Jerffrey Ressner has a chance to sit and talk with director Christopher Nolan about film making, and lot of other things. They spoke about what it’s like going from the comparatively small budget of Nolan’s Insomnia to the astronomical budgets of the Batman franchise and how that affected Nolan’s film making process.
Two aspects they touch on in particular are Nolan’s preference for shooting with IMAX and his dislike of 3D and CGI. The interview gets very in depth and I highly recommend hitting the source link below and reading the entire piece.
Here’s some of the interview where Nolan discusses IMAX, CGI and 3D:
Q: What does IMAX give you that you don’t get from anamorphic 35 mm or 65 mm?
A: We shot 5-perf 65 mm for a few scenes in Inception and I liked the results a lot, plus you can use sound with it. But IMAX has three times the negative area of that format. It’s such a leap up in terms of quality that if you’re working on a film that’s such a large-scale production you can embrace the more cumbersome technology, and allow for it and build it into your production process, then what you get in terms of quality when you’re shooting is pretty extraordinary. For The Dark Knight Rises we were on Wall Street with a thousand extras, and you can see everybody’s face in the frame. In some ways, I feel it takes me back almost to the silent film era, when they had those huge cameras. Trying to do things in more of a tableau fashion, it changes the way I direct a film, it changes the way I block the camera movement because of the size of the thing. The resulting image has so much power that you don’t need to cut in the same way, you can frame the shot slightly differently, you wind up with a slightly different feel.
Q: Because of the kind of films you make, people might assume you use lots of computer-generated imagery, but you actually prefer models, mattes, and in-camera effects. When do you like to use CGI?
A: The thing with computer-generated imagery is that it’s an incredibly powerful tool for making better visual effects. But I believe in an absolute difference between animation and photography. However sophisticated your computer-generated imagery is, if it’s been created from no physical elements and you haven’t shot anything, it’s going to feel like animation. There are usually two different goals in a visual effects movie. One is to fool the audience into seeing something seamless, and that’s how I try to use it. The other is to impress the audience with the amount of money spent on the spectacle of the visual effect, and that, I have no interest in. We try to enhance our stunt work and floor effects with extraordinary CGI tools like wire and rig removals. If you put a lot of time and effort into matching your original film elements, the kind of enhancements you can put into the frames can really trick the eye, offering results far beyond what was possible 20 years ago. The problem for me is if you don’t first shoot something with the camera on which to base the shot, the visual effect is going to stick out if the film you’re making has a realistic style or patina. I prefer films that feel more like real life, so any CGI has to be very carefully handled to fit into that.
Q: Speaking of technical changes, was there any pressure to do The Dark Knight Rises in 3-D?
A: Warner Bros. would have been very happy, but I said to the guys there that I wanted it to be stylistically consistent with the first two films and we were really going to push the IMAX thing to create a very high-quality image. I find stereoscopic imaging too small scale and intimate in its effect. 3-D is a misnomer. Films are 3-D. The whole point of photography is that it’s three-dimensional. The thing with stereoscopic imaging is it gives each audience member an individual perspective. It’s well suited to video games and other immersive technologies, but if you’re looking for an audience experience, stereoscopic is hard to embrace. I prefer the big canvas, looking up at an enormous screen and at an image that feels larger than life. When you treat that stereoscopically, and we’ve tried a lot of tests, you shrink the size so the image becomes a much smaller window in front of you. So the effect of it, and the relationship of the image to the audience, has to be very carefully considered. And I feel that in the initial wave to embrace it, that wasn’t considered in the slightest.
I’m definitely in agreement with him on 3D. I feel it’s just a gimmick and no filmmaker has yet to use it as a tool to enhance storytelling. I also applaud him for using CGI as an enhancement tool. I’ve always felt there needs to be a happy medium between traditional effects and CGI effects.
Like I said above, hit the source link and check out the entire interview. It’s a great look inside the mind of one of the world’s best and most exciting directors currently making films.
The Dark Knight Rises hits theatres July 20th.