Star Wars: Episode VII is going to be big in just about everyway a movie can be. It’s going to kick off the expansion of the revamped Star Wars universe with a big, sprawling story that may or may not contain some big surprises. And it’s going to be quite a big deal, not to mention one hell of a big force at the box office. In addition to all of that, it’s going to big movie that plays on big screens. While director J.J. Abrams is shooting the movie on actual 35mm film in order to capture the feel of the original, he’s also using IMAX from time to time. While it doesn’t sound like this will come into play all that much, at least one key action scene has been photographed in this big format.
IMAX cameras are known for being rather large, cumbersome, and heavy, not to mention the fact that they’re pricey and reportedly loud as all hell. In short, they’re a pain in the ass to shoot with, which is why most movies don’t use them, and why there aren’t many movies shot entirely in the format, despite how cool it looks. The fact that Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar contains a full hour of IMAX footage is impressive, but you have to imagine that this is primarily epic space shots, not the close in family drama.
Variety reports that Episode VII is making use of IMAX technology, but only for one sequence. Abrams says:
The benefits outweigh the headache of shooting on IMAX cameras. The opportunity to have an action sequence for this movie done in IMAX’s natural format was too delicious an idea to pass up. As a filmgoer, it’s something I want to see.
This makes a great deal of sense to go this route in certain situations. As far as big action scenes are concerned, just about all of the sound has to be redone in post-production anyway, so you don’t to worry about the noise of the cameras. And, especially for what you have to imagine is a key piece of the film (maybe we’re talking about a big climactic battle or action centerpiece), using IMAX can really set a scene apart in terms of scope and narrative weight. And again, a well-done IMAX sequence just looks so damn impressive. You may not want to use them in small, personal, intimate scenes, but for some good old fashioned swashbuckling adventure, we’re all for it.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens everywhere on December 18, 2015, and between now and then, you can rest assured that we’ll hear all kinds of news, reports, rumors, and other things from behind the scenes.