Nolan Shooting ‘Interstellar’ in IMAX; Bay Using IMAX 3D Cameras on ‘Transformers 4′

Published 2 years ago by , Updated April 17th, 2013 at 9:28 am,

nolan interstellar bay transformers 4 imax Nolan Shooting Interstellar in IMAX; Bay Using IMAX 3D Cameras on Transformers 4

Christopher Nolan is a self-professed fan of IMAX, having shot certain scenes in The Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises in the format; so, it comes as little surprise to learn that he’ll shoot certain sequences for his next directing project, the original sci-fi feature Interstellar, using the IMAX technology.

What’s more unexpected, though, is the announcement that director Michael Bay will film Transformers 4 in 3D and use cutting-edge IMAX 3D cameras during the blockbuster’s central set pieces. It’s part of a five-picture deal between the IMAX Corporation and Paramount, which is backing the fourth Transformers installment (as it did with the previous three) and co-producing Interstellar.

Interstellar is based on an original script written by Jonathan Nolan and revised by his brother, and has cast Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) and Dark Knight Rises leading lady Anne Hathaway, who will portray individuals that journey “to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding.” The sci-fi subject matter is said to include time travel, alternate dimensions and wormholes, so filming on a broader canvas to reflect those big ideas makes sense, from a creative perspective.

christopher nolan interstel Nolan Shooting Interstellar in IMAX; Bay Using IMAX 3D Cameras on Transformers 4

Nolan’s film will probably offer a more Kubrickian vision of the cosmos (a la 2001: A Space Odyssey), which means the IMAX format should enhance its visual design much like it did the grand crime saga feel of Dark Knight and war epic structure of Dark Knight Rises.

By comparison, the filmmaker decided against shooting any portions of Inception in IMAX, because he was “trying to portray the reality of dreams rather than their extraordinary nature”; expect the opposite to be true for Interstellar, based on the implicaton that the sheer incomprehensibility of time and space will be expressed cinematically.

Needless to say, that proposal sounds more than a little enticing to me, even given the inherent awkwardness of transitions between scenes “stretched” to fit IMAX and those naturally designed for the format. It can be a problem for those who see Nolan’s movies in “true” IMAX theaters (re: 70 mm), but it probably won’t even be noticeable for the majority of people that see Interstellar in a digital IMAX theater (re: 65 mm).


Transformers 4

Transformers 4 Michael Bay Interview Nolan Shooting Interstellar in IMAX; Bay Using IMAX 3D Cameras on Transformers 4

The Transformers franchise, of course, is all about larger-than-life spectacle (in the shapes of giant CGI alien robots), and Collider has the exclusive on Bay using the newly-developed and agile digital IMAX 3D cameras for the fourth installment’s “big seminal scenes… the showcase scenes.”

Indeed, Bay informed the site’s Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub that his new toy might cost more than this month’s Bay-directed release, Pain & Gain, altogether. Moreover, he won’t shoot the entirety of TF4 in IMAX 3D because “we’re [already] screwed with the amount of computing power we’re going to need here.”

In addition, Bay informed Collider that:

  • He won’t shoot in the 48 fps/high frame rate ( a la Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy)
  • Most of Transformers 4 will be shot digitally, but there will be some film cameras used.

transformers 4 michael bay details Nolan Shooting Interstellar in IMAX; Bay Using IMAX 3D Cameras on Transformers 4

The Transformers 4 human cast includes Mark Wahlberg (2 Guns), Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel) and Irish actor Jack Reynor as its leads, with a newly-announced addition of Oscar-nominee Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) in a supporting capacity.

During the Paramount Pictures presentation at the ongoing 2013 CinemaCon (via SHH), Bay also teased another young actor will be officially announced as being a TF4 cast member in the near future. Not that most fans care about those “puny” humans who show up alongside characters like Optimus Prime (as they’ll be more than glad to tell you), but they’re a necessary cost-cutting measure.

As for the use of IMAX 3D: the 3D action sequences in Transformers: Dark of the Moon proved worth the price of a ticket alone, so I would expect that much to stay true for Transformers 4. Take or leave that for what it’s worth.


Transformers 4 (not the official title) opens in theaters on June 27th, 2014.

Interstellar arrives in theaters on November 7th, 2014.

Source: IMAX Corporation/Paramount, Collider, Coming Soon

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  1. Awesome! Michael Bay is going to use IMAX 3D to film?! So at the least the picture will look better as we watch the atrocious garbage he puts on-screen.

  2. Really looking forward to “Interstellar”

  3. Interstellar sounds awesome.

    I’m done with Bay. My problems with Bay’s product aren’t going to be fixed by fancy, new technology. I work too hard to give this guy any more money.

  4. Yeah, with every piece of info we hear about Interstellar the more I’m thinking about 2001. I’m not comparing Nolan to Kubrick but if there’s one director working today that can get away with making a cross between art-house and Sci-Fi blockbuster it’s Nolan.
    I just hope he can pull it off.

  5. I think this is about the only time I’ve ever seen Nolan and Bay in the same headline.

    Yes to Interstellar, but no way is Michael Bay getting any more money from me.

  6. IMHO. The dark knight rises was unwatchable on blu ray because of the constant aspect ratio change. The movie is awesome. But the aspect ratio jumping around like that got annoying.

    • Was it really that annoying? I bought Dark Knight Rises on blu ray a while ago but haven’t seen it yet.

      • Imax cameras is a different aspect ratio then a traditionally shot movie. The dark knight rises uses both and is constantly jumping back and forth. You do not see this happen if you see the movie in a regular movie theater because it is cropped to properly fit the screen. They do not crop the imax scenes on blu ray. So what you get is aspect ratios constantly jumping back and forth every couple of minutes. It got so bad I was too distracted to actually enjoy the movie as I did in theaters.

        • I agree, although I don’t think it’s as annoying on a proper IMAX screen because it’s massive anyway, it’s extremely annoying if you’re watching it on a TV or laptop because the switch in aspect ratios is very, very obvious. Hopefully they manage to come up with the tech that allows for full IMAX filming, rather than just the action scenes.

          • they already have the tech. it’s just a matter of cost to not shoot the movie entirely in IMAX. they prefer to reserve it for the “impressive” scenes…

            • IMAX cameras are also loud and distracting (in addition to big/clunky), which is why they usually don’t use them for dialogue scenes

              • Although with the new digital IMAX cameras I don’t think they have that excuse any more. Bay’s reasoning for not doing the whole movie in IMAX was that the resolution is so high (8k+ or something) that they wouldn’t be able to do all the VFX in that resolution, and they’re screwed enough with the scenes they are already doing.

  7. Christopher Nolan Rocks, Michael Bay Sucks!

    • This has nothing to do with how good Nolan’s movies are and has ever thing to do with how annoying constantly changing aspect ratios can be! Please Nolan… Go 100% Imax or don’t go Imax at all.

      • Calm down will ya? It’s my opinion.

        • Well first Im not yelling. I do agree that bay is a idiot that makes too much money.

          But dude. Your still not really getting my point of my post by talking about bay VS Nolan.

          • I see your point now. Thanks!

  8. Interstellar: Nolan’s use of IMAX enhances the visual scale and makes it far more epic.

    Transformers: It’s makes s**t look large s**t.

    • Nolan:”The use of IMAX in my new upcoming film will vastly enhance the experience for the audiences in the theater.”
      Bay:”IMAX is gonna make stuff being blown up ten times more awesome!”
      (they didn’t actually say this, just though it might be kinda funny to poke around with after I read your comment)

  9. I am in for Nolan’s next movie! Will have to think about Bay’s stuff.. didn’t enjoy much last one.

  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey had a limited re-release run in the original 70mm format.
    Having seen that it was superior to IMAX or any other modern (3D) presentation.

    The theater that had that showing was subsequently chopped into a multiplex
    with eight smaller screens which was the driving force behind killing 70mm.

    IMAX is the best of what is available now so any movie shot in it I do
    find welcome, especially by Nolan, though I wish it were for all scenes.

    IMAX has one major limitation which does not affect action and
    broad visual scenes with little dialogue — that being the cameras
    at this stage are still too loud to record actor vocals while shooting.

    Intimate scenes where the actor is in the moment so to speak
    run the risk of not capturing that moment if the actor has to
    be dubbed in later which is the unfortunate necessity now.

    Nolan does the best workaround on this limitation of
    having his actors record dialog on set after shooting
    the scene when the actor is still very much into it and
    uses that sound audio trying to get something as close
    to what might have been captured in the scene just shot.

    Perhaps it is not until this audio limitation is resolved with
    smaller, quieter IMAX cameras (which no doubt are in
    development) that we will see all scenes in IMAX.

    • That’s the thing though. With the new digital IMAX cameras he doesn’t have the excuse of them being loud any more, so he should be able to shoot the entire movie in IMAX.

      • Oh, but I forgot that Nolan hates digital.

  11. Im still surprised that Screen Rant even put Nolan and Bay in the same article…

    • Christopher Nolan would not be surprised:

      “But there are the movies out there that he (Nolan) loves and I hate. I’m not a big Michael Bay fan. Chris loves Michael Bay’s movies. And so I’m always like come on, dude! But he sees something in it, and I don’t see it.”
      — Inception Cinematographer Wally Pfister

      • For some reason the site or something isn’t working, but after reading that Didn’t think I could be anymore shocked…

        • It would be shocking, particularly for anyone who hates Bay like Pfister.
          Bay is polarizing but clearly Christoper sees something Bay detractors
          do not and because Nolan said it is hard to dismiss Bay out of hand.

  12. “Needless to say, that proposal sounds more than a little enticing to me, even given the inherent awkwardness of transitions between scenes “stretched” to fit IMAX and those naturally designed for the format. It can be a problem for those who see Nolan’s movies in “true” IMAX theaters”

    I found that he artfully handled many of the transitions in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ by using them when the story hits a peak. Sort of like a magic trick your mind is focused on the story and the effect makes it pop like your senses peaked because of the adrenaline rush. Of course you have to experience this in 70MM I-MAX, bluray just won’t do. I grant you many if not most could notice looking with a critical eye but watch it just in an entertaining way and it definitely impresses. Watching a movie like this multiple times also diminishes it. I’ve observed some forget themselves on first viewings and actually squeal, like what happened in a couple of intense scenes from ‘MI: Ghost Protocol’seeing it in a 70MM theater…

  13. I didn’t find the transition in aspect ratios distracting in a real 70mm (not digital/fake) IMAX theatre or when I watched The Dark Knight on Blu Ray (haven’t been able to bring myself to watch Rises again though), but I’m glad more films are actually being SHOT in IMAX rather than just being post-converted. That’s worse than 3D post-conversion in my opinion.

    I was actually ready to write off Transformers 4 after being disappointed by 2 and 3, but I’m actually intrigued by the tech now and will probably catch it in 70mm IMAX just to see how Bay uses it. It would be cool for large battle/action sequences.

  14. I gotta agree Pyronaut 70MM is the way to go. I saw ‘Dark Knight Rises’ in 70MM and later in digital (I’m lucky to have access to both) and prefer watching IMAX in 70MM film mode.

    I wonder too about the future of the technology. Like Bio commented above the switching between aspect ratios potentially diminishes a viewers enjoyment of a film designed for a special venue. With more mainstream films being released in this format, perhaps the industry will recapture more of the dollars that has been lost to those that consistently rent or buy the title for home viewing. With better attendance maybe my theater can once again afford to sell me a decent bag of popcorn… :)

    • Yeah, I can see how it can be distracting for some people. I guess that’s more reason to shoot the whole movie in IMAX now that the cameras are available :).

      How awesome would it be if something like Avatar 2 was done in entirely HFR 3D IMAX? Barring opinions on the story (I know there are many), that would be eye candy to the max.