The HATEFUL 8 @ the SUN theatre
How could we not want to do this?
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Rob (Bert) Murphy, Sun theatre,
all really love to play with a Phillips DP70 but it soon became clear that a
Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 would be the safest most practical choice.
was nearly six months ago when I first heard that Quentin Tarantino's new
film would have a 70mm release option and that a few exhibitors in Australia
were tooling up for it. I remember thinking, "a Tarantino film in 70... I
can't wait to see it". Then I discovered it would not just be in 70 but
Panavision 70. I was gob smacked. "This is going to be spectacular"! I
knew the Astor (here in Melbourne) would have to be one of the screens but
there was little information on the others and everything was rumour based,
coming from the projectionist underground (as I like to think of it). But
the more I heard and the more I read, the more excited I became.
I'm fairly new to the family. Having only been a projectionist for 11 years
and only catching the last 6 years of 35mm before digital (the independently
owned Sun being the first complex in Australia to go fully DCI) but I'de
always had a fascination and desire to run 70mm. I regularly enjoyed
watching it at the Astor but only ever dreamed of running it myself. I can't
believe it took me a whole week before I thought, "why couldn't we do this
at the Sun"?
|More in 70mm reading:|
Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" in Ultra Panavision 70
DP70s in Australia
George Florence and 70mm at The
Astor, Melbourne, Australia
Cinerama At the Plaza
The lost world of 70mm Theatres By Ian
Camera 65 and the Metro Bourke
Street Bigger than…
days before Xmas, Santa came early. Bert Murphy with the anamorphic lens
I took the idea to Michael Smith, Sun owner and film nut/adventurer who,
like me, was immediately inspired; but we needed a lot more information
before we could even consider this. Could we have a print even if we wanted
one? Where could we find a lens? How would the sound be delivered?
After initial enquires it seemed we were eligible and so then the avalanche
of technical questions began.
First off we considered running change over between two projectors, my
personal preference for the simple selfish reason that I'd never done it
before and wanted to. Eyes were rolled and the option quickly became
academic due to the lack of space in our bio. Oh well. Next idea was a
modified EPRAD mutt coming off a single projector. After some tape measure
acrobatics, it seemed we could fit a platter instead but only if we could
retrofit it for 70mm. Could we?
Projector type. The Sun has a long tradition of German Bauer's so our first
thought was a
Bauer U3. We had previously run two of these, one on a hoist system.
The other attraction here was these beasts could run 7000 ft spools both
payout and take up at leg height. But as information dribbled through it
became clear that the film was going to be to long for this to work. To be
honest, none of us were particularly fond of the U3 and so the question
became, what would we all really love to play with? A
Phillips DP70, of course. We even
found a few and looked them over but there was a lot of work to be done to
both and then the question of where could we source parts quickly in an
emergency burst the bubble. It soon became clear that a
Cinemeccanica Victoria 8
would be the safest most practical choice and we had two sitting in a
retired projectionist garage near by that were on offer for free.
And so for me began a series of expeditions; rummaging through catacombs of
old cinema's and back yard collections searching out artefacts from the
glory days of 70mm projection. Sprockets, film gates, rollers and on a very
good day a 70mm splicer were among the treasures I exhumed.
generations of projectionist. (Left to right) Lewis Thorne, Bert Murphy,
All the while the weeks quickly rolled by as the projector junk piled up,
waiting for the all important news that would launch us into action or shut
us down completely; the availability and price off the Ultra Panavision
anamorphic lens. The projector was still in its garage, we had a platter but
no 70 running gear. Another three weeks passed. Argghh! Finally we couldn't
wait any longer and everyone agree'd... we had to start the install and hope
that the lens and DTS reader would fall into place.
Getting the Projector into the bio was every bit the nightmare I had been
imagining it to be. First, rolling it down the street on casters like an
armoured shopping trolley got a few glances from passing traffic. Then into
the foyer for the next challenge. It wouldn't fit in the lift. No problem;
release the lamp house mount from the pedestal and carry it along behind.
Next, the laborious five person job of ascending the cornered stairs up to
the bio landing. This employed a see-sawing motion utilising blocks of wood
and milk crates which finally got the beast into place next to the Christie
digital, 90 minutes later. 'Phew'.
Sun's "Hateful Eight" splasher. Click to see enlargement
Now where to start. This projector hasn't run in twelve years.
First the cleanup and stripping back to basics. We'd need the water cooling
system reinstated as we wanted to run a 4K lamp in the strong lamp house we
already had in the bio. Flushing gunk, dismantling and cleaning took about a
week. Then new drive belts and inverter power supply for gentle starts took
about another week.
Ahh yes, the platter. We were exceedingly lucky in that some years before
when disposing of the U3's someone had saved a curious set of elongated
rollers that turned out to be 70's for the speco payout module. I remember
the look on Simons face the morning I gave him a big hug when he put them
down on the bench in front of me, "are these of any use"? We still needed to
get the longer intake fingers made but having the rest of the module ready
was a huge plus.
been quietly keeping the film enthusiast group CATHS (Cinema and Theatre
Historical Society) apprised of our progress as many of their members are
retired projectionists. I was hoping that they might turn up some useful
bits and pieces so was very happy to secure a full 70mm print for the
testing of the platter. 70mm junk just isn't out there. Even the pink prints
are back yard treasures these days, each a relic with a story harkening back
to the glory days of someone's time with 70mm.
The collars for the platter also had to be super-sized. I had a friend at
IMAX and had the idea that they might be able to help us after just recently
decommissioning their 15/70 GT in favour of laser digital. They donated
three collars to the cause.
It was now late November and the dust had settled on just six screens in
Australia who were kitting up. Three in
Melbourne and three in Sydney. We
were certainly the underdog, being a small independent.
So the 6 a.m rises continued to fit in bio work before sessions. Still
hoping, wondering if it was all going to come together and then just a week
before Xmas... It did. Our lens and DTS reader arrived
the question became, what would we all really love to play with?
Then shortly after many wondrous mustard coloured cans with mystical words
printed on them arrived.
So it's now a few days before New Years and only two weeks before we're on
screen. That beautiful piece of glass fits neatly (after some careful angle
grinding of the lens mount on the projector) and our first test loops fit
neatly from edge to edge of screen; bright and sharp.
I honestly can't believe this is happening. Hell, I never thought I'd ever
see anamorphic 70 projected let alone be the guy beside the projector.
I'd always rejected the notion that digital was the replacement for film;
replacement? Being digital makes it different, not necessarily superior. I
love that every recorded media format has its own unique qualities that
become a part of the story's that are captured on them. To say one is the
replacement for another has always bewildered me. And with the breath taking
grandeur of 70mm photography followed through to projection; there are still
I always thought that if the equipment could survive, in some way film would
find its niche in the digital world and thanks to film makers like Quentin
Tarantino, Christopher Nolan & Paul Thomas Anderson, that time may be here
sooner rather than later.
Sun Theater History
From Sun web site
theatre, Melbourne, Australia
The Sun originally opened in 1938 and was a single screen 1050 seat
cinema - the most luxurious in the area. Most Saturday's were fully booked
at the Sun; both a booking office and ticket counter were used to handle the
large crowds. Today's SUN BOOKSHOP was the original candy bar. Imagine the
buzz on a Saturday night which regularly sold out and 1050 patrons were in
the foyer. Today we seat only several hundred over 8 boutique cinemas, but,
we still think our foyer gets mighty busy. Unique to the cinema was the pram
room where babies in their prams were placed and given a number, if your
baby started crying, your number was flashed on the screen.
During the 50's and 60's TV was the new novelty and the crowds dwindled. To
satisfy the new population in Yarraville the SUN became a Greek cinema in
the 60's. It was eventually closed by the Health department for unsanitary
carpets! The SUN became derelict over the next twenty years until the
current owners purchased it in 1995. It was in a sad state, a mecca for
white ants and a roof so leaky, the plaster ceiling had caved in on the
seats. Vagrants had been at it too, with squatters lighting fires to keep
warm, graffiti and needles a plenty, while pilfering of much of the original
art deco features had reduced her to little more than 4 brick walls.
The new owners began one of Melbourne’s most popular film societies from
1998 to 2003 which encouraged them to go all out and bring the SUN back to
glory. The large auditorium has been carefully and respectfully divided into
4 cinemas and another 4 cinemas have been added over several years to some
land at the rear, the side and even above. Eight stunning cinemas, all
detailed in an art deco style, many with original details are now open to
the public and screening the latest new release films from Hollywood,
Australia and art films from around the world.
|Go: back - top - back issues - news index