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Time To Wake The Sleeping Giant - Take 2

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Mike Taylor Date: 15.01.2008
Imagine if we had 70mm? Image courtesy Mike Taylor

Since my contribution to the 65/70mm Workshop appeared I have received a number of comments which have all been most constructive and supportive. I thank all the correspondents. It is much appreciated.

Keeping the theme of "Waking the Sleeping Giant" well to the fore, let us look at this from the Exhibitor’s point of view. Three main questions often spring to mind when in discussion.

(1) What are the advantages of 70mm ?

(2) What product is available ?

(3) What are the costs ?
More in 70mm reading:

Part 1

65/70mm Workshop

Internet link:


Before we answer these questions, I would ask this one.

What type of Exhibitor do we want to see or would like to see?

(1) Selective multiplex operator

(2) Supportive independent exhibitor with specialist knowledge

(3) In possession of a large screen, preferably curved

(4) Good projection room facilities with experienced staff

Assuming we achieve the support of the exhibitor, we can now go back and look at the initial three questions: Advantages, Product and Costs.


A picture that is at least four times that of 35mm. Better definition, clarity of image and less grain. Brighter screen illumination. Modern state-of-the-art sound recordings.


This is most important, because without anything to show we are all wasting our time. We are fortunate that National Archives from around the world have preserved a number of titles, although the condition is suspect in a number of cases. In the last few years some classic films have been re-struck in 70mm and indeed screened at widescreen festivals and special presentations.
Efforts are being made to encourage producers to film in 65mm particularly through the 65/70mm Workshop.


Manager (deceased) Odeon Liverpool during 70mm Road Show period
Image courtesy Mike Taylor

This time around with the proposed re-introduction of 70mm exhibition is vastly different from when Mike Todd was introducing it. In many locations parts of the initial installation remains. This includes dual-gauge projectors, stage and auditorium speakers (improved in latter years with Dolby systems) and of course a large curved screen.

Any exhibitor considering 70mm may have the option of Trade In, Lease, Good reconditioned dual-gauge machines in place of 35mm only. Sound Engineers would be able to reconfigure the sound racks for 6-track magnetic and / or D.T.S. if not already in situ.

Projection of 70mm

For the actual projection of 70mm - particularly in the case of rare archive prints - then consideration has to be given to dual machines with changeover facilities. Indeed archives would insist on it rather than run on platters; in any case platters would have to be fitted with dual roller systems and film feeding units.

Most important is the training of staff for those who have never handled 70mm motion picture film.


For the exhibitor who has considered the foregoing and made the commitment it is essential to get the message across to movie goers that there is something different available. The Mike Todd spirit has to live on with the tradition of showmanship and Wake Up His Sleeping Giant.
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Updated 30-06-22