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Arrifflex 765 65mm Camera


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#1 Joe Taylor

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 01:17 AM

Does anybody know where one could find some good detailed information about the 765? Such as how many have been made, what they are worth, movies that have been shot with them and so on?

If you've had personal experience with this camera, I'd like to hear about that too.

With the all the hype surrounding the IMAX footage shot in "Dark Knight," it would really great to see a revolution of sorts with more and more filmmakers shooting 70mm.

It seems the excuse for not shooting feature length 70mm anymore is that nobody hs the projectors. That is not neccesarily true. They're still out there. A decade ago, Kenneth Branagh shot Hamlet and Ron Howard shot "Far and Away."

I elect that "Blood Meridian" be the next 70mm epic. It can be done
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#2 Andrew McCarrick

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 01:26 AM

It seems the excuse for not shooting feature length 70mm anymore is that nobody hs the projectors. That is not neccesarily true. They're still out there. A decade ago, Kenneth Branagh shot Hamlet and Ron Howard shot "Far and Away."


I think the reason alot of films aren't 70/65mm is the weight of the camera, even unloaded it weighs 70 pounds. If you've seen Storm Chasers on the Discovery Channel, they chase torandos in a Toranado Intercept Vehicle and film them in 70/65mm. The guy that films always struggles to get the camera up onto the tripod (only a 3 foot lift).

Edited by Andrew McCarrick, 05 July 2008 - 01:26 AM.

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#3 Alessandro Malfatti

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 05:32 PM

Wow, I didn't know that 65mm was still used to shoot a major movie as recently as '96. But how do you mean that there aren't any projectors out there? In the cinemas you mean? If so, I must say that indeed there aren't, in the multiplexes, that is. I don't doubt some traditional movie theatres still have them, AND use them (the 35/70 models), but it's not really mainstream anymore. I think it's more because of the cost and problems, like the heavy camera. And it wouldn't make too much sense in my opinion, since most movies get are edited in digital form and printed in 2K or 4K. So what would be the point, you'd have it transferred to digital anyway, the better quality would get lost, at least part of it. Now, if you edit in a traditional way, that would be a whole other story (and a whole other price range.....)
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#4 Joe Taylor

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 06:05 PM

There are still theatres that own 70mm projectors. I just found out that Billy Joe's Pitcher Show in Des Moines, IA has a 70mm projector that they used regularly as late as the early 90's-- and it still works.

IF weight is a big problem, all that really means is that filmmaker's today are just lazier from their counterparts of the 60's and 70's. I really don't think that is the reason.
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#5 Alessandro Malfatti

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 06:08 PM

Sure, there are a few theatres with 70mm projectors... but they're too few as to make 70mm viable, I suppose.
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 06:17 PM

Sure, there are a few theatres with 70mm projectors... but they're too few as to make 70mm viable, I suppose.


I don't accept this argument as viable. Theatres seem more than willing to dump tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into Christie digital preview projectors or even DLP projectors for their movies.

How much would a 35/70 convertable projector cost? One could probably be had for under $2K, and it would show 35mm too.

I think it is time to come out with a new standard to allow for an analog optical track in tandem to the digital track on a 70mm print to eliminate the cost of mag stripes and to make the format viable again, just as 2 perf. has become viable again.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 06:38 PM

Most 70mm projectors require a real projectionist to run them, do reel changeovers, and real projectionists cost more than the kid making popcorn to hit a switch. And in some areas, a 70mm projectionist is a union position.

Hence why even when 70mm prints were an option to rent, many theater owners opted to rent the 35mm prints instead, even though they had a 70mm projector.

Digital projection makes automation even easier, with it possible to send signals from the same server to different projectors, etc. Though most don't do it that way yet.
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#8 Joe Taylor

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 06:53 PM

Even though there are just a few 70mm theatres out there, the quality 35mm reductions from 70mm still surpasses mateial originated on 35mm.

A film could be shot in 65mm, market as such, have premiers and road shows in 70mm, and all the megaplexes could benefit with by showing superior 35mm prints of their epic that was created from a pristine 70mm negatives.

HighDef versions would be created from scanned 70mm sources, marketed as such and the studios would not be lying about the superior picture.

I think it is an awesome idea-- and I still elect that "Blood Meridian" be given this treatment-- sans Ridley Scott. A picture like this needs a fresh vision. Coen would be a superb choice.
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#9 Joe Taylor

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 07:00 PM

Even though there are just a few 70mm theatres out there, the quality of 35mm reductions from 70mm still surpasses material originated on 35mm.

A film could be shot in 65mm, marketed as such, have its premiers and road shows projected in 70mm. Furthermore the megaplexes would benefit by showing superior 35mm prints of their epic that was created from a pristine 70mm negative.

HighDef versions would be created from scanned 70mm sources, marketed as such and the studios would not be lying about the superior picture. In HighDef, it would so evident. Look at "2001" on a good HighDef set. 70mm has a look that's all its own.

I think it is an awesome idea-- and I still elect that "Blood Meridian" be given the treatment-- sans Ridley Scott. A picture like this needs a fresh vision. Coen would be a superb choice.

A picture like this would bring back the days when a big film was an event.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 07:06 PM

Most 70mm projectors require a real projectionist to run them, do reel changeovers, and real projectionists cost more than the kid making popcorn to hit a switch. And in some areas, a 70mm projectionist is a union position.


Why would it be so difficult to rig up a 70mm platter system instead of a 35mm one? 70mm ought to cost more per ticket than 35mm, just like Imax costs more, but it would be worth it.

Here in my neck of the woods, 35mm projectionists are/can be union positions too, so what's your point? Don't tell me you think union projectionists are bad when the entire film industry is unionized, and you yourselves reap the benefits of union memberships
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#11 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 07:07 PM

IF weight is a big problem, all that really means is that filmmaker's today are just lazier from their counterparts of the 60's and 70's. I really don't think that is the reason.

That might be one of the reasons, but I doubt it's the main one. Everything comes down to money, and the fact is that 65mm costs more. The only thing that might be cheaper is the camera rental, since demand is low. Everything else is going to be more expensive.
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#12 Tom Lowe

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 07:09 PM

Shooting 65mm would be most useful if you were planning the production to get a run on IMAX screens. Then your audience will really be able to see the difference. Trying to get multiplexes to drag out old 70mm film projectors aint gonna happen. But IMAX is already in place. Actually, IMAX is building hundreds of new screens across the country right now. In many ways, IMAX is the future.

That's why many of us were wondering aloud why Nolan didn't just go ahead and shoot the entire Dark Night in 65mm. Someone will, soon. Apparently Malick is shooting a 45-minute segment of Tree of Life on 65mm, which will also run as a stand-alone 45-minute IMAX movie. And of course Ron Fricke is shooting his follow-up to Baraka on 65mm right now. It seems almost certain to me that Fricke's film will get a run (maybe its only theatrical run?) on IMAX screens around the world.
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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 07:18 PM

Shooting 65mm would be most useful if you were planning the production to get a run on IMAX screens. Then your audience will really be able to see the difference. Trying to get multiplexes to drag out old 70mm film projectors aint gonna happen. But IMAX is already in place. Actually, IMAX is building hundreds of new screens across the country right now. In many ways, IMAX is the future.


I don't know. I think theatres are reluctant to drag 70mm projectors out if there's nothing in it for them, but if The Dark Knight does really well in Imax, perhaps this will be impetus for them to offer something not quite as grandiose for a cost somewhere in between the cost of an Imax ticket and the cost of a regular ticket, or just eat any cost increase and actually have full audiences because they may actually be able to fill houses like they aren't able to do now with the crap quality of the average theatrical experience.

And again, they already HAVE them, or can get them for next-to-nothing.

ANother problem with Imax/Omnimax is a lot of the damned theatres, like ours, only show nature films. I have no problem with this type of films. I went to see March of the Penguins, the IMAX film with the astronauts, and one about the deep sea amongst others, but it seems that this elitist attitude towards nature films is commonplace amongst many Imax theatres and that a relatively small amount, mostly IMAX screens that are part of bigger 35mm multiplexes, are actually willing to show IMAX blowups.

So it'd make sense that movie theatres without IMAX screens would want to compete if their business starts to get dawn away by the IMAX crowd.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 07:38 PM

I didn't say that union projectionists were bad, only that theaters bend over backwards to find ways of reducing labor costs. Generally you'd have a projectionist at every 70mm screening, whereas the manager could handle a typical platter system for a 35mm theater.

Sure, a 70mm platter system could be designed, but who is going to bother when there's no current 5-perf 70mm release prints and if there were, it may be only one or two titles a year?

It's not a question of technology, it's a question of trends and cost savings. Why do you think digital has been so slow to implement? The theater owners are just now figuring out in what ways it may save them money. 3D is only gaining ground because it is relatively easy to set-up with a digital projection system.

There are enough IMAX theaters now to handle the blockbusters that want to release that way, the problem is what to do about the medium-size or art films that want to release in 5-perf 70mm. They aren't going to get booked in an IMAX theater and they aren't going to spend the money for an IMAX blow-up.

I'm a big fan of 70mm projection. For any large screen, you're really pushing 35mm to the limit to fill a screen that large from that far away -- it's only the size of a postage stamp afterall.

I'd love to see 70mm come back, really I would. I'm only relating the reasons why we have seen a decline.

The primary reason is digital sound. Filmmakers and studios put up with the extra expense of 70mm blow-ups so they could get 6-track sound. Once multi-track sound became possible on a 35mm print thanks to DTS, SDDS, etc. then that was one less reason to make a 70mm blow-up. Once the number of 70mm releases dropped, there was less incentive to keep the projectors working, and the occasional 70mm print screening became a bigger ordeal for the theater owner. So it was a cycle of disincentives and there is no particularly new force at play that will reverse it.

The primary argument for 70mm projection is quality. However, that's not really a very convincing argument these days. Odds are more likely to see 4K projection eventually than a return of 70mm projection. Even IMAX is exploring ways to drop film print projection.
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#15 Brian Rose

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 09:19 PM

As a projection format, I'm (sadly) going to have to agree with David. With the way digital projection trends are headed, and considering there the dearth of 5 perf prints, there is no reason for a theatre showing mainstream commercial pics to wide audiences to invest in a projector capable of showing the format.

But, I do think there remains potential for 65mm as an acquisition format. It seems a wonderfully fluid format. You could easily downconvert to 35mm, and yield a print with superior quality to that with a 35mm neg as the source. You could also convert for Imax, and charge extra (which I believe many would be willing to pay, myself included). You would also have a source with such high resolution and clarity that it would be able to weather the trends and shifts in high definition projection and viewing for years to come. For me, shooting in 65mm is a worthy bit of insurance against the unpredictable future.

I think the key is marketing. You've got to make it part of the campaign to sell your picture. Hype its superior visual clarity. Studios don't do this anymore, and it mystifies me. Why, for example, hasn't there been any hype about Dark Knight's imax scenes? All they say is "coming soon to theatres and imax." They don't make clear what IMAX is, and why this film is different from films like Spiderman and Transformers which were merely blow-ups. Frankly, I think the studios and theatres take their audiences for granted, and that's a big part of why audiences are fleeing in droves to the home theatre. It is unrealistic to expect ticket prices or concessions to go down, but if they want to bring people back to the theatres, they've got to give the people bang for their buck, and shooting in 65mm is one big step in the right direction.

Best,
BR
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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 10:36 PM

As a projection format, I'm (sadly) going to have to agree with David. With the way digital projection trends are headed, and considering there the dearth of 5 perf prints, there is no reason for a theatre showing mainstream commercial pics to wide audiences to invest in a projector capable of showing the format.


What about if they ALREADY HAVE THEM???

Not the newer theatres, but how many theatres have been built in the last 10 years? Those projectors are more common than you'd think. I don't think paying a Union guy an extra $2.50 an hour over what the assistant manager makes should be that much of a bank breaker. . .
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 11:31 PM

Karl, if it were so simple, then you tell us why 70mm releases died off, because you seem to not want to believe our lists of reasons. You must have a different theory if it's not cost of prints, cost of projectionists, cost of shipping, cost of the blow-ups, the loss of multi-track sound as a unique selling point... not the mention the costs of shooting in 65mm if it's not a blow-up from 35mm.

There have been many directors who have considered shooting in 65mm again since "Hamlet", and they all run into the same reality -- so few theaters that would show the movie in 70mm, not enough to justify the costs. At least in the case of "Dark Knight" they have a commitment to an IMAX release to justify shooting portions in IMAX.

One of the last 70mm releases was "Titantic" and James Cameron said at the time that he almost paid for the blow-up out of his own pocket because 20th Century Fox had no interest in doing 70mm releases anymore. Even though he proved to them that the 70mm prints looked better than the 35mm prints. And that was back when the theaters were still showing 70mm now & then -- one of the biggest release orders in history for 70mm prints was just a few years earlier for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

Now you've got Spielberg trying to convince people to see the latest one in 35mm and not digital; it seems that a 70mm release wasn't even a possibility.

I agree that we need something of the showman mentality of the 1950's and bring back big-screen images that will wow audiences, but the studios aren't convinced it will sell more tickets (the truth is that that era of large format movies really peaked in only seven years anyway, with just a trickle in the following decade.) They think that wall-to-wall CGI effects sell tickets, so that's where they want to spend the money, not on making sharper pictures. Even the widescreen era of the 1950's was something of a panic attack by the studios, it was not well-planned and though-out. TV was stealing ticket sales and then in 1952, "This is Cinerama" -- a travelogue -- was the highest grossing movie of the year even though in only played in a couple of theaters. It was almost like the "Star Wars" of that decade, and the studios rushed to cash in on the phenomenon.

But there's no feeling nowadays that audiences will leap to see sharper big screen images in large numbers beyond the IMAX releases. Instead, there's a feeling that young people want to see CGI fantasy movies and that's the crowd they should be catering to. And those movies are expensive to make. When that trend dies out, the studios will panic again and jump at some other trend, snatching at straws.

70mm, to them, is like spending a couple of extra dollars on Vision Premier print stock, which most studios won't do either -- because they think extra picture quality is something only a few directors and DP's care about, and a few cinephiles, but not hordes of teenage boys.

Higher picture quality is only going to happen if it sneaks in the back door and costs nothing extra -- i.e. the technology gets better and cheaper.
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#18 Tom Lowe

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 01:09 AM

I think that the answer is staring us right in the face: IMAX. The screens are so massive and the resolution so detailed that it really separates itself from people being able to mimic the format at home on HD. The screen is several stories tall for heavens sake.

I bet Samsara, Dark Night and Tree of Life will ignite a ton of interest in acquiring feature films on 65mm or very high resolution digital cameras - like 6- or 8K cameras. It's no fluke that IMAX just got a ton of money invested in them to build hundreds of new screens. It's really the killer format. And once IMAX moves away from nature films and the sort of discovery channel on steroids stuff they keep running, and switches to big-marque features, IMAX will be even bigger.

I agree that watching a 70mm print projected at 70mm is a beautiful thing. But let's face reality: it's not coming back. IMAX is the bird in the hand.

Edited by Tom Lowe, 06 July 2008 - 01:10 AM.

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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 12:21 PM

IMAX projection is beautiful but it bugs me that it is so wasteful, i.e. most movies are widescreen and IMAX is 1.34 to 1.45-ish... so most Hollywood movies released in IMAX end up letterboxing the print.

So it makes you think that they'd be better off financially with 5-perf 70mm for a widescreen movie than letterboxing a 15-perf 70mm print.

Though IMAX is still bigger since it is a 70mm wide image rather than a 48mm wide image. But 15-perf 70mm is naturally more expensive than 5-perf 70mm to print.

Instead of making 35mm theaters convertable to 70mm, maybe we should be making 15-perf IMAX projectors switchable to 5-perf 70mm so movies can use those theaters for 5-perf 70mm prints now and then.
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#20 Tom Lowe

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 12:40 PM

So you're basically talking about the projectors at the IMAX theaters?

Maybe a better long-term goal, along the same lines you are suggesting, would just be a 6- or 8K IMAX digital projector? Then you simply upres the 35mm or scan the 65mm and project it digitally?
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