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Business News/ News / World/  Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan's tip on best seat to grab at a movie theatre, ‘near the..’

Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan's tip on best seat to grab at a movie theatre, ‘near the..’

Christopher Nolan's upcoming movie Oppenheimer will be shown on over a thousand premium large format screens. The film was shot entirely on large format film stock, combining IMAX 65mm and Panavision 65mm, and will be projected in 70mm.

Nolan's Oppenheimer promises a spectacular viewing experience  (REUTERS)Premium
Nolan's Oppenheimer promises a spectacular viewing experience (REUTERS)

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan's upcoming movie "Oppenheimer" is specifically crafted for the grandeur of the big screen.

And speaking about his favourite seat at a movie theatre, he commented when watching a film in a theatre with a Cinemascope ratio, he prefers to sit right near the front, specifically in the middle of the third row. However, for stadiums featuring the IMAX 1.43:1 format, he suggests sitting a little behind the center line, aiming for the middle but slightly further back. 

“You rarely get the chance to really talk to moviegoers directly about why you love a particular format and why if they can find an IMAX screen to see the film on that's great," Nolan told Associated Press, offering a guide to his favourite formats.

“We put a lot of effort into shooting the film in a way that we can get it out on these large format screens. It really is just a great way of giving people an experience that they can't possibly get in the home."

Christopher Nolan's favourite theatrical formats

For Nolan, the ultimate viewing experience of "Oppenheimer" is in IMAX 70mm presentations. These are also among the rarest, currently set for 25 locations in North America including the AMC Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, the AMC Lincoln Square in New York, the Cinemark Dallas, the Regal King of Prussia near Philadelphia and the AutoNation IMAX in Fort Lauderdale.

The prints span over 11 miles of film stock, weigh some 600 pounds and run through film projectors horizontally. There will also be over one hundred 70mm prints sent to theaters around the world, with over 77 (and more to come) on sale in North America at major chains and many independent locations like the Music Box in Chicago and the AFI Silver in Washington D.C.

He also recognized the accessibility of digital presentations and other PLF options, ensuring that the film will still look great on various screens.

Nolan's 'Oppenheimer' to deliver stunning experience on the big screen

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Nolan shared his insights on different formats and their significance. He highlighted the immersive power of IMAX 70mm film, which offers unparalleled sharpness, clarity, and depth, filling the peripheral vision of the audience and creating a three-dimensional experience without the need for glasses.

In a film about about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist who oversaw the development of first atomic bomb during World War II, this will be especially pivotal in viewing the Trinity Test, the first detonation of a nuclear weapon.

When to watch?

“Oppenheimer," starring Cillian Murphy, opens in theatres on July 21.

Where to watch?

Universal Pictures has made “Oppenheimer" tickets available early for over a thousand “premium large format" (or PLF) screens, with options including IMAX 70mm, 70mm, IMAX digital, 35mm, Dolby Cinema and more.

The technicalities

"Oppenheimer" was filmed entirely on large format film stock, combining IMAX 65mm and Panavision 65mm, and it will be projected in 70mm. The use of high-resolution film cameras provides an exceptional level of detail, with IMAX film resolution being nearly ten times that of a 35mm projector.

“The sharpness and the clarity and the depth of the image is unparalleled," Nolan said. Nolan explained that shooting in IMAX captures a vast amount of visual information, ensuring the movie translates well to various formats. Nolan has been shooting with IMAX cameras since “The Dark Knight." Audiences would regularly gasp at seeing its first shot projected in IMAX 70mm.

On a technical level, the IMAX film resolution is almost 10 times more than a 35mm projector and each frame has some 18,000 pixels of resolution versus a home HD screen that has 1,920 pixels.

Why is it projected in 70mm but shot in 65mm?

The 5mm difference goes back to when that extra space on the film had to be reserved for the soundtrack. With digital sound, that’s unnecessary and it is “purely a visual enhancement," Nolan explained.

Impact of different formats on the film

“We have to plan very carefully because by shooting an IMAX film, you capture a lot of information," he said. The challenge is to frame imagery so that it can be presented in different theaters with all aspect ratios with equal success

On the biggest presentations, IMAX 1.43:1 (the massive square screen) the screen essentially disappears for the audience. For other formats like 35mm, the top and the bottom get cropped.

Nolan said, “from a creative point of view, what we’ve found over the years is that there’s no compromise to composition."

Entire movies cannot be made in IMAX as cameras are just too loud for dialogue heavy scenes.

Significance of black and white sequences

Nolan discussed the significance of the black and white sequences in "Oppenheimer." These sequences, shot on the first-ever black and white IMAX film stock, present a different perspective of the story. The development of this film stock allowed the team to maintain equal image quality throughout the film.

Kodak made and Fotokem developed the first ever black and white IMAX film stock as per Nolan’s desire for the black and white portions to be of equal image quality to the rest of the film.



(With inputs from AP)

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Updated: 04 Jun 2023, 01:49 PM IST
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