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July 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The success of The Dark Knight Rises on IMAX screens is likely to give a substantial boost to the original wide-screen process, British writer/TV producer David Cox writes in today’s Guardian newspaper. Cox notes that the 72 minutes of footage actually shot with IMAX cameras on 70mm film represents the most ever for a studio production. Such cameras provide 10 times the resolution of ordinary 35mm films but are capable of only three-minute takes and require 20 minutes to reload. They are also so noisy that the actors must “loop” their dialogue in post-production — a kind of reverse lip-syncing process. IMAX trumpets that it provides the “most immersive motion picture entertainment” available. Cox argues, however, that the process is not as immersive as the three-camera/three-projector Cinerama process of the 1950s. (Only two studio productions employed that process.) However, TDKR offers something else, Cox writes: “spectacle on a scale I’d never previously experienced.” Several scenes he writes “feel qualitatively different and simply stunning.” However, he notes, for IMAX to make a difference, it will have to revert to film projection on those eight-story-high screens that it began with, not digital projection on smaller screens that have been moved closer to the audience. In London, he notes those seats cost the equivalent of more than $30 apiece. “If you can afford it, and can find a seat,” he writes, “you may help build a more robust future for cinema.”