treatment

Scorpus

Posts: 2,096   +236
Staff member

J.J. Abrams film production company Bad Robot has revealed that their upcoming blockbuster, Star Wars Episode VII, will be shot using 70mm IMAX cameras. A tweet from the company shows an IMAX camera suspended above expansive sand dunes, accompanied by the hashtag "#bestformatever".

A representative for IMAX later confirmed that Episode VII will indeed be filmed on an IMAX film camera. Normally news of which film format a major movie will be produced in doesn't make tech news headlines, so why is Star Wars in 70mm a big deal?

Firstly, 70mm IMAX film stock has a 'resolution' ten times that of standard 35mm film, which is used for the vast majority of productions. The extra resolution brings an incredible level of detail to the enormous IMAX screens, noticeable from the moment it fills up your field of view.

It was also reported earlier this year that Christopher Nolan's Interstellar would be the last feature film shot in-part using 70mm IMAX cameras. With news of Star Wars getting the 70mm treatment, it's now clear that the large film format will continue to be used in major films, at least for now.

Very few feature films are shot using 70mm film, despite most major releases getting screen time in IMAX theaters. 70mm cameras are large, loud and costly to operate, so most directors choose against using them.

In each year since The Dark Knight (the first feature film to use IMAX cameras), at most two films have been shot using the 70mm format. Even then, only some scenes were filmed using IMAX cameras, with the movie switching from 70mm to 35mm where the IMAX format was too impractical to use.

At this stage there's no word on how much of Episode VII will be shot on 70mm film, but even if there's only a few scenes captured in vivid detail, it'll be worth viewing on a massive IMAX screen.

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TheBigFatClown

Posts: 1,051   +452
"but even if there's only a few scenes captured in vivid detail, it'll be worth viewing on a massive IMAX screen."

Says who? I heard that people were turned off by seeing all more details in the film from their experience with "The Hobbit" in 48fps glory. The props and backgrounds looked more fake.

Who wants to watch a movie in 1920x1080 most of the way through and then jump into a 3840x2160 resolution for just "parts"? That doesn't sound like a smart move to me.

Sounds as bad as Windows 8. Sorry, I have to take jabs at Microsofts bastard child every chance I get. But it does sound similar. No continuity. Just randomness.
 

CommonSense

Posts: 13   +6
"but even if there's only a few scenes captured in vivid detail, it'll be worth viewing on a massive IMAX screen."

Says who? I heard that people were turned off by seeing all more details in the film from their experience with "The Hobbit" in 48fps glory. The props and backgrounds looked more fake.

Who wants to watch a movie in 1920x1080 most of the way through and then jump into a 3840x2160 resolution for just "parts"? That doesn't sound like a smart move to me.

Sounds as bad as Windows 8. Sorry, I have to take jabs at Microsofts bastard child every chance I get. But it does sound similar. No continuity. Just randomness.


The fact that you "heard people were turned off" tells me you haven't seen some of this stuff in action ... the Dark night was a perfect example of some scenes being shot in IMAX camera and some in 35mm ... Watching those scenes shot in the IMAX camera you almost wished the whole thing was filmed in that format ... it is soooooo much better! Looking forward to Star wars in IMAX ... and as a side note anyone thinking this is a bad idea to be filming in 70mm needs to do their homework ...
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,289
The last Star Wars movie I saw was the original from the 70's in the 70's with a young Harrison Ford, I also remember I never really enjoyed it much so I wouldn't be interested in this one.
 

oldikes

Posts: 3,131   +1,537
"but even if there's only a few scenes captured in vivid detail, it'll be worth viewing on a massive IMAX screen."

Says who? I heard that people were turned off by seeing all more details in the film from their experience with "The Hobbit" in 48fps glory. The props and backgrounds looked more fake.

Who wants to watch a movie in 1920x1080 most of the way through and then jump into a 3840x2160 resolution for just "parts"? That doesn't sound like a smart move to me.

Sounds as bad as Windows 8. Sorry, I have to take jabs at Microsofts bastard child every chance I get. But it does sound similar. No continuity. Just randomness.


The fact that you "heard people were turned off" tells me you haven't seen some of this stuff in action ... the Dark night was a perfect example of some scenes being shot in IMAX camera and some in 35mm ... Watching those scenes shot in the IMAX camera you almost wished the whole thing was filmed in that format ... it is soooooo much better! Looking forward to Star wars in IMAX ... and as a side note anyone thinking this is a bad idea to be filming in 70mm needs to do their homework ...
thats the point hes making, who wants to change between resolutions and notice the difference all the time through a movie?
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,735   +2,579
I don't go into those movies looking for an excellent story or something that is going to drive me emotionally. I go in expecting exactly what is mostly action and **** blowing up and some good special effects so I'm never disappointed.

When more people start doing that you will find yourself enjoying movies more because you don't go in expecting it to be something its not.

When I want to see something that has more meat and bones to it I will not see a michael bay movie.
 
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wastedkill

Posts: 1,423   +348
Someone's still latching onto 800x600, why would you be in anyway against 70mm when its like saying going from 800x600 to 4k is no difference it just uses more resources...

Also how is the 70mm camera loud? pretty sure a standard pc will outway it in terms of loudness..

I cant wait for the new star wars :D kinda makes you think disney buying star wars franchise was actually a good thing.
 

yukka

Posts: 1,018   +167
Sounds good. Might be my first IMAX movie. Love Star Wars (original trilogy, original versions with no messing around and crappy cgi).
 

avioza

Posts: 249   +228
Well since it was announced that the Star Wars expanded universe (everything from the last 35+ years created by authors and rpg supplement releases) is not canon, we are trusting in JJ Abrams and his writers to come up with some great stuff...

... at least the explosions will be sharper...

*sigh*
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,175   +8,323
I saw, (I think "Transformers 2"), in Imax. Ostensibly it was a 35mm conversion. It looked way better at home on a simple DVD, & 40" LCD, (not even a Blu-Ray)!

I keep telling people, they may not actually want to see the outline of the alien heroine's "Spanks", with a tail glued on them. "You are there, in 4K", but is it such a good idea?

"Oh man, did you see the size of the pores on that woman's legs, not to mention the razor stubble. She's got to be thirty, how can she still be playing 18 year olds?
 
G

Guest

Watching resolutions changing all the time? You mean like when I'm streaming a Netflix movie on my Roku and AT&T suddenly switches the video to low-res. right before my eyes?
Think of all of the reasons to use the higher resolution film for Star Wars VII. Every frame that an artist touches in post-production is larger, with more detail. Cloning things out, adding things in, masking elements, etc. is that much easier. Resolution in TV screens keeps getting larger and larger. Film for the the technology that you don't even know exists yet. If you can get a higher resolution why wouldn't you use it?
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,175   +8,323
Watching resolutions changing all the time? You mean like when I'm streaming a Netflix movie on my Roku and AT&T suddenly switches the video to low-res. right before my eyes?
Think of all of the reasons to use the higher resolution film for Star Wars VII. Every frame that an artist touches in post-production is larger, with more detail. Cloning things out, adding things in, masking elements, etc. is that much easier. Resolution in TV screens keeps getting larger and larger. Film for the the technology that you don't even know exists yet. If you can get a higher resolution why wouldn't you use it?
Cost! Imax cameras eat film stock in orders of multiples against standard 35mm film.
The IMAX format is generically called "15/70" film, the name referring to the 15 sprocket holes or perforations per frame. The film's bulk requires horizontal platters, rather than conventional film reels.[10] IMAX platters range from 1.2 to 1.83 meters (3.9 to 6.0 ft) diameter to accommodate 1 to 2.75 hours of film. Platters with a 2.5 hour feature film weigh 250 kilograms (550 lb).
Plus any one of a number of different factors, such as venues available for the projection of the Imax format.

I'm sure he film industry thanks you for your input, they unfortunately, simply can't afford it.

Learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imax

And FWIW, I"m never going to open a joint checking account with you.
 
I absolutely HATE the shifting aspect ratios in movies that are shot partially in IMAX. 2.35 is the traditional "big movie" ratio, but IMAX screens (as well as most current theaters) have ruined that by making the screen natively 1.85 so the wider pictures get letterboxed. These partial-IMAX films then get taller rather than wider. Just shoot the whole thing in one ratio!
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,175   +8,323
I absolutely HATE the shifting aspect ratios in movies that are shot partially in IMAX. 2.35 is the traditional "big movie" ratio, but IMAX screens (as well as most current theaters) have ruined that by making the screen natively 1.85 so the wider pictures get letterboxed. These partial-IMAX films then get taller rather than wider. Just shoot the whole thing in one ratio!
They've also ruined every known photo imaging format while ramming 16:9 aspect down our throats as, "universal".

D-SLRs still have the 3:2 aspect of 35mm film. So every time you capture an image, you have to be "mind's eye cropping it", to try and imagine how it will look on the desktop monitor.

And forget about portrait orientation. 16:9 is absolute crap when you flip it vertical. The human body or face simply doesn't look good in the format.(now at 9:16.

They had 8 by 10s with good reason. (4:5 aspect in portrait).