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Is "Tron" in 65mm?

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

Written by: Jean-Pierre Gutzeit, Berlin, Germany Issue 60 - March 2000
Regarding the remarks about "Tron" in issue 58, I wonder if Disney really struck a new 70mm print (in DTS or mag stripe?) for the 1999 re-issue in Los Angeles, or did they find a well-stored 70mm magnetic print from 1982/83?

Additionally I have several doubts about the remarks made by director Steven Lisberger in Screen International. I saw the film several times in 70mm in June 1983 and was astonished about the evident flat and grainy look of the live action scenes before and after the Master Control Program (MCP) section. Maybe director Lisberger chose 65mm for live action at the beginning of the filming. I assume, however, that he switched to 35mm anamorphic because of lack of depth of field.

Compared to 70mm prints of "Blue Thunder", "Return of the Jedi" or "Blade Runner", the "65mm" look of "Tron" is inferior, clearly indicating it was shot in 35mm. The changeover to the animated trip in the cyperspace of the MCP shows an evident improvement in grain structure. The animation sequences were probably photographed on 65mm from a computer monitor with 10000 lines of resolution. The animated cyberspace sequences were shot in 65mm and combined with 35mm black and white live action inserts of actors on an Oxberry animation stand. On the internet I have even found an indication that animation scenes were indeed filmed in a 35mm horizontal format.

In any case, I cannot believe Director Lisberg´s statement "...the first film shot entirely in 65mm since "Ryan´s Daughter". I will research this further in American Cinematogpher magazine, although AC is not as reliable as the SMPTE Journal is.

Finally I´d like to offer a 200 US dollars reward for absolute proof of the camera format used to photograph live action sequences in "Tron" (a laboratory invoice indicating 65mm negative development or similar hard evidence).

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Would you like to read the answer from the laboratory coordinator and post production supervisor for "Tron"?  
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Updated 21-01-24