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2001 in HD


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#1 Dan Goulder

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 09:42 PM

Just caught 2001 on HD cable. Now, THAT'S what I'm talkin' about! It looked incredible, leading one to believe that 65mm production might still have a viable potential, even if not theatrically, with the emergence of HD.
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#2 Jan Weis

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 10:09 PM

Just caught 2001 on HD cable. Now, THAT'S what I'm talkin' about! It looked incredible, leading one to believe that 65mm production might still have a viable potential, even if not theatrically, with the emergence of HD.



What I dont get is what the bloody point was with shooting film in 65mm back in the good old days, it must have cost a fortune... Well I guess it was suppose to compete with television, thats the only reason I could come up with.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 10:21 PM

You're a film student... and you're questioning the need to spend more money to get a better image on the big screen? Are you studying producing? ;)

The widescreen era of the 1950's and 1960's was mostly about creating an immersive experience for the viewer with clear, sharp images and multi-channel sound projected onto huge (often) curved screens. You have to think of a large-negative production like "2001" as being more like an IMAX film of its day, not just meant to compete with TV, but be more visually impressive than a typical 35mm production.
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#4 Dan Goulder

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 10:29 PM

What I dont get is what the bloody point was with shooting film in 65mm back in the good old days, it must have cost a fortune... Well I guess it was suppose to compete with television, thats the only reason I could come up with.

Many theaters were equipped to optionally project in the larger format. In fact, 2001 was originally released in Cinerama, which benefitted by being derived from a larger original negative. It can be argued that 65mm is as big a jump in quality over 35mm as 35mm is to 16mm. The level of sharpness and resolution is noticeably beyond that of any other acquisition format to this day(excluding possibly VistaVision and IMAX).
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#5 Jan Weis

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 10:33 PM

So What was the big reason for shutting down most of the 65mm productions?Did it have something to do with money? Or did the screens just get smaller? ;)

Edited by ozzball, 01 July 2006 - 10:34 PM.

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 11:32 PM

In the 1960's, a decent optical printer lens was made to blow-up 35mm anamorphic to 70mm, and was used for 35mm movies like "Dr. Zhivago", which a lot of people thought was shot in 65mm like "Lawrence of Arabia" (despite the success of "Dr. Zhivago", David Lean was not satisfied with the quality of 35mm and shot his next film, "Ryan's Daughter" in 65mm).

But as 35mm stock kept improving, fewer people found a need to shoot in 65mm (even though that was improving equally.)

So you saw the rise of 70mm blow-ups in the mid 1960's through the 1970's, lasting until digital sound hit in the 1990's (until then, 6-track sound was only possible on 70mm prints, another reason why people did blow-ups.)

Cost-cutting by the studios was another reason, many of them in the dumps financially in the 1970's.

The last 65mm movies were early 1970's films like "Patton" and "Ryan's Daughter", with a few exceptions since then (the live-action for "Tron", all of "Baraka", "Far and Away", "Hamlet", parts of "Brainstorm" and "Little Buddha".)

Another part of the problem has been cost-cutting at movie theaters, who switched over to a platter system for 35mm movies to reduce the need for skilled projectionists, who are still needed to show 70mm. So even if you shot in 65mm, you'd be hard-pressed to find many chains willing to show a 70mm print even though they still have the projectors. The rise of the shoebox theaters in multiplexes in the late 1970's didn't help, combined with the fall of so many movie palaces.

Ironically, nowadays we have just as many IMAX-DMR blow-up prints from 35mm as we used to have 70mm blow-ups. Trouble is that they tend to be for only one movie at a time, and it has to be a really mainstream movie in order to justify the costs of the digital blow-up to IMAX. You can't shoot a historical drama in 65mm and hope to get an IMAX release, nor a major 70mm release.

Trouble is that few people get to see 70mm prints of 65mm photography anymore to know just how good it looks. I saw the last 40 minutes of the 4-hour "Cleopatra" at the Aero Theater the other week, a new 70mm print made off of the 65mm negative, and it was RAZOR sharp -- wide crowd shots were amazing, you could clearly see every person in the wide frame. 35mm anamorphic doesn't even come close.
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#7 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 09:17 AM

Don't forget sound was a major factor in the popularity of 70mm prints - it was the only way to deliver 6-channel discreet sound in those days. When DTS, SDDS and Dolby Digital became availble to 35mm prints in the eraly 90's, that was another nail in the coffin for exhibiting 70mm. There IS a DTS standard for 70mm, so it would be fully viable to bring 70mm into digital sound, but I doubt it's going to happen.

Maybe 65mm will have a slight comeuppance as a format to originate on down the line when 4K projectors become more availble, but to be honest, I doubt it. It's will probably remain an enthusiast or novelty format from now on. Too bad.
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#8 Hunter Sandison

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:17 AM

I don't know anything at all about these large formats and would appreciate a quick education. What's this difference between the 65mm and 70mm films? Is 65mm a production format and 70mm a projection format?
Also, what is IMAX? Is it captured and projected sideways so the vertical frame not the horizontal is 70mm?
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#9 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 08:59 AM

Yes, 65mm was the width of the neg and 70mm of the release print. They added 5mm on the release side to give room for the above-mentioned magnetic sound stripes (3 on each side of the print outside the perfs).

65mm is also 5-perf pulldown (as compared to 35mm's 4-perf). IMAX is the same 65mm negative running sideways, but now the pulldown (or pull-sideways, to be correct) is increased to 15 perf - making the neg 3 times larger than a 65mm 5-perf neg. Sometimes it's therefore called 15/70 (perfs/release format in mm). IMAX is just a brand name like Kleenex.

There is also a halfway system called 8/70 which obviously pulls down 8-perf's. The 8/70 cameras pull down vertically like the 5-perf cameras, not sideways like the IMAX. It's a way to make IMAX cameras slightly smaller and cheaper to use and still be able to blow up to 15/70 with good results.
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#10 Filip Plesha

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 09:29 AM

What I dont get is what the bloody point was with shooting film in 65mm back in the good old days, it must have cost a fortune... Well I guess it was suppose to compete with television, thats the only reason I could come up with.


same answer as to the question:
What's the point of shooting 35mm instead of 16mm or super8?

Edited by Filip Plesha, 03 July 2006 - 09:31 AM.

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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 10:58 AM

To add to what Adam said, 5-perf 65mm has a native aspect ratio of 2.20 : 1 using spherical lenses. IMAX, 15-perf horizontal 65/70, is basically 1.33 : 1.

The reason why the negative is 65mm and the print is 70mm was a clever solution to a problem -- the format was developed by Michael Todd as a competitor to Cinerama and called Todd-AO (he partnered with American Optical). But the simplest way of getting a bigger format was to dig up an old 65mm cameras built in 1930 for a widescreen process that never took off. But they wanted to use the whole negative for picture area. Probably the original plan was to run the sound separately on 35mm fullcoat mag rolls like Cinerama did (and IMAX did until DTS) and like CinemaScope originally planned on doing, but then a decision was made to put mag striping on the print itself. Rather than reduce the picture area, they added 5 mm outside the perf rows to the print stock, so the 65mm neg could still be contact-printed onto the 70mm print.

You might want to spend some time here:
http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/
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#12 Chris Keth

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:11 AM

To add to what Adam said, 5-perf 65mm has a native aspect ratio of 2.20 : 1 using spherical lenses. IMAX, 15-perf horizontal 65/70, is basically 1.33 : 1.

The reason why the negative is 65mm and the print is 70mm was a clever solution to a problem -- the format was developed by Michael Todd as a competitor to Cinerama and called Todd-AO (he partnered with American Optical). But the simplest way of getting a bigger format was to dig up an old 65mm cameras built in 1930 for a widescreen process that never took off. But they wanted to use the whole negative for picture area. Probably the original plan was to run the sound separately on 35mm fullcoat mag rolls like Cinerama did (and IMAX did until DTS) and like CinemaScope originally planned on doing, but then a decision was made to put mag striping on the print itself. Rather than reduce the picture area, they added 5 mm outside the perf rows to the print stock, so the 65mm neg could still be contact-printed onto the 70mm print.

You might want to spend some time here:
http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/


Isn't another signiture IMAX trait that it's often shot with very wide lenses (that actually do give barrel distortion) and then projected on hemispherical screens so it effectively cancels out the barrel distortion, but also gives that wrap-around feeling in the theater?
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:22 AM

Isn't another signiture IMAX trait that it's often shot with very wide lenses (that actually do give barrel distortion) and then projected on hemispherical screens so it effectively cancels out the barrel distortion, but also gives that wrap-around feeling in the theater?


OMNIMAX is projected on dome screens, although nowadays a theater with a dome screen might call it IMAX.

Actually, I hate OMNIMAX -- horribly distorted, and the curved white surface causes any bright areas in the image to bounce and fog the blacks in the rest of the frame. Day exterior shots are always washed-out looking. Cinerama solved the curved screen cross-reflection problem by using ribbons instead of a solid screen, but that wouldn't work on a dome.

Yes, IMAX movies are fond of fish-eye and other wide-angle shots. Remember that the screen is so large that you are looking more into the middle of the frame, so it's almost like seeing a more normal focal length image, with the curvature on the outside edges.

Cinerama used three 27mm lenses on 6-perf 35mm to create a 150 degree field of view, again so that your peripheral vision was engaged on a big wide screen. In this case, the inventor, Fred Waller, decided that it would be easier to just increase the size of the projected image horizontally rather than in all directions like a big, tall IMAX screen. The advantage of the three-len / three-camera / three-projector rig was that each lens was not too wide-angle so there wasn't the same curvature problems, plus each projector only had 1/3 of the screen to focus on, so the image was bright and sharp from edge to edge. But the downside was that each image didn't line-up perfectly and each image had its own vanishing point, plus you were stuck with the single focal length for the whole movie.

That's something to remember, that a wide-angle shot will look less wide-angle on a larger screen because your eyes are concentrating on a smaller area of the frame.

Some people say that Kubrick used so many super-wide-angle barrel-distorted lenses on "2001" because he knew it was going to be projected onto curved Cinerama screens, but the truth is that it's not so much that the curved screen CORRECTS the barrel distortion but that it tends to be on the periphery of your vision and the curved image is already distorted to some degree anyway. Besides, Kubrick used barrel-distorted wide-angle lenses even on his later 35mm spherical movies.
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#14 Filip Plesha

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:36 PM

Isn't another signiture IMAX trait that it's often shot with very wide lenses (that actually do give barrel distortion) and then projected on hemispherical screens so it effectively cancels out the barrel distortion, but also gives that wrap-around feeling in the theater?



that's nothing inherent to the IMAX format itself, but rather a result of way that format is used.

IMAX is basically similar to 6x7 in motion. I'm not sure, but I think they use medium format lenses too, so it's just like any photographic format.
If it were projected to a normal screen, they could use all kinds of lenses like are used for other formats.

I consider this whole fisheye giant screen thing to be a circus and a waste of a format with great potential.

It would be a great format for 35mm grainless sharp reductions, and in its native 70mm size it would
make wonderfull smooth and sharp images on standard screens for special presentations.
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#15 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:38 PM

Many theaters were equipped to optionally project in the larger format. In fact, 2001 was originally released in Cinerama, which benefitted by being derived from a larger original negative. It can be argued that 65mm is as big a jump in quality over 35mm as 35mm is to 16mm. The level of sharpness and resolution is noticeably beyond that of any other acquisition format to this day(excluding possibly VistaVision and IMAX).


---Somewhere I read Kubrick quted that he made '2001' in Cinerama because they had the nicest theatres.

In the 50s and most of the 60s 70mm movies were 'road show' presentations.
You had fancier theaters. advance ticket sales.
The feature had an overture, intermission and exit music.
A some what theater like experience.

The picture height of 1.66 Vistavision is almost the same as 65mm, but not as wide.
& Technicolr IB 35mm prints from a 65mm OCN were still stunning.

---LV
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:45 PM

You're thinking like a still photographer -- try paying for a format where the stock costs will be 6X more than shooting in 4-perf 35mm, where on a typical feature, you'd probably shoot 200,000' of 35mm and spend about $100,000 on stock & processing.

Not to mention that IMAX films are usually looped because the cameras are noisy, so using a blimp around an IMAX camera with a 10 minute load would be like returning to the days of the blimped Technicolor camera that needed four people to lift...

I think 5-perf 65mm would be more than adequate to improve the quality of theatrical projection, as long as you can live with fact that most theaters would get a 35mm reduction. Maybe VistaVision for 1.85 and 16x9 HD applications, as long as someone finally builds a modern sync-sound VistaVision camera -- we can call it Super-Duper-35.

Unfortunately I don't see a coming renaissance in large-format photography -- you'll have to pin your hopes on future digital cameras....
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#17 Filip Plesha

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:13 PM

I know, I'm just dreaming aloud.
I have this thing about wishing to see 6x6 trannies in motion in front of my eyes one day :)

But still, all the processing and stock cost would not be a problem for a high-budget feature. I think a hollywood period spectacle with expensive actors and production could affoard using 15-perf 65mm. then cropping in post to anything from 2.55:1 to 1.34:1

And as for the noise. I know, they are noisy and the magazines are short, but if industry relied on that format for as long as it relied on 35mm, you would he having silent 15-perf cameras today. There just sin't enough interest for improving these things.

Yes, 5-perf would be an improvement of course, but it is a format optimised for widescreen movies.
When you want to make something more squarish, you'd be throwing image area away.
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#18 Dan Goulder

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 04:53 PM

In the 50s and most of the 60s 70mm movies were 'road show' presentations.
You had fancier theaters. advance ticket sales.
The feature had an overture, intermission and exit music.
A some what theater like experience.

Come to think of it, does anyone know what the last movie release was that had an intermission? Ironically, the soft drinks have gotten larger, while the break in the middle has disappeared, despite the occasional (close to) 3-hour movie.
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#19 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:23 PM

I was surprised when I attended the premier of a "Bollywood" movie I worked on, and it actually had an intermission. So I think part of it may be cultural. I know there are some Indian filmmakers on this forum -- are intermissions common in Indian films?
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#20 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:27 PM

there are no intermissions in the UK, but im sure its still a common thing in italy, no matter what film it is
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