Lee Smith cut all of Chris Nolan’s ambitious “Dark Knight” trilogy (he was Oscar-nommed for “The Dark Knight”) but “The Dark Knight Rises” was “particularly challenging, partly because nearly half of it was shot on Imax,” he reports.
To deal with the unique mix of 35mm and Imax footage, Nolan would shoot “four or five days on Imax, we’d pull select dailies and screen them on the nearest Imax screen, whereas we’d watch every frame of 35mm,” says Smith. “But that’d give us a few shots from every setup.” The team then had a reduction print made from the Imax footage and input the resulting 35mm into the Avid, “but still in the Imax aspect ratio — close to a 4×3.
“While I’m editing, we’d have the widescreen 2.40 format inter-cutting with the larger format, and for the 35mm release we put a 2.40 mask across the screen and basically do a re-position on the Imax frame to make it fit.” Smith then cut as if it were all 35mm, before going back to the Imax sequences, “which we then screened in Imax to ensure the two formats would play seamlessly.”
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