This is topic Why no 70mm? in forum General Yak at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Akshay Nanjangud (Member # 2828) on January 29, 2012, 01:02 AM:
Hi guys,

Since I started collecting film, I have heard of every film format on this forum except 70mm. What's the deal with 70mm film? When I was a kid, any theater that had 70mm projection would advertise it. Why is there no talk of 70mm in this forum?

I ask because Star Wars is expensive on any kind of film. Wouldn't it be nicer to have the same title on 70mm? I mean there's the larger film size, leading to a better image, and maybe even better sound even. Am I right?

Please pass on some knowledge.
Posted by Gerald Moore (Member # 319) on January 29, 2012, 02:42 AM:
Here you go, arguably two of the best sites on the web:
Widescreen Museum

Posted by Alexander Vandeputte (Member # 1803) on January 29, 2012, 04:25 AM:
Off course there are 70mm collectors, but they are a far and few. They are as scarce as the prints  Everything in 70mm is hard to come by: prints, projectors, splicer’s, reels as 70mm was never a common format.
It was reserved for special presentations or top market premiere theatres. A 70mm print could cost up to 10 times the price of a 35mm print. There was a lot of work involved creating those prints: every reel had to be striped, recorded and quality checked after development. Besides, most of the 70mm releases were actually blow ups from 35mm, as only a handful of film were shot in 70mm (actually 65mm). 70mm prints provided a better image quality due to the lesser magnification of the image and had 6-track magnetic sound.
A properly presented 70mm print was a sight to behold. But I think that in a home theatre situation there would be no significant difference between 35 and 70mm. Mind you that all pre 1982 prints are faded by now and since the 70mm era ended in the early nineties, there is only a decade’s worth of unfaded prints around. But sadly also those prints can suffer defects, most of them related to the magnetic tracks getting worn and hissy.
Posted by David Park (Member # 123) on January 29, 2012, 11:46 AM:
I think many of the 70mm prints I have seen in recent years have had DTS sound which I think is on a Disc.
Posted by Darren Payne (Member # 1517) on January 29, 2012, 12:29 PM:
Yes, the latter prints were 70mm blow ups (Super 35 origin)with DTS audio (no magnetic stripe) I know of 2 for sure, Armageddon and Titanic which showed at Odeon Leicester Square. Though Kenneth Brannagh's Hamlet (True 65mm)was the last (rumoured) magnetic striped 70mm print which I had the privalige of showing a few years back.
Posted by Akshay Nanjangud (Member # 2828) on January 29, 2012, 01:12 PM:
Thanks everyone.

I looked through those links and read some more. It seems like a two hour feature would need 14000' of 70mm film. Is this correct? On Super 8 even the longest features barely reach 3000 ft. Is the frame size that much bigger on 70mm?
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on January 29, 2012, 02:29 PM:
I think people who collect 70mm are insane!

I cannot imagine how can they store ONE feature only. Well we still have another life.

It is similar we have car collecting hobby and someome else is collecting mega trucks (mighty machines) [Big Grin]
Posted by Claus Harding (Member # 702) on January 29, 2012, 03:52 PM:

Do yourself a favor and Google "70mm film", and you will get a ton of info on it.

70mm projection, especially when combined with 65mm shooting, was and is still the king of visual presentation, be it conventional 70mm in a theatre or especially IMAX 70mm in a specialty presentation.

You cannot even compare frame sizes of 8mm and 35mm, let alone 70mm. There is a world of difference in size and reel requirements.

When I was being trained, we ran "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" in 70mm in its first roll-out. The assembled platter print was enormous and must have weighed on the far side of 200 pounds. Once it got rolling, you definitely kept your fingers away... [Smile]

Even with good 35mm source material, a 70mm print could result in improvements. Many features, such as "Alien" were rolled out in 70 as part of the opening, and looked fantastic.

If you have Blu-Ray and a large display and want to treat yourself to honest-to-god 65mm origination, "Ben-Hur" or "Grand Prix" will give you a taste of what some of us were lucky enough to see on a massive screen hit with 6000W of Xenon light back then. Thankfully, a handful of theatres around the world still keep up this standard.

To address your original question about "Star Wars": if you ever find a decent print in 70mm of that film, I would highly recommend you don't tell anyone....George likes to keep things under control... [Big Grin]

Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on January 29, 2012, 04:22 PM:

I looked through those links and read some more. It seems like a two hour feature would need 14000' of 70mm film. Is this correct? On Super 8 even the longest features barely reach 3000 ft.  

Since 70mm is almost 9 times of 8mm, I believe it has to be multiple by 9 too. So for a 400' digest in 8mm would be around 3000 - 3600' in 70mm!! If the film has the same aspect ratio and fps. And a full feauture which is 3000' in 8mm would be....... !!! [Roll Eyes]
Posted by Graham Ritchie (Member # 559) on January 29, 2012, 04:52 PM:
Here is an old photo I took a while ago of some film formats.

Posted by Akshay Nanjangud (Member # 2828) on January 29, 2012, 06:26 PM:
Thanks very much, guys. There is a lot of knowledge in this forum.
Posted by Brad Miller (Member # 2) on January 30, 2012, 01:18 AM:
I think people who collect 70mm are insane!
I am one of those insane people...but it's totally worth the effort.
Posted by Lee Mannering (Member # 728) on January 30, 2012, 05:47 AM:
Akshay, the Super 8 documentary film I produced in the late 80’s titled ‘A Cinema of our time’ shows 70mm being projected and we projected the 8mm film over the weekend which got me thinking just how little we hear about 70mm these days and possibly even less with the digital onslaught. I was glad looking back that we managed to film in the projection room showing the 70mm projector running along with cake stands feeding the machine, particularly as the 12 screen cinema has now closed down. Keep your eyes open for a used super 8 copy if you like watching 70mm as it did get issued on 8mm for collectors.

I wonder just how many 70mm projectors are still in use within the UK?
Posted by David Park (Member # 123) on January 30, 2012, 06:50 AM:
Scroll to UK at the end.
Posted by Lee Mannering (Member # 728) on February 02, 2012, 04:31 AM:
Contacted one of the cinemas listed as showing 70mm and received email back saying "Due to 70mm now being very hard to get hold of and costing lots to transport, we very rarely have any 70mm screenings anymore". Looks like 70 will be going the way of the Dodo bird sad to say.

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