Home MoviesMovie News ‘Oppenheimer’ Cinematographer Says Making IMAX Film Cameras More Accessible “Is Like Defying Physics”

‘Oppenheimer’ Cinematographer Says Making IMAX Film Cameras More Accessible “Is Like Defying Physics”

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IMAX cameras

Hoyte van Hoytema, the cinematographer of “Oppenheimer,” praises the unparalleled visual quality provided by shooting on IMAX cameras, equivalent to an astounding 18K resolution. This level of clarity is highly cherished by filmmakers who are passionate about preserving the purest form of film. However, van Hoytema acknowledges the challenges associated with working with IMAX cameras, particularly the weight and noise they produce, which can become problematic during quiet and intimate scenes.

During a conversation with FilmSweep’s Steve Weintraub, van Hoytema expressed his love for IMAX while also admitting that the sound issue is difficult to solve. He likened fixing the sound problem to defying physics, indicating the complexities involved in making the cameras quieter. He explained that due to the larger size of the 70mm film used in IMAX cameras, the motors have to be bigger and more powerful to handle the weight, which inevitably leads to a noisier machine. Van Hoytema highlighted the physical challenges of using IMAX cameras and emphasized the importance of making them quieter to expand their usability in various filming situations.

While he doesn’t prioritize making the cameras smaller or more comfortable, van Hoytema believes that reducing the noise would be a significant improvement. He compared the camera to a heavy mini-fridge that requires precise handling and smart external engineering to position it correctly. Ultimately, van Hoytema’s wish is for the IMAX cameras to become quieter, allowing for broader applications in filmmaking scenarios.

For a glimpse of van Hoytema’s stunning work, he encourages viewers to watch “Oppenheimer” in IMAX 70mm, where possible. The technical demo of how the motors in the camera work is available around 8 minutes and 40 seconds into the film.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about IMAX cameras

What are the advantages of shooting on IMAX cameras?

Shooting on IMAX cameras provides unparalleled visual quality equivalent to 18K resolution, which is far superior to most televisions that can only display up to 4K resolution. Filmmakers who value preserving film in its purest form greatly appreciate this level of clarity and crispness.

What challenges does shooting on IMAX cameras pose?

Despite the exceptional visual quality, IMAX cameras are heavy and loud, which can be problematic during quiet and intimate scenes. The motors necessary for shooting with larger film result in a noisier machine, making it difficult to achieve a completely silent operation.

Is the cinematographer of “Oppenheimer” content with working on IMAX cameras?

The cinematographer, Hoyte van Hoytema, loves working with IMAX cameras but is also aware of the difficulties and limitations they present. He acknowledges the physical challenges, especially regarding weight and sound, while expressing his desire for improvements in the sound department.

What does van Hoytema wish to improve regarding IMAX cameras?

Van Hoytema emphasizes the need to address the sound issue and wishes for the cameras to be quieter. He explains that making the cameras smaller or more comfortable is not a priority; rather, reducing the noise would greatly enhance their versatility in various filming scenarios.

More about IMAX cameras

  • Oppenheimer IMAX 70mm: Link
  • FilmSweep’s Interview with Hoyte van Hoytema: Link
  • IMAX Cameras: Link
  • 18K Resolution Explained: Link
  • Challenges of Filming with IMAX: Link

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MovieFan87 August 3, 2023 - 2:31 am

imax cameras rly awesome!! 18k reso is mindblown. but u know, they heavy n loud, make quiet scenes hard. hope they fix sound issue!

CineGeek21 August 3, 2023 - 2:26 pm

Hoyte van Hoytema’s love 4 imax is clear, but dang, thos big camras r a prob! They need 2 solve sound, defy physics, lol. Quieter imax = win!


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