”Hamlet” in 70mm at Kronborg Castle
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The 70mm Newsletter
& Photographed by: Thomas
banner across pedestrian street "Steengade"
in Helsingør (Elsinore), Saturday afternoon, around tea time
A magical evening unfolded in the courtyard of Kronborg Castle in Elsinore
in Denmark on the evening of Saturday 10 August 2013. The epic “Hamlet” by
Sir Kenneth Branagh was shown in the original Panavision Super 70mm version
for an audience of Shakespeare fans and some die-hard 70mm fans. Elsinore’s
famous pedestrian street was decorated with Danish flags (The Dannebrog) and
a large banner across the street to promote this huge event.
|More in 70mm reading:
Kenneth Branagh's "HAMLET" on 65mm
Images from ”Hamlet” in 70mm at Kronborg Castle
Rolf Konow, Danish Stills Photographer
2013: A Danish Summer of 70mm
"Hamlet" to be
filmed in 70mm
Release of "Hamlet"
Readers Reviews of
cinema at Kronborg Castle's court yard
At 9 pm Artistic Director of the festival Mr Lars Engel welcomed the guests, who had bought tickets on this chilly and windy evening in
Elsinore. Ahead of us was 4 hours and 2 minutes of roller-coaster action
performed by the best Shakespearian actors in the movie business. There is
an intermission in "Hamlet" after 2 hours and 40 minutes, so it was going to
be a very long evening.
"Hamlet" was the culmination of a two-week Shakespeare festival
Castle. Chairs and stage were already in place in this open air cinema.
Before the film could begin, the stage had been cleared, and Mr Jesper Meng
had installed his flat 12,1 x 5,5 meter (40 x 18 ft) open air screen. Mr. Orla Nielsen and
technician Alan Lyman had spent all day installing the 70mm projector and
sound equipment. The 70mm print had been flown in from London.
Orla brought his mobile Philips DP75, which has been used for 70mm
open-air shows several times previously, including in
Karen Blixen's back yard, in
Odense and in a
swimbath in Copenhagen. For this show Orla had even installed a
used Dolby MPU-1, which he had bought on eBay. With three DOLBY SRA-5
modules, he could present "Hamlet" in 6-channel Dolby SR magnetic stereo.
You don't get better sound than this.
DGI Byen’s svømmehal
Engel and Rolf Konow in conversation before the film
The 70mm print of "Hamlet" is 8298 meters (27224 ft), and is transported in 10 large
containers with a total weight of around 300 kilos, including reels and
metal containers. To show the film, these reel are spliced together in two
large parts. One part before the intermission and one part following the
intermission. For the technically minded reader, both parts are run from a Kinoton Non-rewind system, model ST200, modified for 70mm prints.
To ensure enough light on the screen a 4000 kW horizontal OSRAM xenon light
was used in the Kinoton lamp house, and run at 140 amperes. Projection throw
was approximately __,_ meters. There was more than enough light on the
screen, compared to many Danish 3D cinemas with notoriously dim screens.
"Hamlet" was a pleasure to look at, especially since Orla also had brought a
brand new ISCO Ultra Star HD 81mm (#781 007) for his DP75. The ISCO Ultra
Star HD makes for a razor sharp image.
cinema at night time. Click on the image to see an enlargement
Left, Center and Right channel speakers were installed on both sides and
above the screen. Under the seats a large subwoofer took care of the really
deep sounds, and on both sides of the 11 rows of seating area there were two surround
speakers. The sound was really powerful, and maybe a little too loud at the
beginning. Level was adjusted, and later the volume had to be increased to
be able to hear the dialogue a little better. Dolby Stereo SR is very
dynamic but combined with a fairly long reverb time from the cobblestoned Kronborg castle courtyard; it was a fair compromise I guess. It was an
analogue experience, so the audience could also hear the ticking sound of
the DP75 projecting the 70mm print, unlike silent digital signals from a
hard disk in modern digital cinemas.
DP75 and a 4000 watt lamp projecting 70mm.
The organizers expected about 200 guests that evening. I could count around
110 guests before the film started. The show started at 9 pm, with an
introduction of the film, and a short chat with Mr Rolf Konow, who worked as a
still photographer on the production. "Hamlet" premiered in Denmark in 35mm
only in 1997. It was not shown in 70mm until the 2008 70mm festival at Imperial Bio
in Copenhagen. 70mm Fan Ulrick Rostek drove all the way from the Ruhr in
Germany to Kronborg to experience this presentation of this Oscar nominated
In the introduction we were told that only very minor rain was expected this
evening. Nothing serious, but in case of heavy rain, the film would be
stopped, while the audience would be guided inside the Castle. Before the show
began, we could see some very heavy black clouds over the coast of Sweden
across the Øresund. Gigantic lightning cut though the night sky, followed by
real low-end rumble. We hoped the rain and thunder stayed in Sweden.
left Orla, Charlotte, Maria and Rolf in conversation during the intermission.
The final check of the projection system, and then finally, at 20 minutes
past nine the light on Kronborg went down, and the Castle Rock logo
appeared on the screen, followed by "HAMLET" carved in stone in the film
version of Kronborg Castle. The light beam from the DP75 cut though the
misty night air. The audience were well prepared to be sitting outside for 5
hours. The audience had dressed themselves in sweaters, blankets, extra trousers,
and rain coats - in case rain would appear. Sitting outside for open-air in
Denmark in mid-August requires planning - but as all Danes are born Vikings,
15 degrees C (59F) and rain is nothing but a little dew. The clouds passed silently over Kronborg and didn't look
like they would give us any rain. It was 15 degrees C and windy. Quite
different from he past 4-5 weeks with plenty of sun and above 25
temperatures. On the other hand, it was suitable for "Hamlet" which takes
place in the winter.
good shoulder to rest on is essential when you need one late at night.
At 10:30 pm, when the film had been going for an hour and ten minutes, the
area lights were turned on. The few drops of rain had turned into a
considerable downpour, and the film was stopped. The audience was guided
into the castle to wait 10-15 minutes until the rain stopped.
The staff was very efficient, drying all the chairs before the audience
returned. I was talking to Orla in the projection room during the break. It
was nice and hot, thanks to the 4 kW lamp, and unlike the rest of us, Orla
was dressed in a dry T-shirt.
20 minutes later we resumed as if nothing had happened, and the next "stop" was
the official INTERMISSION around thirty minutes past midnight. Before the
intermission all the clouds cleared, and the beautifully lit towers of Kronborg stood majestically against a black sky with stars. At that time we
were all a bit wet and cold, and some of the audience had already left. The
majority were still there and it was time for a cup of hot coffee and talk
about this experience. Rolf Konow, my wife and daughter were talking with
Orla, about how beautiful "Hamlet" looked in 70mm, and how moving it is.
After the intermission the film continued into the night, and it didn't end
until 5 minutes past two in the morning. We all said goodbye, and drove back
to Copenhagen and went to bed half past three in the morning.
This was truly a totally unique experience watching this film behind the
thick walls of Kronborg Castle. It can hardly become more authentic than
this - and all in 70mm with 6-track Dolby Stereo SR - WOW!
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