‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Director Joseph Kosinski Explains the Crazy New Cameras Used for the Sequel

     July 24, 2020

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Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski has been hard at work finishing up post-production on the big budget sequel, which is currently on track for a December release. In an exclusive Comic-Con@Home panel with fellow directors Colin Trevorrow and Robert Rodriguez, hosted by Collider, he teased some details about the anticipated film, specifically how new technology allowed him to accomplish many more practical shots than would have typically been possible.

“The technology that allows filmmaking to be more practical is the stuff I get most excited about. On Top Gun, we worked with Sony to develop an IMAX quality camera that’s about this big. [gestures] And only like 2 inches deep. So we were able to mount six of them inside the cockpit, and four on the outside of the airplane. So in that case, we’re using technology to capture something real, rather than having to create it on a soundstage. So that, for me, was one of the things that I was excited about in jumping into the project in the first place.”

For all you tech geeks, Kosinski broke down the construction of the Sony Venice cameras utilized by the production, and I have to admit that it’s pretty fascinating even for someone who doesn’t know much about gear.

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Image via Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films

“It’s a 6K camera. So 6,000 pixels wide. It’s a large format sensor, which is bigger than a 35mm sensor. It’s like Cinemascope, I think is the comparable film size. The real technology breakthrough is that the sensor can be separated from the recorder. When you’re looking at a digital camera, the only thing capturing the image is that first inch of the camera. Everything behind that is power and recording and cooling. So this Sony camera, which is called the Sony Venice, you can buy a version where those two pieces are connected via some fiber optic cable. So the sensor, with a very small lens, can sit in a very tight place, or right in front of the actor. We had four of them pointing at the actor on Top Gun, and the recorders could be hidden in storage spaces on the jet. So you’re able to put something that normally you’d only be able to fit a GoPro there, now you’re able to put an IMAX quality camera in that spot. And in this case six of them, so we have multi-camera coverage of these sequences that you can cut a whole scene just by working with those six angles. That, to me, was our technology breakthrough on this movie. It’s just a really fun way to work, when you’re getting it all in-camera.”

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Image via Paramount

Yep, those thrilling shots of Tom Cruise in the cockpit of his fighter jet, taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier, were filmed in a real jet with a real Tom Cruise. (At this point, we would expect nothing less of the man.) And Kosinski promises the rest of the movie will be just as exciting, and just as high-octane as the original.

“We made an old school movie using kind of the latest technology. It’s definitely a Top Gun movie, and I can’t wait to show it to people.”

You can watch what he had to say about the new cameras below.

For more from our Comic-Con@Home panel with Trevorrow, Rodriguez and Kosinski, click here.

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