Remember real 70mm?
Digital & 65mm: Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Cinema (International 70mm Publishers, Arnhem, The Netherlands, 2010, 61p.)
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Rick Mitchell, Hollywood, USA.||Date: 26.04.2010|
|Despite the first word in the title, a secondary sub-title, History and Development of 70mm, really sums up what this book is about, a paean by fans of production in 65mm and presentation in 70mm and a hope that it still might be in our theatrical future. Edited and published by Johan Wolthuis, it includes historical background, memories of the Fifties and Sixties roadshow experience, and recent research into the possibilities of contemporary 65mm production from a number of sources, including your humble spammer.|
Most of you remember the unique total experience of seeing "Ben-Hur", "Lawrence of Arabia", "Cleopatra", or "The Sound of Music" in big movie palaces with huge screens and the incredible clarity and depth of the 70mm image from a 65mm negative. Those who live in Los Angeles or near Bradford, England, Berlin, and a few other selected sites in Europe have had the opportunity to relive that experience in recent years with gorgeous new 70mm prints of many of these films in comparable contemporary venues, though they may not be as impressive to today's video addled generation.
Yet, at a time when exhibition seems to be increasingly desperate for audiences (though you wouldn't think so from the way they keep raising prices), you'd think someone in the industry would realize that providing an image video has yet to match, might be an answer.
|More in 70mm reading:|
"Digital & 65mm" - New book from International 70mm Publishers
|The Smurf movie the way it should have been? |
Unfortunately, the hope behind this publication has been overrun by "Avatar" and the industry's current obsession with 3-D. Perhaps if a viable 65/70mm film had been ready for release in the next month or so, it might have provided a riposte to those who don't like 3-D and all the problems associated with viewing it. One problem, which I point out in my contribution to the book, is that the type of film with which 65mm was associated in the Fifties and Sixties is not likely to attract today's audiences, especially younger ones, and the kind of material that is likely to do so is also the kind of material considered uniquely suited to 3-D.
Though obviously the work of informed fans, there is a lot of useful information in this book, making it something that scholars as well as fans might like to have at hand as a quick reference. There are articles on the development of Todd-AO, a salute to Mike Todd, and tributes to some key films like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Porgy and Bess"; there is even an article on unique 70mm projectors. There are reminiscences of the roadshow experience in England and very interesting articles on 65/70mm production and exhibition on the European continent, in Russia, and in Asia. And a most interesting article by Andrew Oran of Fotokem on their restoration work on 65mm negatives.
On a more contemporary level, there are articles on the decline in exhibition and how it might be improved, particularly if 70mm is added, though those articles are likely to find better reception in Europe than in the cultural backwater.
|"Until a US-based distribution plan is established for the book, individual copies may be purchased by mail order from the author/publisher, via e-mail. He does hope to get it placed in at least one of the prominent motion picture books bookstores in the L.A. area, for retail sales. If you would be interested in being notified when such a retail outlet it confirmed, Johan could place your name on an e-mail list, to announce that arrangement to you.|
Also, Mr. Wolthuis will be in L.A. at the end of May, and, while his specific plans are not yet fully worked out, he expects to be in attendance at the Sunday, May 30 (7:30PM) 70mm screening of "Lawrence of Arabia", at American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica." He will have copies of the book with him there."
More important is an article entitled "Waking the Sleeping Giant" by Brian Guckian, Ramon Lamarca Marques, and Mike Taylor of the 65/70mm Workshop who seriously and deeply looked into what would be involved in making a 65mm film today. It would actually not be that difficult. Panavision and Arriflex made new state-of-the-art 65mm cameras in the late Eighties, at least one American laboratory handles the stock (I don't know if Technicolor North Hollywood still does but I believe Technicolor London does) [no, 70mm closed, when they moved to Pinewood, ed], post-production uses standard digital technology; the only potential problem is getting projectors into theaters. And it wouldn't actually add that much more to the cost of the kind of tentpole film likely to be used for the format; a highly efficient director like Clint Eastwood or Joe Dante could probably do a good 65mm film for less than the craft services costs on "Clash of the Titans".
The book comes with poster of classic 65/70mm films and the American price is $29.00 for both. There is not an American distributor as I write this.
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