Report on the 65/70mm Workshop
held at the National Museum of Film, Television
and Photography during the Widescreen Weekend on Sunday the 12th March
The 70mm Newsletter
Lamarca Marques &
23 March 2006
Guckian chairing the workshop. Image by Thomas Hauerslev
Workshop in progress. Around the table were: Ramon Lamarca Marques,
Brian Guckian, Ben Wales, Mike Taylor, ?, John Hayes, Siddique Hussain
and Adrian Rastrick
As stated previously, this workshop is born with the idea of
networking people and organisations who are interested in the exhibition
of films originated in 65mm and printed on 70mm, a process which shows
film qualities at its best. From a recent debate on the
and other forums on the internet, it is evident that there is an
important number of people who like film texture and consider that 65/70
productions could undoubtedly enhance the filmgoer's experience whilst
retaining the uniqueness that film brings to cinemas as opposed to the
digital medium, which although has got some advantages, is a medium that
can be reproduced in the domestic environment. It is important also to
try and put film in its place in the history of the 7th art as a very
important artistic tool and not as the obsolete technology that some
people from the computing world are trying to portray it as.
Both Mr Brian Guckian and Mr Ramon Lamarca Marques have participated in
forum and since they were both attending the Widescreen Weekend, they
thought it would be a good opportunity to start gathering ideas and to
expose the idea of creating a network of people from anywhere in the
world interested in the idea of 65/70 production.
Mr Bill Lawrence, Head of Film of the National Theatre of
Photography, Film and Television, kindly offered a meeting room for the
workshop to be held, but finally it was held next to the box office in
Pictureville since the space available there suited the number of people
Mr Brian Guckian and Mr Ramon Lamarca Marques chaired the workshop;
their main function was to expose the basic working principles of
creating a platform to receive and expose ideas from anyone interested
and the attendees showed their interest in such a project. There have
been some attempts to bring 65/70 productions back in the past, in that
sense this workshop does not differ very much from those attempts and
ideas previously used can be reused. Perhaps the main difference with
this workshop is its willingness to embrace as many people and
organisations as possible to devise a viable future for 65/70
The attendees were (in alphabetical order):
Mr. John Hayes, Mr. Siddique Hussan, Mr. Adrian Raistrick, Mr. Paul
Rayton, Mr. Mike Taylor and Mr. Ben Wales
It should be pointed out that some more people joined the workshop as
listeners only and they either left early or did not give their names.
Also, Mr. Chris Plaister made a contribution to us earlier in the day.
Our thanks to all these, and we hope that they will make a step forward
and join us again on-line.
The workshop started with the shared opinion that cinemas need to bring
back the idea of premium product and excellence in film presentation
together with the creation of pictures that emphasize the use of the big
canvas of the cinema screen as to differentiate the cinema experience
from the nowadays very improved home cinema experience.
It was pointed out that IMAX is trying to bring this concept back with
its proprietary process IMAX DMR, which blows-up 35mm negative images to
be printed onto the IMAX film gauge. The majority of the attendees
mentioned that the main problem is that pictures that are designed to
look good on television will not look good on the huge IMAX screen since
the close-ups that suit the television screen do not suit the IMAX
screen, in that sense it was given the example of the IMAX projection of
the recent Batman Begins.
It was also mentioned that film production in 65mm would benefit not
only conventional commercial cinemas but also IMAX screens, since the
extra amount of information contained on the 65mm negative would also
benefit IMAX presentations since images would not need to be blow-up to
such an extent for the IMAX film gauge.
in 70mm reading:
White paper -
Re-introduction of 70mm
To find the thread, go to
Film-Tech Forums ╗ Film Handler's Forum ╗ 70 vs. DC
5 pm / 17:00 Pictureville Sunday 12th March,
please gather in the foyer
Guckian chairing the workshop. Image by Thomas Hauerslev
It was also mentioned the existence of exhibitors like Kinepolis
(European cinema group), who commissioned their own 70mm prints of
titles in the 1990s (albeit blow-ups from 35mm), for the largest screens
in their chain. There are probably exhibitors in all countries that
would be very happy to have a premier film product to offer in their
biggest screens and 65/70 not only produces beautiful and sharp images
but also a warm texture that cannot be experienced at home.
Different subjects were discussed in the workshop, especially those
subjects mentioned in the white paper produced for the delegates
attending the widescreen weekend, which is published on this website.
One of these subjects is marketing. A good marketing strategy is
nowadays indispensable for any artistic or business process. It was
agreed that it was necessary to restore film prestige as an artistic
tool amidst all the unfair criticism from some people in the computing
and digital world, who fail to understand the artistic value of film as
a medium. An example for marketing 65/70 was given. The adverts would
use a 70mm big reel and the tag "It won't fit" In different
advertisements a man/woman would be seen trying to push this big reel
into a portable audio device, into a DVD, into a desktop computer, into
a plasma TV, ... This would graphically emphasize the "bigger than life"
cinema experience and its difference and incompatibility with domestic
technologies. It was pointed out by many of the attendees that since now
many people were prepared to watch film on their mobile phone, this was
going to be probably the first time in cinema history that a film was
going to be seen in the worst conditions possible.
In the same subject of marketing it was discussed the importance of
branding these film productions in 65/70 and its presentation and this
indeed is going to be one of the important aspects of the workshop. The
idea of using the number 70 (in reference to the gauge used for the
prints) was mentioned. It was said that the 70mm presentation is still
linked to very good cinema presentations by many, although some new
generations may perceive it as something old. It is important to create
a sort of certificate like THX, which gives audiences the confidence of
seeing a premium film exhibition.
It was also mentioned that a separate listing in newspapers and
magazines is paramount for this premiere exhibition to be noticed by
Presentation for the 21st Century - 70mm Super Definition Cinema. ISBN:
90-803503-2-X. Published in 1999 by International 70mm Publishers
Some attendees mentioned that some cinema screens nowadays offer a
fast-food type product whilst charging very high admission prices. It
was thought that this combination of high prices and poor film
presentation has led to the decline in cinema revenue. In that sense, it
was mentioned that 2K digital projection was not going to add anything
to the current state of cinema presentation, due to the low resolution
of the 2K digital projection system when compared to 65/70 productions.
Previous attempts to improve both 35mm and 70mm production were
mentioned, like Maxivision 48 and
Super Dimension 70,
and it was considered that the main problem these systems had is its
attachment to a single manufacturer of hardware for the projection
system. 5/70 projection systems can be provided by several existing
companies and this can facilitate the return of this premier system.
There was agreement in the need for a holistic approach to the 65/70
rebirth, particularly regarding cinematographers and film directors, to
showcase the strengths of the system. There are several films that come
to mind, a recent one would be "Memoirs of a Geisha" and one from
some years ago could be "The English Patient". There is little
point in shooting a film in 65mm, which is only going to use the actors
against a blue screen to have all the digital effects rendered
Technicolor's dye transfer proprietary system was mentioned since it was
never used for 70mm prints and many people appreciate its quality, in
particular its rendition of blacks and colour saturation and its
pictorial qualities. However, it was mentioned that new machinery would
be needed and it may not be cost effective. Also, nowadays, Vision
Premier stock could give very high quality results using conventional
printing. Nevertheless, more investigation can be done on this subject.
It was decided to follow up this with Technicolor - someone there may be
interested in at least talking about DT for 70mm.
Obviously, the role of exhibitors in the workshop is paramount. One of
the future actions of the workshop will be to contact exhibitors and
find out which of them would support the return of 65/70.
It was discussed the role of digital postproduction in the industry. 2K
scanning is certainly not a valid option, since the qualities of 65mm
would be lost in the bottleneck of the 2K scanning. 4K scanning seems to
be the starting point with preferred higher scanning resolution.
Ideally, even if postproduction uses a digital intermediate, for those
sequences without digital effects, it would be much better to keep film
in the film domain to preserve its unique look.
The role of filmmakers is of course also very important. It was
mentioned, as an example, the fact that Steven Spielberg likes film very
much. Film has got an artistic value that should not be dismissed. This
is the problem when the issue of film versus digital is discussed just
by technological experts, the artistic approach is then missing.
The value and importance of film projectionists was also emphasized
during the workshop. It escapes no one that digital projection pursues
getting away with the role of the projectionists, who have during more
that 100 years helped to bring the art of cinema to audiences. A skilled
projectionist is very important in the final stage of bringing those
images to life. Having a skilled projectionist in the booth not only
guarantees perfect projection but also adds the human touch to the film
experience. An automatic digital projector can be another element to
increase the cold and faceless experience that many cinema theatres
offer nowadays. The poor exhibition standards that can be unfortunately
experienced in some of today's multiplexes have got not place in 65/70
exhibition. Training and Education for projectionists using 70mm should
be a requirement. It was mentioned that in the past there were at least
4 years apprenticeship for film projectionists.
As an example of the value that 65/70 has got amongst audiences it was
mentioned the fact that classics such as "Lawrence of Arabia" or
"2001: a space odyssey"
still attract audiences when they are shown on the big screen. Special
screenings of such classics could be another option for these cinemas.
It is important to educate audiences that whereas many films from the
80s onwards were designed to suit the small TV screen, films from the
mid and late 50s, 60s and 70s made full use of the big canvas of the
cinema screen for dramatic purposes and on the big screen is when they
show all of their artistic values.
Distributors should come to understand that this is a specialised
product, which should not get the fast-food marketing approach that so
many films get today. It is not about just the first weekend revenue, it
is about a product that will look substantially better on the big screen
on the first week, the second week, the second month, and for many years
Some attendees mentioned the "sleeping assets" of great many 70mm dual
machines, which are now just used for 35mm. When 70mm projection was
abandoned, only the mag[netic, ed] penthouses were removed. There are
lots of old machines out there - two crates full of DP70s in Miami - one
multiplex recently installed 12 DP70s in US because the owner likes the
In the field of sound, it was mentioned DTS as an ideal company to
approach, since they have always supported digital sound for 70mm. The
return of the 5 channels of stereophonic sound behind the screen is a
very important point to enhance the cinema experience. 9 channels of
uncompressed sound was considered a good substitute for magnetic tracks.
Whereas the current standard of 2K digital projection is already
obsolete before being completely deployed, 70mm quality is still miles
away from digital projection and unlike the later, it does not need
One attendee mentioned that a Senior Screen programme in Liverpool
brings back older patrons and older films. Apparently some patrons
complain of the reduced size of screens nowadays. There may be an
untapped market for afternoon screenings that needs to be explored.
It was mentioned that with digital projection audiences are almost
getting the same experience they get at home with HD - 1080 lines, and
so it seems logical that theatres should endeavour to offer a unique
product, such as premiere film experience.
However, it cannot be ignored the reality that many exhibitors are only
going to use digital projectors, in any case, 65mm-originated films is a
future-proof investment since it is currently the best image capturing
tool and could be used for 70mm projection, 35mm reduction prints,
digital (2K and 4K) and even IMAX screenings.
70mm could also be used to reintroduce specialists short films on
topical themes - also programming such as BBC Planet Earth / nature docs
on 70mm - scientific subjects in 70mm - geographical subjects also
utilise full possibilities of format.
Our thanks again to all who participated, and to Thomas and Bill for all
their help and support.
Would you like to continue to take part in this exciting initiative?
*** the 65/70mm workshop online is a unique opportunity for you to make
your input into the technical, financial and marketing aspects of this
Whether you work in production, post-production, exhibition,
distribution, or are an avid supporter of 65/70mm, we want to hear from
Simply email your contribution to:
Brian Guckian or
(if you would like guidance in making your contribution, please read the
"Re-introduction of 70mm as a commercial
exhibition format" - available on this website)
*** Workshop progress updates will be posted on this website ***
*** With thanks to in70mm.com and the
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