American Cinematographer 'Dark Knight' article PART I

Discussion in 'The Dark Knight' started by JokesonU, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    Don't know how many of you will understand any of the technical jargon that is used in camerawork for films. Either way, if you are interested, here is the feature article from the July issue of AC for Dark Knight.


    [​IMG] The Dark Knight shot by Wally Pfister, ASC, combines 35mm and Imax 65mm to depict the Cape Cursader’s latest adventure. [​IMG]
    David Heuring
    Unit photography by Stephen Vaughan, SMPSP [​IMG] In the summer of 2006, during early preparations for The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan told Wally Pfister, ASC he was going to try to convince Warner Bros. to allow them to use the Imax format for a handful of scenes in their sequel to Batman Begins (AC June ’05). Nolan had been interested in exploring the large format’s potential in a fictional project for some time. “I’ve always been fascinated by large-format photography’s immersive quality, the impact it has on the huge screen,” says the director, “and I’d never seen a fiction film or a Hollywood movie that employed that degree of immersion on the visual side.”

    Many Hollywood features, including Batman Begins, have been presented on Imax screens via Imax’s digital DMR (Digital Remastering) process, which scans a 35mm interpositive, applies grain reduction and other image-processing algorithms, and generates a 70mm Imax negative. But a feature-length narrative film combining 35mm images with the native Imax format, in which a 65mm negative travels horizontally through cameras and projectors, had never been attempted.

    Nolan and Pfister were impressed by an Imax presentation of Batman Begins — “Not only was grain not an issue, but you could see details that you never saw on the 35mm prints,” recalls Pfister — and they subsequently “stuck a toe in the water” by shooting an Imax visual-effects plate for The Prestige (AC Nov. ’06); at the time, Nolan told Pfister the shot was also serving as a test of the format’s viability in a feature film.

    After Nolan suggested combining Imax with the 35mm anamorphic format on The Dark Knight, he and Pfister shot a series of Imax tests in Nolan’s backyard, then put the camera in the back of a pickup truck and shot a night test on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood using only existing light. “We wanted to find out what we could put on the negative with this bigger camera and its slower lenses in a variety of conditions,” recalls the cinematographer. “We also wanted to push the film to see how that looked. Chris subsequently did a range of scanning tests at 4K and 6K with varying degrees of DMR processing. We also did exposure and density tests.

    “The results were very successful and encouraging,” he continues. “Chris spent some time figuring out what the post path would be [see sidebar on page 36], and I came up with a realistic breakdown of the costs, which were roughly four times the cost of shooting only 35mm. Chris then set about convincing Warner Bros. to try something that had never been done before. I don’t think that was easy, but among his many other skills, Chris is a very smart marketing person!” Nolan notes, “I think the fact that it was unprecedented was a big selling point for the studio. They probably didn’t truly get what we wanted to do until they saw the first test reel, which blew them away.”

    The filmmakers received permission to shoot a number of action sequences in Imax; these would include the opening sequence, which depicts a huge bank heist, and the climactic closing scenes. By the time production started, four major action sequences were planned for Imax, but “Chris and I knew that if we had the money and the cameras, and if it made sense, we would add other scenes,” says Pfister. “For instance, we quickly decided to shoot all the aerial work in Imax because of what we’d gain in resolution.” In the end, 15-20 percent of the movie — roughly 30 minutes of screen time — was originated in Imax.

    In Imax presentations of The Dark Knight, shots filmed in Imax will fill the screen, and material shot in 35mm anamorphic will appear in the center of the frame. (Hard cuts are planned between the two types of images.) For standard 35mm presentations, a 2.40:1 image will be extracted from the Imax footage; Nolan and editor Lee Smith could choose which portion of the frame to extract, depending on the shot. “Even in the 2.40:1 presentations, the Imax sequences will be sharper and clearer, with improved contrast and no trace of grain,” says Pfister.

    “It’s ironic,” muses the cinematographer, “because many filmmakers are trying out digital cameras that actually capture less resolution and information, and we’re going in the opposite direction, upping the ante by capturing images with unparalleled resolution and clarity.”

    One of the first puzzles to solve was how to best compose for the Imax frame. The production was advised to enlist a large-format director of photography for that work, but with Nolan’s support, Pfister decided he and his crew could adapt quickly enough to use the format effectively on their own. “We just needed to shoot and learn,” he says. “There’s a whole booklet about how to film in Imax, but our inclination was to break all those rules. In the end, we incorporated some of the ideas to a degree, but for the most part, we did what felt right to us and addressed composition shot-by-shot.”

    Imax protocol stipulates maintaining an enormous amount of headroom because in most theaters, seeing the top third of the screen requires craning one’s neck. “The rule of putting the crosshairs on top of the head seemed a little extreme,” says Pfister. “Plus, we felt like we were wasting all this great negative. So we put the crosshairs on the eyes for close-ups. A ‘normal’ close-up is often way too big in Imax — if you hold it for a while, the audience is going to be looking at one eye or the mouth. You have to back up a bit.

    “Chris didn’t want any of us freaking out about makeup flaws and the like, but the reality is that you see every little detail — that piece of camera tape down the street in the frame, the one you don’t normally worry about, had to be removed. We had to condition everyone on the crew to a higher level of discipline, especially [production designer] Nathan Crowley and his team. Everyone had to be meticulous.”

    During the week he spent testing Imax MSM 9802 and MKIII cameras and Hasselblad lenses in Toronto, 1st AC Bob Hall found a number of limitations that had to be overcome or avoided. The cameras were incompatible with Cine Tape or Panatape, electronic focus assist devices that camera assistants have come to depend on, and the viewfinders were not up to standard quality. The stiffness of the Hasselblads’ mechanisms meant focus could only be adjusted with specially modified Preston remote motors. “When we saw the depth-of-field test projected, it was pretty scary,” recalls Hall. “It was a close-up, and very little of the face was in focus. I didn’t dwell on how hard and complex [the job] was going to be, and I don’t think that hit any of us until we saw the dailies from the first day’s bank-heist sequence. It was an epiphany for everyone. We were seeing extremely wide shots with the depth of field of a telephoto shot.”

    The production went forward with three MSM 9802s and one MKIII. The MSM is the lightest Imax camera; the MKIII is capable of frame rates up to 60 fps. The MKIII proved to be more durable and was used on car mounts, whereas the MSM was used on a Steadicam rig, a Libra IV head and on motorcycle rigs. Each camera was set up with a 2.40 ground glass, but this was more of a reference for the operators than actual framing parameters. The 500' magazines lasted about 100 seconds at 24 fps. “Normally, that’s considered waste, and you wouldn’t even bother loading that on a camera,” Hall points out. “Bob Gorelick, our Steadicam operator, said the MSM in its smaller configuration was only slightly heavier than a [Panavision] Genesis.”

    The production carried four medium-format Hasselblad lenses: 50mm, 80mm, 110mm and 150mm. Pfister and Nolan favored the 50mm and, less often, the 80mm. As the shoot went on, says Hall, the filmmakers became bolder about using the 110mm. Also, they quickly learned what kinds of shots to avoid. “Because the Imax screen is so huge, you tend to follow the action that’s in focus, and that helped us,” Hall says. “Also, we saw that certain actions had to be minimized to an extent. Strobing was an issue, and we learned which fast shots and what kinds of moves we could get away with. Chris is very astute about what is usable and what isn’t; he realized that in extremely difficult shallow-depth-of-field shots, some moments would be out of focus. His intent was to get certain important beats, and once we had those in focus, we could move on.”
     
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  2. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    The Dark Knight centers on the relationship between Batman (Christian Bale) and police Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and their attempt to curb crime in Gotham. They are joined by District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who, with Batman alter ego Bruce Wayne, forms a love triangle with Assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal). A new villain, the Joker (Heath Ledger), presents a difficult challenge for law enforcement because of his nihilistic methods.

    “In this film, Batman is going in a new direction, and the environments we created are completely different from those in Batman Begins — Wayne Manor has burned down, and the Batcave has been replaced by a brightly lit secret bunker,” says Pfister. “We wanted to suggest a colder, more modern world, and rather than going dark with everything, we had fun with some brighter environments. The red-yellow patina of Batman Begins came naturally from the sodium-vapor lamps we used so much, and Dark Knight’s different environments became an excuse to play with colors a bit more.”

    The new film features three distinct tones: one is slightly blue-green; another is neutral, almost black-and-white; and the third is a rust-like tinge that references Batman Begins. “Early on, I suggested to Wally that because the film is called The Dark Knight and is about, metaphorically, extremely dark subjects, it would be interesting to play against that for much of the film and make things as bright as possible, even as the material gets darker,” says Nolan. “I encouraged Wally to be open to different textures for different scenes and not be too rigid in terms of an overriding style, and he really warmed to that. His style of photography is very naturalistic and very subtle; he’s very good at making things feel real with an unforced and natural beauty, and that’s what we were really after on this film.”

    The 35mm material was shot with Panavision cameras, two Millennium XLs and a Platinum, and the production carried the same E-Series and C-Series anamorphic lenses Pfister had used on The Prestige, along with some Panavision Super High Speed lenses. The picture was filmed on two Kodak Vision2 emulsions, 500T 5218 (rated at EI 400) and 250D 5205 (rated at EI 200). In certain situations, Pfister pushed the stock a stop to gain speed while maintaining solid blacks. “I’m not a guy who changes film stocks to create a different look,” he notes. “I like to have a simple set of tools and change the look with lighting and exposure. 5205 has a very solid grain structure, and I usually use it all day long with ND filters during the brightest parts of the day. By the end of the day, the filtration is out, and we’re not scrambling to change stocks.”

    The first 66 days of the shoot took place in Chicago, mostly on location. “Chicago is the most spectacular-looking city, and to be able to shoot the smallest throwaway scene in such large-scale, real locations adds grandeur and texture [to the picture],” says Nolan. “A lot of the key imagery in Batman Begins was shot in Chicago, and the city was very accommodating, so I wanted to do as much of The Dark Knight on location there as possible.” Asked if there was a connection between the decision to shoot Imax and the vastness of many of the locations, Nolan says, “They were very much tied together. I talked extensively with Wally and Nathan Crowley about using the full height of the Imax screen, and when we scouted locations, we were very mindful of getting a lot of height and scale to really use that frame. One of the biggest challenges I put to Wally was that we would have a lot of nighttime photography where we put the camera on the ground to shoot people walking towards the camera, yet we’d still see the tops of the tallest buildings. In terms of hiding lights and keeping them out of frame, that’s an enormous challenge, but he and his team came up with some pretty innovative solutions for that.”

    One solution was to light the action with fixtures that appear in frame as practical sources. Also, many of the basic decisions about lighting were rooted in the locations. Much of the story plays out in bright, vast spaces, uncluttered expanses that emphasize Batman’s solitary nature. Several major Chicago locations were buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, including the IBM building at 330 N. Wabash. A number of locations from Batman Begins were revisited, including Lower Wacker Drive and the Old Post Office.

    The shoot began with the bank-heist sequence, which was shot in the Old Post Office. The scene was a trial-by-fire of the Imax idea and was chosen in part because it unfolds in the daytime. Built in 1921, the Old Post Office features a granite-and-marble lobby where most of the heist action takes place. Huge windows lined one wall, where gaffer Cory Geryak and his crew used a dozen 80' Condors with 7K Xenon lamps to mimic shafts of sunlight. Additionally, 100K Softsuns came through giant bay windows at both ends of the space. Existing fluorescents were augmented by new high-output fluorescent fixtures. “Stylistically, it was a fairly uncomplicated lighting setup, but because of the size and shape of the Imax frame, which left very little room to hide lights, the setup was huge in scale,” says Pfister.

    The most complicated exterior situations in Chicago were the chases on Lower Wacker Drive and a series of rooftop scenes. The filmmakers had shot a major chase on the same two-mile stretch of Lower Wacker for Batman Begins and knew the stacked thoroughfare would offer several advantages: it’s effectively a covered set, so weather is less of a concern, and the overhead concrete offers places to mount additional lights. Pfister’s crew positioned Par cans to highlight the arches that line the river side of the street and stationed BeBee Night Lights on Upper Wacker and the overhead deck of lanes to throw light on the background buildings across the river.

    “With two miles of road to light up, there’s only so much you can do, even on a budget like ours,” says Geryak. “We’d shot anamorphic on Batman Begins at a T2.8, pushing the film half a stop, so we knew we could get away with it. In situations like Lower Wacker, sometimes it’s better to create points of light. For one section, we had a foundation of existing sodium-vapor lights and added some soft white tungsten lights by strapping them to pillars. For chase shots, that gives you a little more life in the negative and the feeling of speed as they flicker and flash by.”

    Typical of the interior situations in Chicago was Bruce Wayne’s home, a vast penthouse apartment that actually comprises a number of locations. The biggest scene there depicts an elegant party for Dent that is eventually crashed by The Joker. The penthouse bedroom was filmed in the top floor of Hotel 71, a boutique hotel on the Chicago River. The party scenes were filmed in a ground-floor hotel lobby, ostensibly Wayne’s living room; in order to create the illusion of being on the top floor, the production lined the windows with greenscreen material that was backlit by 40 2K tungsten lights and later replaced with city views. The art department created large bookshelves along one wall to hide the lobby’s elevator banks and hung cascades of tiny Christmas lights between the shelves. There was also a smattering of practical table lamps.
     
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  3. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Geryak floated four 8K cylinder-shaped tungsten balloon lights to create a foundation. “We could move them around to keep the light side-y or edgy,” he says. “There were also existing ceiling lights that we replaced with Par 38 cans, straight down, with diffusion taped over them to help with the ambience.”

    Pfister was the A-camera operator, and on close work, he and Geryak often worked in tandem, with Geryak handholding a lightweight softbox containing Litepanels LED lamps; diffusion frames are interchangeable on the device. “Our light is often toppy or side-y, and Wally wants to see a little ping of light in the second eye,” says the gaffer. “Because we’re often handheld, the eyelight can’t go on the camera, so we’ll hold it off-axis on the other side. I’m always watching him and his frame line, and he often signals to push it in or pull it back as he’s shooting. He likes to judge that light through the camera.”

    Several key scenes take place on rooftops, including the roof of police headquarters, where Gordon lights up the Bat Signal to summon Batman. These shots required some of the most elaborate lighting setups, with Geryak and his crew spread out over multiple city blocks. A week and a half of rigging, followed by a 10-hour day of prelighting, preceded the actual shoot days.

    Pfister shot as wide open as possible to best capture the nighttime cityscape. To augment the skyline, roughly a dozen buildings were lit from inside through windows Pfister chose. Points of light were also emanating from the tops of parking structures. Sodium-vapors and bare bulbs were scattered across neighboring roofs. Color temperature was varied for a realistic urban look. At Geryak’s request, Lee Filters developed a combined Full + Half CTS gel for the BeBee lights “to help us [avoid] the color fading of gels when they’re doubled up on the BeBee,” says the gaffer. “About 60 Maxi-Brutes were shooting light up the sides of neighboring buildings. We tried to create a streakier, architectural feeling this time, as opposed to the more general washes we used on Batman Begins. In the first movie, Gotham tends to be a little more gritty and seedy.”

    One important scene on the roof of police headquarters provides a glimpse into the efficient and flexible mode of working that Nolan and Pfister maintained in spite of the sprawling size of the production. After putting their heads together about the best way to shoot several pages of dialogue involving Gordon, Batman and Dent, Nolan and Pfister decided to do the scene in a single circular Steadicam move, maximizing the Chicago skyline in the background. “In the story, these three men form a triumvirate, and it was very important to bind them together and show them in this massive environment,” says Nolan.

    “The question was how to light the faces while seeing 360 degrees,” says Geryak. “We thought it would be great to do a nice soft toplight and then come in with an eyelight, but there wasn’t anywhere to tether a balloon up there. We were shooting anamorphic, so we did have some headroom above the frame. Key grip Mike Lewis suggested rigging a truss coming over the top of a stairwell door. We knew it would take about 90 minutes to set up, but we also knew that once it was finished, we could burn through the pages very quickly. Chris is really smart about making those time investments up front, and he agreed to it. Mike used some very clever counterbalancing on a rig that shot out over the edge a good 15 or 20 feet. We built an 8-by-8 softbox housing four Kino Flo fixtures shooting through Light Grid and skirted around the sides.”

    “I’m pleased to note that we used the exact Steadicam master, the first take of that scene, in the edit,” says Nolan. “I try to be very realistic about which coverage we’re going to use, and I try not to put people through that process if the results aren’t going to be in the movie. If I hadn’t worked with Wally and Cory for years before, I’m not sure I would have been prepared to make the leap of faith and say, ‘Okay, we won’t film for an hour and a half, but then we’ll have a very versatile setup.’ But I knew from experience that they could deliver. Similarly, they knew I wasn’t just changing the shot on a whim. In preserving that creative spontaneity, even on the grander scale of a film like this, the experience of working with people previously is a huge advantage. That spontaneity is possible because of trust and thorough preparation.”

    The production also filmed in the United Kingdom for 53 days, returning to the cavernous Cardington hangar to film sets and shooting on location at Battersea Power Station on the outskirts of London. Some set pieces from Batman Begins were redressed, but the street-exterior sets seen in the first film were much less prominent on the schedule. The exterior of the Pruitt building, an eight-story structure built inside the 200'-high hangar by fire brigades for practice and testing, makes an encore appearance in The Dark Knight. This time, its interior also appears in a climactic sequence.

    Batman’s sleek secret bunker was built in the hangar at Cardington, a walled open space that measures 200' long by 60' wide and has no support columns. Onscreen, the entire ceiling of the bunker emits light. “Cardington is an enormous space, and it took a bit of engineering to light it from above,” says Perry Evans, a veteran of Batman Begins who served as gaffer for the U.K. shoot. “Our lights couldn’t interfere with the construction that supported the ceiling, so we brought in a rock ’n’ roll-lighting company that built a huge gantry that hung 40 feet above the set.”

    Evans and his team hung 300 space lights about 15' above the actual ceiling; each lamp had six 800-watt bulbs, diffusion and silk skirting. The production tested various materials for the actual ceiling to find a type of Perspex that allowed enough light through while hiding the actual elements. Around the entire light rig, the crew hung a series of 20'x20' white sheets to contain and smooth out the light. The thorough prep, which included six weeks of rigging, made for smooth shoot days in the bunker. Evans kept a couple of Image 80s on hand for closer work.

    The script called for a light gag where the lights in the bunker come on and off in dramatic fashion. Possibilities discussed included dimming lights up, starting in the center and expanding concentrically, or in a chase, one at a time. During prep, Evans and his team programmed a variety of options and Nolan chose a method that followed the action. As Batman walks toward the elevator to exit, the lights go off in rows moving away from camera until Batman is seen in dramatic silhouette, lifted out of the frame by the elevator. Then the last light goes out. “That was a fun challenge,” says Evans. “It took a couple of takes, but once we got it right, it looked really good.”

    Shots done in the Pruitt building inside the Cardington hangar were meant to intercut with shots done from a helicopter as a SWAT team slides out a window on a rope. In the story, the building is under construction, and that cued most of the lighting decisions. “Wally decided to go with the harshness of plain bulbs in the interiors,” says Evans. “We tested some normal bulbs and just couldn’t get them to flare enough. In the fighting that takes place there, we wanted a sense of disorientation and a certain brutality. We found a type of security light, and the art department made a little cage for it so it would look like a light you’d see on a construction site. There were dozens of temporary support posts in there, and we could clip our lights to them quickly and easily, depending on the shot. Sometimes we’d augment with a 1K Par or a 650-watt bulb off-camera.”
     
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  4. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] The iconic Battersea Power Station was the setting for several scenes, including a giant explosion. Again, the vastness of the building meant that lighting the entire expanse was impossible, and 20Ks and ¼ Wendy lights were scattered about strategically to indicate the structure’s outlines and lend some depth. “We planned a really massive fireball, and Wally didn’t want to overexpose and lose the detail of the explosion,” says Evans. “So instead of shooting wide open or near, we were going to shoot with a T4.5 or T5.6. That meant instead of one full Wendy on a cherry-picker, we needed much more.

    “Also, because the scene is in Imax, you see so much area,” he continues. “We had to have a lot of light, and we needed to get it up to where the shadows would be at the proper angle. We ended up rigging four Wendy lights together and hoisting them 180 feet with a construction crane. A full Wendy is 192 650-watt medium-angle bulbs — it’s the same size bulb used in a Mini-Brute. So altogether, we had 768 bulbs. We anchored the rig with sailing line, which has no elasticity, tied off to two industrial forklifts. We could lock it steady by moving the forklifts.”

    Putting the production in perspective, Pfister notes that one important difference between The Dark Knight and Batman Begins was that the filmmakers had a very successful film behind them this time around. “We didn’t have to worry about pressure from the studio or pressure from the audience in terms of their expectations,” he says. “Also, there were a lot of details we sweated on the first film that we didn’t have to worry about this time — there was much we already knew how to do. That allowed us to really concentrate on the storytelling.”

    As for shooting Imax, he continues, “You face new technical and creative challenges on every film, and eventually, you find a way to overcome them. We were so determined to make this a success that we had to keep reminding ourselves no one had done this before on this scale. We’ve broken new cinematic ground in shooting a dramatic feature using the best-quality image-capture system there is. Chris had the vision and the guts to fight for it, and there were a lot of naysayers all along the way. I think the film proves them wrong, absolutely. I’m grateful to my crew and must also thank the people at Imax, beginning with Greg Foster, David Keighley, Lorne Orleans and Mike Hendricks, for their advice and assistance. I must also mention that a good friend and colleague lost his life during the filming of this movie, [special-effects technician] Comway Wickliffe; he was an exceptional artist whom we will miss dearly.”

    Although Pfister is inclined to add shooting Imax to the list of challenges any filmmaker might confront, Nolan observes, “I don’t know of anybody working on a large-scale film project who’s had to do something so radically different and do it with such efficiency. Wally put together a great team and really challenged them, and the results are truly astounding.”

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    2.40:1 Anamorphic 35mm and
    15-perf 65mm

    Anamorphic 35mm:
    Panaflex Millennium XL, Platinum cameras
    Panavision E-Series, C-Series,
    Super High Speed lenses

    15-perf 65mm: Imax MSM 9802, MKIII cameras
    Hasselblad lenses

    Kodak Vision2 500T 5218, 250D 5205

    Digital Intermediate for Imax prints
     
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  5. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] A Hybrid Finish[​IMG]
    David Heuring

    [​IMG]
    On their previous collaborations, Christopher Nolan and Wally Pfister, ASC chose a traditional photochemical finish over a digital intermediate, but their decision to shoot portions of The Dark Knight in 15-perf 65mm Imax for eventual 35mm and Imax exhibition necessitated a departure from that practice.

    David Keighley, executive vice president of Imax Corp. and president of its post subsidiary, DKP 70mm Inc., was integral to Dark Knight’s post path. “David oversaw the process that brought Batman Begins to Imax screens, and he’s not only very proficient technically, he also has a very good eye for color and density,” says Pfister. “Chris and I knew that in David’s hands, our material would not be over-manipulated or taken in the wrong direction.”

    During the shoot, the production’s Imax negative was shipped to CFI Technicolor in Los Angeles for processing, and DKP 70mm then made 35mm printdowns, screened them, and discussed the results with Pfister by phone; the printdowns were also shipped to the set and projected as dailies. Occasionally, Keighley made 70mm prints of this footage and checked its quality on an Imax screen.

    Front-end lab work for the production’s 35mm material was done at CFI, Astro Labs in Chicago, and Technicolor in London. Technicolor’s Hollywood facility handled the back-end and release prints; Pfister and color timer David Orr timed the 35mm images using the traditional photochemical process.

    After shooting was complete, and after the editing process was well under way, DKP 70mm scanned select Imax takes at 8K resolution on a unique Northlight scanner. Then, Pacific Title and other facilities made 2.40:1 extractions from the 1.33:1 Imax negative to conform to the framing and movement decisions made in the Avid by Nolan and editor Lee Smith. That process resulted in a 35mm anamorphic negative, which was combined with effects shots and used to generate 35mm release prints.

    To bring scenes shot in 35mm to Imax screens, where images are projected in 1.43:1, DKP 70mm scanned the 35mm interpositive at 4K, and an Imax team in Toronto applied digital DMR (Digital Remastering) processing to degrain and sharpen the images. The process stayed at 4K until the images were filmed out onto 65mm back at Keighley’s facility and combined with the Imax material for print. “The final Imax print combined the 4K DMR filmout, 5.6K and 8K Imax filmouts, and 18K contact prints from the Imax negative,” says Keighley.

    “People suggested Chris and Wally should have covered themselves by shooting key sequences in both 35mm and Imax, but the 2.40:1 extraction from the Imax frame looks beautiful,” he continues. “In fact, due to the oversampling, it’s probably the best 35mm anamorphic image we’ve ever seen. If we’d had time to scan the original negative at 6K, we could have produced even higher quality. The information is on the negative — 35mm film captures the equivalent of 6K and a color bit depth of 14 bits plus.”

    As they did with the Imax prints of Batman Begins, Keighley and his team screened each of the 80 Imax prints of Dark Knight in real time to ensure quality. “We’re a small group of hands-on people who really care about images,” he says. “We pay attention to all the details all the way to the screen.”
     
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  6. Superman45

    Superman45 Well-Known Member

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    I have this issue Its a good read for filmmakers. Thanks for posting
     
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  7. Mandalore464

    Mandalore464 New User

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    Thanks for posting man! It's gonna be a great read.
     
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  8. ArcXIX

    ArcXIX Well-Known Member

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    :woot:
     
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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  9. DaRkVeNgeanCe

    DaRkVeNgeanCe An Epic Film Guy

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    holy crap that is long!
     
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  10. HappyCat

    HappyCat Guest

    Thanks for posting that. I'm really big on cinematography and it was very informative. I just watched the Prologue in 720p HD and the picture quality was incredible. However, I think Nolan made a mistake by shooting only certain sequences in IMAX. Now, it would have been financially impossible to shoot the entire movie in IMAX but I think Nolan should have split the difference and shot the entire film on 70mm.

    I'm a BIG fan of 70mm but they stopped shooting in the format because it was soo expensive. The last two features shot in 70mm we're Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996) and Baraka (1992) and I am dying to see these in HD. Anyway, I don't think it was a good idea to go from 2:35:1 35mm anamorphic to 1:44:1 Imax. A complaint that I've heard about TDK is how it smash cuts between the formats when projected in IMAX theatres.

    If Nolan had shot TDK in 70mm, he could have ensured that the entire movie looked spectacular instead of a few select scene's. Shooting in 70mm would have meant less work in blowing it up for a IMAX release and the movie would look beautiful projected in either 35mm or digitally.
     
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  11. Bunker

    Bunker Well-Known Member

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    Paragraphs plz.
     
    #11
  12. ArcXIX

    ArcXIX Well-Known Member

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    :woot:
     
    #12
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  13. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I was waiting for someone to post the article for AC for quite some time. Since it never appeared, I thought I'd take the opportunity to post it for any of you guys interested in the 'technical aspect' of this movie.

    Yes, it's pretty long read. But, it's one of the most respectable articles regarding Dark Knight that I've read. This, along with the Wired article are my favorite so far.

    Come October, you also have the Cinefex magazine that will go in detail about the SFX behind Dark Knight. They covered Batman Begins and that was a great article too.
     
    #13
  14. ArcXIX

    ArcXIX Well-Known Member

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    :woot:
     
    #14
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  15. tang126

    tang126 Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a really neat article (I love technical stuff like this, even though I don't understand most of it), but it's pretty much impossible to read with no breaks. Killed my eyes, halfway in to the first post...forget trying to make the others!

    :oldrazz:

    Perhaps the original poster, at his convenience, could go back in and put some paragraph breaks at logical spots? Would certainly make it much easier to read and enjoy!

    EDIT: nevermind...it's quite long and involved (I wouldn't want to undertake that task, free time or not). The article might be online somewhere, pre-formatted...
     
    #15
  16. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I'm sure it can be a bit awkward when watching the film swap between both formats. But, I can understand Nolan and the budget. I'm sure he'd love to shoot the entire film in the 70mm format. He's stated he would do it if he could. It's still fine by me. I see this as an experiment for him in testing the waters. I'm pretty positive he'll attempt to use it again. Who knows? If he does return for a third Batman, perhaps he'll try for the whole feature in the IMAX experience? I'd like to see that. It would be difficult and I hope they fix that one issue with IMAX cameras being too loud. Nolan has stated that it can be problematic for dialogue scenes.

    As with most film cameras, I hope IMAX cameras will see some sort of upgrade. I understand it is difficult being that there isn't many IMAX projection screens and not enough productions using it on normal features. I hope that will change soon. I'm hoping Nolan has challenged the industry by doing this.
     
    #16
  17. JokesonU

    JokesonU Well-Known Member

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    Done and...DONE!
     
    #17
  18. tang126

    tang126 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! Thank you very much...it's already 10x easier to read/follow! Thanks for the "above and beyond" gesture (I wouldn't have blamed you for not wanting to do it...it's a doozy). :yay:
     
    #18
  19. Pauluz

    Pauluz Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting. Thank you!
     
    #19
  20. HanaBi

    HanaBi Consigliere

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    Great stuff, thanks for posting!
     
    #20

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