A Visit to the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
and photographed by: Thomas
Chief Technician David Boyd with one of his lenses for 70mm projection.
Edinburgh Castle rises majestically high above the city and can be seen
from almost any place in the old capital of Scotland.
"This is Cinerama"
was photographed partially at the castle in 1952. Edinburg was "blessed"
with plenty of 70mm cinemas many years ago, but I don't think there ever was
a 3-strip cinema in this city.
Across the castle park in Edinburgh's West End, is Lothian Road. In
number 88 you will find the Filmhouse cinema - the only remaining 70mm
cinema in the Scottish capital. Three screens located in a former church.
All screens are fully digital-capable, as well as all screens being still equipped with
Philips and Kinoton film projector equipment. Screen One even with the classic
Philips DP70 Todd-AO 70mm projector.
Screen Two with
Philips DP75s, and Screen Three with a Kinoton FP38
(35mm/16mm combo) and an FP30.
Some months ago I wrote an e-mail to the Chief Technician David Boyd saying
I would be in Edinburgh on vacation, and if possible I'd like to come and
visit him, and see his DP70s. David was quick to respond and said I would be very
welcome indeed. I arrived on a Thursday morning around 10:45 in the last
week of July, and David was there to give me the big tour.
The Filmhouse has already been
described in detail by David in 2009, so I will stick to my own visit.
It was great to see the DP70s in David's projection room. David explained
how he has rebuilt them to run any film speed required. He has even managed
to buy Kinoton's last intermittent system they had in store. His projection
rooms were very well organized, with everything labelled beautifully. Most
things are run digitally these days, but all film projectors are kept in
full working status should a 35mm or even a 70mm print arrive on the film
|More in 70mm reading:|
• The BIG Picture in
• Go to the gallery:
Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" in Ultra Panavision 70
angle image of Filmhouse, screen #1 with 70mm installed. Throw 18m. Fixed
height 3.5m and width for 70mm at 2.20:1 ratio is 7.7m - for "H8" Filmhouse
will need to letterbox! Seating capacity is 280.
Click the image to see an enlargement.
The cinemas are built inside an old church, so there are many stairs and
hallways to pass through to get from screen to screen. To be honest, I
completely lost my sense of direction, when David guided me from cinema to
cinema. I took plenty of pictures as we went around. They are not very big
cinemas, nor are the screens very large or curved given the physical
limitations of being inside a location not designed to be a cinema. David
told me he's heard about some directors complain if a screen is curved. "Why
are you distorting my film?". It's debateable. Personally, I think a screen
should be curved - the world around us is curved. They run the Filmhouse
with great care and love for the cinema, however, and show more film titles
than any other cinema in Edinburgh. What is lacking in big screens is
easily compensated for with plenty of charm and classic cinema atmosphere
instead. Something the local VUE megaplex cinema certainly does not have, nor
will ever get.
We concluded the tour in Screen One, and David set the curtains and
masking for 70mm so I could take some pictures. He hoped the Filmhouse will
be able to show "The Hateful
Ultra Panavision 70 early in 2016 should 70mm prints be made
available. Although he would have to mask the screen to "70mm letterbox" to
accommodate the wide image. 90 minutes later our tour was completed upstairs
in the main projection room. David showed me the 110mm lenses for 70mm
projection. Properly kept in a dust free cabinet, and I finished my cup of
tea. A very nice and informative tour had come to an end, and David and I
said goodbye in the foyer. Time to rejoin my family who was touring the
• Go to the gallery:
A Visit to the Filmhouse in Edinburgh,
|Go: back - top - back issues - news index