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How Game of Thrones Influenced IMAX

Before making the deal to work on Inhumans, IMAX had another show they could’ve done this with. There was no pre-existing relationship, though, or the Marvel brand. Other networks and streaming services are interested in having their content played in IMAX theaters, especially after the success had with Game of Thrones, Foster told us:

Game of Thrones played in IMAX Super Bowl Sunday weekend two years ago. It played with two episodes strung together that were six months old, that had already played on HBO and available to be streamed six months in advance. Very few people who were fans of Game of Thrones hadn’t seen it yet. We attached to it about three minutes of footage from season 5. We were episodes nine and ten of season 4. When we announced it first, we announced it for 100 of our screens. Only 100. No international at all. Only 100 in North America. Our website crashed. About two weeks later, we announced we were adding another 100. Our website crashed.

So, it heavily influenced our decision. As much as love this partnership, and we do, we know we’re not only going to do in perpetuity Marvel shows. Marvel has for all intents and purposes a first option with what we do because they’re pioneering with us, but we had, when Game of Thrones was announced, a lot of people come to us and say, “We want to do this.” I don’t have to name the broadcast networks or streaming companies. You know who they are. All of the biggest ones.

Foster calls Inhumans “the most expensive test they ever had.” It won’t be profitable if the show only lasts one season, but they’ll be glad they did it. By season 2 or 3, they’ll know if it works. If it makes it to season 3 and gets past that, that’s when it’s a real success.

Dunkirk - Christopher Nolan

Taking Cues From Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Reiné wanted to educate himself in all things IMAX. He wanted to move the camera differently, perhaps using more handheld camerawork we typically see from IMAX cameras. They showed Reiné some tests and footage, including 10 minutes from Dunkirk, which he took notes from:

With one of their technical people I went to see the 10 minutes of Dunkirk. I asked IMAX for a list of all the lenses Chris Nolan used, so I could understand the lens’ length and what it was doing. Also, I was very afraid of handheld in the IMAX format, but when I saw the thing and we talked about how they shot Dunkirk handheld, and how they did it, I also implemented them into our show, to be a little more bold than you normally would do when you shoot IMAX. It’s never limited me; it’s more inspired me to do cool shots, pick the locations with a lot of headroom.

We didn’t speak with any of the actors on set, but Reiné says their performances are largely unaffected by the IMAX cameras. Sometimes they’ll have to change little details, like their hair, but they never need to drastically alter their performance.

inhumans set visit

Making Two Different Pilots 

There is going to be two versions of the first two episodes of Inhumans. Hopefully, Reiné says, it’s the same performances, but they’ll be using different takes. There’s going to be wider takes for the IMAX version, and tighter takes for the TV version:

I think the way we are prepping, the way we are shooting, the way we are using the cameras, we are really doing a film version. We’re doing film-style of shooting. Plus, I’m getting additional TV coverage. I really think all the choices, prep, locations, the Steadicam, and all the technical stuff, we are shooting a big movie. We’re doing TV coverage, so we can have the drama and the close-ups. The cuts we’re doing to do…We’re going to make two different edits: an IMAX edit of the first two episodes and a TV version. A lot of times when we’re doing shots, I know the takes we’re going to use for IMAX and the shots were going to use for TV. Because if you’re going to do a big close-up in IMAX, you know, you better have something important to say.

Reiné, who shot the first two episodes in 20 days, can also do without acts with the IMAX version. When a shot ends and goes to commercial break, those acts won’t be in the IMAX version. He’ll use different transitions. The first two episodes, with a combined length of 80 minutes, will be the first television series to premiere in IMAX theaters.

Inhumans is available to see in IMAX starting September 1, 2017.

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