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70MM: A dead format?

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70MM: A dead format?

Old 12-16-05, 01:29 AM
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70MM: A dead format?

I remember seeing T2 in 70MM. It was a great experience, but I don't think I've seen a 70MM film since then. Is it completely dead?

Last edited by aynrandgirl; 12-16-05 at 02:53 AM.
Old 12-16-05, 01:35 AM
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In a sense, no, since IMAX films are shot and shown using 70mm film.

For regular theatrical distribution though, probably. A lot of films, and most of the epic sized movies that would've used 70mm, go through a digital itermediate stage nowadays, with digital effects and grading occuring. These digital files don't have enough resolution to justify a 70mm print. In fact, the trend in theaters is towards eliminating film altogether, and projecting movies digitally.
Old 12-16-05, 05:44 AM
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A blow-up of 35mm to 70mm like the version of T2 you mentioned doesn't really count. Often those films were blown up only to take advantage of the larger number of sound tracks available on 70, not for greater image quality. A blow-up of 35 mm should actually lose image quality, because the grain would be enlarged along with the image.

I believe the last film "entirely shot" on 70 was TRON (some reports say Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet) and before that was Patton. Many other films used 70mm for special effects sequences because it would have more resolution and after degrading passes through the optical printer, the 70mm image would then be about the same quality as the 35 the rest of the film was shot on. For instance Close Encounters and Die Hard. I think this process is all but dead now due to digital effect work.

Terrence Mallick's upcoming epic The New World was intended to be shot entirely on 70, but it was just too expensve. Apparently a large portion of the film WAS shot on 70, but not the whole thing.

I've had mixed feelings about digital projection, but after recently seeing A Histroy of Violence, which was a very badly scratched up print, I say bring it on. If they can get the technology perfected, there should be no worries about poor projection, no matter how old the movie is.
Old 12-16-05, 07:08 AM
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I believe Far and Away was also shot on 70mm.

It is true that 70mm for special effects was widely used back before digital technology. However I think it's not entirely dead - I heard reports that Spider-Man 2 still uses 70mm film for special effects. In what kind of level, I have no knowledge about it.

I believe 70mm will still be around for a long time, or at least until digital projection has something that can match up to IMAX.
Old 12-16-05, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by eedoon
I believe Far and Away was also shot on 70mm.
I think you're correct. I definately remember the ad campaign touting it.
Old 12-16-05, 08:31 AM
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One of the reasons for 35mm to 70mm blow ups was for the 6 track sound that could be put on the print. What really killed the format is was the digital sound revolution that came about around with Jurassic Park and DTS. Dolby Digital and SDDS premiered about the same time.
Old 12-16-05, 08:47 AM
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Can many cinemas even project 70mm anymore? I remember a couple of years ago when 2001: A Space Odyssey was re-released in 70mm, the only place in town that could/would show it was the Wexner Center. I believe the same thing happened with Playtime (which, incidentally, if you haven't seen projected in 70mm, you haven't really seen it.)
Old 12-16-05, 08:52 AM
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In the days of multiplexes I doubt there are many projectors left. When Northpark I and II closed in Dallas back in 1998 I think that was it for 70mm here. What a classy theater - I really miss it. Between 1995-1997 they would have midnight showings of sci fi and classic films and they would bring out the 70mm for them once in awhile.
Old 12-16-05, 09:51 AM
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There was a old Cinerama theater here in Salt Lake City that had a 70mm projector. It closed a couple years ago. It's now a rug store.
Old 12-16-05, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Can many cinemas even project 70mm anymore? I remember a couple of years ago when 2001: A Space Odyssey was re-released in 70mm, the only place in town that could/would show it was the Wexner Center. I believe the same thing happened with Playtime (which, incidentally, if you haven't seen projected in 70mm, you haven't really seen it.)
here in DC - the Uptown, The Avalon (I think), and AFI's Silver Theatre all can show 70mm - The Silver is incidently showing 70mm prints of both The Sound of Music and Hello, Dolly! at the end of this month and beginning of January. The 70mm presentation of Playtime I saw at the Silver was absolutely amazing, literally I have never seen a movie where you felt like you could walk into the picture - the resolution and clairty was exceedlingly sharp
Old 12-16-05, 12:15 PM
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A few years ago I saw Oklahoma projected in Todd AO format on a restored Toadd AO projector. It was pretty amazing. During shooting, each shot would be filmed with a standard 35mm camera, then the Todd AO camera would be brought in and the scene would be shot again. So, the two versions, although very similar, are actually totally different.
Old 12-16-05, 12:56 PM
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I thought Criterion was putting out a new Playtime taken from the 70mm. Would be interesting if there was a release of it in a few theaters as sometimes happens with Criterion films through Rialto before they hit DVD.
Old 12-16-05, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by gfoots
A few years ago I saw Oklahoma projected in Todd AO format on a restored Toadd AO projector.
That's a beauty to behold. To bad it's that film...

Just for the experience alone, I've sat through it twice. And I heard that AO prints of FLASH GORDON were struck.

Ah, to get my hands on that....
Old 12-17-05, 01:39 AM
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I've dreamed of seeing Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm.
Old 12-17-05, 03:30 AM
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you guys make me drool...
Old 12-17-05, 03:31 AM
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you guys make me drool...
Old 12-17-05, 03:39 AM
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Proyas wanted to shoot I, Robot on 70mm but didn't because of cost.
Old 12-17-05, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by gfoots
Terrence Mallick's upcoming epic The New World was intended to be shot entirely on 70, but it was just too expensive.
Why? That makes sense if you're shooting a college demo or budget indie film, but if you're spending 75 million dollars + on a film the cost of film stock and cameras (assuming you aren't in the habit of throwing them out after every scene) seems trivial in relation.
Old 12-17-05, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
There was a old Cinerama theater here in Salt Lake City that had a 70mm projector. It closed a couple years ago. It's now a rug store.

For that matter, the Cinedome 70 in Ogden still has it. The projector is still sitting there, in the booth, collecting dust.

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Old 12-17-05, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by aynrandgirl
Why? That makes sense if you're shooting a college demo or budget indie film, but if you're spending 75 million dollars + on a film the cost of film stock and cameras (assuming you aren't in the habit of throwing them out after every scene) seems trivial in relation.
Although I have no exact number about the differences between the cost of 35mm and 70mm, I can safely assume that the difference is quite significant. The filmmaker might have multimillion dollar budget on their hand but filmmaking cost a lot of money. 100 million dollar can seems to be a lot of money for us but in the film industry that kind of money can still be inadequate to make a film. Often times director and producer have to make a lot of modification for their movie because of budget limitation.

As an addition, IMDb states that The New World has a budget of 30+ million. If this is true (which is not always on the case of IMDb), then that explains a lot.
Old 12-17-05, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by aynrandgirl
Why? That makes sense if you're shooting a college demo or budget indie film, but if you're spending 75 million dollars + on a film the cost of film stock and cameras (assuming you aren't in the habit of throwing them out after every scene) seems trivial in relation.
Well, the film stock is about twice as big physically, so the cost of film will be about twice as much. I think that the current, average cost of 35 is about 70 dollars per minute. Then there is processing. Because 70mm is in limited use, there are few labs that develop it, causing the price of processing to skyrocket, perhaps as much as five times the cost of developing 35. Now double these prices again, once for the negative and once for the print. Now add to that the fact that many prints will be made throughout the course of post production.

Also a lot of film really is thrown out after every shot because of multiple takes. A very low ratio on a big Hollywood movie is 5:1 meaning that for every minute of film used in the finished product, there were five minutes unused. Take into consideration a perfectionist director like Terrence Malleck and I'm sure the shooting ratio becomes much larger.

Last edited by gfoots; 12-17-05 at 09:34 AM.
Old 12-17-05, 03:13 PM
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The Music Box in Chicago acquired a 70mm projector a couple years ago for the 2001: A Space Odyssey re-release, and uses it every now and then.. They've shown 70mm prints of Lawrence of Arabia (which I sadly missed), Patton, and in October they even showed a 70mm Ghostbusters! I'm not remembering the others, but they show like 3 or 4 70mm movies a year now. Which is great, but I'm afraid cinema is really dying and it's all about home entertainment and video games now. Bleh.
Old 12-17-05, 03:43 PM
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I've seen Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm. It's amazing. There's a sequence where Lawrence rides in from from afar. On DVD it looks like they're just shooting an empty desert. On 70mm you can see him from the first frame.
Old 12-17-05, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by gfoots
....I believe the last film "entirely shot" on 70 was TRON (some reports say Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet) and before that was Patton...
Hamlet was indeed shot in 70mm, I had the good fortune to be in New York the week it opened. That presentation was AMAZING. The image was so beautiful and clear, like looking through a window.
Old 12-19-05, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by The Nature Boy
I've dreamed of seeing Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm.
the AFI Silver Theatre 70mm showings have been very popular, it occassionaly brings it back once or twice during the year.

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