Filmmaker Christopher Nolan has given an extended and fascinating interview with the Director’s Guild of America covering a wide range of topics from his embracing of IMAX, his approach to filming “The Dark Knight Rises”, and wider issues of the film industry.
One of the latter is his championing of film over cheaper digital formats:
“For the last ten years, I’ve felt increasing pressure to stop shooting film and start shooting video, but I’ve never understood why. It’s cheaper to work on film, it’s far better looking, it’s the technology that’s been known and understood for a hundred years, and it’s extremely reliable.
I think, truthfully, it boils down to the economic interest of manufacturers and [a production] industry that makes more money through change rather than through maintaining the status quo. We save a lot of money shooting on film and projecting film and not doing digital intermediates. In fact, I’ve never done a digital intermediate.
Photochemically, you can time film with a good timer in three or four passes, which takes about 12 to 14 hours as opposed to seven or eight weeks in a DI suite. That’s the way everyone was doing it 10 years ago, and I’ve just carried on making films in the way that works best and waiting until there’s a good reason to change. But I haven’t seen that reason yet.”
He then goes on to talk about how his love of IMAX informed his shooting style on “The Dark Knight Rises”:
“We shot 5-perf 65 mm for a few scenes in Inception and I liked the results a lot, plus you can use sound with it. But IMAX has three times the negative area of that format. it’s such a leap up in terms of quality that if you’re working on a film that’s such a large-scale production you can embrace the more cumbersome technology, and allow for it and build it into your production process, then what you get in terms of quality when you’re shooting is pretty extraordinary.
For The Dark Knight Rises we were on Wall Street with a thousand extras, and you can see everybody’s face in the frame. In some ways, I feel it takes me back almost to the silent film era, when they had those huge cameras. Trying to do things in more of a tableau fashion, it changes the way I direct a film, it changes the way I block the camera movement because of the size of the thing. The resulting image has so much power that you don’t need to cut in the same way, you can frame the shot slightly differently, you wind up with a slightly different feel.”
For the full interview, including his comments on how the studio would’ve been very happy had he opted to do “The Dark Knight Rises” in 3D, click here.