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Advantages and disadvantages of 70mm

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

Written by: Freddie A. Young Issue 37 - June 1995
Thank you for your letter dated 8th December, 1994. Thank you for the copy of The 70mm Newsletter. You asked me if I could write a short article for this. I am happy to do so, but I must state that since I am now 92 years of age and haven't worked for about 5 years - and then only on commercials - I am not up to date with all the developments in the Film Industry, However, I will now write a few words about my thoughts on using 70mm film.

70mm film like anything has i
ts advantages and disadvantages. It is particularly appropriate for those films that are set in locations of outstanding natural beauty. For example, it was certainly the right film for shooting "Lawrence of Arabia", where capturing the magnificence of the desert was so important - but had we been shooting interiors in a back street in Clapham, then I'm not so sure that it would have been worth it! Its main drawbacks are the added expense that it puts onto a film's budget, and also the time and additional work that it adds through its need for specialized equipment such as stronger dollies, cranes, tripods and so on. Another problem is that not many cinemas have the necessary facilities for showing 70mm. I do think that 35mm film has proved itself to be an excellent alternative to 70mm, since although it obviously can't match the latter's superior quality, it has none of its disadvantages, and in my opinion, there are only a limited number of films that would justify the extra cost and trouble of being shot in 70mm. After all, 35mm has stood the test of time. Mind you, I still think that there's room for 70mm for those special feature films that really do benefit from being shown on 60 foot screens in a limited number of cinemas in big cities all over the world.

Sincerely, Freddie A. Young

Further in 70mm reading:

There Were Giants in the Land

Restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia"

Some Notes on Shooting "Lawrence of Arabia"

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Updated 07-01-23