One of the biggest statements that J.J. Abrams made, during the excitement surrounding the announcement that he would be filming/directing the next chapter in the Star Wars sage, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, was that he would be hearkening back to the good ole days feel of the original trilogy, and film Episode VII almost entirely in 35mm.
The announcement immediately drew praise from old-school Star Wars fans, who were not fond of the filming technique used by George Lucas in Episodes V and VI. The main complaint was that everything looked too new and too sharp, and the Star Wars they grew up with felt more like an older film; like an older spaghetti western where the film is grainy and the reel runs out.
Well, it’s 2015 now, and that type of old-school filming had gone to the wayside. Of course it’s cool and had it’s place, but this brave new technological world that we live in, demands high quality movies, filmed using high quality cameras. Don’t get me wrong, I have complete faith in J.J. Abrams and his own unique brand of filming, and I am confident he will make it work beautifully in regard to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Enter Rogue One director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), and his decision to use 6k while filming. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Arri’s Alexa 65, is a large format, 6K resolution model of Arri’s popular Alexa camera that is available exclusively through Arri Rental, will be the main platform used for filming the first Anthology Film in the Star Wars Cinematic Universe.
So what does this mean for how Rogue One will look compared to The Force Awakens? Quite simply, the difference will be in resolution. 6k is higher quality and therefore sharper. That’s not to say that 35mm does not have it’s merits, and in the more that expertly capable hands of J.J. Abrams, it will have a nice platform. However, Edwards choosing to go with the 6k approach, means that Rogue One, which will undoubtedly have wide angle space shots (the Death Star is pretty freaking huge), will be sharp and crisp, and even the smallest ships in those wide angled space shots will be able to be identified.
I’m excited to see the differing styles of these two great directors, and I am confident that each one’s Star Wars film will stand on its own merit, with the way they were shot playing a huge factor. Get excited Star Wars fans, we are entering a new age in that galaxy far, far away, and it’s never been a better time to be such a nerd.