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New Cinerama Restorations at Widescreen Weekend 2014

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Dave Strohmaier & Tom March. Photos by: Tom March Date: 19.05.2014
Dave Strohmaier and Randy Gitsch on the final leg of their trip to Bradford.

Dave Strohmaier and Randy Gitsch returned to Widescreen Weekend for their eighth appearance bringing along two new Cinerama restorations. “Seven Wonders of the World” (1956) and “Search for Paradise” (1957) were digitally scanned at Image Trends in Austin, Texas and are ready for their European digital premier at Pictureville. Here are some “Cinerama Highlights” from this year’s Widescreen Weekend.

More in 70mm reading:

Widescreen Weekend, Bradford, England

Widescreen Weekend, Bradford, 2014

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Dave and Randy meet up with Duncan McGregor in the front lobby next to a new Seven Wonders poster.

Duncan McGregor met up with Dave and Randy the day before the start of Widescreen Weekend so that their segments of the show could be checked for sound and picture on the curved screen. As part of the screening, they would be doing the introductions which included short video clips and trailers. There would also be a restored 3-panel Cinerama trailer for “How the West Was Won” to be seen for the first time at Widescreen Weekend and it had not been screened before in its final form.
Randy, Dave, Joop De Gruiter (He’s their new temporary projectionist from Sweden) and Duncan discussing the Cinerama programming.

All the digital material being used was delivered to Duncan in the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format so that it could be loaded into the theatre’s server and be available to screen on the digital projector at any time. One advantage of having the DCP files in the server is that they can be scheduled to play in a pre-planned presentation with other events such as curtains, lights and projector dousing. This automation assures that there will be no unexpected surprises during the show, something that is especially important during a hectic Widescreen Weekend. Both Cinerama films were processed in a special rectified Smilebox format specifically for Pictureville’s 146 degree curved screen. This was to compensate for the slight keystone effect at the venue and the position of the 4K digital projector, thus creating an excellent 146 degree Cinerama effect filling the curved screen.
Duncan and Tom Perkins setting up the program schedule on the server screen.
On the server screen: “Search for Paradise-Act 1” in PLAY mode.

Dave started off the Friday morning segment with an introduction to “Seven Wonders of the World” – the digitally restored version. A vintage 3-strip faded Eastman color print was last seen at Bradford in 2002.
Dave, introducing his digitally restored “Seven Wonders of the World” Cinerama feature presentation.
“Seven Wonders of the World” - Paul Mantz flies by the Pyramids in his Cinerama equipped B-25 bomber.

After lunch, Dave again took to the stage to introduce “Fortress of Peace”. He discussed the restoration work that was necessary to digitally bring back the color that had been lost in the old 70mm print.
Dave demonstrates the digital restoration of “Fortress of Peace” using a split screen.

As an added bonus for the audience, after the screening of “Fortress of Peace”, Dave and Randy held a draw and handed out some discs to the winners. These included:

5 -Windjammer soundtrack CDs and 5 -Cinerama Holiday CDs
5 -DVD/Blu Ray combos of This Is Cinerama
5 -DVD/Blu Ray combos of Windjammer
5 -DVD/Blu Ray combos of Cinerama Holiday
5 -DVD/Blu Ray combos of South Seas Adventure
Free stuff!!

On Saturday morning before lunch, David Coles was scheduled to present a Power Point slide show about “Search for Paradise” prior to its screening. However, He was unable to attend this year so instead, he provided his lecture on a DVD and it was packed with information about the movie as only David can do it.

The opening slide from David Coles’ “Searching for Paradise” Power Point presentation on DVD.

After the lunch break, Randy did a short introduction for the digitally restored “Search for Paradise”. It was last seen here in 2003 when it was screened in faded magenta 3-strip.
Randy, on stage, kept his “Search for Paradise” introduction short following David Coles’ “breathless” in-depth documentary.

It appears the film fans enjoyed “Search for Paradise” even more, having just seen David Coles’ Power Point presentation with all its behind-the-scenes interesting tidbits. As for the true Cinerama fans, they had little opportunity to experience classic join lines in this restoration so they were left to fixate on the screen louvers.
A scene from “Search for Paradise”. The Cinerama cameras in the Hunza Valley of Pakistan.

During Cineramacana, Duncan had the 1959 3-strip Renault ad ready to go and Dave introduced it. The last time it ran here was in 2012 and it screened as a digital file that was just created at Image Trends. That file is now included in the Blu-ray/DVD release of “South Seas Adventure”.
The Renault commercial directed by Cinerama’s Wentworth Fling. This was a photo–chemical 3-strip restoration being screened.

Later, during the same Cineramacana segment, Dave introduced the newly restored trailer for “How the West Was Won” in 3-strip. It contains scenes that were never included in the full length movie. Dave made this “rejected” answer print usable by attaching leaders to each reel of film and arranging with John Mitchell that he make up a new 7 channel audio track to accompany the print.
HTWWW Trailer - A rarely seen “deleted scene”. Nice join lines.

To wrap up the weekend, during Cineramacana, Dave was presented with the first Golden Elephant Award by Johan Wolthuis of “International 70mm Publishers” for his outstanding contribution to the preservation of Cinerama. Johan pointed out that he was thrilled to see an elephant parade in Dave’s most recent restoration, “Search for Paradise”.
Johan Wolthuis presenting Dave Strohmaier with the Golden Elephant award.

On their departure, Dave and Randy left the 3-strip film and DCP files with Duncan as a donation to the National Media Museum.
Dave Strohmaier & Randy Gitsch.

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Updated 21-01-24