It’s not all that surprising that this would happen, but it’s definitely one of several notable developments as traditional film use (unfortunately or not), recedes out of view. Today it was announced that some of Captain America: Civil War will be shot on the new IMAX/Arri 2D digital camera. And while it’s true that IMAX does have a digital 3D camera, moving into the digital space for their 2D work feels significant. While only 15 minutes or so of Captain America: Civil War (described as a sequence with “incredible scale”) will be shot with the unit, we can expect lots of filmmakers to use the camera more frequently thereafter since it likely cuts down on the sound, weight and cost of going the traditional IMAX route.
Captain America: Civil War co-director Joe Russo summed up this digital trend change to Variety when he commented:
“It allows us to keep rolling and do multiple takes while keeping the energy up. Our motto is you can only build a film with what you bring into the editing room, and we like to bring as much as we can. There’s an impressionistic quality to film that I’ll cherish forever, but today’s audience and younger audiences prefer the sharpness and crispness and reality they get from looking at digital.”
The reasoning for going with IMAX for this sequence was a tad more boilerplate:
“We like being on the cutting edge of technology, and we like to enhance storytelling with technology in a way that pushes the narrative forward creatively. When you’re working on a Marvel film, there’s a sense of showmanship that goes along with the movies, and no exhibitor exploits that better than Imax.”
I don’t disagree with any of the above in any real way, save to say that I still prefer the look of film. But I know I’ll have to pour a 40 on its grave one day. Interestingly enough, they’re not even done building this camera yet, but it will be ready by the time principal photography starts on April 27th. In the meantime, Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie and Jeremy Renner and hits theaters on May 6, 2016.