WIDE SCREEN – shoots in the dark!
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: HENRY PROVISOR, HOME MOVIES SEPTEMBER 58.
Prepared for in70mm.com by Brian Guckian, Dublin, Ireland||Date:
Panavision's newest Panatar (Auto-Panatar) was demonstrated in Hollywood
last week. President Robert Gottschalk screened footage which proved that an
anamorphic close-up al 20-in. pave a perfectly normal image, with no
distortion. A high speed lens, working at F1. and now produced by this
company, was demonstrated with footage shot, in color, al night on Hollywood
Boulevard. Existing street lights were employed, and nothing more, when
exposures were made.|
Since the fastest anamorphic lenses available to date have had an effective
aperture of only F2., Gottschalk's F1.0 lens can be used for color night
shots in railway stations, public buildings and streets. Now studios can
dispense with expensive and ponderous lighting equipment in virtually all of
its difficult locations. Obviously this will reduce overhead and increase
the possibility of using many more "on-the-spot" locations which previously
were not available unless the set was built to order.
QUALITY: After examining the street footage, it was found that depth of
field is sensational for a lens of this wide aperture. At 50 feet, a depth
of almost 7 feet was observed, and although this was not needle sharp on
each plane, the sharpness tolerance was excellent. Detail in the shadows was
good, and more than acceptable both to the average viewer and the critical
motion picture producer. Most important of all, the feeling of authenticity
was present; couple this with tremendous savings when booster lights are not
used, and we have a real advance in motion picture technique. This should
help the story, no matter what kind of film is shot, and should give more
flexibility to screen writers who have in the past, shied away from some
night scenes because of the additional costs. The use of this lens will be a
positive ' advance in fostering better cine technique.
Gottschalk demonstrated the Auto-Panatar lens using footage from pictures
already in release, and from some still in the making, plus comparative
scenes prepared especially for the showing. Other wide-screen lenses, at the
present time, do not allow bringing the camera closer to the actor than
eight feet, without causing a widening of the image which increases as the
camera approaches. Distortion is so bad, that many actors have refused to
work in the wide-screen medium, and of course, with good reason. A medium
shot of a pretty starlet, for example, looked perfectly normal, but once the
camera rolled in for a close-up, distortion converted a pretty face into a
virtual caricature of the original.
Using the same shot, with an Auto Panatar and a conventional wide-screen
lens, and shooting a scene with starlet Myra Hansen, it was shown how the
Auto Panatar could be brought up to 26 inches with no distortion, plus
unique sharpness and contrast. The highlights on the forehead and cheekbones
were needle sharp, with a decent scale ranging from pure white to natural
skin tone. (See photograph). The other lens, could not deliver, and when
used at the same distance introduced so much distortion that the girl looked
like someone else.
MGM has ordered 15 lenses, ($11,000 each) and Columbia has placed an order
for more. Virtually handmade, only two per month can now be supplied, states
Gottschalk. Lenses will be available on a rental basis when purchase demands
have been met, he declared.
The growth of Panavision, in four short years has been sensational. They
have sold more than 20,000 pairs of anamorphic lenses for projection of
Cinemascope, and produced the lenses used by Technicolor to convert straight
prints to Cinemascope; also used by Warner, RKO, MGM, Universal and
Panavision engineered the print-down 35mm print for "Around The World in 80
Days" and will do the same for "South Pacific", and also the MGM Camera 65
which shot "Ben Hur." (Camera 65 is Panavision).
Rising from obscurity to undisputed leader in the wide-screen field,
Gottschalk and his associates have become part of a fabulous success story
that could happen only in Hollywood. They do have a better mouse trap.
Above, the best-known wide screen lens, the Auto-Panatar, used for more
professional motion pictures, with more success than any other.
The new cat’s eye F1.0 lens employed by Panavision for low level shooting in
the dark, where large banks of light cannot be used. Lens is said to be a
money-saver for studios, since it eliminates high production costs.
More in 70mm reading:
Panavison Large Format Motion Picture Systems
Importance of Panavision
Ultra Panavision 70
Panavision 70 Lens
"The Motion Picture Projectionist"
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