On Shooting Oppenheimer for IMAX

On shooting Oppenheimer for IMAX cinema.
Cillian Murphy as Robert Oppenheimer in movie Oppenheimer (2023).
"They won't fear it until they understand it. And they won't understand it until they've used it".

This is what the creators and stars of Oppenheimer have to say about shooting the film using IMAX cameras. Content credits: Universal Pictures YouTube

Christopher Nolan

Oppenheimer's story is one of the biggest stories imaginable. Our film tries to take you into his experience, and IMAX for me is a portal into a level of emotion that you can't get from other formats.

Van Hoytema

IMAX is a format of spectacle, and it's made for vistas and for the grandeur of it. But I got very curious to discover this as an intimate format. The face is like a landscape. There's a huge complexity and a huge depth to it. How can we get this camera closer to people? How can we get this medium to work also as a very intimate medium?

Thomas Hayslip

Chris is always pushing the boundaries and innovating with each film he does. On this one, one of the things that was really important in the script was the juxtaposition of color and black and white.

Matt Damon

I don't think Chris would be capable of doing something the way everyone else does it. He invented this idea of shooting an IMAX for feature film, and so you're on the cutting edge of this stuff every time you work with him.

Van Hoytema

How are we going to do it? Because 65 millimeter black and white was a format that didn't exist. So there was a lot of engineering that went into that.

Thomas Hayslip

We actually had to create the black-and-white film that we were using to shoot.

Christopher Nolan

We were able to test large format black and white, put it up on a giant IMAX screen, and have a look at it. And the results were just magical and inspiring.

Christoper Nolan on Oppenheimer's set shooting using IMAX camera.

Robert Downey Jr.

I was sitting in the back of a 47 Packard with an IMAX mag on my lap, trying to get this driving shot. And I just felt like I went back to some origins of great cinema school because these lenses are coming at you and they're this close and it wakes you up.

Emma Thomas

We've shot with IMAX many times on other movies, but watching this very different film on that big screen, it makes you gasp. You're right in their experience.

Florence Pugh

I think it feels quite human. It feels like you are in that moment with them.

Emily Blunt

It's a mythic, massive story. This is an unforgettable, unmissable experience in a theater.

Cillian Murphy

Chris makes films for theaters for movie-going audiences. And the best, the most immersive version of that is IMAX.

Van Hoytema

It gets thrown up on a gigantic screen, and the moment you watch it, it's very evident the quality is unprecedented.

Christopher Nolan

15 perf IMAX 70 mil is the highest quality imaging format that's ever been devised. It allows you to fully immerse yourself in the story. Where the audience is able to see this on IMAX on the big screen, they will be able to experience an extraordinary moment in human history.