There were how many theatrical versions of Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

posted on Saturday, 20th February 2016 by Steve May

HDR  IMAX  Laser  Events 

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The sheer number of film formats now required for theatrical release is taking its toll on the industry. Speaking at last week’s Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Tech Retreat, in Palm Springs California, Star Wars: The Force Awakens co-producer Ben Rosenblatt revealed just how many were required for Episode VII. 

During the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Post Case Study seminar, he said that the lack of distribution standards was frustrating. "The thing that frustrated me throughout the process of working on Star Wars is a lack of standards.” Pre digital, the biggest issue was simply the number of release prints, he said, but now there “are now so many delivery standards that it really does make your head spin."

Including language variations, he said there were 482 different versions of SWTFA produced. Technical formats signed off included 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos, plus HDR iterations for both Dolby Vision and Imax Laser. In addition there was also standard Imax and oddities like D-Box, plus 2D and 3D. 

“It really came to a head at the end, when we had to feed all these different beasts," he told the audience. "Especially when you're still changing shots. God forbid there was a fix that we had to make…" On the subject of HDR, Rosenblatt revealed that director JJ Abrams has signed off on HDR releases for both recent Star Treks, and Mission Impossible Rogue Nation.

In related news, the Hollywood Professional Association is bringing its Tech Retreat to the UK. In association with the UK branch of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the first event will be held at the Heythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire, July 13-14.

Jerry Pierce, HPA vice president, promises the event will be “uniquely British,” offering a look behind the scenes of a number of film and TV productions, with panels consisting of broadcast professional debating hot industry topics. Seminars at the recent Palm Springs HPA event included The HDR Power session, covering issues with workflow, post production and display, and a session on Virtual Reality (VR). 

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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