STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Will Be Shot on 35mm Film; J.J. Abrams to Reunite with STAR TREK Cinematographer Dan Mindel

by     Posted 1 year, 28 days ago

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As we move closer (slowly but surely) towards an eventual production start-date for Star Wars: Episode VII, director J.J. Abrams is working to build up his crew for the highly anticipated sequel.  We already know that Abrams’ Star Trek costume designer Michael Kaplan is crafting the film’s costumes, and John Williams is onboard to provide the score.  Now Star Trek cinematographer Dan Mindel has apparently revealed that he will be shooting Episode VII—on 35mm film, no less.  Hit the jump for more.

jj-abrams-star-wars-episode-viiThe folks over at BobaFettFanClub.com (via The Film Stage) are reporting that news of Mindel’s involvement was announced earlier today at an industry event in Los Angeles.  Mindel also served as the cinematographer on both of Abrams’ Star Trek films and Mission: Impossible III, but before you start crying foul over lens flares, I’d say it’s safe to assume that Abrams and Mindel are developing a wholly different look for the Star Wars universe.  Abrams is very much aware of the fact that he will be directing films in two of the biggest sci-fi franchise of all time, and it’s reasonable to assume that he’d like to distinguish the two properties as much as possible.

More exciting, though, is the news that Abrams and Mindel will be shooting Episode VII on film.  George Lucas famously switched to digital for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and the result was less than aesthetically pleasing.  Digital has come a long way in the ensuing years, but this decision is yet another signal that Abrams is trying to bring the series back to the roots of the original trilogy.  As development continues, expect to hear more cast and crew announcements in the coming months.  Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to be released in 2015.

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  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    he has money to burn so why not shoot it on film?

    • HORSEFLESH

      Digital isn’t cheaper at that level.

      • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

        of course it is. Digital is much, much cheaper as it saves you so much time, you can run cameras as long as you have power and harddrive/memory space. you can do take after take after take because your money isn’t literally going through the camera like it is with a film camera and developing film stock is extremely expensive these days, fewer and fewer labs are developing film at this level, even the in-house lab at Pinewood studios shut down as it was no longer economically viable. No doubt he’ll be shooting digital along side. I can’t see them going without instant playback on set for actors to review performances etc. and waiting till the next day to watch dailies because the film is processed over night is extremely time consuming and time costs money.

      • JandS

        Don’t be so melodramatic, Adam. I’m sure he’ll shoot at least MOST of it on film, It’s a beautiful image. And there are even many independent filmmakers using 35mm for its simplicity, beauty, AND cost.
        Digital movies take a LOT of time, server space, and money in post to store, edit, and tweak.
        Abrams knows what he’s doing,

      • JandS

        Don’t be so melodramatic, Adam. I’m sure he’ll shoot at least MOST of it on film, It’s a beautiful image. And there are even many independent filmmakers using 35mm for its simplicity, beauty, AND cost.
        Digital movies take a LOT of time, server space, and money in post to store, edit, and tweak.
        Abrams knows what he’s doing,

      • HORSEFLESH

        At the level they’re operating at the infrastructure of film has been in place for decades and is highly efficient. The chain of gear required for digital to yield its benefits is no cheaper than film. How you use your time on-set and on location/set production and how many takes you indulge in is where the cost-saving is. There is a tendency to shoot more with digital because it’s easy but it’s not cheaper.

    • MyPartyRightOrWrong

      HE has money to burn?
      I don’t think JJ pays for the production of his own films.

  • http://www.brndbl.tumblr.com/ Ryan Donnell

    Another great decision, didn’t see this coming.

  • Lester

    Let the lens flare begin!

    • Devin Reed

      When are people going to realize this joke is old?

      • http://mysite.verizon.net/vzepr1xp/index.html unsean

        Yet still amusing!

      • scififan

        …Amusing to people who wouldn’t have made the joke to begin with if they hadn’t heard it 10 year ago and for some reason, still think no one else has heard it. Any M. Night jokes to throw in while we’re at it? How about an AOL joke, too?

  • Jeff

    Since it’s Episode 7, I assume he will make it look like the previous movies. Lens flare begone.

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    john williams + 35 mm + practical effects + good script = mega blockbuster

    • Northern Star

      THIS! … and then some!

      Jar Jar Abrams has shown with 2009′s ‘Star Trek’ that when he has the goods on paper he delivers the goods on screen… if Michael Arndt’s Episode VII script is great, the eventual film should follow suit!

    • Nomis1700

      Don’t forget to add IMAX to that because I really really really hope JJ is going to use those again!

      • yes

        Star Wars in IMAX, yes please.

  • MIXTER

    Oldschool! This is yet another classy move! 2015 can’t come soon enough.

  • Grayden

    20 years from now kids are going to be so confused when they watch the Star Wars saga in chronological order. They watch the prequels with all the shiny effects, then go to butt ugly old school effects, and then back to shiny effects. Poor kids…

    • Jack Inthebox

      “…butt ugly old school effects…” Really?

    • scififan

      Really? “poor kids”?

      Will the children of the future be absolute morons who don’t understand how time and history work? I’m sure they’ll be able to understand the development of special effects over the course of film history. Practical effects stand up better, anyways… so many iconic shots in old sci-fi films that made you wonder “How did they film that?”… when it’s CGI, that magic is gone.

      Puppet Yoda wins over CGI Yoda… Jabba puppet over that CGI awfulness… No Jar Jar at all wins over Jar Jar who only exists because CGI allowed it…

      get the picture?

      • Harry Palm

        The children of today are absolute morons that can’t even spell the words ‘too’ and ‘you’ correctly. I think you give the children of the future far too much credit.

    • Gawby Goofstain

      fuck. you.

  • ritchie

    thats good when are we going to hear casting news

  • ritchie

    thats good when are we going to hear casting news

  • Alex Hajna

    Bah, should be 70mm… Oh well, the fact that they’re shooting in film is a good start. It seems like they’re doing everything they possibly can to stay true to the original trilogy, and that’s awesome.

  • Person

    How was it less than aesthetically pleasing? Maybe the crappy digital-to-film theatrical distribution copies of Episode II, but ever seen the blu-ray of Episode III? Demo quality stuff right there.

    • Víctor Merán

      Indeed. To be honest, I don’t know what he could be possibly talking about. :/ ROTS looks gorgeous in Blu-ray, and AOTC doesn’t look that bad either.

  • JJSeagrams

    I was kind of hoping they’d shoot digital. More specifically: with iPhones. In portrait mode. Vertical aspect ratios are the wave of the future, you’ll see!

  • Tez

    NO GOD DAMN LENSE FLARES!

    • Spedez

      Yes god damn lens flares! I hate caps lock guys…

  • Tez

    NO GOD DAMN LENSE FLARES!

  • nenter

    epic fail, and epic fail!

  • nenter

    epic fail, and epic fail!

  • stylus59

    if this will be released in IMAX (and undoubtedly, it will), he should have chosen 70mm film. trust me, 35mm looks bad on IMAX.

  • stylus59

    if this will be released in IMAX (and undoubtedly, it will), he should have chosen 70mm film. trust me, 35mm looks bad on IMAX.

    • eternalozzie

      no one cares much about imax these days

      • stylus59

        i don’t think so. they pull the box-office up

      • stylus59

        i don’t think so. they pull the box-office up

      • Sup

        IMAX is the only reason why I still watch movies in theaters.

    • eternalozzie

      no one cares much about imax these days

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  • Nomis1700

    This is fantastic news!

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  • Tom

    Well, I must say everythin is going in right direction. I hope this trend will remain to final stage of post-production.

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  • Raptor Jesus

    After the giant steaming turd that was STID I have pretty much zero interest in this or any other J.J. project.

  • Harry Palm

    He can shoot the movie on solid gold or toilet paper, it doesn’t change the fact that the guy sucks. I still can’t even begin to fathom why anyone would be excited about this. After all the bad Star Wars movies and video games and the flood of toys and bad merchandise, people still care about Star Wars? I grew up on the old movies like a lot of people, but come on, it’s way past time to let it go.

    • RedIXDevil

      Dick.

    • Toby Wong

      not all Star Wars fans are old bastards like us, it’s just time for you to let go.

  • Michael Moran

    35MM also means post conversion 3D. No way will Disney not release this property in 3D. Too much money to leave on the table, especially in foreign markets. Coupled with IMAX conversion problems and the fact that it will be shown(and distributed) primarily in digital theaters this format doesn’t make sense. Wondering if it’s disinformation. I bet the whole thing is shot on 6K RED cameras on a stereo rig at a high frame.

  • MoviesAreForever88

    Awesome news! Film still looks SO much better than digital in terms of overall image quality. While digital has come a long way, especially since the days of the Genesis camera, which they used for Attack of the Clones, it still doesn’t have the romanticism and warmth that film has. All one has to do is look at the difference between, say, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to notice how drastic the difference between the two mediums actually is. Digital still handles light in a much harsher way because it’s dynamic range is horrendously bad (even now with cameras like the Red Epic, Arri Alexa and the Sony F65, which are, by far, the best digital cameras on the market).

    I could go on an hour long rant about the differences and benefits of each…but what it boils down to is that film is still superior overall…period. You can get things with it that you just cant get from digital (yet).

    So, bravo, J.J. Abrams and Dan Mindel. I wish Peter Jackson had taken your advice instead of spending too much time with James Cameron and being talked into shooting The Hobbit in native 3D on the Red Epic cameras. The result, of which, has been nothing short of disastrous, in my opinion. What a shame.
    The only thing I hope we hear now is that they will be shooting Star Wars Ep VII with 70mm IMAX cameras, as well.

    Side Note: It’s funny…I can still remember back in 2001 when they announced that Sony was making a new digital camera for 2002′s Star Wars Attack of the Clones, to usher in a new era of filmmaking. I can remember reading that it would record to a new type of Digital HD Tape (yes, the Genesis shot on HD tape, for those who dont know or were too young to remember.)….at which I just shook my head in horror and disappointment, as I new exactly what it would look like and I remember thinking “how the hell could they test this with a Star Wars film??” Now, here we are, 12 years down the road, with a new Star Wars trilogy and getting the news that we should have gotten all the way back then…that we are reverting back to what works and looks best.
    It’s so nice to have a director and a DP who think logically on the Star Wars films again!

    Best news in a long time!

    • Charlie

      i was actually hopping for digital HFR in 2D

      • MoviesAreForever88

        I hope that’s a joke.

        You are entitled to your own opinion, of course…but HFR has already proven itself to be a very, very short-lived, money-grabbing gimmick that has been hated by both the majority of those who actually paid the money to see it and the studios, who will probably never allow a director to record at 48 fps (or even 60 fps) with the exception of James Cameron (simply because he does what he wants because his films make a ton of money).

        High Frame Rate is single handedly the worst technique to be introduced into modern cinema. It completely removes the cinematic feel of a film and makes it feel more like a cheap reality tv show (which is not a good thing, no matter which way you swing it).

        Personally, I absolutely LOVE the fact that HFR Hobbit showings bombed at the conventions all across the country before it’s release….which restricted it to select theaters only. I also love how very few people actually wasted their money on those showings, as well, because it means the studios will be hesitant about every doing it again.

        Sorry, man….but I completely disagree with you.

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