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So, Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' Has Been Shot In 65mm (Not IMAX)

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by Kevin Jagernauth
January 12, 2012 7:03 PM
16 Comments
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Way back in April, before lensing started on Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," word leaked out that the director was shooting test footage with a 65mm camera, the same used by Stanley Kubrick on "2001: A Spacy Odyssey" -- and then, not much was heard after that. Well, it looks like those tests went well, as the word around the Twittersphere (thank you Ice Cube) is that Anderson has indeed shot some of the film in the format (the movie is said to be a mix of 35mm and 65mm).

Directors Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird were chatting back and forth on the social media site this afternoon about the plus size format, with the former telling the latter, " 'The Master' is indeed in 65. They nearly lost a camera shooting in the Bay." And while 65mm is generally associated with IMAX these days, Bird clarified, "Pretty sure 'Master' is NOT in IMAX. Shot in 65 though...will look amazing, I'm sure."

Not to get too wrapped up in technical mumbo jumbo, essentially the negative used for IMAX is much taller than traditional 65 mm, leading to a 1.44:1 aspect ratio (which is why IMAX screens are so tall). Regular 65mm is shorter with an aspect ration of 2.20:1 ("The Sound Of Music," "Lawrence Of Arabia" and yes, '2001' among many others were presented in that format). It also should be noted, that 35mm film can be blown up to 65mm without a loss of film grain, so we presume that's what Anderson will be doing.

The big question is, how many cinemas these days can handle the format. With digital projectors now the norm (even at major film festivals), we imagine the number of cinemas with projectors and screens that can handle a 65mm print is pretty small. IMAX screens and projectors won't work because they are oriented for a horizontal pulldown (ie. top to bottom) so don't expect to see it there either. Most of us will likely see it in some kind of digital conversion, which is a shame when seeing that grand format from a print is pretty beautiful.

At any rate, it's more to keep us guessing about a film that is keeping its secrets locked up tight. "The Master" is slated to come out sometime this year, but when and where -- your guess is as good as ours. [via CinemaBlend]

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16 Comments

  • BT | January 13, 2012 1:45 PMReply

    Shoot in 65mm, project in 70mm. There's no such thing as a 65mm print. Though I'd love to see a 70mm print of PTA's next film, whatever it may be called, it seems unlikely. Instead, the 65mm negative will just make for a better 35mm/DCP image in the end, even though we'll never see it projected in 70mm.

  • Mike | January 13, 2012 10:59 AMReply

    No mention of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet? That was the last film to be shot entirely on 65mm

  • Kevin | January 13, 2012 7:41 AMReply

    Yes guys, "The Master" was an early working title, reported by the trades before production started. We still refer to it as that rather than Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project because it's an easier shorthand.

  • M.M.S. | January 13, 2012 3:19 AMReply

    Malick's THE NEW WORLD had scenes shot in 65mm, though only one of them made it through (the enormous amount of footage) to be seen by the general public. That scene arrived with the 172-minute extended cut, and is where Ms Kilcher's character (Pocahontas/Rebecca) attempts suicide with the mushroom, only to be strayed off be the singing of a bird. A truly wonderful scene in and by itself...

  • hank | January 12, 2012 10:51 PMReply

    65mm is all about quality and resolution. It has nothing to do with IMAX. A lot of "The New World" was shot 65mm, you didn't see it anywhere near an IMAX. A lot of smart directors are shooting 65mm because it still has a more tangible image than any digital camera. No one has called this film "The Master" except for bloggers and IMDB. I would not be surprised if the title was something completely different.

  • David | January 13, 2012 10:35 AM

    @Paul, you're not going to really appreciate the quality of 65mm on DVD much more than you would on youtube. Formats that compress the hell out of it won't do it justice. To appreciate high quality and resolution in filming, you have to watch it in high quality projection.

  • Bo | January 13, 2012 9:11 AM

    But, as Hank points out, the scenes shot in 65mm should look better than those captured in 35mm, even on the DVD. 65mm gives you more detail, shadow, nuance, etc. Very excited that PTA is using the format. Would be nice if, like Inception, it could be formatted to play in larger IMAX theaters. But chances are PTA is using the format for quality, not size.

  • Bo | January 13, 2012 9:05 AM

    Paul: To answer your question, 65mm holds more information than 35mm film--i.e. the larger format captures more information (light, picture, what have you) than 35mm. In the past, 65mm was used to project a much larger image in theatrical releases. On DVD, every image--regardless of how it was captured--is digitally converted to the same aspect ratio to fit your television. So, the 65mm shots will be resized, but should still technically contain more information than the 35mm shots, giving them greater detail. Whether anyone will notice... That's another story. But, no, it shouldn't have an impact on the DVD release. The picture won't jump back and forth somehow between 35mm and 65mm. It will look like the same aspect radio throughout. Hope that helps.

  • Paul | January 13, 2012 2:04 AM

    Hi Hank

    I like the look of celluloid as a cinephile but don't really know a lot about the technicalities of it. So the question I would like to know is: does the 65mm format would have an impact in once the film is release on DVD? Not in format appearance but in term of quality / grain? Are we gonna see adifference between say 35mm There will be blood and 65mm The master? Will it get the look even more "celluloid" that we love? Or is it just a difference in theater?

  • CallumQ | January 12, 2012 9:47 PMReply

    @Alan, the same 65mm that this is shot on, is the same that 'Inception' was shot on. There is hope that 'The Master' will be converted to IMAX. The same way 'Inception' was. Like 'Inception', this would not fill the whole screen but would still be projected vertically.

  • P.H | January 12, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    2001: A Spacy Odyssey. Way better than A Clockworky Orange and Eyes Widey Shut.

  • cirkusfolk | January 12, 2012 8:33 PMReply

    So is the title of the film officially The Master then?

  • Anton Jacoves | January 12, 2012 8:03 PMReply

    I don't think it would be too wild of a guess to think that this will come out in late fall exclusively in New York and Los Angeles before moving onto a larger platform. Not exactly rocket science.

  • Alan | January 12, 2012 7:45 PMReply

    Patrick, did you just completely ignore the article? It is not IMAX 65mm. It is classic 65mm.

  • Patrick | January 19, 2012 12:36 PM

    Uhhh did you just ignore my comment? I was just saying how sweet it would be if The Master was released in IMAX theatres to show it's 65mm footage, the way same way inception did with its classic non IMAX 65mm.

  • Patrick | January 12, 2012 7:31 PMReply

    how sweet would it be if The Master was released in IMAX theatres, the same way inception presented its 65mm footage

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