In an unprecedented move, Christopher Nolan is filming four scenes in the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight in IMAX format. Traditionally movies are shot in 35mm format and then re-mastered to fit an IMAX screen, which is about 8 stories tall. But Nolan is the first to shoot parts of a movie using IMAX cameras and then to merge that with regular size footage.
ComingSoon.Net has the entire press release, but I’ll post a few interesting blurbs:

When the scenes shot on IMAX cameras are shown in IMAX theatres, the aspect ratio will morph to 1.43 to 1, expanding the image to fill the entire screen and magnifying the overall effect, both literally and figuratively…

The first of the scenes, including a prologue that introduces Batman’s arch-nemesis The Joker, was shot in April, several weeks in advance of the actual start of principal photography. Additional selected scenes are being filmed with IMAX cameras during the course of production on “The Dark Knight…”

Director Christopher Nolan added, “In continuing the story of such a great icon I’m thrilled to be able to expand the scope of the film, not just in terms of its story, but in giving Batman and The Joker the largest possible canvas on which to face off. No existing technology compares with the IMAX format in terms of its ability to throw the audience into the action…”

The_Joker

Without getting too into it, I want to say this is the kind of thing that will save movie theaters. Standard projection screens are quickly becoming a thing of the past, like drive-in theaters before them. Soon people will wonder why they should sit in a crowded theater in sticky, uncomfortable chairs when they could just watch it on their own amazing entertainment system. If theaters don’t adapt to keep up with the changing industry (as competition from movie download services, on-demand same-day TV releases, and other new mediums emerge) they could become extinct. A bigger, better experience is what will save them, including new developments with 3-D and this usage of IMAX.

Nolan is a visionary who understands that IMAX quality movies are part of the future of filmmaking. He’s among others like James Cameron, who is shooting his next movie (Avatar) using new 3-D technology.

This is a great movie on Nolan’s part and I have to give Warner Bros credit for being a part of this. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

The Dark Knight opens on July 18, 2008.

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