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"100%" in 70mm

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

Reprinted from: In Camera, January 2000 Issue 60 - March 2000
The speed, action and excitement of NASCAR stock car racing has helped make it America's fastest growing sport. To enhance the experience for fans attending NASCAR's Winston Cup series, sponsor R.J. Reynolds commissioned Scene Three of Nashville, Tennessee, to create a large-format special venue film and transportable theater. It has become a popular added attraction at the races.

Titled "100%", the 10-minute program combines action from seven races to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at a NASCAR Winston Cup Race. The film was produced in 65mm, five perf format. It is shown in a specially constructed tent called "Thunder Theater," which combines state-of-the-art audio with giant screen visuals to present viewers with a highly-charged spectacle. "We wanted to capture the emotions of NASCAR Winston Cup racing," says Scene Three owner Marc Ball, who served as executive producer and director. "It's a tremendously exciting sport, but when you see it on television, it's just little cars racing around a little track. This film puts the audience into the race."

"The sponsor embraced the concept of shooting "100%" in 65mm format," says Ball. "They felt it would give their story an added dimension. They thought a big screen was a unique and fresh way of showing racing." 
Further in 70mm reading:

"The Witness"

Internet link:

Correction April 6, 2002:

Scott McCullough is the Director and Cinematographer for "100%".  Marc Ball was Executive Producer and Second Unit Director.

Misinformation and misrepresentation was given to the reporters regarding this story. Anyone can contact Scott McCullough if there are any questions or need for further clarification at director.scott@gmail.com.

Ball, co-director Scott McCullough and cinematographers T.C. Christensen, Denver Collins and Danny Ross compiled footage by shooting seven Winston Cup races over a five month period. The crews had full access to the racing venues. They also captured footage inside cars, on the track, in the garage and pit areas, and from helicopters hovering above the action. 

"I've always been fascinated by large-format films, such as IMAX" Ball says. "The image is clean, beautiful and very impactful, which is exactly what our client wanted." "100%" is a condensed version of a Winston Cup race with scenes culled from the different events covered. Although Ball had free rein to shoot, he still made sure his crews were inconspicuous. 

"Those three hours the cars are on the track are incredibly intense," says Ball. "The drivers are focused on winning that race. We wanted to make sure we did not get in the way. We didn't want the next day's headlines to read: 'Driver Loses Race After Hitting 65mm Camera.'"

Ball used an Arriflex 765 camera with a wide array of Arri lenses, ranging from 30-350mm and a 38-210 zoom; a Panavision HR 65mm high-speed system with a wide selection of lenses; an Arri 565 with Arri super-speed primes, a 14mm lens, and a 11-102 zoom; and the Spacecam 5 perf 65mm system. Where it was impractical to shoot with a 65mm camera, an Eyemo 35mm stunt camera was also used for pickup shots. The negative was then blown up to the larger format.

The project was shot in available light, ranging from bright sunlight during day races, to the mixed color temperatures of stadium lighting at night races. Ball chose Kodak Vision 200-speed film for the entire shoot. "It gave us beautiful images with no obvious grain," Ball explains. "On a giant screen, any hint of grain is exaggerated," says Ball. "We shot without any filtration and the colors are spectacular. The film reaches deep into the darkest areas even when we shot at night. It has incredible dynamic range and it didn't go grainy even in those extreme situations." 

The Thunder Theater was designed and built for "100%". The transportable facility is 7000 square feet (630 sq. m) and seats about 200 people. The film was shown during 38 different races on the Winston Cup circuit in 1999. Ball estimates that about a million people - an average of 20,000 to 25,000 per race - experienced "100%". The film was projected on a 50 x 22.5 foot (23.62 x 10.63 m) screen. The audio is carried through seven discreet channels.

"I prefer the wider 5 perf format," says Ball. "One's field of view is filled with the complete image rather than having to look around the screen to see everything. It allows the viewer to be more absorbed into the experience. It's a much more emotional event. 

Ball says the title is a tribute to the effort put out by the NASCAR drivers and crew. "The people in this sport give 100 percent all the time," he explains. "We believe that the audience gets a good taste of that in "100%" and can walk away appreciating the effort that goes into winning." 
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Updated 21-01-24