‘No Time to Die’ is Coming to the World’s Biggest IMAX Theater: Shot on Entirely on Film.
‘No Time to Die’ is Coming to the World’s Biggest IMAX Theater: Shot on Entirely on Film.

‘No Time to Die’ is Coming to the World’s Biggest IMAX Theater: Shot Entirely on Film

3 mins read

The long-anticipated 25th James Bond movie is going to be screened on a brand new IMAX theater which is the world’s biggest IMAX, located in Leonberg, Germany. The action movie about the MI6 agent was shot entirely on film, featuring the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, 40 minutes of IMAX cameras, and the rest on Super 35mm ARRIFLEX including drone shots. All details are below.

BTS of 'No Time to Die'. Picture: Aston Martin Twitter
BTS of ‘No Time to Die’. Picture: Aston Martin Twitter

‘No Time to Die’: On the world’s biggest IMAX theater

The largest IMAX screen in the world is scheduled to open to the public on September 30 at the Traumpalast Multiplex in Leonberg, Germany. Measuring 21.03 meters high and 38.16 meters wide – the record-breaking screen will fittingly kick off with the premiere of the latest James Bond entry, “No Time to Die”, featuring sequences shot with IMAX film cameras. According to IMAX, the theatre will feature groundbreaking IMAX with Laser technology as well as IMAX’s 12-channel sound technology with new side and overhead channels that deliver greater dynamic range and precision for the ultimate in audio immersion. The screen for the 574-seat IMAX at Traumpalast also weighed in at over 500 pounds, another IMAX record, and had to be painted by a specially designed robotic arm.

IMAX Traumpalast. Picture: IMAX
IMAX Traumpalast. Picture: IMAX

Shot on IMAX (40 minutes)

The film was shot with IMAX’s 15/70mm film cameras by director Cary Fukunaga (who insisted on shooting on celluloid). “No Time to Die” features 40 minutes of IMAX exclusive expanded aspect ratio. The film is the first Bond entry ever to have been shot with IMAX film cameras. All other 007 movies were shot on Super 35mm and were upscaled for IMAX. This time the decision to focus on a large format was a strategic one, which made some solid challenges during the production. The production used the IMAX 9802, ARRI 765, and Panavision Panaflex 65 for the huge canvas. This was complemented by ARRIFLEXs in order to bring the most beautiful celluloid masterpiece to the audience.  

BTS of 'No Time to Die'. Picture by Nicola Dove
BTS of ‘No Time to Die’. Picture by Nicola Dove

Main camera: Panavision Millennium XL2, Panaflex 65mm

The majority of “No Time to Die” was captured in anamorphic 35mm on the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2. For the large format look of the dialogs, the Panaflex System 65 was employed. That was due to the very noisy IMAX cameras that are not suitable for shooting intimate scenes (Read: IMAX Filmmaking: What is it like to Shoot on an IMAX Film Camera?). Fukunaga was aiming at the huge canvas and thus he tried to use large format cameras (65mm) as much as possible. Then the production utilized the ARRI 765 to replace the Panaflex 65mm as it was not available on set on the last stages of production.

BTS of 'No Time to Die'. Picture by Nicola Dove
BTS of ‘No Time to Die’. Picture by Nicola Dove

Beast mode: ARRI 765

The ARRIFLEX 765 is a 65mm movie camera created by ARRI in 1989 after 6 years of development. The goal was to design a 65 mm movie camera, which had low noise capabilities to fit sync-sound productions and had a similar ergonomic to 35 mm cameras, to answer the growing demand for large format cinematography. Thus, the ARRIFLEX 765 transformed into the logical alternative to IMAX when a quieter camera operation is needed. We wrote about this beast and its characteristics and technological advantages of shooting for IMAX, but with less noise (=sound) and with friendlier ergonomics (Read: ARRIFLEX 765: The Camera Behind “No Time To Die”). Hence, the ARRI 765 was used to shoot dialogs, however, it replaced the Panaflex 65 at the last stages of the principal of photography for the ‘regular’ scenes that demanded the large format look. 

BTS of 'No Time to Die'. Picture by Nicola Dove
BTS of ‘No Time to Die’. Picture by Nicola Dove

Film cameras on a drone

In ‘No Time to Die’ the production used ARRIFLEX 235 on the aerial action sequences. This was performed with the help of the aerial cinematography masters, MX2 Pursuit. We wrote about these guys before in the context of their capabilities to fly an ARRI 535B with a 1000-Foot magazine. As stated by XM2 Pursuit: “We utilized the ARRI 235 on No Time To Die across Main and Second Unit. XM2’s team traveled across Europe including England, Scotland, and Italy with the Tango aircraft shooting high-action stunt sequences, chasing vehicles, and working in coordination with the aerial unit. (Read: Aerial Filming: Lifting an ARRI 535B Armed With 1000-Foot Magazine). Below you can find a BTS shot of the ARRIFLEX 235 film camera on a drone. 

BTS of 'No Time to Die'. ARRIFLEX 235 on a drone. Courtesy of XM2 PURSUIT
BTS of ‘No Time to Die’. ARRIFLEX 235 on a drone. Courtesy of XM2 PURSUIT

‘No Time to Die’: Tech spec

To sum it up, here are the cameras (and lenses) that shot the movie:

  1. ARRIFLEX 235, Panavision C-, E- and G-Series Lenses
  2. ARRIFLEX 435 ES, Panavision C-, E- and G-Series Lenses
  3. ARRIFLEX 765, Zeiss 765 Lenses (some shots)
  4. IMAX MKIV, Hasselblad Lenses (some scenes)
  5. IMAX MSM 9802, Hasselblad Lenses (some scenes)
  6. Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, Panavision G-Series Lenses
  7. Panavision Panaflex System 65 Studio, Panavision Sphero 65 Lenses (some shots)

No Time to Die will have its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 28 September 2021, followed by its theatrical release on 30 September 2021 in the United Kingdom and 8 October 2021 in the United States. Go see this in the biggest theater you can find!

Yossy Mendelovich

Yossy is a filmmaker who specializes mainly in action sports cinematography. Yossy also lectures about the art of independent filmmaking in leading educational institutes, academic programs, and festivals, and his independent films have garnered international awards and recognition.
Yossy is the founder of Y.M.Cinema Magazine.

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