“Almost like a real web site”

Search | Contact
News | e-News |
Rumour Mill | Stories
Foreign Language
in70mm.com auf Deutsch


Todd-AO Festival
KRRR! 7OMM Seminar
GIFF 70, Gentofte
Oslo 7OMM Festival
Widescreen Weekend

Premiere | Films
People | Equipment
Library | Cinemas
Todd-AO Projector
Distortion Correcting

Ultra Panavision 70
Super Panavision 70

1926 Natural Vision
1929 Grandeur
1930 Magnifilm
1930 Realife
1930 Vitascope
1952 Cinerama
1953 CinemaScope
1955 Todd-AO
1955 Circle Vision 360
1956 CinemaScope 55
1957 Ultra Panavision 70
1958 Cinemiracle
1958 Kinopanorama
1959 Super Panavision 70
1959 Super Technirama 70
1960 Smell-O-Vision
1961 Sovscope 70
Cinerama 360
1962 MCS-70
1963 70mm Blow Up
1963 Circarama
1963 Circlorama
1966 Dimension 150
1967 DEFA 70
1967 Pik-A-Movie
1970 IMAX / Omnimax
1974 Cinema 180
1976 Dolby Stereo
1984 Showscan
1984 Swissorama
1986 iWERKS
1989 ARRI 765
1990 CDS
1994 DTS / Datasat
2001 Super Dimension 70
2018 Magellan 65

Various Large format | 70mm to 3-strip | 3-strip to 70mm | Specialty Large Format | Special Effects in 65mm | ARC-120 | Super Dimension 70Early Large Format
7OMM Premiere in Chronological Order


Australia | Brazil
Canada | Denmark
England | France
Germany | Iran
Mexico | Norway
Sweden | Turkey

7OMM Projectors
People | Eulogy
65mm/70mm Workshop
The 7OMM Newsletter
Back issue | PDF
Academy of the WSW

• 2026 | 2025 | 2024
2023 | 2022 | 2021
2020 | 2019 | 2018
2017 | 2016 | 2015
2014 | 2013 | 2012
2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006
2005 | 2004 | 2003
2002 | 2001 | 2000
1999 | 1998 | 1997
1996 | 1995 | 1994

in70mm.com Mission:
• To record the history of the large format movies and the 70mm cinemas as remembered by the people who worked with the films. Both during making and during running the films in projection rooms and as the audience, looking at the curved screen.
in70mm.com, a unique internet based magazine, with articles about 70mm cinemas, 70mm people, 70mm films, 70mm sound, 70mm film credits, 70mm history and 70mm technology. Readers and fans of 70mm are always welcome to contribute.

Disclaimer | Updates
Support us
Table of Content

Extracts and longer parts of in70mm.com may be reprinted with the written permission from the editor.
Copyright © 1800 - 2070. All rights reserved.

Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


Camera 65 and the Metro Bourke Street Bigger than…

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Eric White, Melbourne, AustraliaDate: 22.05.2010
Back in the late sixties or early seventies, during the run of "The Shoes Of The Fisherman" in Melbourne, I remember Graham McGhee, one of the projectionists, telling me that MGM had planned to put 70mm into their Bourke Street Metro for "Ben-Hur", but decided that the theatre would not have been able to install a wide enough screen to make it worthwhile.

"Ben-Hur" was filmed in a process called Camera 65, which was basically 70mm with a slight horizontal 'squeeze', and if projected in this format there would have been a projection aspect ratio of about 2.7:1, much wider than CinemaScope, whose aspect ratio in the late fifties had settled down to about 2.3:1 (Originally it was 2.55:1). I would assume that Metro would have wished to have shown "Ben-Hur" in 70mm at this ultra wide ratio in its hard ticket seasons, and the Bourke St proscenium could just not accommodate it. (Neither could MGM’s St James in Sydney if reports from that city are to be believed). Apart from that, the projection room at Bourke Street was very small. I am not sure that there would have been enough head-room for 70mm machines, with their big 6,000 ft spool boxes. The rewind room was so small that the supply arm of the rewinders had to be mounted unusually high above the bench with the film making a right-angle bend around a roller to allow enough bench space to make splices on. I have seen nothing like that anywhere else.
More in 70mm reading:

The lost world of 70mm Theatres By Ian Hanson

A comment to "The lost world of 70mm Theatres"

Cinerama At the Plaza

The history of some cost- saving approaches to the 70mm experience

Internet link:

The ultra-wide projection angle made possible with the use of the 70mm Camera 65 Process.

The Bourke Street Metro was a two-gallery theatre, like the Collins Street Athenaeum, and as was the case there, the projection rake was quite steep. I cannot remember if the screen was tilted at all. An ultra-wide screen would have required some sort of a curve, which would have produced the sort of distortion that the picture had at the Greater Union’s Chelsea Cinema in Flinders Street. Horizons and credits buckled upwards towards the sides of the screen. It is reputed that the CinemaScope prints of "Ben-Hur" had a slight frame-line because of the wide aspect-ratio used in shooting, and it is likely that the height of the screen was actually reduced a fraction, so the picture would have been about 2.5:1. If you look at the DVD, it is taken off a Scope print and the "letterboxing" is more severe than normal. I am not sure to what extent "Ben-Hur" was shown with the squeezed 70mm prints overseas. I believe that some American first-run engagements would have been presented in this way, but even in 1959 70mm theatres were not all that thick on the ground and those that existed would mainly have been showing "Around The World In 80 Days" and "South Pacific", with perhaps a bit of "Sleeping Beauty" thrown in. Philips were only producing about 50 pairs of 70mm machines a year and Cinemeccanica was only just starting production. Of course, there were also Simplex and Century 70mm machines coming into production. But it could not be taken for granted that every big American city would have a 70mm house. So I cannot say to what extent "Ben-Hur" was originally shown in 70mm.
In the late 1960s there was a revival of "Ben-Hur" at the Chelsea in Melbourne and this was an unsqueezed 70mm print with an aspect ratio of about 2.2:1. It may well be the same print that is screened at St. Kilda’s Astor Theatre from time to time (usually at Christmas and Easter). As the aspect ratio is narrower than that used during filming, the sides of the picture get cut off. For most of the time this does not matter, but in a couple of shots it is noticeable. The DVD shows everything however.

If you wish to see "Ben-Hur" in its 70mm splendor, a visit to the Astor is well worth the trip. The print is still in very good condition, with the colour intact.

Photographs: Diagrams and artwork from the collections of Ross King & Kevin Adams
Go: back - top - back issues - news index
Updated 21-01-24