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CineSpace 70 / ClearVision 2000 by Todd-AO

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Credits assembled by Lee Parker, Richard Vetter & Thomas Hauerslev Issue 58 - September 1999

Original title: CineSpace 70 by Todd-AO. Working (tentative) title: CineSpace 70 demo  film.  Filmed in: 65mm, 5 perforations, 30 frames per second. Principal cinematography filmed in: Todd-AO 70mm. Presentation format: Todd-AO 70mm. Aspect ratio: 2,21:1 (flat or shallow curved screen).

Country of origin: USA. Year of production: 1986 - 1987. Released by: Todd-AO Camera Division. World premiere (Release date): Todd-AO/Glen Glenn Studios, Theatre 1 in a presentation for the American Society of Cinematographers. Public Premiere cinema: Kinepolis, Belgium, Summer 1989. America Fairfax Cinema, West Hollywood, 70mm Film Festival (the same festival where the "Director's Cut" of “Blade Runner” premiered, 1990.) Great Britain premiere: Odeon Marble Arch for Sir David Lean and Erik Rattray January 1989. Also shown to the public March 14, 1999, Pictureville Cinema, Bradford (Wide Screen Weekend).

United Artists Communications. Designed and Produced by: Lee Parker and Dr. Richard Vetter. Director: Lee Parker. Screenplay: There were no screenplay. A shot-by-shot list by Dr. Richard Vetter, see Synopsis.  Film editor: Lee Parker. Sound: See “Notes about the filming”. Production designer: Happen Stance. Narration: “These scenes were filmed in Super 35. And now we present CineSpace 70”. Also see Notes about the filming. Narrator: Dr. Richard Vetter.

“Joshua Tree” Car sequences:

Photography: Jim Dixon. Car action, opening 35mm to 70mm dissolve and other Joshua Tree shots photography: Lee Parker. Additional photography: Barry Gordon. Camera assistant: Erik Pedersen. Camera Grip: Brett Fletcher. Camera Assistant: Ron Raschke.

“Lonely Girl” sequence:

Cast: Marisa Savage (Girl). Pat Banta (Boy). Director: Mark Scott and Lee Parker. Photography: Mark Scott. Set Designer: Lee Parker, Mark Scott. Dress designs: Margi Kent Studios/Melrose. Wardrobe Stylist: Stephanie Scott. Chiffon: Erik Pedersen.

“Lake Powell” sequence:

Aerials: Energy Productions. Directed: Louis Schwartzberg.

“Spanish Girl” sequence:

Set designer: Lee Parker. Stylist: Stephanie Scott. “Models” Cast: Daniella Cordone, Kelly Killoren, Kim Sissons and Kara Young. Set Designer: Mark Scott. Stylist: Stephanie Scott. Wardrobe Stylist: Ricky Castro. Hair: Tony Lucha. Make Up: Jeff Angel. Camera Operator:  Ernie Reed. Best Boy: Larry Flynn. Gaffer: John Isaacs.

“Atlanta, Las Vegas & Swamp” sequence:

Photography: Joe Shelton. Camera Assistant: Russ Allinson.

“Steadicam Girl” sequence:

Steadicam operator: Steve St. John. Steadicam assistant: Tony Francesco. Girl in white dress: Brandy Parker.

Production company:
United Artists Communications. Production assistant: Dave Thomas, Erik Pedersen. Executive producer: Dr. Richard Vetter. Production staff: Dr. Richard Vetter, Barry Gordon, Lee Parker. Camera assistant: Dave Thomas, Tony Francesco. Camera operator: Lee Parker. Camera technician: Lee Parker, Barry Gordon. Film loader: Lee Parker. Camera Assistant, Timelapse shots: Joseph Claus. Camera system: CineSpace 70 by Todd-AO. Lenses: Mamiya 24mm, Olympus 24mm, Nikon 28mm, Ziess 30mm, Nikon 35mm, Zeiss  40mm, 50mm, 80mm, 110mm, 500mm, Cooke 80-360mm zoom and Zeiss 110-220 Zoom. Cinespace 70 cameras: AP7, AP6, AP8 & FC. Todd-AO technician: Barry Gordon, Lee Parker. Underwater photography: Underwater photography was shooting into a fish tankat the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Aerial mount: Patterson Mount. Gaffer: Bobby Comer, Ernie Reed. Key grip (car sequence Joshua Tree): Ron Raske. Grip: Lee Parker. Music: “Axel F (Part 1)” from the soundtrack “Beverly Hills Cop”. Performed and composed by Harold Faltemeyer. Courtesy MCA Records. Copyright
Ó1985 by MCA Records, Inc. “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” from “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”. Performed and Composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto.  Courtesy Virgin Records. Copyright Ó 1983 by National Film Trustee Company/ Virgin Records Ltd. “I had a farm in Africa” from the soundtrack “Out of Africa”. Composed by John Barry. Courtesy MCA Records. Copyright Ó1986 by MCA Records, Inc. “Axel F (Part 2)” from the soundtrack “Beverly Hills Cop”. Performed and composed by Harold Faltemeyer. Courtesy MCA Records. Copyright Ó1985 by MCA Records, Inc. Music supervisor: Lee Parker. Music editor: Lee Parker. Sound design: Lee Parker. Sound mixer: Todd-AO. Location sound recording: None. Sound editor: Lee Parker. Casting: Lee Parker. Optical effects: Boss Films. Locations: Lee Parker. Production start: January 1986 – April 1987. Location research: Lee Parker. End Titles Layout: Lee Parker. End Title Photography: Boss Films. Opticals: Boss Films. Todd-AO developers: American Optical Company and Magna Theatre Corporation. AP6, AP7 & AP8 spinning mirror conversion by: Fries Engineering. Film stock: 65mm Eastman Kodak 5247 and 5294.  Shooting ratio: 10:1 (see Notes about the filming). 65mm negative developing: MetroColor. Negative cutter: Brian Ralph (Superior Film Services). Color timer: Bill Pine (MGM). Color by: MetroColor. 70mm prints: MetroColor. 35mm to 70mm blow-up: Boss Films with a David Grafton lens. 35mm to 70mm blow-up Optical Camera operator: Chris Regan. Number of 70mm prints: Two. Number of 35mm prints: One. 70mm magnetic striping: FCP. Recorded in: Six-track magnetic stereophonic Dolby Stereo with surround (format 42) of two-track stereo music. Dolby Stereo consultant: David Gray. Sound system: 70mm six track stereo. 70mm running time: 8 minutes and 18 seconds. Distributor: Todd-AO/Glen Glenn Studios, Hollywood, USA.

Further in 70mm reading:

Todd-AO 65mm Camera AP-65

Full credits for "The March of Todd-AO"

Full credits for "The Miracle of Todd-AO"

The Saga of Todd-AO

Todd-AO & Cinespace

Richard Vetter

“As Good as it Gets” - cast/credit


Notes about the filming

The “Swamp” sequence is the shot looking up at the tree tops with the sky in the background. Frame from 35mm print down of Cinespace 70 demo film.

“Cinespace 70” was the first 70mm film ever edited entirely with video. The film was edited with an off-line Panasonic 3/4" video system. As a 70mm video telecine was unavailable at that time, the 70mm footage was telecined with a video camera beam-splitter mirror and a standard Philips DP70/Norelco AA11 70mm movie projector at the UA Pasadena cinema near Los Angeles. The UA Pasedena was not the multiplex UA Pasadena, but an older theater. The telecine was done at the older theater down the street with a 60 ft SILVER SCREEN!  There were two AA's there set up to project 70mm 3D. The CineSpace 70 Demo was projected at 60 foot lamberts! It was the brightest place in the world. Using the beam splitter from the 3D camera system, Lee Parker was able to get the video camera on the same optical axis as the projector.

The mirror turned the light 90 degrees to a flat white card about 3 feet across. This made a very bright image. Lee Parker did this to get maximum color saturation in the video. Even today you look at the video and you can't tell it was done without a telecine. A propriatary computer program turned the video time code numbers into film key code numbers and the work print was cut to match the video. The program was later developed into a full featured program used by “Baraka” and by Douglas Trumball at “Luxor”. The software is still licensed to large format films and is called CONFORM-IT. The sound was mixed to cue marks on clear leader as there were no "rock & roll" mixing projectors for 70mm. Lee Parker created the clear leader by interlocking it with the 70mm workprint and marking dissolve points, fades & cuts. It was an easy mix, with only 6 sound changes. Sound is two track stereo spread to 6 tracks. Some sound effects were added at the beginning for the 6 tracks, but this was a visual piece and not a sound piece. Marisa Savage and Pat Banta had never met before they were cast for “Lonely Girl”. They are now married with children. Since the dubber could not run at 30fps, Dr. Richard Vetter spoke slowly and his voice when played at 30fps, was pitched-shifted down to correct for the speed. This is why he sounds a little funny.

Steadicam Girl, Mrs. Brandy Parker, is wife of Lee Parker, in her wedding dress. “Spanish Girl” is just one shot of the girl with the Tiger striped hat. That was a beautiful model from Spain who didn't speak a word of English. She was directed through an interpreter. It took 16 takes to get it. Take 16 is the one in the film! The “Swamp” sequence is the shot looking up at the tree tops with the sky in the background. Lots of stuff ended up on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, we had a camera flare problem on the model shoot stuff and a lot of it wasn't good enough to use. There was a Twist and Shout sequence that couldn't be used. There were lots of aerials with bi-planes over Lake Powell that we couldn't use for the demo print would have been too long.

Synopsis: Demonstration Film in four major parts. Purpose of the demonstration film is to show the merits of filming with updated 65mm Todd-AO cameras. Following examples are included: zoom, steadicam, low light, high speed, slow motion, time lapse, CU's to infinity, aerial, under water, exterior, people, nature, daytime, nighttime, extreme wide angle to telephoto etc.

Estimated cost of one 70mm print is USD 5000,00 (1999 price).

"Cinespace 70" / "ClearVision 2000" Demonstration Film
Introductory Notes Presented at the
2nd Todd-AO Festival at the Schauburg

Spanish  Girl” is just one shot of the girl with the Tiger striped hat. That was a beautiful model from Spain who didn't speak a word of English. She was directed through an interpreter. It took 16 takes to get it. Take 16 is the one in the film!

Toward the end of the 1980s, the motion picture industry had increasingly moved away from doing most actual 65mm film production and everything was being photographed in 35mm. So-called "blow ups", using 35mm originalS to make 70mm release prints, were perceived as "good enough", and more economical.

Around this time, some of the principals who had been instrumental in developing the "Todd-AO" and "Dimension 150" processes, and others who were interested in seeing some continuing use of the wonderful Todd-AO cameras, decided it was time to remind the industry about how good things really could be if movies would made as "real" 70mm productions. They got together and decided to produce a demonstration film which would illustrate the capabilities of photography in the original Todd-AO format, meaning 65mm negative film, photographed at the originally-specified 30 frames per second, not the 24 fps that was (and has remained) commonplace. One sidelight ... two major feature films actually were produced at the original 30fps specification, ("Okla.", and "Around the World..."), but 30fps never really caught on as a distribution standard. Well, this new short film would also serve to remind the world that 30fps was the "ultimate" production mode.

Photography was done variously, in several locations, around L.A., the southwest, and in a studio. There is even one scene, of especial note to cinematographers, of a cinematographer actually using one of the 70mm cameras mounted on a SteadiCam device, to illustrate that you could in fact achieve "fluidity" of motion using such larger cameras, which was becoming increasingly popular by that time.

In a recent conversation, one of the organizers of the film project (and the co-developer of the D-150 process), Dr. Richard Vetter had some additional comments about the film. In his words, the project was to attempt to use a "laundry list" of photographic techiques in the reel, to try to do a bit of every kind of scene a photographer could encounter, to show that it really worked, and worked brilliantly. So, they sought out every lens they could find, from extreme telephoto to extreme wide angle. They did scenes in daylight, twilight, and night times. Interiors and exteriors. Extreme close-ups. Underwater. Slo-motion. Aerial photography. Scenes that would demonstrate other photographic essentials, like bold, saturated colors, and extreme fine detail, such as the wispy, flowing, linen lace material, seen in some shots, worn by a model.

For music accompaniment, they selected some uptempo pop music of the time, to give it a fun feeling, but really, the important issue was the image quality.

In that interview, Dr. Vetter also mentioned he would like to point out to today's audience here in Karlsruhe that camera films, at the time of the original cinematography, were rather unsophisticated, at least by the standards of 2007. In the 1980s, camera stocks were in Kodak's series known as the "EXR" family of emulsions. Later on would come the major improvements that brought us the "Vision" family of emulsions, followed by today's "Vision II" series. Each one of those represented a refinement & improvement over the previous emulsions in terms of clarity and color rendition. So, if you think the film looks nice now, you can only imagine HOW GREAT it would be if it were to be re-photographed on today's camera stocks!

The current film you'll see is a fairly recent print, re-mastered to have a DTS soundtrack. The original prints were done as mag. sound. One original exists at what remains of Todd-AO (now known as "Ascent Media") in L.A., but it's got some scratches and doesn't look as good as it should. Around the year 2000, Dr. Vetter and some other associates decided to give the large format image another chance to show its abilities. They went to the original negative, and made a new copy, in the process changing the name from "Cinespace 70" to "Clearvision 2000".

At the start of the reel, before the actual 30fps demonstration reel begins, there is another, shorter demonstration -- of sound. Some of you may have already seen this one. When DTS was being developed, digital sound in the theatre was quite unknown to most production people. DTS wanted to make a big splash, so to speak, and, with the cooperation of Universal Studios (who released the first film in DTS, "Jurassic Park"), they produced a sound demonstration film from some elements in the Universal vaults. Scenes from some Universal films that were recent (at the time, which was around 1973).

The demonstration film was made in 35mm only at the time, and came to be somewhat informally known as "The Buzz and Bill Show", the first names of the two studio sound "Mixers" who are featured in the short demo film.

After a few years in 35mm only, DTS decided to also develop a 70mm capability, and at that time decided to make a "blow up" to 70mm of "The Buzz and Bill Show". That's what you will see at the start of the reel. HOWEVER --- Buzz and Bill were photographed at the DTS normal standard, 24fps. It works equally well at 30fps, as we will demonstrate. We will first watch "Buzz and Bill" at 24fps, then the screen will go dark and we'll change the speed of the projector to 30fps, and resume the reel, with the original "Cinespace 70"/"Clearvision 2000" film. All sound on one DTS disc, playing both 24 and 30 fps with no changing necessary. Very complete technical details about the production of the "Cinespace 70" film are available on the in70mm.com website!

Now, in DTS, at 24 and 30 frames per second ...
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Updated 21-01-24