Jointly Modified Alexa 65 Large-Format System Quickly Comes into Its Own on Marvel Movies

Imax announced today that the next Avengers movie, the two-part sequel titled Infinity War, will be shot using, exclusively, the forthcoming large-format camera system being developed by Imax and ARRI. The company said it will be the first time that a Hollywood feature has been shot entirely using Imax cameras.

As previously reported, directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo are first deploying up to seven of the new cameras to shoot action scenes in Captain America: Civil War, which is scheduled for release next May. But the Avengers films will be shot, in their entirety, with the Imax/ARRI camera—a jointly customized version of ARRI's large-format Alexa 65, announced last year.

Imax said the new films will feature "Imax's exclusive aspect ratio," but didn't specify exactly what that is. Productions captured using Imax film cameras can have an aspect ratio as low as 1.43:1, but digital Imax theaters are generally limited to 1.9:1 and higher. We're guessing Infinity War will be closer to 1.9:1, given the Alexa 65's native 2.1:1 aspect ratio, but we've asked for clarification.

"The intent with the Infinity War films is to bring 10 years of accumulative storytelling to an incredible climax," said Joe and Anthony Russo in a prepared joint statement. "We felt that the best way to exploit the scale and scope required to close out the final chapter of these three phases was to be the first films shot entirely on the Imax/ARRI digital camera."

The Imax/ARRI camera is Imax's 2D digital acquisition system, meaning that the Infinity Wars films will definitely be post-converted to 3D. The new camera is meant to be "a complementary tool," the company said, rather than a replacement for Imax's 3D digital cameras and its still-extant 15-perf/65mm film camera system.

Sprucing up digital exhibition for Imax is its ongoing rollout of laser projection. It has signed to install 71 laser projectors around the world, with the Airbus Imax Smithsonian Theatre in Chantilly, VA, and the Boeing Imax Theatre in Seattle both getting the much brighter projection systems—along with a new 12-channel sound system—in time to screen the current Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Imax will have time to install a few more systems before the next Avengers titles come out. Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 is scheduled for Imax release on May 4, 2018, while Part 2 is slated for May 3, 2019.