‘Star Wars Episode 7′ May Be Partly Shot Using IMAX Cameras

Published 2 years ago by

JJ Abrams shooting Star Trek Into Darkness with IMAX camera Star Wars Episode 7 May Be Partly Shot Using IMAX Cameras

The casting process for Star Wars: Episode 7 is reportedly well underway, which means that we are predictably awash in a sea of rumors as to which bright-eyed youngsters will form the next generation of space heroes. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are all returning to reprise their roles and provide a strong link between the original trilogy and the upcoming Star Wars, but despite names like Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Gosling getting dropped into the mix the official cast list consists almost entirely of blank spaces.

Star Wars Episode 7‘s producers have said that they’re in two minds about whether or not to throw a deliberate veil of secrecy over the film, or whether leaked details can actually help to build hype. Given director J.J. Abrams’ penchant for keeping details under wraps, the former seems more likely, but the latest piece of information about Star Wars Episode 7 to enter the public eye isn’t related to either the plot or the casting of the film.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs conference recently, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond dropped references to a number of upcoming films that have or will see scenes shot natively in IMAX, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar among them. Amidst the lengthy transcript, AICN picked up a comment that suggests our view of Star Episode Episode 7 could be pretty expansive:

“We are talking to J.J. Abrams team now about the next Star Wars being used with partly IMAX cameras.”

The statement is a little ambiguous, as it could mean anything from IMAX and Abrams entering initial negotiations to possibly shoot scenes with IMAX, to the decision to shoot in IMAX already having being made, leaving just the logistics to be hashed out. Whatever stage the talks are at, however, the prospect of Star Wars Episode 7 being shot with IMAX cameras seems pretty likely.

Star Trek Into Darkness filming with native IMAX cameras Star Wars Episode 7 May Be Partly Shot Using IMAX Cameras

Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones was one of the first films ever to be digitally remastered for screening in IMAX theaters, but it’s not just the franchise that has a history with the format. Abrams’ most recent release, Star Trek Into Darkness, had certain scenes that were shot using IMAX cameras – including the opening sequence with Kirk and Bones making their escape and the subsequent scene with Spock in the volcano – and in a featurette the director commented on how much he loved what the IMAX cameras could allow him to do:

“I’ve never seen a space adventure filmed or presented in IMAX… IMAX, I realized, was going to benefit in a huge way a number of our sets that had real height. You know, intellectually, that it’s going to be huge and crazy-looking. When you get to the screening room and you’re watching in IMAX what you’ve shot… it’s insane.”

Given how enamored Abrams was with the experience of using IMAX cameras on Star Trek Into Darkness it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him using the same method for certain scene in his next space adventure. Though Star Wars Episode 7 is still some way off from shooting, it’s understandable that negotiations for IMAX filming would have begun already, since the cameras are heavy, noisy and expensive to use and their implementation would need to be figured into the budget and planning well ahead of time.

Here’s a question for the Star Wars fans out there: if you could pick only three scenes from the original trilogy to see filmed and screened in IMAX, which ones would you choose? Alternatively, are you not at all bothered about watching movies in IMAX?


Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively slated to reach theaters by Summer 2015.

Source: Earnings Impact (via AICN)

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. That’s fine, as long as there will be no aspect ratio changes on the Blu-ray.

  2. In direct contradiction to TheLostWinchester, I’d very much expect aspect ratio changes on the Blu-ray since the alternative is cropped IMAX footage that eliminates part of the image and ruins any shot composition that went into shooting that footage in the first place. It’s why I consider the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray to be a disappointment (feelings about the film itself aside), as all of the IMAX scenes are cropped to match the rest, as the film was presented in regular theaters. The shame of that situation is that the film with correct uncropped IMAX footage is available… but only as a ridiculous iTunes download with commentary and poor video quality.

    It’s all moot if Episode 7 is filmed entirely with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, of course.

    • Even the IMAX scenes were shot with the 2,35:1 aspect ratio in mind (just like 35mm Open Matte movies), so there is proper image composition even in the cropped version. Even more so, actually. The IMAX shots just open up a bit for a grander vista on the huge theater screen, but you don’t miss anything important when these parts are cropped for the home release. I certainly can do without the very distracting ratio changes throughout a movie. For me that’s just another gimmick to coax higher ticket prizes out of customers, while being extremely annoying to those who don’t care for it. Well, I suppose there are two sides to that coin, but I’m egoistical like that. :D

      If only they would put both versions on the disc by utilizing seamless branching. That way we would have the cropped and the IMAX version to choose from and this discussion would be superfluous. But of course using seamless branching would cost more money, and since studios are cheapskates… :(

  3. Anticipating more of Abrams’ infamous camera flares…

    • If at least half of episode 7 isnt lense flare, Im going to be disappointed.

      • Something tells me you won’t be disappointed, then. :)

  4. IMAX is cool but at home, unless I have a 60 foot high screen and the biggest and best speakers ever, I’d want the DVD version to just fit nicely on my HDTV.

  5. i hope we get a non 3D showing…im sick of 3D it bothers me in the theatre

  6. when used properly, IMAX with Star Wars would benefit the film and scale greatly. I can only imagine something like the Battle of Hoth, or Endor (in space) in full IMAX glory! I’d pay to see that in theater opening weekend, barring some crazy disaster… *cough cough* Jar Jar Binks *cough*

  7. It will likely suck…and not because of the cameras.

    • If you thought coming here was a bad idea, I’m starting to agree with you. The fact that story seems to be the last thing on people’s minds (first it’s the actors, now it’s the cameras, still haven’t heard squat about the story except that Abrams apparently walked out on them at one point) makes me fear that the film is going to be anything more than a video game plot. And lens flares? In Star Wars? Lens flares and 3D are the two most annoying things in films today, in my opinion… we’ll see…

  8. I don´t like Abrams as the director of Ep.7.
    His Trekkies movies are so different than Star Wars.

    They were not that bad, but the whole plot was basically focused on the fractured relationship between Kirk and Spock. and how Spock ended up Loving him.

    • Yea, so??

      • wow. SO? really?

    • Interesting take, considering that JJ is quoted (and there’s an entire feature on it on the Star Trek 2009 DVD) as saying he injected much of what was great about Star Wars INTO Star Trek to give it new life and make it more fresh. He said the pacing of Star Wars was what he loved and that’s what he used as an example to make Star Trek the success it has become.

    • I don’t know if you expressed yourself the way I would have, but I have a feeling that I agree with you. Abrams just played with existing characters. He rebooted them, gave them their same personalities but super charged, and added a thing here or a thing there. The second was worse. Just, pretty much, making the characters do what they always did and rehashing old plots with more action. It scares me when a large majority of people say Into Darkness was the best. And yet, I have yet to find a person that can tell me what it was about. The movie made no sense.

  9. Havnt seen a better use of imax format than the dark knight rises plane jacking. The whole film looked great but in 35mm true imax the shot of bane and the dr hanging from the rope looking down it was breathe taking. Something is just much better about 35mm imax over digital liemax

    • I think you mean 70mm IMAX.

  10. Oh god you call this News

  11. Come in JJ, dont screw this up!! One way to win us fans over would be to have benedict cumberbatch as a sith lord beheading Jar Jar Binks in the very first scene

  12. “since the cameras are heavy, noisy and expensive to use and their implementation would need to be figured into the budget and planning well ahead of time”

    So just use the new digital (small/quiet) IMAX cameras and shoot the entire thing in IMAX JJ! I’m sure you could get the budget for it, since this is pretty much guaranteed to make 1 Billion +

  13. Make it HFR !!!

    • That would be great, but he’s shooting it on film so it’s unlikely – ESPECIALLY if he (even partially) uses 70mm IMAX film.

  14. Well they are the Pros. It’s gonna be great. Let’s roll!

  15. The Darth Maul fight, The Anakin/Obi-Wan fight from Revenge of the Sith, aaaand a toss up between the Hoth battle or the first fight bewteen Luke and Vader in Empire!

  16. The 3 scenes I would have shot in imax would be the Deathstar battle from a new hope, luke vs vader from empire strikes back, and the Deathstar II battle from return of the jedi.

  17. The first at least two shots of STAR WARS (1977) have already been re-filmed for the IMAX movie SPECIAL EFFECTS and looked stunning.