What’s The Best Cinema Format To See Nope?

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With Get Out and Us, Jordan Peele established himself as one of the most exciting directors around today. As such, his new movie Nope has been much anticipated. Released in the US on July 22, 2022, in a rather old-school delay, here in the UK we will have to wait until August 22nd to see this summer blockbuster.

And blockbuster it is, as Peele has worked with cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, the director of photography on Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, to shoot some parts of the film with IMAX film cameras, making it the first horror film ever to do so. A mash-up of horror and science fiction, it makes sense that they would turn to IMAX film to bring the epic scale that Peele was going for to the screen.

Up to 47 minutes of his movie are shot in full frame 1.43:1 IMAX format – delivering an incredibly detailed image quality with a frame that is much taller than a regular widescreen image – with extra picture information at the top and bottom.

However, getting to see it in this format will not be straightforward. Few IMAX cinemas can showcase the full frame 1.43:1 IMAX images. First, due to the high cost and physical complexity, no 15/70 film prints for Nope have been struck; it will only be projected digitally. This means that two things are required to see Nope in all its glory – a cinema with a 1.43:1 aspect ratio screen, and a screen with an IMAX GT Laser projector, which thanks to its dual laser setup delivers enough brightness to cover the larger screen.

The LFE Examiner website houses a list of screens around the world that offer this: the magic phrase you are looking for is 1570+DL2, for dual-laser, which tells you it can project a 15/70mm image and so will have a 1.43:1 screen. However, some venues will have a 1.43:1 screen but no 15/70mm film projector, so it is not clear from the website at a glance if both things are present.

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While in the US many people have already had the chance to see Nope in 1.43:1, here in the UK there will be only one option – the Vue IMAX at the Manchester Printworks, which has both the requisite screen and digital dual-laser projector. As of writing, it had yet to be confirmed that it will be shown in 1.43:1, but we can only hope.

London, of course, has two 1.43:1 capable screens, but sadly neither will be showing Nope in full frame. The Science Museum, has for reasons that are unclear, decided to stop showing commercial films, which seems a crying shame considering its capabilities, while the BFI IMAX still does not have an IMAX Laser film projector; just an IMAX 15/70mm film projector with precious little to show. This rather makes a mockery of its claim to be the biggest screen in the UK, as this is only true when showing 1.43:1 aspect ratio film – which it very rarely does. If you’re wondering, the next outing for its film projector is likely to be, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, in July 2023.

For Londoners then, the best option will be the Cineworld IMAX in Leicester Square, which is very large (26.5m by 15.6m), if limited to a 1.90:1 aspect ratio.

As an alternative to IMAX, the movie is available in Dolby Vision. While this is just a standard 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Dolby screens offer wonderful picture and sound and are always extremely comfortable, which doesn’t hurt. IMAX screens by comparison do vary quite a lot in the comfort department.

As an aside, there are rumors that now the BFI in London is no longer operated by Odeon, it is looking to invest in a laser projector that would put it back to the top of the pile for IMAX in the UK. This is still very much in rumor territory, but here’s hoping.

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