Pixar Developed New Technology To Make Lightyear For IMAX

When Pixar goes to space, it goes big. Pixar's upcoming Buzz Lightyear origin story, "Lightyear," developed new technology to make the movie suitable for IMAX. In a recent press junket Q&A for the film which /Film attended, visual effects supervisor Jane Yen ("Coco," "The Incredibles," "Up") revealed the specifics of creating a pipeline for shooting "Lightyear" simultaneously for IMAX:

"Some other technical challenges for Lightyear that I'll mention quickly include building Pixar's first IMAX pipeline for film production. We created a virtual IMAX camera with a 1.43 aspect ratio and developed a pipeline to allow us to simultaneously shoot the film for IMAX and then crop down for our standard 2.39 format."

Experiencing a PIXAR adventure in all its glory

As a character, Buzz Lightyear is beloved for many reasons, most familiar to fans in his toy form in the "Toy Story" franchise. "Lightyear" will be specifically tracing Buzz's origin story, starting with his adventures as a space ranger and how he fights off alien invaders, similar to what we have seen in the cartoons. Trailers for "Lightyear" were released a while ago, offering a glimpse into a visually stunning film, replete with detailed renditions of planets across the galaxy and run-ins with alien species whom Buzz has to defeat in the process.

"Lightyear" will also potentially be Pixar's biggest theatrical release since the pandemic, as their other animated offerings, including "Soul," "Luca" and "Turning Red" made their debut on Disney+, and were not exclusively theatrical releases. Angus MacLane, who is helming the film as director, also commented on the need to return to the theatrical experience and the importance of supporting theaters in the pandemic era:

"The theatrical, the world of cinema is a lot different than it was when we started mostly because of Covid. And so whatever small part we can do to encourage people to go and support theaters is something that was really important to me. The IMAX of it, like that, came really early where I was like, can we just do this? That would be awesome. Again, that awesome threshold. It would be awesome to have an IMAX of it, and I brought it to [Pixar President] Jim Morris."

The fact that "Lightyear" was specifically shot in a way to fit the IMAX pipeline seems promising, as it would make for a truly immersive experience for those who choose to see it in this format.

"Lightyear" stars Chris Evans as the voice of the titular character, with Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, Taika Waititi, Peter Sohn, Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Anthony Armanino in supporting roles. The official logline for the film reads as follows:

"The sci-fi action-adventure presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans."

"Lightyear" is scheduled to be theatrically released on June 17, 2022, in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX formats.