Director Christopher Nolan recently turned to Burbank-based FotoKem to craft unique 35mm and 65mm film finishing pipelines for his epic sci-fi adventure Interstellar. Having completed numerous projects at FotoKem over the years – including the 35mm blowup and re-mastering of Following, the original lab work and re-mastering of Memento, and the home theater release of Inception and The Dark Knight – Nolan relied on the facility for negative processing through film, digital and video finishing, and distribution.
“My experience of working with FotoKem dates back to 1999, and I’m happy to say in 2014 their photochemical postproduction and film handling work is better than ever,” said Nolan.
Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, FSF, NSC worked closely with artists and technicians at FotoKem to fine tune lab and digital processes to ensure that every scene, take and visual effect during production and post was reproduced accurately in all distribution formats.
FotoKem’s involvement on the project started with 65mm negative processing, progressed to include 35mm VFX negative processing, and 35mm and 65mm negative cutting with negative cutter Mo Henry working in a special room at FotoKem designed for the process. Other work included 35mm and 70mm answer prints, intermediates, domestic release prints, digital cinema mastering and home video transfers. A unique optical format conversion to extract both 35mm and 65mm/5p widescreen images from 65mm/15p source negative was used for over one hour of the movie’s content.
Seasoned film timer Mato Der Avanessian worked closely with Nolan and van Hoytema to fine tune scene-by-scene color, working with intercut original and intermediate elements to build the final film masters, with meticulous attention on color and mood for each scene. Der Avanessian teamed up with DI colorist Walter Volpatto and color scientist Joseph Slomka to ensure an exact match with the approved film print masters for the multiple digital deliverables.
The unique release structure of Interstellar allows audiences to experience the film on 70mm IMAX print, 70mm 5-perf print, 35mm print, IMAX Digital, 4K DCP and 2K DCP, with the IMAX 70mm print version being the highest resolution and most immersive of the available exhibition options.
FotoKem will also provide digital deliverables for home theatrical presentation, with Kostas Theodosiou supervising the color pass, his sixth time mastering a Nolan film for home release.