Report on the 65/70mm Workshop
held at the National Media Museum, Bradford, UK,
during the Widescreen Weekend on Saturday 17th March 2007
The 70mm Newsletter
and Mike Taylor
15 April 2007
Following on the from the success of
last year's Workshop,
plus the work done in the intervening period, the Second
Workshop heralded some important breakthroughs in 65mm
production economics and in 70mm print shipping costs, and
added more innovative ideas, ranging from new theatrical
presentation ideas to future sound formats.
Attendees this year were:
Mr. Paul Rayton, Mr. Mike Taylor, Mr. Ben Wales and Mr.
Brian Guckian chaired the Workshop at Pictureville and
proceedings were as per the Agenda
previously published online.
compact Arri 765 camera. Image from Arri's homepage.
The Workshop started with consideration of an initial study
by one of the major US laboratories into the relative costs
of shooting 65mm v. conventional 35mm. This showed that, in
the areas of stock costs, camera package hire and processing
(including all ancillary services such as telecine and
scanning), the increase in costs with 65mm were quite
marginal - about 1% in the context of a typical big-budget
production. The study is being finalised, and the Workshop
hopes to be able to publish the results in full. Although
the final figures are likely to be higher, and do not cover
all the 65mm overhead, the key finding is that using the
larger format does not add significantly to overall costs,
and thus contradicts the commonly-held belief that shooting
65mm is expensive.
Following on from this, there was discussion of related
cinematography issues; it was noted that many DoPs today
want to use small, lightweight camera packages. It was
pointed out that Arri and Panavision 65mm packages are as
light as they can be, and certainly far more compact than
previously. The wide angles afforded by 65mm offered a
different way of telling a story and it was felt that DoPs
would have to be educated in this and sign up to the
technique in order for it to happen effectively. It was also
stated that most senior British DoPs had shot on 65mm.
Contact with DoPs in the industry in general was advocated
as the next step in pushing for a mainstream 65mm
production, given the critical new economic data to hand.
in 70mm reading:
70mm 5-perf cinemas outside North America
5-perf cinemas in North America
film storage. Image by Thomas Hauerslev
Discussion on sound reproduction looked at issues regarding
playback of legacy magnetic prints. Bad projection room environments and
film handling practices had led to tracks picking up noise, and this
underlined the need for ongoing knowledge and training. For the future,
there were concerns regarding the longevity of digital audio formats and the
consensus was that, like in the archival area, there would have to be
migration programmes as new formats evolved. It was noted that the major
Studios continue to retain mix masters on 35mm magnetic film so that future
transfers can be facilitated. A move to uncompressed sound for 70mm
projection was agreed as an objective.
New ideas for truly theatrical presentation of 65/70mm films
centred on using non-cinema venues such as concert halls and
theatres to re-introduce the impact of the original
roadshows. This concept was met with great interest, and it
was noted for example that many theatre producers had a real
flair for marketing and showmanship, and could be just what
was needed to showcase event films in the format. And, a
promotional tour could be arranged, using the existing
supply of newly-restored titles, or other titles for which
known good prints were available. It was agreed this idea
should definitely be developed.
The issue of print sources revealed information on prints
known to be stored in locations such as Stockholm, Sweden
(where low temperatures aided print preservation), and
Melbourne, Australia. It was agreed to obtain more
information on what was available at these locations,
subject to rights.
- Information for the Theatre" - third revision, October 1954. Published by
20th Century Fox.
On the cinema design side, there was discussion on curved
screens. The deep Cinerama curve is obviously incorrect for
Todd-AO, and the original specification of the latter as
having a screen with a chord depth of 20% is problematic for
flat 35mm ratios. A shallow curve (typically 5% chord depth)
doesn't serve the Todd-AO intention for an immersive effect
(remembering that Todd-AO was intended to be "Cinerama out
of a single hole"). A screen of variable curve geometry
would theoretically solve these issues, and there have been
some examples, but obviously in general this is not
practical. It was agreed to carry out further research on
the topic. Mike Taylor will also be able to provide an
original 20th Century Fox CinemaScope brochure which details
the company's research into curved screens. This could
provide a "middle way" in terms of optimum screen curvature
where multiple formats are used.
More breakthrough data was provided in the area of
shipping costs. An initial study of print shipping costs
between the US and Europe and within Europe had shown
significant savings in the order of 40-50% if average print
weight could be reduced to total 90kg (9-reel feature in 3
no. boxes, shipped wound on cores and packed in plastic
cans). Sharing print costs would make further savings and it
was suggested that the IMAX group booking structure could be
used as a model. Rights clearances would remain for
different territories to deal with, as happens currently.
The multi-platform capability of 65mm was again underlined.
65mm origination is future-proof and can be used for 70mm
showprints, 35mm reduction prints, IMAX blow-ups and as a
high-resolution source for 2K and 4K digital projection.
This latter point was well illustrated during a presentation
on D-Cinema which took place at the Widescreen Weekend this
Our thanks again to all who participated, and to Thomas
Hauerslev and Bill Lawrence for all their help and support.
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