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Some views from a former 70mm projectionist

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Mike Taylor - Liverpool - England, 70mm Projectionist with the Rank Organisation Date: 28 October 2006
Liverpool Odeon screen #1 1968.

Having spent forty years as a motion picture projectionist - most of it through the Wide Screen Era, the demise of 70mm has been a sore point with me for quite some time.

In Liverpool, I am the last of the original 70mm "Road Show" projectionists with any connection to to-day’s movie business. When the term "Blockbuster" is applied to anything and everything with a two or three week run, and with little or no audience watching, then it is easy to see that the cinema has lost its way.

With all the talk of Digital Cinema taking over from Celluloid, it has long been my view that we need to slow down and take a look back to the days of good cinema - and that includes 70mm. The two photographs enclosed show Liverpool Odeon One in 1968, and the Philips DP70 in the projection room. To-day that has all gone and the theatre has been converted into three mini cinemas. No 70mm.
More in 70mm reading:

65/70mm Workshop

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70mm 5-perf cinemas outside North America
70mm 5-perf cinemas in North America
Liverpool Odeon DP70 screen #1 1968.

To the 70mm Workshop Panel I submit some personal observations as I see it. Firstly, I am quite happy to let the multiplex have their new toy together with the high cost that will go with it. Unless the standard of product improves then it will make no difference whether it is digital or not. You might as well install 16mm or Super 8.

To take a serious look at 70mm we need to safeguard celluloid film archives from around the world, and start a programme of restoration to ensure we have something to show

We need to showcase some 70mm product - the best we can find - to a new audience and not necessarily in conventional cinemas. Live theatres and concert halls with wide stage openings are ideal.

Encourage producers to film in 65/70mm for a new audience using the Producer Ron Howard as an example.

Compile a data base of current venues where 70mm projection equipment is installed and in what condition.

Finally, a projectionists Technical Workshop for handling 70mm film stock, various projectors, and sound systems. Possibly through the B.K.S.T.S., S.M.P.T.E., and the P.P.T.
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Updated 21-12-18