Oppenheimer tech

This week-end was “Barbenheimer” with the opening in theaters for both Barbie and Oppenheimer, all while the writers and actors are on strike.

(I haven’t seen either film)

Turns out that for Oppenheimer, while everybody else goes digital, Christopher Nolan insisted on filming in IMAX on 70mm film stock.1

Techspot - Oppenheimer’s 70mm IMAX release requires a Palm PDA emulator to do its cinema magic:

IMAX later confirmed that the original Quick Turn Reel Units for 70mm film prints operated on PalmPilots. The Palm m130, a personal digital assistant (PDA) equipped with a 33MHz CPU, a 160x160 pixel LCD screen, and Palm OS 4.1, seems to be the ideal device to keep IMAX reel units running.

Turns out, in theaters that still have it, to operate the completely proprietary projection rig, a Palm Pilot is necessary as the software was written for it. To perform further adjustments, a Palm Pilot emulator on a Windows tablet was used to provide the extra control software.

Like for mainframes, emulating the whole hardware become the most effective option to run old code.

Also about filming in IMAX, IndieWire - Kodak Had to Engineer Brand-New 65mm Film Stock for the Black-and-White ‘Oppenheimer’ Sequences:

Kodak supplied 65mm film for the 15-perf IMAX and 5-perf Panavision cameras […] Yet the large-format black-and-white was a first for Kodak — and finishing it in 65mm was a challenge for IMAX.

The challenge here is the film stock that might need “new” tooling and then the processing that likely require adaptations of the machines.

When you are Christopher Nolan, film is not dead, and you can always get what you want.

That was the trivia minute.

  1. This is definitely and artistic choice, not an economical one. ↩︎