The Directors Guild of America has published their interview with Christopher Nolan for their spring DGA Quarterly. The in-depth interview covers Nolan’s preference of film over digital, his thoughts on 3D, why he believes in IMAX, as well as other details of his processes while working on a film. It’s nothing less than fascinating, and full of detail and insight into the traditionalist filmmaker’s methods. For example:
DGA: You and your cameraman, Wally Pfister, are—along with Steven Spielberg—among the last holdouts who shoot on film in an industry that’s moved to digital. What’s your attraction to the older medium?
Nolan: For the last 10 years, I’ve felt increasing pressure to stop shooting film and start shooting video, but I’ve never understood why. It’s cheaper to work on film, it’s far better looking, it’s the technology that’s been known and understood for a hundred years, and it’s extremely reliable. I think, truthfully, it boils down to the economic interest of manufacturers and [a production] industry that makes more money through change rather than through maintaining the status quo. We save a lot of money shooting on film and projecting film and not doing digital intermediates. In fact, I’ve never done a digital intermediate. Photochemically, you can time film with a good timer in three or four passes, which takes about 12 to 14 hours as opposed to seven or eight weeks in a DI suite. That’s the way everyone was doing it 10 years ago, and I’ve just carried on making films in the way that works best and waiting until there’s a good reason to change. But I haven’t seen that reason yet.
Naturally, the interview covers The Dark Knight Rises being shot on IMAX, and Nolan’s belief that IMAX is the best film format that was ever invented. He speaks about the power of the IMAX image, and the operatic scale the film takes on when shooting on the format. He also passionately voices his thoughts about about 3D:
DGA: Speaking of technical changes, was there any pressure to do The Dark Knight Rises in 3-D?
Nolan: Warner Bros. would have been very happy, but I said to the guys there that I wanted it to be stylistically consistent with the first two films and we were really going to push the IMAX thing to create a very high-quality image. I find stereoscopic imaging too small scale and intimate in its effect. 3-D is a misnomer. Films are 3-D. The whole point of photography is that it’s three-dimensional. The thing with stereoscopic imaging is it gives each audience member an individual perspective. It’s well suited to video games and other immersive technologies, but if you’re looking for an audience experience, stereoscopic is hard to embrace. I prefer the big canvas, looking up at an enormous screen and at an image that feels larger than life. When you treat that stereoscopically, and we’ve tried a lot of tests, you shrink the size so the image becomes a much smaller window in front of you. So the effect of it, and the relationship of the image to the audience, has to be very carefully considered. And I feel that in the initial wave to embrace it, that wasn’t considered in the slightest.
These two excerpts are only the tip of the iceberg. The entire interview is as enthralling as it is long and detailed. Head over to the official DGA website to read the full piece! Thanks to Dragon_316ca in the forums for the heads-up!