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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


Projecting "Out of Africa" at 140 Amperes
Miscellaneous notes from Open-Air 70MM Movie Magic at Rungstedlund

The 70mm Newsletter
Written and photographed by: Thomas Hauerslev, open air correspondent  Date: 24.08.2014
4000 watts of light beamed through the cold night air at 140 amperes.

At midnight between Friday and Saturday on the 22. August 2014, the last reel of "Out of Afrika" ran out of the Philips DP75 projector. About 100 cinema guests had witnessed another 70mm screening of this Oscar-winning film, and now they could all go home again, with their umbrellas, blankets and chairs.

The film was presented in 70mm by The  Rungstedlund Foundation, on the lawn of the former home of author Karen Blixen (Pen name Isak Dinesen). Rungstedlund had been the home of the world famous Danish author, and "Out of Africa" tells the story of her years in Kenya. Rungstedlund, a mere 24 Km (15 miles) north of central Copenhagen, is now the Karen Blixen Museum, and it opened to the public in 1991, thanks to the success of "Out of Africa". Karen Blixen lived and worked at Rungstedlund, and her home has been preserved since her death in 1962.

About 100 people defied the elements of nature and showed up for the 21:00 show. Many enjoyed food and the lovely beer from Bornholm in the café before the show. An appropriate large format rain fall appeared around 18:30, and lasted for about 30 minutes. After that, it mostly kept dry until the film ended at midnight. The museum had prepared for this and hired a tent, large enough to seat at least 70 people in the event of rain. United International Pictures' Michael Berg had approved the screening.

It went dark around 20:45, and just before the last rays of daylight disappeared, a few minutes before 21, the manager of the museum welcomed everyone. I dimmed the light on the screen after her intro, and started the 70mm projector. Orla took care of the take-up reel on the tower and made sure the film didn't go on the truck floor. His DP75 has a very fast start up curve, so you have to pay close attention to the take-up reel. The film began and John Barry's music and Meryl Steeps voice, with her funny accent pretending to be Danish, filled the night. The DP75 projector was ticking away into the slightly cold night air. Bright big pictures with the silhouettes of the trees and deep blue sky behind it. Pure movie magic.
More in 70mm reading:

Open Air performance of "Out of Africa" in 70MM in Denmark

A Magical Evening with "Out of Africal" in 70mm on Karen Blixen's Lawn
Ultimate "Out of Africa" Performance - in 70mm Open air @ Karen Blixen's museum, Denmark

Reflections on The 70mm Aalborg Film Festival at The Biffen

Internet link:

Bright big pictures with the silhouettes of the trees and deep blue sky behind it. Pure movie magic.

Like previous times of Open-Air 70mm cinema in Denmark, it was Orla Nielsen, from the Biffen in Aalborg, who was hired to run the show. With good reason: he has the 70mm projector and the sound equipment to do it. Nobody else has equipment like this. Since we did not have a platter system to run the film, we had a few extra short intermissions between reel changes. Orla uses a Philips DP75 projector and a Dolby CP65 sound processor. The DP75 has been cut down to a minimum size, repainted and placed on a pedestal with wheels and room enough to accommodate the rectifier below the projector.

I arrived 3 hours before the show with a 99mm ISCO Ultra Star in my bag. It turned out that Orla needed a lens at around 100mm to fill the screen. Orla called me on Thursday to ask I could please bring it with me. Both Orla and I enjoyed the thought, that this particular lens was brought out of retirement to show 70mm again. We toasted to that with two Christmas beers which had expired a few weeks earlier (and were now becoming an Ale). The lens had come from the Imperial Bio in Copenhagen, where the last 70mm film shown with this lens had been "The Master" in 2013. The Imperial was rebuilt in the fall of 2013 to accommodate a larger screen, at which time this lens became an incorrect focal lenght.
"Laurel and Hardy of 70mm", Orla and Thomas in full swing with 70mm presentation. I met Orla in 1986 when I was showing "Out of Africa" in 70mm. We have gone full circle since (several times) presenting this film together.

Mr. Jesper Meng installed the screen. Jesper has several screen rigs like this, which are all in high demand during the summer season, when Jesper's company services open-air film screenings all over Denmark. His big truck is even installed with two beds for the projectionists. Any open-air, or temporary film screening like this, requires a lot of work to prepare. Find the projector, sound and light equipment and move all of it into a truck, complete with reels, rectifiers, towers, an assortment of different lenses etc. And then drive the truck 400 km across the country to set it all up the day before the show. It's basically a true ROAD SHOW.

Nearly 3 hours later the film ended, and it had hardly rained at all. A few rain drops, a little moist in the air and some 5 m/s winds from south west during the night, made the light beam from the projector look very impressive from time to time. We had a proper intermission about an hour after the start for people to buy hot drinks at the café. At midnight we closed the dowser for the last time and people went home. I took the ISCO out, and we closed the truck for the night. Orla went to sleep in his de-luxe truck suite, and I went back to Copenhagen after another unforgettable evening with 70mm.

It might have been easier to do it with a DCP or a BluRay? Orla and I like to show 70mm like this. We prefer to do it with the authentic 70mm print from 1986. It's an analogue experience with reels to carry, lenses to focus, buttons to push and dowsers to pull. It's large format 70mm film and the audience sits right in front of you and can hear the film-loops making their characteristic projector noise. It's very "reel" and authentic, and not as sterile as modern cinema has become. The audience can see what you are doing and what they are paying for. This is real people behind the projector. It's a unique experience.
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Updated 21-01-24