The Atlantic writes about summer blockbusters filmed using digital cameras, traditional film and IMAX:
This summer, Hollywood’s blockbusters are engaging in a high-stakes format war between cutting-edge digital technology and old-fashioned, photochemical film. Digitally photographed thrillers like The Avengers, Prometheus, and The Amazing Spider-Man will be battling it out with equally epic movies shot on film such as The Dark Knight Rises, Men in Black 3, and Battleship. Indeed, no summer in recent memory boasts so much variety in terms of how films are photographed and exhibited.
Yet with studios looking to trim costs on increasingly expensive “tentpole” movies, traditional celluloid film—easily the more expensive of the two formats—may be on its way out as the cinema’s medium of choice. Still, advocates of film continue to make compelling arguments about why theirs is the more enduring medium, even as both sides pull out their biggest guns this summer in an effort to prove definitively the commercial value of their respective formats.
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Not to be outdone, however, advocates of film have their own popular, high-res format: IMAX. Although movies shot both digitally and photochemically can be converted to IMAX, the best way to exploit the format is to shoot natively with IMAX cameras, through which 65mm film is fed horizontally to achieve images of breathtaking size and resolution. Director Brad Bird included 30 minutes of IMAX footage, mostly of Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, in his recent Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. For this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan will be featuring more than 60 minutes worth of IMAX film footage—a first for a major studio release.