Cameras that Nolan used for ‘Dunkirk’ to give VR-like feel without the goggles

Dunkirk film cameras: iMax + 70mm

Take a look at the Cameras that filmed ‘Dunkirk’, Christopher Nolan’s Latest Masterpiece. Nolan pitches the movie as “virtual reality without the goggles“.

Critics are hailing Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Dunkirk, as one of the best WWII movies of all time, be it The New York Times or the Rolling Stone. Bereft of any A-lister (besides Tom Hardy), the real stars of the movie are its cameras, film and equipment; let’s take a look at more of these.

Dunkirk IMAX Behind the Frame

  • The entire movie was shot on large-format film (70mm) using two types of cameras, the IMAX MSM 908 (52-pound behemoths) and the Panavision 65 HR.
  • IMAX cameras with 70mm film capture scenes in a 1.43:1 aspect ratio, which is just as wide, but taller than what other cameras capture. You get means enormous, sweeping shots of beaches and a super-immersive experience.
  • The other 25 percent of Dunkirk were projected in standard 70mm – top and bottom of the screen are black for those scenes (you get so engrossed while watching the movie, you may not even realize this unless you pay attention)
  • The picture quality of an IMAX camera paired with 70mm film is the highest you can experience in a theater – it gives you insane resolution and more importantly, it creates a visceral experience that makes you feel like you were there.
  • Because IMAX cameras are heavy, filming in tight spaces is a challenge, and they’re loud too prompting Nolan to revert back to the Panavision 65mm cameras for dialogue scenes.


    Dunkirk filming, Imax camera attached to helicopter, boat

  • Dunkirk’s budget was around $150 million. Renting an IMAX camera costs about $15,000 per week, and the 65mm Kodak Vision 3 film hovers right around $200 per minute (The IMAX film negative is three times the size of 65mm film that was used to shoot films like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Hateful Eight.”). Nolan also spent $5 million on a WWII vintage plane (to crash on film).
  • The official Dunkirk website lets you find the showtimes for the IMAX and 70mm IMAX screenings near you.




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