As we gear up for Oppenheimer’s head-to-head release with Barbie on July 21st, there’s some fun information coming out of the film’s press tour. Director Christopher Nolan recently shared his unique movie theatre seating preferences, and we are impressed that he’s got a precise science behind it, even down to the viewing formats. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, Nolan shared these details like a man of science. It’s fair to say that working on a movie following the life of a physicist has rubbed off on him.
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Christopher Nolan’s Advice
Sharing his opinion, the British-American filmmaker stated that he prefers to choose seats based on the kind of anamorphic lens being used to project a film. Therefore, the cinema experience for Oppenheimer is designed for over a thousand PLF (Premium Large Format) screens. This will make things easier for any type of audience to enjoy, regardless of their filmmaking knowledge. The options include 70mm, 35mm, Dolby Cinema, IMAX digital, IMAX 70mm and a lot more.
When in a theatre with a Cinemascope ratio (2.35:1 to 2.66:1), Nolan prefers to be seated towards the front, right in the middle of the third row. Meanwhile, for IMAX in a stadium-sized viewing at a 1.43:1 ratio, he actually prefers to sit behind the centre line, further back in the middle. It’s a practice that has developed thanks to years of experience and experimentation.
According to Nolan, his intention behind the widespread availability of film formats for his latest release is due to the fact that he wants to give people an experience that they can’t possibly get at home. This movie is supposedly created with the highest-resolution film cameras that exist. If you want to know what they are, we’ve got that part covered. Filmed entirely on large format film stock, Oppenheimer uses a combination of Panavision 65mm and IMAX 65mm to deliver a picture with rich levels of clarity and immersive depth to drown out every thought of reality.
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One worrying part about filming with IMAX is the way it can negatively affect other film formats due to aspect ratios. Aspect ratios are essentially the amount of space shown in a film. For IMAX, it’s more square-shaped, but in most digital films, you’ll find that you’re actually viewing only a rectangle out of that square shape. Think of how Zack Snyder’s Justice League looked compared to 2017’s Justice League. For Nolan, this aspect ratio issue is sorted as he developed a system of filming to work around it. Dubbed “center punching the action”, Nolan’s filmmaking style is hard to beat, and that’s why his cinematography has been praised for decades.
Apart from the rich colours and depth, some of Oppenheimer has actually been filmed in black and white. The reasoning behind this comes down to an objective view of Oppenheimer’s story through the lens of documented history. As opposed to a subjective account of events, which the film shows in colour.
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Do you agree with Christopher Nolan’s movie theatre seating advice?