‘Oppenheimer’ 70MM Imax Print Needs a Custom-Built Booth – IndieWire

Director Christopher Nolan has long been an advocate for film over digital — and since “The Dark Knight,” he’s become more and more committed to IMAX film. And one of the best IMAX screens in the world is L.A.’s TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard — but for Nolan’s upcoming “Oppenheimer,” it’s getting an upgrade.

The theater typically uses a sophisticated digital laser projection system, but for each Christopher Nolan movie going back to “Interstellar,” the venue has installed a 70mm, 15-perf IMAX projector in the booth to provide the optimum viewing experience. “Oppenheimer” is no exception, and Film Twitter was abuzz this week with photos of the construction going on to make the projection booth big enough to contain Nolan’s epic vision.

While modifications to the existing IMAX system are typical for Nolan presentations at the Chinese, “Oppenheimer” is pushing 70mm IMAX projection even further than Nolan’s previous films given its three-hour running time; as the director told Collider, the massive size of the film gauge meant that, with this film, he went as long as he possibly could while still keeping the film on the enormous IMAX platters.

According to a spokesperson from IMAX, the three hours of 15-perf 70mm film stretch out to 11 miles, requiring IMAX to build an entirely new projection booth in the Chinese Theatre to accommodate the footage.

Fifteen-perf 70mm IMAX, the format in which Nolan shot substantial portions of “Interstellar,” “Dunkirk,” and now “Oppenheimer,” is the highest resolution format that exists, with around 10 times the amount of detail of standard formats. While Nolan says that starting with a source image this rich means every form of presentation — from film prints to various modes of digital presentation — will have the best possible image, he clearly wants audiences to see “Oppenheimer” as close to the way he shot it as possible; hence, the installation of 70mm, 15-perf IMAX projectors in select theaters.

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