Time To Wake The Sleeping Giant
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Mike Taylor||Date: 01.10.2007|
|Installation of deeply curved screen with speaker assembly behind. Shown here at the Casino Cinerama Theatre, London, England in 1954. Theatre converted back to live venue. Image curtesy Cinerama Engineer - Jim Sweeney (now in the P.P.T, archive )|
A Sleeping Giant who cannot awake because of the limitations imposed by the many theatres of restricted potential throughout the world.
This was a description given to the 70mm film by the eminent American projection engineer Ben Schlanger, back in 1966. His contribution formed a series of articles on cinema design in an international symposium in the S.M.P.T.E. Journal of the time.
It was Ben Schlangerís view that there would be a more extensive use of 70mm as techniques were developed to exploit the larger screen image in other than spectacular motion pictures. He went on to say that the Patron (not customer) in cinema terms would be prepared to pay for the extra cost of 70mm projection and stereophonic sound. But it was the producers of motion pictures who felt these refinements were not necessary. This said Schlanger, was a short range view. The use of 35mm film should be on the way out except for television use.
|More in 70mm reading:|
|70mm projection room with the Philips DP 70/35mm Projector fitted with Mole Richardson carbon arc-lamp. Shown here at the Majestic Leeds, England. Now closed.|
Image courtesy Jim Schultz - P.P.T. North East Region Ė England
Another development considered by Schlanger and his French counterpart, Jean Viviť of Paris, was the use of the deep curved screen, subtending an angle of 180 degrees to viewers in the best seats. Schlanger went on to say that the 180 degree angle represents the angle to which we turn the eye and head together with slight body movements for short periods.
If a wide angle lens is used on the camera, this wide viewing angle gives true perspective. In terms of theatre size, Schlanger and Viviť were looking at auditoria with 800 seats. Although not mentioned in this review, it was obvious that the authors were influenced by Cinerama and the deeply curved screen.
Now over forty years on, the 65/70mm Workshop is looking at this sleeping giant once again. The work done so far in terms of production costs for 70mm and deeply curved screens is very encouraging. Unfortunately, so much of the cinema infrastructure has gone for super wide screen presentation including in most cases the projection equipment and sound systems. The position in respect of surviving 70mm prints is more serious. Many are past their best, receiving scant regard or interest apart from the few genuine movie men still in the industry, and the dedicated supporters of the wide screen.
|The editors would like to mention that due to the necessity to have good sources for DVD editions, there have been an important number of new 70mm prints produced in the last years. Dedicated independent cinemas have made the efforts to show these prints and their continuing (and increasing) support, along with that of the Studios, is greatly welcomed. We look forward to more cinemas taking up the opportunities that 70mm exhibition has to offer, and would see a genuine re-release (i.e. not just for DVD promotion) of films like Hello Dolly, for example, doing well in major cities around the world on 70mm.|
|Go: back - top - back issues - news index|