‘Star Trek 2′ is Being Partially Shot in the IMAX Format

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:28 pm,

Star Trek 2 3D IMAX Star Trek 2 is Being Partially Shot in the IMAX Format

Just before the 2011 winter holiday break got fully underway, J.J. Abrams revealed that he had been giving serious consideration to shooting parts of his Star Trek sequel in the IMAX format. The sci-fi film’s casting thereafter dominated headlines during the buildup to the start of production in early 2012, leaving question about the movie’s technical attributes without a surefire answer (officially speaking).

While the recent spate of Star Trek 2 set photos has primarily re-ignited discussions about the identity of actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s villainous onscreen counterpart in Abrams’ movie, one of the set pics also confirmed that the new Trek installment is indeed being filmed in part via the use of IMAX cameras.

For the definitive proof (tip of the hat to /Film for catching this) check out what’s right next to Cumberbatch’s right arm in the Star Trek 2 set pic below:

star trek 2 set stunt doubles 280x272 Star Trek 2 is Being Partially Shot in the IMAX FormatCLICK FOR LARGER VERSION

Here’s where things get even more interesting: since Star Trek 2 is going to be post-converted into 3D – rather than shot natively in the stereoscopic format – which suggests that fans could get to see the Trek sequel in regular 2D IMAX rather than IMAX 3D in theaters. In fact, the film might not even be released in IMAX 3D at all, given how tricky it will undoubtedly be to convert the portions of Star Trek 2 originally shot for true 65mm IMAX presentation into three dimensions (with excellent results, that is).

This also puts Star Trek 2 in a curious position as the movie is going to be a far more CGI heavy project than previously-released tentpole titles which were partly shot in the IMAX format (see: The Dark Knight, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). Movies that mix live-action material with large amounts of CGI are known for suffering after they’ve been blown up to IMAX size, as the higher resolution and frame rate calls extra attention to the weaknesses in the digital effects. That could also ring true for the non-native IMAX portions of Star Trek 2.

Star Trek Sequel Star Trek 2 is Being Partially Shot in the IMAX Format

How do you prefer the crew of the Enterprise? In IMAX or 3D?

Cinephiles are already going to be hard-pressed to provide a tentative answer to the “IMAX or 3D?” issue which will be very much put to the test in 2012, thanks to highly-anticipated upcoming titles like The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus promising to utilize the different technologies for a more effective viewing experience.

Star Trek 2 should only add more fuel to that ongoing debate, as it seems moviegoers could be able to view the sci-fi sequel in both 2D IMAX and regular 3D, so as to better compare and contrast how the formats affect the same film, and thus determine which one really does enrich the viewing process by offering a more immersive experience.


Look for Star Trek 2 to soar into theaters around the U.S. on May 17th, 2013.

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  1. It is strange ! just from an outsider looking in , it definetly seems like JJ is anti 3D and Pro IMAX , but the studio who brought 3D to TRANSFORMERS want to tack it on to TREK , this could realy hurt the finished product , to many people pulling in different directions !

    • if he was that much against 3d he wouldn’t be doing it. WB told nolan they wanted the dark knight rises in 3d and he said if they do that he is going to walk away. JJ I’m sure could have done the same thing

      • WB never said any such thing to Nolan , JJ has gone on record stating his love for the old school film format , Paramount are the ones making the descision to post convert into 3D , when they get to the point to convert they will discover JJ has designed all his shots NOT with 3D in mind leading to all kinds of problems in trying to get the conversion to a good standard !

        • Screen rants a while back had a post where it said “nolan won’t be convering batman into 3d like warner brothers would like” either JJ doesn’t have the control nolan does. Or JJ doesn’t mind post conversation

          • Say what you will about J.J. Abrams genius, (I have loved all of his films and most of his TV series) he attaches himself to so many projects that you know he is letting studio suits call some of the shots for him. Maybe a post-converted 3d compromise in order to have more control over the production of the movie is not so bad.

          • I would guess Nolan and JJ have about the same power with their respective studios ( WB and Paramount ) 99 . 9 percent creative freedom , but it always boils down to the fact the studio owns that footage so if they think they can squeeze a few extra bucks from the release with a 3D conversion its the studios parogatve to do so , JJ did mention that they have done some test conversion shots on the original film and it looked good this is probaly the reason he has not put up a fight , but i still think it could be a risk as JJ will not be designing the movie for 3D .

            • Paramount at times is run by insane people. WB has been consistent and have a steady hand…while i don’t doubt JJ has a lot of control as he makes the studio a ton of money, its likely that the studio will convert the film to 3D anyway just for the extra profits when suckas go to see the poorly converted film much akin to George Lucas’ rape of Star Wars fans…i stared in amazement at my friends talking like children “ooh i’m going to see phantom menace in 3D”, i couldn’t even laugh at them i was so stunned…

  2. Hey thats fine whatever !!!!! , myself and my wife both wanted to see Underworld 4, We saw Pirates of the caribbean 4 and Thor at the movies and felt totally jipped by the so called 3-d / imax experience of which we both felt wasnt great – wasnt pop out 3-d/ imax whatever and both are really reluctant to go see any thing now in 3-d , we still both want to see Underworld 4 but refuse to go see it in 3-d as its not worth it in both our books !!!!. if hollywood and movie theatres want us to go see these films ( and spend our cash ) then maybe they should release the films in regular 2-d format and give us all the choice we want – thus we are not going to see it in theatres as its a jip , HELLO – Jaws 3-d and Friday The 13th 3-d didnt work so why should we be conned into thinking that this rehashed 80′s gimmick really is great and works on ever motion picture out , The only benefit of the doubt i give it Avatar and that feels like a flash in the pan as far as 3-d technology goes !!!!!

  3. Bah. Let 3D die already. It should be relegated to cheap horror movies, just like it always has been in the past whenever the studios try to revive the idiotic idea.

  4. Going IMAX seem like a logicial step form the first film. 3D is probably not what Abrams wants, which is why it will be post-converted. I’m sure when I see it in IMAX I won’t wish it was also in 3D.

  5. I don’t completely understand imax. To my knowlage it works best when panning over a city or large range shots ect. So wouldn’t this not work that great for star trek? Since its mainly cgi

  6. i know this isnt about star trek, but has anyone else heard the rumor about benedict cumberbatch playing the master in this season of doctor who? I think he is a really good actor but this news kinda bums me out. i always kinda wished that he would one day become the doctor. after seeing him on sherlock i thought he would make a great doctor

  7. I rarely see a movie in 3D anymore. It is not worth it. Maybe its my generation but I doubt I pay to see a movie in 3D unless its something like Avatar, shot in 3D and made so the 3D is fully utilized and not just a cash grab gimic.

  8. the hell with the movie just want to see the awesome Zoe again,
    by the way I loved Colombiana ,Zoe is the prettiest darn woman
    this side of Vulcan. Long live Star Trek, As I said before you
    cant kill a good thing it just gets better .

  9. It’s kinda strange but in a way it makes sense. A large portion of the IMax screens out there are IMAX digital which is 2000 pixel versus 65/70 which is 6000 pixel! Of the IMAX theaters that can show the 65/70 legacy format even fewer show commercial films, allot of them are tied to museums. So this post conversion won’t be so bad because most of the audience is use to the much lower less intense digital format. Though if you saw the sneak preview of the ‘Dark Knight Rises’ with ‘Ghost Protocol’ you realized that the experiences aren’t the same. Personally if you want to see an event movie, an experience you can’t get at home, then watching these high concept blockbuster films in 65/70 is worth the extra trouble. If you’re going to spend the extra cash why not make it truly worth something…

    • totally agree. I saw ghost protocall with tdkr trailer and it totally blew my mind as to the actual size of the screen. We have a lie max screen down the road but Orlando is about 2 hours away and they have the 6 story screen. Totally worth the drive for a totally emersive experience like that. Give me a movie SHOT in IMAX than a 3d movie any day

  10. Transformers 2 had IMAX sequences, including the giant robot fight in the forest. It looked fine, nothing cheap, although that could be ILM.

  11. Sandy Schaefer (Author of this article) says, “Star Trek 2 will be post-converted into 3D which means Trek will be in 2D IMAX and not IMAX 3D at all,
    Also it will be hard to convert true Imax sequences into 3D well.”

    Sandy Schaefer you are incorrect I have evidence that your assumption is untrue.
    When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey played in theaters
    I saw it in Imax 3d
    A Star Trek 2 9 min preview was shown. This preview footage was presented in 3D and it included Imax film shots, where in these shots the picture was expanded to fill more of the screen (the aspect ratio changed from 2.35:1 Scope to 16:9)
    This means that the the parts shot in 65mm Imax film will be shown in 3D
    Also this proves that it is not difficult to post-convert 65mm Imax film into 3D

    Conclusion: This means Star Trek will be in 3D IMAX only and not IMAX 2D at all,

    PS I have no intention of being mean I just want to say that I have evidence that Star trek 2 will be in Imax 3D not 2D