President and General Manager
Entertainment and Commercial Films Group
Vice President of Eastman Kodak Company
For the 2008 release of The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister, ASC, BSC shot large format film to bring pinnacle scenes to the screen in a gigantic way. The filmmaking team re-united for The Dark Knight Rises, one of the most anticipated films of the US summer season, and chose to return to the IMAX. For The Dark Knight Rises, they used more 65 mm 15-perf format footage than any Hollywood movie in the history of cinema, according to The Wall Street Journal.
This large format renaissance in narrative storytelling is exciting, and the rewards are evident: jaw-dropping visuals combined with an unparalleled movie-going experience that gets audiences off the couch and into cinema seats. As filmmakers continue to seek new ways to tell stories, their creative motivation hasn’t changed – to tell compelling stories in unique ways. And the large format helps them attain their visual goals.
There is an incalculable difference in 65mm versus digital capture, and that is just one of many reasons that a number of prolific filmmakers are super-sizing their camera negative. Robert Elswit, ASC, imagined a stunning scene for Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocolthat he knew would be served best with 65mm. In the signature sequence with Tom Cruise hanging from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa—the world’s tallest building – Elswit knew that the scene would be most dramatically conveyed with large format acquisition. He said he and director Brad Bird needed the scope of the large format to convey the scale of the building, and called 65mm the “wow” factor for those scenes. (link to InCamera story)
Other great storytellers like Paul Thomas Anderson are using large format on The Master, due in theaters soon. Terrence Malick used 65mm for scenes in last year’s lyrically poetic Tree of Life. And the dazzling Snow White and the Huntsmen, released this past June, utilized a grand canvas for key shots in this re-imagined epic adventure of the classic fairytale. These filmmakers, and more, are choosing the scope and depth of the 65mm frame to enhance their vision.
The 65 mm film format has been around since late in the 19th century when there was experimentation and exploration of the new medium of film. Many films of the 1950s and 1960s were shown at large format venues to lure television-crazed audiences back to movie theaters. Today, 65 mm film is used for both narrative and documentary features to provide an unparalleled movie-going experience. Whether choosing to shoot in 35 mm or 65 mm format, filmmakers continue to embrace film’s ability to capture a level of visual information that digital cameras cannot yet achieve.
We see ourselves as partners in helping to maintain the quest for superior image acquisition. Our portfolio of Kodak 65mm films is just one of many ways we support the ambitious visions of these filmmakers. We are always intrigued by the creative ways that filmmakers find to make their projects impactful. Their aesthetic endeavors push creative boundaries. From the small gauge to the large format, film matters. And we are pleased that Kodak products and services are a “big” part of the process.