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Panavision Enters Independent Production

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: INTERNATIONAL PROJECTIONIST NOVEMBER 57. Prepared for in70mm.com by Brian Guckian, Dublin, IrelandDate: 20.12.2015
The manufacturers of anamorphic camera lenses now turn to films that can be shown 35-, 65-, or 70-mm employing a 3-to-1 ratio.

PANAVISION, INC., makers of anamorphic camera lenses, printing lenses for various wide film processes, variable anamorphic projection lenses, the Panavision-Simplex projector conversion for 70-mm, and various other products in the industry, has announced the formation of Panavision Films, a new independent production company.

In a press interview, Robert E. Gottschalk, president of Panavision, Inc.. and vice-president in charge of production for the new (inn. said that the features will be roadshown on Panavision's 65-70-mm process. The first production will be "The Magnificent Matriarch," based on the Kathleen Mellen novel dealing with Hawaiian history. Producer will be David Lewis, who did "Raintree County" (which was shot in Panavision's 65-mm process, but released in 35-mm). The budget on the picture, which is set to roll next May, will be $2,000,000.

Besides producing the picture, Panavision will offer a package deal to exhibitors which will include projector, lamps, lenses, screens, etc., on a rental or lease purchase basis, determined by revenue and seating capacity.

Package Equipment

The equipment in the package will consist of Ashcraft Super Cinex lamps, modified Simplex projectors, the Panavision slight-squeeze lens, and a screen especially developed for the process by Radiant Manufacturing Corp.—non-metallic, smooth, a newly-developed surfacing, modified gains of 2, 2½ and 3-to-1, and, most important, a 3-to-1 aspect ratio.

It was this 3-to-1 ratio that caused the most discussion in Gottschalk's New York interview. He is adamant that 60 feet is the minimum width for the screen. ''Otherwise, we won't install our process," he said.

Gottschalk is certain that the 3-to-1 ratio will not disconcert an audience, but rather will enhance the picture— which will include location shots in Hawaii, a volcano eruption, and authentic underwater scenes shot with a special 20-pound hand camera.

Definitely Not Cinerama

"This is definitely not Cinerama," he said. "We're only going to use a very slightly curved screen, and probably in some cases none at all." This, Gottschalk believes, will get away from the 'bent' look that images tend to on curved screens. "And contrary to popular belief, there are many theatres capable of handling very large screens," he added. Those theatres already equipped to handle 70-mm (like Todd-AO houses) will only have to install the Panavision wide screen and projection lenses. As it stands, minus the Todd circuit, there is a potential of some 20 theatres. In some cases, the screen can be set up in front of the proscenium.

"The Magnificent Matriarch," which will be three hours long and in Eastman Color, will be roadshown for one year in 70-mm in key cities throughout the world, and then will be put into general 35-mm release. The Panavision-Simplex projector conversion is capable of showing 35-, 65-, or 70-mm film. With the package deal of screen, etc., they are expected to cost around $6000. Gottschalk believes that many exhibitors will elect to keep the equipment.

The production, of course, will be shot in the Panavision 65-mm process, also known as MGM Camera 65. Panavision developed the process in cooperation with the MGM Research and Development department. It now has 6 modified Mitchell 65-mm cameras in production. MGM has 13. A three-strip release print of the Cinerama type has also been developed.

The 70-mm release print of the initial picture will probably carry six sound tracks.

The Ultra Panator 35-mm variable anamorphic projection lens used in conjunction with the Panavision-Simplex Conversion. Available also is the Panatar 16, designed for 16-mm variable anamorphic projection.

Panavision-Simplex Conversion which allows projection in 35-, 65-, or 70-mm. Included in this conversion of standard Simplex XL projectors are a 3-wing shutter, double duty drive and intermittent sprockets, 65- and 70-mm film gates, and a specially-designed magnetic sound reproducer by Magnasync of Burbank, Calif., that will reproduce 6-channel magnetic sound on 70-mm prints, and 4-channel or single-channel magnetic sound on 35-mm. Changing in the projection room is laid to take from 3 to 5 minutes.
More in 70mm reading:

The Importance of Panavision

Panavison Large Format Motion Picture Systems

Super Panavision 70
Ultra Panavision 70

Ultra Panavision 70 Lens

Internet link:

"The Motion Picture Projectionist"

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Updated 07-01-23