Report on the 65/70mm Workshop
held at the National Media Museum, Bradford, UK, during the Widescreen Weekend on Saturday 17th March 2007
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Ramon Lamarca Marques, Brian Guckian and Mike Taylor||Date: 15 April 2007|
|Following on the from the success of last year's Workshop, plus the work done in the intervening period, the Second Workshop heralded some important breakthroughs in 65mm production economics and in 70mm print shipping costs, and added more innovative ideas, ranging from new theatrical presentation ideas to future sound formats.|
Attendees this year were:
Mr. Paul Rayton, Mr. Mike Taylor, Mr. Ben Wales and Mr. Johan Wolthuis.
Brian Guckian chaired the Workshop at Pictureville and proceedings were as per the Agenda previously published online.
The compact Arri 765 camera. Image from Arri's homepage.
The Workshop started with consideration of an initial study by one of the major US laboratories into the relative costs of shooting 65mm v. conventional 35mm. This showed that, in the areas of stock costs, camera package hire and processing (including all ancillary services such as telecine and scanning), the increase in costs with 65mm were quite marginal - about 1% in the context of a typical big-budget production. The study is being finalised, and the Workshop hopes to be able to publish the results in full. Although the final figures are likely to be higher, and do not cover all the 65mm overhead, the key finding is that using the larger format does not add significantly to overall costs, and thus contradicts the commonly-held belief that shooting 65mm is expensive.
Following on from this, there was discussion of related cinematography issues; it was noted that many DoPs today want to use small, lightweight camera packages. It was pointed out that Arri and Panavision 65mm packages are as light as they can be, and certainly far more compact than previously. The wide angles afforded by 65mm offered a different way of telling a story and it was felt that DoPs would have to be educated in this and sign up to the technique in order for it to happen effectively. It was also stated that most senior British DoPs had shot on 65mm. Contact with DoPs in the industry in general was advocated as the next step in pushing for a mainstream 65mm production, given the critical new economic data to hand.
|More in 70mm reading:|
70mm 5-perf cinemas outside North America
70mm 5-perf cinemas in North America
|70mm film storage. Image by Thomas Hauerslev|
Discussion on sound reproduction looked at issues regarding playback of legacy magnetic prints. Bad projection room environments and film handling practices had led to tracks picking up noise, and this underlined the need for ongoing knowledge and training. For the future, there were concerns regarding the longevity of digital audio formats and the consensus was that, like in the archival area, there would have to be migration programmes as new formats evolved. It was noted that the major Studios continue to retain mix masters on 35mm magnetic film so that future transfers can be facilitated. A move to uncompressed sound for 70mm projection was agreed as an objective.
New ideas for truly theatrical presentation of 65/70mm films centred on using non-cinema venues such as concert halls and theatres to re-introduce the impact of the original roadshows. This concept was met with great interest, and it was noted for example that many theatre producers had a real flair for marketing and showmanship, and could be just what was needed to showcase event films in the format. And, a promotional tour could be arranged, using the existing supply of newly-restored titles, or other titles for which known good prints were available. It was agreed this idea should definitely be developed.
The issue of print sources revealed information on prints known to be stored in locations such as Stockholm, Sweden (where low temperatures aided print preservation), and Melbourne, Australia. It was agreed to obtain more information on what was available at these locations, subject to rights.
|"CinemaScope - Information for the Theatre" - third revision, October 1954. Published by 20th Century Fox.|
On the cinema design side, there was discussion on curved screens. The deep Cinerama curve is obviously incorrect for Todd-AO, and the original specification of the latter as having a screen with a chord depth of 20% is problematic for flat 35mm ratios. A shallow curve (typically 5% chord depth) doesn't serve the Todd-AO intention for an immersive effect (remembering that Todd-AO was intended to be "Cinerama out of a single hole"). A screen of variable curve geometry would theoretically solve these issues, and there have been some examples, but obviously in general this is not practical. It was agreed to carry out further research on the topic. Mike Taylor will also be able to provide an original 20th Century Fox CinemaScope brochure which details the company's research into curved screens. This could provide a "middle way" in terms of optimum screen curvature where multiple formats are used.
More breakthrough data was provided in the area of print shipping costs. An initial study of print shipping costs between the US and Europe and within Europe had shown significant savings in the order of 40-50% if average print weight could be reduced to total 90kg (9-reel feature in 3 no. boxes, shipped wound on cores and packed in plastic cans). Sharing print costs would make further savings and it was suggested that the IMAX group booking structure could be used as a model. Rights clearances would remain for different territories to deal with, as happens currently.
The multi-platform capability of 65mm was again underlined. 65mm origination is future-proof and can be used for 70mm showprints, 35mm reduction prints, IMAX blow-ups and as a high-resolution source for 2K and 4K digital projection. This latter point was well illustrated during a presentation on D-Cinema which took place at the Widescreen Weekend this year.
Our thanks again to all who participated, and to Thomas Hauerslev and Bill Lawrence for all their help and support.
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