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Re-introduction of 70mm as a Commercial Cinema Exhibition Format
White Paper
and 65mm Film Workshop @ the Pictureville Foyer

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Brian Guckian  and Ramon Lamarca Marques Date: 6 March 2006

Introduction

This White Paper sets out several ideas and methodologies that could be employed with the goal of re-introducing the 70mm format for exhibition in commercial cinemas. The paper arises from recent discussion on the website www.film-tech.com, and has been drafted at the kind suggestion of Mr. Thomas Hauerslev of the website www.in70mm.com.

5 pm / 17:00 Pictureville Sunday 12th March, please gather in the foyer

More in 70mm reading:

Re-introduction of 70mm Letter

Workshop Report

Widescreen Weekend

Internet link:

To find the thread, go to Film-Tech » Film-Tech Forums » Film Handler's Forum » 70 vs. DC

Methodology

 
Though there have been significant calls to re-introduce 70mm to maintain a very high-quality film-based cinema experience for audiences (particularly given the ongoing development of digital cinema), there has been a need to gather together multiple ideas and strands of thinking, in order to create a workable system that can be sold to the major Studios and Exhibitors. Modern communication methods such as the Internet and Email provide new ways of working in which collaboration can take place irrespective of geographical boundaries, and can be done at a more rapid rate than before. This paper details how such a collaborative process can work in pursuit of the desired goal.
 
 

Breakdown of Work Areas

 
Press image to see enlargement

A useful starting point is to break down the overall task into smaller work areas. The goal of re-introducing 70mm exhibition is understandably a very extensive and ambitious undertaking, in which a broad range of areas, from production through to exhibition, and indeed into preservation must be looked at. There is fortunately a very large body of knowledge and expertise worldwide, which can be drawn upon to progress the work.

An initial breakdown could focus on three broad topic ranges – Technical, Financial and Marketing. Sub-topics could focus on (list is not intended to be exhaustive):

[Technical]
• 65mm origination – production and post-production issues
• Dye transfer for 70mm prints – implementation issues
• 70mm for current over-sized 35mm screens
• Re-integration of 70mm projection equipment back into cinemas
• Sound issues – channel configuration, types of system, types of material
• Multi-platform releasing from 65mm negative – 70mm / IMAX / 35mm reduction / Digital masters – technical feasibility
• Auditorium design – part of an overall holistic approach
• Shipping and handling – new approaches
• Training and expertise / certification and standards

[Financial]
• 65mm Production and Post-production costs
• Return on 70mm screenings – venue numbers / capacities, etc.
• Back-end returns through longer runs, increased classic screenings, etc.
• Costs and benefits of dye transfer process – R&D / investment
• Financial benefits of multi-platform releasing from 65mm negative
• Equipment installation costs – new and re-conditioned - packages
 
 
Fig 1 – Suggested multi-platform release model for 65mm-originated material, illustrating the kind of creative approach that is possible within the 70mm initiative

[Marketing]

• Positioning format as a premium, exciting experience
• Excitement – bringing forth the “wow” factor – Demos - Roadshows
• Name, logo, P&A and marquee treatment
• Educating the audience – emphasis on artistic and craft aspects
 
 

Work Model

 
Fig 2 – Proposed Work Model for 70mm Re-introduction to Commercial Cinemas

In order to deal with the research and development tasks outlined in summary above, it is necessary to create a workable model which invites and enables full participation. A first step could be the holding of a real-world workshop (as proposed for the Bradford Widescreen Festival 2006), then moving the workshop on-line. This could accept submissions, suggestions, ideas, etc. not only from the public community of 70mm experts and enthusiasts, but also from societies and bodies within the industry. After a defined period a report could be produced, which could then act as a basis for a second phase of discussion at higher level, among the Studios, Exhibitors and Industry groups. In order to facilitate this, an Industry Liaison Group is proposed, who could act as intermediaries in moving the process forward. Note that this model is flexible and open to change and amendment as required to serve the overall objective.
 
 

A Positive Attitude

 
A positive, “can-do” attitude is a pre-requisite for the success of the initiative. Positivity unlocks creativity and facilitates innovative solutions to technical, financial and engineering problems. An appropriate motto is: “Where there’s a will there’s a way”.
 
 

Acknowledgements

 
The authors wish to thank Mr. Larry Shaw for starting the discussion on a 70mm revival on www.film-tech.com, the contributors to this discussion to date, and Mr. Brad Miller and his team of moderators for the www.film-tech.com website itself, which has made this initiative possible.

The authors also wish to thank Mr. Thomas Hauerslev of www.in70mm.com for his assistance and advice to date in this initiative.
 
 

Note on Authors

 
Brian Guckian and Ramon Lamarca Marques. Image by Thomas Hauerslev

Brian Guckian is an experienced cinema projectionist and has also worked in film post-production and distribution. He has a wide-ranging technical knowledge of cinema design and exhibition issues, and has been involved in a number of cinema technology projects, most recently co-developing the ShowReels ELR system for specialised 35mm prints.
 
 
Ramon Lamarca Marques is a keen proponent of 65mm origination and 70mm presentation, and has written on the subject for www.in70mm.com and on the www.film-tech.com forum. He has noted the critical importance of the film texture in cinema exhibition, and how formats such as 65/70 could re-vitalise same.
 
 

Note on this Paper

 
Due to a relatively short timescale, this paper is necessarily brief, and in no way is meant to be a comprehensive treatise on the subject. As this initiative progresses, it would be appropriate to re-issue a more detailed and complete version in time.
 
 
 
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