I am a grad student in film at UW Madison currently researching Techniscope for a semester paper (which will hopefully expand in the future). I am hoping you may be able to help me.
Let me tell you a little bit about my project. First off, it's for a seminar on film stylistics taught by Lea Jacobs and David Bordwell. The seminar centers on the development of stylistic norms, which may often be influenced by technological parameters. My paper concerns a trend in Jean-Luc Godard’s movies best exemplified by his widescreen films of the mid 60s (particularly Made in USA and Two or Three Things I Know About Her). From a very broad perspective, my research may be stated as follows: what kinds of continuities and changes do we see in Godard’s widescreen films and what are some possible explanations? My initial observations lead me to believe that Godard moves towards a sense of pictorial abstraction often intermingling characters, elements of cultural detritus, and brilliant swaths of color within the vast, fragmented, horizontal strip of space. These tendencies also arise in one of his standard ratio films, A Married Woman, as well, but they seem to reach a new pitch of emphasis in his widescreen cinema. With this in mind, I intend to ask, more specifically, did Godard envision the Scope format as inherently abstract and flat or did the technology enable a preconceived stylistic program?
So, in order to carry this out, I’m trying to gather information about Techniscope, the technology he used for his later widescreen films of the 1960s. I’ve found some information about the process, but I’m hoping to dive deeper than general history and broad technical specifications. I want to know the gritty details of shooting with Techniscope; what possibilities did it open up or foreclose? How was it perceived within the industry? My sources stipulate that Techniscope essentially entailed modifications to the pull down mechanism and aperture plates of standard Arriflex and Mitchell 35 mm cameras and that it could accommodate a range of lenses and focal lengths (18mm -300mm) that were unfeasible for contemporary anamorphic lenses. I would like to know more about the actual stylistic consequences of these technological parameters. Although my primary interest concerns Godard’s filmmaking, a nuanced understanding of the technology he used is integral to the success of my research.
Any assistance you could provide would be helpful. I will greatly appreciate anything you have to say about Techniscope or suggestions for research or cinematographers / industry personnel to contact.
Thanks in advance!
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