Dan Mindel will shoot ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ on 35mm film

08.22.13 4 years ago 18 Comments

Lucasfilm Ltd.

It seems like a lack of concrete information on the development of “Star Wars Episode VII” is driving people berserk. Considering we’re still two years away from release, it’s a little scary to see how rabid people already are.

I reported not long ago that while the script is still being developed, several major action sequences in the film have already been shared with ILM so they can start working on the various things they’ll need to pull off those scenes. I also reported that ILM is putting together a fairly substantial model department, something I enjoy hearing, but when I reported it, I noticed something about the responses. Many people acted as if this was a return to something that Lucas hadn’t done at all since “Return Of The Jedi,” and that’s simply not the case.

The truth is, all three of the prequels used models and miniatures. What changed most substantially was the way those objects were composited into shots and the amount of CGI used to extend the physical builds in all sorts of different ways. When I hear people complain that everything in the prequels was CGI, it’s a reminder that a lot of people don’t really know what they’re looking at in a film, and they dismiss things based on some vague understanding.

I’d say the bigger issue with both “Attack Of The Clones” and “Revenge Of The Sith” is that they were shot digitally, and they’re both early examples of the difference between digital and film. I think “Sith” has some truly beautiful moments, but I think you can see how hard they’re pushing at the limitations of the technology in both movies, and they’re not aging as well as I’m sure Lucas would like.

Dan Mindel, who shot both of the “Star Trek” movies for JJ Abrams as well as “Mission: Impossible III,” is set to be the director of photography for “Episode VII,” and in an event held today at the ASC Clubhouse, Mindel confirmed that he’ll be shooting the new film on 35mm and not digitally.

The first good news there is that they won’t be shooting for 3D. Beyond that, though, it really does sound like Abrams is pushing to make sure that these films feel like they are aesthetically part of the same universe as the earlier “Star Wars” films, and while that’s not the most important part of getting the movie right, it’s one of those things that will pay off in the way the movie feels. It may be invisible to many viewers, but I think it could make a big difference in terms of reaction.

We’ll have more on the film as more information becomes available, and it’s looking like we’ll have plenty of time since the film is rumored to be on track for a December 2015 release.

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