Study Guide

The Dark Knight Production Design

Production Design

35 mm/IMAX

Nolan is an old-fashioned filmmaker in a lot of ways. He hates him the computer imagery (it physically pained him to use CG for the bats in the first movie), and anytime he can do something with practical effects, he's going to jump all over it. That means 33mm film and largely traditional camera work.

With one big exception.

Take a look at the very end of the first scene, after the Joker has robbed the bank. Notice how the image drops from filling your whole screen to having the black bars on top and bottom? That's not a mistake. (And we ought to add that your mileage may vary; we're using the Blu-ray on a standard-issue flat-screen TV.) Nolan fell in love with the IMAX camera, the type used to create gigantic images for nature documentaries and the like. IMAX screens are literally six stories tall, designed to fill your whole field of vision with whatever they want you to see.

Nolan figured if they could put an IMAX camera on top of Mt. Everest or in outer space, he could use it to tell his little superhero story. He didn't use it all the time—only when he needed to convey a sense of grandeur—but when he did, it could literally engulf you. If you were lucky enough to see the movie on an IMAX screen in theaters, you probably noticed the sequences where the image expanded to fill your whole plane of vision. It was pretty awesome.

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