Report: Episode VII will be shot on analog film

AbramsThe Boba Fett Fan Club reports from a film industry event in Los Angeles today that cinematographer Daniel Mindel – a regular collaborator with Bad Robot – announced that Episode VII will be shot on 35mm film. (via)

The Phantom Menace was the last Star Wars movie to be primarily shot on film, though George Lucas was already experimenting with digital formats. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were both shot digitally. However, J.J. Abrams is a devotee of traditional film, and it’s his call on this round, so it’s not a big surprise.

Mindel is has worked on both J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films as well as Mission: Impossible III and Andrew Stanton’s John Carter.

11 Replies to “Report: Episode VII will be shot on analog film”

  1. Yeah……never gonna happen. As
    Much as I’d prefer it to be analog, this is just never gonna happen (mostly for financial reasons).

  2. Good news, everyone. :-) I fully understand why George Lucas wanted to go digital (makes perfect sense for effect-heavy films, distributing, and just for seeing what you’re doing on set), but now we’re stuck with AOTC and ROTS in low-quality HD. Okay, I avoid those “movies” anyway, but it’s anything but ideal.
    Apart from that, I don’t really care. Digital can look perfectly solid. It just goes out of date a lot faster than good, old film.

  3. GC: I don’t think it’s necessarily prohibitively expensive, especially with a budget like Episode VII will have. Believe it or not, a large percentage of films are still shot on film, and the film infrastructure is still firmly in place. Abrams might just be wanting to recapture some of that film grain fell of the OT, and I’m all in favor of that!

  4. Also, Lucas moved the industry on – along with James Cameron – technologically, to attain new heights. Now digital’s been done by the big guys it opens up the possibilities for smaller/indie productions that otherwise would never been made.
    Now, directors have a choice. And that choice can be made for artistic reasons as much as anything else.

  5. Is Abrams going to go nuts with his usual “Shaky Camera” nonsense in Episode VII? I truly hope not, as it will spoil the experience for me.

    I don’t understand why filmmakers utilize this shooting method. I find it distracting and superfluous – not to mention it’s so overused in modern cinema and television.

  6. Mike S: totally agree. Especially with Star Trek into Darkness. That stuff was just crazy shaky, and it felt fake and cheap because of it. Star Wars has a long history of conservative, composed cinematography, with long establishing shots and well-choreographed action, and I’m hoping Abrams will follow in that style. I’m really, really hoping!

    1. I don’t think he’ll mess with the established formula as much with Wars as he did with Trek as it’s a continuation, not a reboot. (Not formally, anyway.) I think any innovation or changes within the existing style will have to be quite a bit more subtle.

  7. The shaky camera work was introduced by a certain Mr. Lucas on Tatooine in 1977, though, wasn’t it? Remember when the Jawas got R2? Steadicam without the steady…

    But I don’t think / hope the camera work will be JJA’s main focus. Making space fights epic again, though, developping rich and interesting characters and stories, returning the coolness to lightsaber duels (okay, I should explain: The last duels I liked were the ones in Episode I), giving us the kind of “woooooow” feeling for Jedi Knights, the Millennium Falcon or a star destroyer that he created for the Enterprise (which looked cool for the first time since…..?), all that is hopefully a little higher up on his to do list than lens flares and shaky action shots.
    In J.J. I trust (for now). :-)

  8. @Aaron – Shaky camera work has been around a lot longer than 1977.

    What bothers me is when it’s used, when two characters are standing together, exchanging lines of dialogue – it’s unnecessary.

    If it’s a Starship battle scene set in space, then it’s totally acceptable, but if it’s two characters standing in a room talking about the weather, then it comes off as Sean said in his above post: that it feels fake and cheap.

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