‘Oppenheimer’ is shaping up to be the biggest cinematic experience of 2023

If you’re a regular cinema-goer, you’ll have seen the teaser announcement for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, about the Manhattan Project and the birth of the atomic bomb, featuring the excellently simple and oh-so-effective real-time countdown to its 21 July release date. Racking up the tension second by second, it made it clear to audiences that they could expect something special this Summer.

Now we learn that the film has been shot using a range of high-resolution cameras, specifically IMAX 65mm and Panavision 65mm, to enhance the sharpness, clarity, and depth of the image, and will be best viewed on premium large format (PLF) screens such as IMAX 70mm (the director’s favourite viewing format), 70mm, IMAX digital, 35mm, and Dolby Cinema. When projected in IMAX 70mm audiences will experience an enveloping 3D-like effect without the need for glasses.

Incidentally, some reading this might be interested to know that, when watching a film in an IMAX 1.43:1 auditorium, Christopher Nolan likes to sit slightly behind the centre line, right at the middle, in a Cinemascope ratio auditorium, he likes to sit nearer the front, in the middle of the third row.

To explain the decision to shoot on 65mm and project in 70mm, historically, the extra 5mm space on the film was reserved for the soundtrack. As cinemas now use digital sound it is now going to be used for visual enhancements that improve the overall quality of the viewing experience.

“Centre punching the action”, Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema have shot Oppenheimer so that is displays well across a range of screen shapes and aspect ratios.

“We have to plan very carefully because by shooting an IMAX film, you capture a lot of information. Your movie is going to translate very well to all the formats because you’re getting the ultimate amount of visual information. But there are different shapes to the screen — what we call aspect ratios. What you have to plan is how you then frame your imagery so that it can be presented in different theaters with equal success”

Christopher Nolan

Oppenheimer has two timelines: one in colour, representing the main protagonist’s subjective experience, and one in black and white, providing an objective view from a different character’s perspective. To ensure image quality across both, the filmmakers worked with Kodak and Fotokem to develop the first-ever black and white IMAX film stock.

Elsewhere, we learn that Oppenheimer‘s IMAX 70mm print is 11 miles long and weighs around 270 kilograms / 600 pounds (nearly 43 stone if you’re proper old school). It will run through projectors horizontally due to its size. Around 100 70mm versions of the film will be released internationally.

It’s one of those films that’s going to have them queuing round the block and promises a lot. I suppose the only question to ask is, if it’s as good as everybody’s expecting, what does the director do to top it?

Source: and TVB Europe