Interstellar. 70mm IMAX (UPDATE)

So i have been waiting for Interstellar since it was announced. so a couple of years now. actually, a little before that. I told myself "Batman trilogy is done... i hope he does a space sci-fi film next". XD

I am a novice film enthusiast, and i prefer owning/watching a bluray of my favorite film then be like "dvd is fine. or ill download it. perhaps it is on a streaming site somewhere". and before i buy a bluray, i check to see if the studios did a decent job on the transfer, or if they did it on the cheap and then added a bunch of DNR (digital noise reduction). 

I also like to try and see movies how they were filmed. So, if a film was NOT shot in 3D, i don't see it in 3D. to be fair, i have only seen Avatar, Tron: Legacy, and the last two Hobbit movies in 3D, because they warrant it (alien world, fantasy, inside a computer) and they were shot in 3D. i thought Tron was particularly neat, in that real world scenes were 2D, and it wasn't until you were on the Grid that it went 3D. 

So, a large portion (i think 100+min?) of Interstellar was shot with 70mm IMAX cameras (well, 65mm film. but the end product is 70mm. the other 5mm is comprised of the audio tracks) i want to see it in 70mm IMAX. Look how big the 70mm film is compared to normal 35mm. The reels are huge too. 6ft across, i believe. 

It has almost 10x the resolution of normal film, not to mention better color, depth of field, and clarity. The sad thing is that there are soooo few 70mm IMAX theaters around anymore. and a lot of IMAX theaters are not full IMAX, as seen here (the middle screen)

here in California, there are only 8 97ft tall FULL 70mm IMAX screens left. Interstellar may infact be the last Hollywood film shown this way, because the number keeps decreasing. (here is a list of 70mm IMAX theaters)

here in my home town, we have an IMAX theater.... a fake one. tickets were $18.50. at the REAL 70mm IMAX theater in Sacramento, tickets were $13. so what did i do? i purchased tickets, and am heading up there (about 2 hours 45min) to see this film. i even got to pick my seats and have them reserved. I would like to experience a 70mm IMAX film, and this seems like it may be the last chance i will have. I see it on Sunday.

On a side note, they had the leading physicist on gravity as a consultant for the film. they were able to come up with the realistic visuals of what a black hole would actually look like. i read that just ONE of the frames took 100hours to render... so crazy. He went on to write 2 papers. one for the scientific community, and one for the graphics community. I can't wait for this film. 

UPDATE: Film Review

Just got back from the Esquire Imax in Sacramento. aesome.. screen was HUGE! nearly 100feet tall! Interstellar blew my mind. Science fiction.... best movie of the year, hands down. In fact, i am going to see it again tomorrow XD but in 4k Digital. loved it. 

Looking forward to seeing this, we have a single 70mm Imax theatre in my country.

I hope this film is a huge commercial and critical success. I hope hollywood adopts 70mm as "the next big thing" instead of the horrible 3D-in-everything trend that we have been subjected to.

I was lucky enough to see The Master in theatre. It was also shot on medium format and is gorgeous.

At least with medium format, i.e. 65-70mm, filmmakers have the ability to express themselves artistically. It will also help push digital camera manufacturers to develop larger sensor cameras and higher quality projection so that when film dies completely the digital that replaces it will be of a high quality rather than the compromised digital sensors that we have had for the past decade.

I know commercial photographers are dying for high quality medium format (most of them shoot that format anyway for fashion studio work). If hollywood adopts it in scale, it could be huge. I know panasonic have just come out with a medium format stills camera that can also shoot 24p video. The next generation of such a camera could be amazing.

It will also help as Japanese manufacturers have made a push towards 4K in everything from phones to consumer cameras and TVs... with 8K to follow at some point. Don't we want feature films to look better than our home movies?!

i am sorry to say.... but the 70mm over 3D will NEVER happen. they had to make deals with the few 70mm IMAX screens left just for them to keep the 70mm projectors for Interstellar. after this, they will all most likely be Digital. 

70mm is expensive, cumbersome, the cameras are heavy, and loud. you can convert anything to 3D, fast, and cheap, and then slap on a higher ticket price. (i will never watch a post converted 3D film... however.. i wish i would have watched Jurassic Park. i heard it looked awesome)

well, resolution doesn't mean it will look better. the RED cameras are awesome. the RED Dragon sensor shoots at 6k.

The Sony CineAlta F-65 can do 4k and 8k at 120fps.

very exciting time. now, if we could get these in the hands of awesome film makers lol people bash Avatar, but i am excited to see the new ones. eager to see what tech Cameron and crew have come up with since the first. also..... the new Blade Runner.... wonder if he will shoot digital....

I saw it at my local IMAX theater on Wednesday and it was AMAZING. Unless you're a film enthusist and know what to look for i didn't notice anything special about the 65mm film other than the glorious vertical height and dynamic range in the shot.

stepping aside from the term 70mm for a moment the film was fantastic and not like anything I was expecting. I though McConaughey's and Hathaway's acting was out of this world (harhar) and would've caused the movie to fall flat if the acting wasn't wasn't turned up to 11.

It's set in a world I would describe as reminiscent of 2001+Inception+our current understanding of modern physics. It has the same space opera feel that something is greater in grandeur 2001 left with you. Inception gives you the mind bending when things in the universe get twisted with modern physics

i hear you about 70mm film, but i think there is still scope for the industry to adopt 70mm sized digital sensors as an option. They'd have to develop new lenses for it though, as they wouldn't be able to adapt the current 35mm to them, which is probably going to be the biggest hurdle for mass adoption.

If no new lenses are developed, filmmakers would be restricted to currently available medium format lenses (either cine-lenses or adapting stills lenses), but at least this way, the medium format look will live on and be an option, if only digitally.

You could project that on the existing generation of digital projectors as well, so while they won't be as nice as Interstellar, they'd still be a huge step up from the current 35mm/Super 35mm sensor sized RED, Sony or Arri cameras. It would be a different aesthetic, such as films like 2001 Space Odyssey, Ben Hur or The Master. All shot on medium format 65-70mm.

Thankfully, the lacklustre sales of 3D TVs has kept the every-movie-in-3D trend in check to some extent.

Recently there have been few 3d movies in the cinemas where I live, I am not sure if it is because they havent been filming in 3d, or converting to 3d, or if they just aren't selling well so they are ditching them. To be honest I like the 3d, in that it gives an added depth of field, but it definitely does suffer from a loss of image fidelity...

I doubt 'imax 70mm' will be the next thing, honestly what would make me happiest would be if they stopped shooting/mastering everything in that god damned awful 23.99fps, then applying post-processing blurring to make the stutter less noticeable....

I find the stutter very noticeable:

  • During scrolling text like the credits.
  • Panning shots.
  • Fast action sequences.

I saw no stutter during the hobbit, and that was only 48fps. Everyone is being lazy by not filming/mastering in >24FPS. Even if they are cheating and adding scenes in between to save money on CGI surely it would still look better......

dear god... why did i get tickets for sunday! i can't wait!!! D:

as a side-note.... did you hear Syfy is making 3001: the final odyssey? Ridely scott is producing.. but Syfy?!?! i am worried. 

hmmm.... upon doing some research, i found that the Vision Research Phantom65 uses a 65mm sensorm which shoots at 4K, 125 frame/s.

still a very young medium when talking about film making. 

have you seen the documentary "Side by Side"? i HIGHLY recommend watching it. i have seen it twice... think ill watch it again tonight or tomorrow lol. It is about film vs digital, and it is on netflix. 

Also just stumbled upon this..... 65mm 6k...

While stuttering is a problem when panning, it is not as bad as the soap opera effect that you get in nearly every other scene when shooting above 24 FPS. Maybe someone clever will come up with a multi-format type of projection where you can project panning shots in 48FPS and the rest of the film in 24FPS. It's trivial to record them natively in these frame rates.

We've had high frame rate production for decades, it's called video and isn't as aesthetically pleasing as 24 FPS. That's why most cinematographers want to be able to keep shooting in 24 FPS and are upset that most HDTVs have default settings that conform it to 50-60 FPS or even higher. Great for sports and wildlife documentaries, but not as pleasing to the eye for much else.

It's nothing to do with being lazy. These days you can get higher frame rates simply by pressing a button on the camera. Choose 50 or 60 FPS before you hit record. Done. And on TV or VOD they can broadcast/stream/play in that native frame rate.

This is inherently subjective, but it is also something that makes sense. For Sports/Wildlife the aesthetic choice of a high frame rate gives use the impression that it is hyper-real and that we are witnessing them. Using this on a film would make it look like just people in costumes playing dress up, rather than the added layer of abstraction that comes with the 24FPS motion blur. Something similar to what we experience when people move their hands and make gestures while we talk to them. Lighting choices are made in a similar manner. Sports and macro-wildlife are over-lit so we can see all the details and nearly everything is in focus, whereas with feature films the shadows and shaping the light to suit the mood of the scene is as key a part of composition as is adjusting the depth of field (blurred out parts of the frame). This gives each scene a visual cue to the viewer influencing what information is retained and what emotion is created.

If some filmmaker wants to shoot at 48 FPS or higher there is nothing really stopping them. The technology is there at a press of a button on the camera and requires zero additional effort. It is an artistic choice. With 3D, CGI and such it is a very different situation as there are commercial considerations to shooting in 3D and infrastructure investments that need to be made (have been made) and need to be recouped. This is all in addition to the artistic choices of when and how to use 3D.

I've seen Side-by-Side. It was great, but was only the start of the conversation in my opinion. I think it's worth them revisiting it soon.

Looks like Arri are using re-housed Hassleblad glass for their 65mm digital camera... Wow. It is going to be very interesting if this format catches on. I just hope it doesn't end in Lawrence of Arabia: the prequel in 3D!

haha. I'm sure there will be a lot of experimenting in the next couple of years.

For sure. the thing about digital is the technology is advancing at a rapid pace. it was a 2012 documentary. i think there needs to be a companion piece focused more on the potential of digital, rather than film VS digital. film is literally at its peak, so i want to learn more about what is on the horizon for digital. 

If they film and master it in >24FPS then the they need to apply post-processing and CGI at the same frame rates which costs alot more money, so frankly it's just easier and cheaper to do their bare minimum and master it in 24fps. Which is what they do.

The problem is you get this damned stuttering, and it's not just during panning shorts and action scenes (which look like a blury mess), its there any-time there any-time anything moves significantly. Honestly, I don't see any of this 'soap-opera' effect, hobbit in 48fps was fantastic, it looked so fluid and I didn't see any stuttering whatsoever.


As for the 'soap opera' feel I didn't get it at all, I think it's just some people have gotten used to the minute stuttering that is evident throughout the entire film, that it looks 'too real' for them when it's gone. Things like fludity, improved lighting and detail on the set, those things are much more important IMHO than the pixel race.

Also it's interesting you bring up this soap opera feel and dislike for 3d, because in my opinion they both add to the realism, the 3d really does improve the perception of depth for me.

Yeah, it's interesting that we appreciate different aesthetics. I wonder what people will like in 10 years or so when most of the kids growing up now will have spent nearly all of their viewing on either their handheld devices or on LED screens that reduce motion blur and such with frame interpolation and high frequency panels.

Their viewing habits are already very different from mine, e.g. i won't watch a film on a tablet and even watch short films from Vimeo on my large screen. My nieces and nephews sit in the living room huddled around their iPads while the 60" TV is turned off!

Time will tell. I just hope that the artistic choices from the past are still available to filmmakers in the future, whether they have to reproduce them digitally or otherwise.

I just got back from seeing this and I can truly say it was one of the best movies I have personally seen. 

1926831726938129836129163/10 would recommend.

The hobbit in HFR is gorgeous. i saw the first 2 like that, and i will see the third one the same way. Cameron may make they next 3 Avatar in 48fps, maybe even 60fps. 

Oh god why... Syfy has completed their transition to a C-grade TV network that runs nothing but sub-par drama, just look at Z-nation, it's absoloutely terrible.. But what gives me the least hope is that they have bassically done everything possible to distance themselves from the sci-fi genre, they killed their last scifi show (caprica) by if I remember correctly, taking 2 breaks during the season, rescheduling the show to primetime spots and then complained about the ratings, before cancelling the show and not even airing the last few episodes...

What they consider scifi is also pretty strange, Defiance, basically a 'wild western', but with aliens from outer space... So no I don't have much expectations, the prequel to it will still be good though.

It went to shit when they went from SciFi to Syfy. only thing it is good for are it's 24 hour Twilight Zone marathons. But once i obtain the gorgeous Blurays, it won't matter. they left science fiction, and went more "monster of the week". they need to re-evaluate their programming. perhaps the 3001 mini-series could do that. Odd that they are skipping 2061 and just doing 3001. i just don't want to see the shitty cable budget syfy cgi T_T

BEAST of a film!

It was so good. Real drama. Little of the lately popular cynical misanthropy that has infested most Sci-Fi. Limited/no fetishised homages to Star Trek/Wars.

Loved it. A space film done right. Einstein would have been proud seeing his theories dramatised in such a faithful way.

I'll probably watch it again with other friends sometime next week if i have time, just to savour the theatrical experience of seeing it on the big screen. 70mm rules.

i made my mind up as we left the theater, i am going out and buying this film on bluray the day it comes out... i never do that.... ever lol

Won't be watching it in 70mm IMAX again, but we have some 4K digital projectors, one even at the theater here that does $5 tuesdays. so hopefully i see it again tomorrow, as i overslept today, then had my night class :P

was it just me, or did you nearly burst in to tears during the tapes scene, and the final scene? lol Such a powerful film. the music was also a delight. 

I did find one thing odd though, at the end,  but i don't want to spoil anything for others.