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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: 1.43/ VAR IMAX Edition (10 minute test render available) (WIP)

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 (Edited)

So this is a quick little fan project I was inspired to make after watching a fan restoration of The Dark Knight’s IMAX presentation found on the personal spleen site. That project took the 2.39 scenes presented in a 1920 by 1080 video, and cut to the 1.43 scenes from the Ultimate Collector’s Edition Bonus Disc, preserving the original aspect ratio of these shots.

My intent with this project was to go a little further and authentically recreate the effect of watching a 1.43 IMAX showing of the film. The 2.39 widescreen is placed in the center of your view, but for the IMAX shots instead of shrinking the 1.43 down to fit your TV screen, the top and bottom now expand to reveal much more picture, immersing you in the film as originally intended. I’ve found this method looks neat when outputting my laptop to a projector with a square aspect ratio and playing the video through something like VLC. It worked even better when streamed over Plex to my PS4, watching on my PlayStation VR headset and setting my “VR Screen Size” to Large. I wasn’t lucky enough to catch any of these movies in a 1.43 IMAX showing before COVID shut everything down, so this is my at-home remedy for that missed experience.

On the Blu-Ray, the 2.39 scenes end up taking up 1920 pixels wide and 960 pixels height of the 1920 by 1080 video file. On the Ultimate Collector’s Edition Bonus Disc, the 1.43 scenes from the Bonus Disc end up using 1550 pixels wide and 1080 high. I’ve chosen the video dimensions for v1.0 of this project to be 1550 by 1080p, preserving the full resolution of the 1.43 scenes as encoded within the 1920 by 1080 file. This does mean the 2.39 scenes are slightly downscaled to fit within these parameters, as I believe when any dimensions start to exceed 1920 by 1080, the video file would not play properly off a standard Blu-Ray disc.

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Unfortunately, there are a couple issues in this otherwise simple edit:

  1. Many shots filmed with IMAX cameras whose aspect ratios open up from 2.39 to 1.78 on the Main Movie Blu-Ray do NOT have 1.43 equivalents included on the Bonus Disc. For the aforementioned “The Dark Knight” fan project, this problem was worked around by upscaling the Full Screen DVD for these shots, since that preserves the 1.43 ratio but at a 480p resolution. “The Dark Knight Rises” only received a Wide Screen DVD release. These shots I left intact at 1.78 for convenience but I am also excusing it by saying that “1.78 is close enough to preserving the alternative 1.90 digital IMAX ratio”. I also haven’t felt that these instances diminish the intended effect.
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  2. The shot of Batman walking into Bane’s trap and the gate slamming down behind him starts in 2.39 then changes to 1.43 for a few frames. The effect SHOULD be 2.39 then immediately adding more image on the top and bottom to 1.43 image. However, since the Bonus Disc takes the 1.43 shots and shrinks it down to take up 1550 pixels wide instead of 1920 wide, this 2.39 shot actually gets cropped on the sides to 1.43 in order to appear consistent with how the other 1.43 shots appear on this disc. This creates the only instance where the 1.43 shot on the Bonus Disc is cropping out more image than it is revealing. For the Main Movie disc, the shot simply opens up to 1.78 with no side cropping, so I am using the 1.78 ratio for those very few frames. The gifs below are the cropped “1.43” followed by opened 1.78 ratios, brightened so you can see the difference.
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  3. There’s one shot of The Bat flying above a Tumbler where you can tell it should be a 1.43 shot (the bottom definitely shows more image), but the top has been cropped just above where the top of the Bat would be. Perhaps this is to hide any equipment that they just could not digitally remove? I’ve used this “almost 1.43” version from the Bonus Disc, since I think you would hardly notice when watching.
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Version 1.0 is just a real quick edit, no color correction, no overlaying parts of the image together. Maybe in the future when I have time (and if I ever learn to convert HDR to SDR), I’ll mess around with upscaling the 1.43 and overlaying the 4K version on it, or outputting at different dimensions so the 2.39 shots aren’t downscaled.

Video Sources:
• The Dark Knight Rises – main film (2.39/1.78), disc 4 from The Dark Knight Trilogy: Special Edition Blu-Ray
• The Dark Knight Rises IMAX Sequences - select scenes (1.43), disc 6 from The Dark Knight Trilogy: Special Edition Blu-Ray
Audio:
• DTS-HD 5.1 – English audio track, disc 4 from The Dark Knight Trilogy: Special Edition Blu-Ray

My current method for encoding is to make MP4 Passthrough videos from the Blu-ray discs, import into Adobe Premiere Pro, and then clicking “Match Sequence Settings” when I Export. Then, I use MKVtoolnixGUI to remux the Blu-Rays unaltered audio, chapters, and subs to this new video file. If you have any other suggestions on better lossless encoding and muxing (or if anyone happens to have the Cinema DTS audio mix), I would appreciate any help!

Google Drive link for a 10-minute test render: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1T3z5XHGEo2G1FVrWizzBTNbjN8-7Dxnl/view?usp=sharing

Full link for screenshots: https://imgur.com/a/aPapAxB

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Good work… Image quality is top notch… A reddit faneditor named Tykjen has done complete imax edit of darknight series with no black bars underneath … U can contact him om reddit fanedit page I think… All the best for your fanedits…