“Journey To Mecca: In The Footsteps of Ibn Battuta”
Since you can’t edit demo reels from an HD Blu-Ray, I had to procure a high quality digital file from the movie, “Journey To Mecca” before I could edit my new reel. I had DPK 70mm IMAX® in Santa Monica make a digital copy (Pro-Res HQ 422 HD) from the Hi-Rez digital transfer from film that was used in the making of the Blu-Ray which was recently released. (See below). The quality of a 65mm negative in HD is so nice, but it upstages all of my other reels as it looks so good. But at least I can now get a high quality PRO-RES 422 HQ file of any project (film or digital) I’m involved with, and edit my reels on my own FCP system. Take a look… its pretty great quality… and a nice project as well. Check it out on Vimeo. (This re-edited version of the film is for my cinematography demo reel only, and is not the original presentation of the film). (All rights still belong to the respective owners and this material cannot be copied or re-used without permission).
“Journey to Mecca” is an IMAX® dramatic and documentary feature that tells the amazing story of Ibn Battuta, the greatest explorer of the Old World, following his first pilgrimage between 1325 and 1326 from Tangier to Mecca. The film is narrated by Ben Kingsley, and distributed by SK Films and National Geographic, and now available at Amazon.
Some interesting info about this film:
•We used much longer lenses than the standard IMAX® film normally uses, which made everyone nervous, but it helps give the film a more cinematic look. It is also very difficult to keep the image steady when using longer lenses in the IMAX® format due to the high vibration factor with these cameras, which the longer lenses magnify, so there are many tricks to keeping the image steady while using these longer lenses. We pulled it off, though and the film looks great… but we were experienced with the IMAX® format and took very calculated risks based on past use. There is little room for error with this format where focus is ultra critical and image quality is of the upmost importance. Audiences expect it.
•The traveling caravan was actually a real caravan… no visual effects involved (no digital people or camels added). It’s been said that it is one of the longest human camel caravans since the film “Lawrence of Arabia”. It was quite a job to move that many people and animals to the various locations around Morocco, which the local production crew handled nicely.
•If you are wondering why this isn’t in the original IMAX® framing, this 1.78:1 (16:9) version was cropped from the original 1.43:1 IMAX® format for the Blu-Ray release. If you are interested in seeing this effect in action, you would have had to seen the “The Dark Knight” in an IMAX theater, where they actually cut from the 70mm IMAX® 1.43:1 to the 2:35 widescreen 35mm film throughout the movie. They had the same problem that all IMAX® movies have on Blu-Ray, as audiences won’t really like a 1.43:1 IMAX® image (with a pillar box (side black bars)) and then cutting to a widescreen, (where it is letter-boxed) it would be too strange even though it worked in the theaters really well, in fact most people didn’t notice this transition. Check out “The Dark Knight” Blu-Ray as they cut back and forth between a larger (fills the screen, but no side bars) 16:9 IMAX® image to a 2:40 widescreen 35mm image throughout the film. It works, but it was more dramatic with the version that ran in the theaters, and the IMAX® footage opened up to fill the whole screen.
A last note… sadly the title character of out film, Moroccan actor, Chems-Eddine Zinoune, died tragically in an automobile accident right before “Journey To Mecca” was released. Chems became a great friend to all of us on the film and was one of the kindest people I’ve met.
Film Stocks: Kodak 65mm Negative 250D and 500T
Camera: IMAX® MSM 9802 65mm
The film was Produced by SK Films and Cosmic Picture, released by National Geographic and narrated by Ben Kingsley.
Music for this reel: “Pilgrimage Of Lost Children” by Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke
Thanks to Christian and Joe at DPK 70mm IMAX in Santa Monica, and to Jonathan Barker at SK Films in Toronto.
My cinematography website: http://www.williamsdp.com