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Christopher Nolan: 3D is “an interesting experiment”

From Collider via /Film, Christopher Nolan talks about the possibilities and limitations of 3D and why Inception won’t have IMAX sequences:

Nolan: We shot the film with a mixture of mostly the predominant bulk of the film is anamorphic 35mm, which is the best quality sort of practical format to shoot on by far. We shot key sequences on 65mm, 5 perf not 15 perf, and we shot VistaVision on certain other sequences. So we’ve got a negative Рa set of negative Рthat’s of the highest possible quality except IMAX. We didn’t feel that we were going to be able to shoot in IMAX because of the size of the cameras because this film given that it deals with a potentially surreal area, the nature of dreams and so forth, I wanted it to be as realistic as possible. Not be bound by the scale of those IMAX cameras, even though I love the format dearly. So we went to the next best thing which was 65mm. So we have the highest quality image of any film that’s being made and that allows us to reformat the film for any distribution form that we’d like to put it in. We’re definitely going to do an IMAX release. We’re excited about doing that and using our original negative 65mm photography to maximize the effect of that release. 3D I think is an interesting development in movies or the resurgence of 3D. It’s something we’re looking at and watching. There are certain limitations of shooting in 3D. You have to shoot on video, which I’m not a fan of. I like shooting on film. And so then you’re looking at post-conversion processes which are moving forward in very exciting ways. So really, for me, production of a large scale film is all about recording the best, highest quality image possible so that you can then put it in any theatre in the best way possible. And 65mm film, IMAX film, VistaVision, 35mm, that’s the way you do that.

Nolan’s approach to spontaneity and storyboarding, after the cut:

Nolan: Yeah, you try to have a plan and a framework for scene in a particular location so that everyone knows what’s going on, but then you try and work with people who can construct that framework for you with the ability to still be spontaneous with the ability to still be flexible. We don’t use any pre-viz. A little bit of storyboarding. Pre-viz of visual effects, that’s about it. And even that I’ve found to be of limited usefulness quite frankly. If you can construct a framework-a production framework, which Emma is able to do, with the heads of departments we work with. We’ve worked with them before so they trust us and they can work within that modis-operendi, you know of just really arriving on-set not knowing exactly how things are going to play out. Letting the actors define that because that’s what we learned from small scale films is you drive a scene. You let the actors run the scene and you talk to them about it and then you shoot the scene based on that. And it seems a great shame when you lose that when you’re making a bigger film. Certainly “Batman Begins” and being the first very large scale film we put together, we had to make that in a precise way. And after that experience, I spoke to my DP and we talked to Wally and we talked to Nathan and those guys about trying to retain more of what we’d done in small films than big films. Letting the actors and letting the characters drive the production process. I think all the different people we were working with on this film really embraced that.