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Vistamorph Update

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Chris O'Kane; Glasgow, Scotland Date: 20.06.2008
Gal Gael workshop Vistamorph still. Vistamorph 3:1 frame. Curtsey Chris O'Kane

Click image to see enlargement

We have opened the new office, details on our web site. We are sharing it with a chap called Mitch Miller who is doing a documentary project on HDV all about the early days of travelling shows and mobile cinema in Scotland. His great grandfather was apparently the first person to show mobile cinema in Scotland.

Our camera engineer, Martin Stent has been refining our VistaVision camera. He ran through 400ft of test film and is taking it to Technicolor for processing. Unfortunately the camera stripped a gear, one that drives the magazine, and there was a pile up in the camera. We think it was just a pin that broke, but Martin has to take it apart and sort it out. I have a deadline of next week to start shoot a 24 minute short in Vistamorph format for a community group here called "Gal Gael". So I'm a bit frustrated, but it's taken so long just to get to this stage, frankly were lucky to be still going at all. No one wants to back film based projects. However, both Kodak and Technicolor have actually been very supportive. Kodak are giving us 45% discount on stock and Technicolor are giving us rock bottom processing and telecine services. Unfortunately they cannot do 70mm anymore. I'm still waiting on confirmation that they can still do 35mm VistaVision reduction prints. Andrew Oran and Dave Strohmaier have offered to look at setting up 70mm prints at Fotokem. That's on going just now I hope.
More in 70mm reading:

Vistamorph « An alternative large Format Film Experience

Internet link:

Chris O'Kane
Glasgow Science Centre
50 Pacific Quay
G51 1EA
T : 0141 420 5010 Ext. 263
M : 07870 899469

Meanwhile, I am in league with a producer in Glasgow who wants to shoot a 60 minute documentary on the history of ship building on the Clyde. This is a big budget and the intention is that the film will show in various places around the world. So we are planning Vistamorph 70, 35 and HD for TV. It's called "Legends of the Sea". The producer pitch for funding this week, so fingers crossed.

The plan is to shoot it in Vistamorph format and produce a 35mm reduction print, a 70mm print and a digital option too. We would like to know where this film could be screened? 70mm or widescreen festivals, special theatres that would be interested in the new format or the subject. I had a look at the in70mm.com pages for theatres, but do you think there are theatres and festivals that would be interested in a Vistamorph film?

We still have our own anamorphic lens to build. The optical design is complete and we are ready to order a set of elements. However, we need to raise a few thousand first. It's a struggle and banks just won't help. We've got to find this money ourselves. Brian Guckian [65/70mm Workshop] has joined the company and he is going to help us build a business plan and prospectus. The idea is to sell investment shares in Vistamorph and to start by offering them to people already in the film industry. We can see the attraction of Vistamorph being owned by people who have an interest in film.
On my mind at present is the cost of 70mm, Imax etc. One thing thing is becoming clear in this new economic climate, energy hungry products are going to be unpopular with energy costs soaring. Now if the industry is considering reducing or, dare I say it, abandoning 70mm systems, then perhaps we should look at what else can be done with 35mm film? This is where I see Vistamorph having a chance. And it brings something new to the industry without too much development. Both Technicolor and Kodak are supportive because it uses film and processing and keeps a sector of the industry alive. It can be no bad thing to have other options in time of recession. So the years ahead will be very interesting indeed.

That's about it for now. Wish I could get to all these 70mm festivals. Hopefully next year I'll be there with some 70mm reels under my arm.

Keep up the good work.
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Updated 21-01-24