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'Dark Knight' To Bring IMAX Home

14 Jul, 2008 By: Fred Topel

The Dark Knight

Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight features Imax sequences that fully fill the eight-story screen, while the rest of the film appears letterboxed. Director Christopher Nolan said that the Blu-ray Disc version could capture the Imax sequences by filling a 16:9-ratio HDTV while the majority of the film appears letterboxed.

“For home video, certainly the Blu-ray version will [involve] actually changing the format size and actually using the IMAX footage,” Nolan said. “You can see the difference on that high resolution.”

As an example, the recent Blu-ray release of Batman Begins featured six minutes of the Imax footage from The Dark Knight. Indeed, it fills the 16:9 frame and captures the detail.

“On the standard 35mm version, we did 35mm extractions from the Imax frame,” Nolan said. “The Imax negative is so clear and grain free that there's a great sharpness and clarity to them. Obviously, the differences are nowhere near as dramatic as there is on the Imax screen.”

There might be minor cropping in the Blu-ray edition, as Imax screens are not exactly 16:9 in dimensions.

“Some of the smaller Imax theaters are a smaller aspect ratio which is 16:9 as well,” Nolan said. “It's still quite a difference from the 2.40:1 [aspect ratio] to a 16:9. So I think you'll get some sense of it.”

Shooting in Imax changed Nolan's technique as a filmmaker to accommodate the technical limitations of the format.

“One of the big disadvantages of these big Imax cameras, particularly in low-light photography, is that they don't have very sophisticated video hookups. You don't actually get a very clear image on the monitor at all. If anything it was more of a case of watching with my eyes and seeing what was really going on because the actual video feed that you get from the Imax cameras is very dim and it's very hard to see what's going on.”

The Dark Knight opens in theaters July 18.

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