Immersive Cinema Technologies,
Will it Continue?
article first appeared on
The 70mm Newsletter
Andrew Job, ICT Productions Montreal, Canada
Mark Job's own 65mm Panavision camera.
I suppose many of
your readers might remember my activities from articles published in WideGauge Magazine? Since then I have been hard at work in the development
of a true and full, "Cinerama where everything comes out of one
I have come close to completing final testing when my investor suddenly
dropped the project!
Unfortunately for me, the company who was ready to
invest in my concept, Taurus Seven Films of Montreal, had a major deal of
its own collapse which had to be completed first in order for my project
to be green lighted. Taurus had a rather ambitious project of its own
which consisted of expanding their own facilities and building the largest
shooting sound stages in the world along with their own film lab. This new
film lab would have included the capability to process 65 mm negative and
make 70mm prints.
Due to forces beyond my control, Taurus's deal depended on a successful
bid to purchase federally owned Government of Canada Crown Land to build
their new studios on. Some readers may remember how the Montreal Expos
Baseball Team had made a bid to build a new stadium on land owned by the
Government of Canada, but was unsuccessful in their attempts to raise
enough cash to successfully do so ? Now Major League Baseball in the US
will compact two teams next year, one of them is highly touted to be The
Montreal Expos. The land in question was the same land which was later bid
on by Taurus Films who also failed in their attempt to obtain this same
prime downtown Montreal real estate.
There were many very good reasons to locate such a modern, state of the
art mega studio in Montreal. One reason was that Technicolor chose the
Greater Montreal Area to build their new Laboratories. If Technicolor
leaves Hollywood to build in Montreal, Canada, then one would consider
support for large format capabilities from their new facilities at
Mirabell, Quebec (Small town just north west of Montreal) to be a definite
possibility as well. Technicolor does have equipment to make 70mm prints
already in its possession and has a history in dealing with 65 mm film.
The Canadian Dollar is so low in comparison to the US Dollar that the
savings gained in operational costs are considerable.
Perhaps the most basic reason for my project to no longer be attractive to
investors is the simple fact it is based on traditional film technology.
65mm film, although without question far superior in image quality to any
other currently extant format is not the direction the industry is moving
in today. Digital Cinema is a by far a more cost effective, enabling
technology. Perhaps the one word which best describes what the future
holds for the users of digital cinema is the, "accessibility,"
this new technology affords to the individual ! The impact of this
technology on the overall commercial film industry is immeasurable, but
definitely it will be significant to say the least.
Technicolor is developing new digital cinema projection technology, the
advantages of digital production can be listed in the following terms:
in 70mm reading:
65mm 5 Perf Shooting and Immersive Cinema Technologies Today
Panavison Large Format Motion
Rapid & Cost Effective International Feature Film Distribution
With Digital Cinema Distribution an entire movie can be delivered to the
venue via 4.7 Gigabyte DVD Rom Specification 2.0 (Using Special High
Definition MPEG Codecs) or via high speed internet access, thus the need
(And most importantly, the cost) of producing and shipping around the
world expensive motion picture film prints is circumvented.
Rapid & Cost Effective Feature Film Production
Digital CamCorders can be made extremely small and lightweight, thus
illuminating the need for time consuming, expensive extra camera rigging
and support. Time is money and a 500 line digi-camcorder can be purchased
for the cost of renting a 35 mm film camera shooting package in the US for
one day ! Check out the
site and see the new camera folks are making feature films with now !
Consider this well since the studio bean counters certainly are ! There
are no 'dailies' to wait for in digital cinema ? You can check what you
have picture and sound wise before even taking down the set for the day!
Although it certainly is important to point out that 500 lines is far from
enough image resolution to even come close to 35mm film, let alone 65mm,
there soon will be digital cameras which do have enough image resolution
to do so.
conclusion I have decided to sell of my Panavision 65mm camera and apply
my cinema type immersive cinema lens concepts to a digital camera instead
of a large format film based one. Although there certainly are image
quality issues to be worked out with digital cinema, the pace of digital
imaging technology remains very fast and it is improving each year. How
long will it be before we reach 35mm quality with a digital Camera ? How
long will it be before a digital camera and projector will reach the
quality of 5 perf 65 mm film and eventually 15 perf 65mm IMAX image
quality ? Perhaps it won't take as long as we think it will?
a big believer in 5 perf 70mm film making. I have NEVER seen image
quality, like that of what Todd AO, Super and Ultra Panavision and Imax
can deliver, but I just can't get investors interested in forking out any
seed money for film based technologies these days. Let's see if a Cinerama
where everything comes out of one whole can be developed with digital
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