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The Hateful Eight may be the start of a welcome back, or not!

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Paulo Roberto P. Elias, Brazil Date: 04.12.2015
Sometime ago I saw two Victoria-8 projectors in pristine conditions in the booth of the Museum of Modern Art in Rio. I had seen Vic-8 projectors before, one in a small theater, and another one which was rotten to the core, previously used at the Tijuca-Palace theater, and later bought by Projecine for restoration and reselling.

Click the image to see enlargement


In this country 70 mm projection systems were removed from theaters a long time ago now, and needless to say we all fans who had the chance to catch 70 mm in very large, spectacular presentations miss it thoroughly!

Since the destruction of palace movie theaters, either demolished or modified to something else, we started seeing lesser possibilities of large gauge projection and “roadshow” features, with the usual overture music, intermission, and exit (nowadays end credits) music.

Sometime ago I saw two Victoria-8 projectors in pristine conditions in the booth of the Museum of Modern Art in Rio. I had seen Vic-8 projectors before, one in a small theater, and another one which was rotten to the core, previously used at the Tijuca-Palace theater, and later bought by Projecine for restoration and reselling. Apparently the two original Vic-8 were left unattended in the basement of the theater. It is noteworthy that once Projecine decided to recover it the restorator decided to remove all 70 mm sprockets, due to the fact that 70 mm projection had already ended for good on these shores.

The former two Vic-8 projectors formerly used at the Metro-Boavista for the ultra-modern D-150 projection system were acquired by a small theater owner a long time ago. I decide to pay a visit to see how they were doing, and I confess that I left the place utterly depressed. Recently I saw two Incol 70/35 projectors which were left abandoned by their original owner at the Cinema Pathé, when the auditorium was rented to an evangelical church. It seems that no one is interest to recover these machines any more, possibly due to the changeover to digital.

As 70 mm projection was abandoned so were the screens. Since the demise of the Super Cinerama 70 at the Roxy, the theater had first the Cinerama screen replaced by a conventional Panavision (2.35:1) screen, and later the whole place was divided into three smaller projection rooms.

Since the late 1970’s we movie fans have been continuously pushed to advance ourselves in the installation and upgrading of our home theater systems. Already in 1978, Philips/MCA launched the video disc format called Disco Vision, operating by means of a laser pickup. When Philips closed down its manufacturing Pioneer licensed the format under a different brand name: Laserdisc. The LD, as it was called, went on to carry Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 encoded channels in its later years. It also provided means to adopt newer telecine processing methods, all the way up to the first anamorphic transfer, destined to 16:9 screens.

As years passed, the most significant advance in home theater installations was the introduction of lossless soundtracks in the Blu-Ray video disc format. In the early days, in order to produce audio for home video authoring studios quickly found out that the original optical tracks in prints were not adequate for the relative higher quality of the home media. In due course they resorted to the original magnetic sound elements to transfer sound to video discs. This process is now very refined due to the availability of audio restoration software. The restoration itself includes de-noising, de-clicking, removal of a number of audible artefacts, or even re-equalization if the need arises. Many of these later improvements have allowed authoring facilities to remix the entire content of the film and/or to adapt it to a larger number of channels.
 
More in 70mm reading:

"The Hateful Eight" 70mm Theatre List and Projection Details

Large Format in Brazil / 70mm In Rio

70mm Rundown in Rio Revised

Mr. Orion Jardim de Faria - A visit to a Brazilian 70mm film Pioneer

Internet link:


webinsider.com.br


 
Remixing film soundtracks were initially condemned by purists, but the fact is that rebuilding audio tracks have given special involvement and atmosphere for old and newer audiences, until today.

Not to mention that in the 1970’s a large number of movies shot in Panavision 2.35:1 A. R. were presented in theaters in plain mono, optical sound. These movies had a complete soundtrack makeover for DVD and Blu-Ray. And all of a sudden sound transformed the way we used to watch those movies at home. One of the many striking examples of recent releases on disc with an improved soundtrack is the restored version of Spielberg’s “Jaws”, featuring a 7.1 DTS-HD MA track with unprecedented clarity and dynamic range.

If that wasn’t enough we are now able to build a home theater installation fitted with 3D sound, and to take advantage of 3D renderers in the playback of older codecs in any format, mono to 7.1 channels, to enjoy even further these audible upgrades. Auro 3D, Dolby Atmos, and now DTS:X are taking their share of this revolution.

For all of these and surely many more technological reasons the modern home theater is in many regards BETTER than current theatrical venues, with minor exceptions. When Quentin Tarantino said in a recent interview that he “wanted to bring the public back to the theaters” he was not joking.

Tarantino also said in his own words that inside modern multiplex theaters he feels that he is in front of a large TV set, and I couldn’t agree more! He felt, and I for one who would completely concur, that we need to bring back the best method to capture images on film, and that obviously is by photographing in 65 mm negatives AND projecting the result in a very large screen. Even the best current digital video format, 4K included, would not top that quality, and even if they did no one would be capable to realize it in a much smaller screen.

Shooting a film using legacy Panavision lenses that hadn’t been used since the mid-1960’s is daring to say the least. Especially daring when it comes to shooting film in an aspect ratio of 2.76:1, expecting it to be seen as such on a cinema screen, something that never happened in this country, as far as I can remember, even back in the heydays of the 70 mm craze.

Making it so would be quite an advantage over home theaters: due to the 16:9 HDTV standard, we can increase our TV sets to, say, 80”, or use video projectors with specially fitted anamorphic lenses, in a 21:9 screen, that still we would not match the intrinsic resolution of the 70 mm projection system.

Sadly, Tarantino’s effort may be in vain or short-lived, at least as far as we are concerned. Just looking at the map printed in "The Hateful Eight" article which predicts the number of theaters that would be willing to screen this film in 70 mm we can’t see a single venue in South America that could be located and estimated as a viable candidate.

Of course, I could (wished to) be wrong and surely I can’t speak for exhibitors, but the chances of projecting a 70 mm movie in Rio de Janeiro, and possibly in the remaining of the country, are slim, in my estimate nil.

If Quentin Tarantino’s recent effort is for naught we may still learn an invaluable lesson: that the radical replacement of analogue film projectors for digital was a huge mistake, and it is keeping many of us movie buffs away from the screening rooms.

Legendary actress Lillian Gish said once that cinema is the only “machine” that moves hearts and minds of people.

Going to a movie house, with the audience inside sitting next to each other and sharing emotions depicted on screen, does not have any parallel elsewhere, even in the best and most expensive home theater installation.
 
 
   
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