Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’: Shot with Kodak Film

Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated film 'Oppenheimer' has garnered attention not only for its compelling storyline but also for its unique visual approach. In collaboration with Kodak and Universal Studios, Nolan set out to achieve a distinctive look for the film, delving into uncharted territories of film formats. In this article, we explore the significance of shooting 'Oppenheimer' on Kodak film and delve into Nolan's motivations for choosing this medium.


The Vision Unveiled: Oppenheimer and Its Stellar Cast

'Oppenheimer' takes viewers on a journey through the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the eminent theoretical physicist known for spearheading the development of the first atomic bomb during World War II. The film stars Cillian Murphy as the titular character and features a stellar ensemble cast, including Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and more, promising an engaging cinematic experience.


Capturing the Essence: Film Format Selection

What sets 'Oppenheimer' apart is its commitment to traditional film. Christopher Nolan, a staunch advocate of shooting on film, chose large format film stock for its immersive quality. The film was shot using IMAX and Panavision 65mm film cameras, offering unparalleled resolution. The choice of film format aligns with Nolan's intent to bring the audience into a subjective experience, emulating the way the human eye perceives the world.


The Kodak Collaboration: Pioneering Large Format Black and White

One of the remarkable aspects of 'Oppenheimer' is the use of 65mm black and white film—a format that had not existed previously. Kodak played a pivotal role in realising this vision. Hoyte van Hoytema, the Director of Photography for the film, lauded Kodak's dedication to innovation, stating, "Kodak really stepped up to the challenge... they had some sort of prototype film stock for us." The successful collaboration allowed the film to achieve its intended visual impact.


Nolan's Artistic Choice: Embracing the Emotional Power of Film

Christopher Nolan explained his decision to shoot 'Oppenheimer' on large format black and white film, emphasising its immersive and emotionally powerful qualities. Film, according to Nolan, enriches the image with a depth that resonates more profoundly with the audience. This artistic choice aligns with the paradoxical narrative of 'Oppenheimer,' inviting viewers to comprehend the complexities of human actions.


Looking Ahead: A Hopeful Future for Film in Filmmaking

The beauty and impact of 'Oppenheimer' shot on film reaffirm the enduring allure of traditional cinematic techniques. Despite advancements in digital technology, filmmakers like Christopher Nolan continue to champion the medium of film. As audiences witness the film's exquisite visuals, it's hoped that more directors will be inspired to explore the possibilities of shooting on film, breathing new life into this age-old art form.



'Oppenheimer' stands as a testament to the artistry and innovation that can be achieved through a collaboration of visionary filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and esteemed industry partners like Kodak. This film's emphasis on large format black and white film serves as a reminder of the profound impact that traditional filmmaking techniques can have on storytelling, inviting us to reflect on the rich history and potential future of cinema. Explore the world of Kodak products to experience the magic of film in your own creative endeavours.


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