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Old June 8th, 2010, 06:38 PM   #1
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5 Perf 65 MM: The Ultimate Motion Picture Format Hollywood Should Return To !

Hi Friends:
Whenever a Hollywood studio archives a feature film and stores it for prosperity in a specially environmentally controlled vault, the format almost always chosen is the 5 perf 65 mm Eastman Type II color negative one. This is no accident of course ! There is an exhaustively long list of reasons why one would want to use this motion picture format. I will only attempt to point out a few of the merits of this jaw dropingly astounding "Mount Everest" of all movie formats.

Did you know ?: Most original film based 3 D was photographed using two Mitchell FC (Fox Camera) 5 Perf 65 MM Rackover motion picture cameras mounted on a special rig at 45 degrees to each other using a special prism. Walt Disney Imagineering used a custom designed Haynes Lab rig with their (Now Very Rare) Mitchell FC 65's to shoot all of their theme park 3D attractions, including Captain EO with Michael Jackson.

Did you know ?: The two ultimate motion picture formats which Roger Ebert referred to in his recent article about 3D are *both based on the use of 5 perf 65 mm motion picture film technology ? Why ? Douglas Trumbull's famous *Showscan Process used 5 perf 65 MM film running at 60 fps. At 60 fps the film grain becomes velvet and pretty much disappears while all live action movement becomes ultra fluid. The temporal fluidity of the filmed action becomes life like in a way which has to be seen to be understood.

Did you know ?: One hollywood feature film *was filmed in this process for several of the sequences, but the studio got nervous about the experimental nature of the process and forced the producers and its director (Douglas Trumbull) to only release in 35 mm Anamorphic. The name of the film was *Brainstorm, and all of the visionary sequences recorded by the movie story's special VTR were filmed in 5 perf 65 mm @ 60 fps. What was supposed to happen in theatres was a sudden screen expansion on cue along with a sudden shift in projection speed from 5 perf 70 mm running @ 24 fps (The whole Brainstorm movie was filmed in 5/65 MM btw) to 60 fps. Those who have actually seen the Showscan version of this picture with the 60 fps sequences presented, have said the effect was so utterly astounding that it defied explanation ! These effects created an experience never before extent in a Hollywood movie. Cinema Products of Hollywood (A now defunct camera equipment company) was commissioned by Showscan to design a studio silent reflex shooting camera system for this format by the late great camera engineer Ed DiGiulio. The camera was known as the CP 65 Showscan camera.

Did you know ?: The 5/65mm motion picture format offers 4.2 x the available negative area compared to Anamorphic 35 mm.

Did you know ?: Real IMAX is based on the use of 65 mm motion picture negative running through the IMAX camera.

If Hollywood uses 5 perf 65 mm motion picture film to store and archive all of their feature films (Including those originated in digital), then why not also employ 65 mm negative film for original live action acquisition ? 5/70 mm exhibition is by far the brightest, steadiest big screen motion picture format ever created (Super Panavision 70, Super Panorama 70, Todd AO 70, Ultra Panavision 70, MGM Camera 65)

Why settle for $120, 000.00 US fuzzy and dark digital 3 D, when we can have huge screen, bright and ultra sharp 5 /70 MM prints. The projectors cost about $5,000.00 a piece and are easily repaired and maintainable. If a $120K Dollars 3D projector breaks, can you get it back up and running in 20 minutes ? How long does the bulb in a $120K 3D digital projector cost and last versus a Xenon lamp in a 5/70 MM projector ?
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Old June 8th, 2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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Mark, this is a great bit of history that more people should know about.

A couple of points of trivia: Brainstorm was the last movie of the late great Natalie Wood; she met her ghastly end while the film was in production.

And note that the real IMAX format uses 65mm film going through the camera sideways. The frame is roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes or a deck of cards.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #3
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Great stuff Mark thanks for the history and bringing up some great questions.
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; June 9th, 2010 at 09:12 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 08:58 AM   #4
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The Late Great Natalie Wood

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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Mark, this is a great bit of history that more people should know about.

A couple of points of trivia: Brainstorm was the last movie of the late great Natalie Wood; she met her ghastly end while the film was in production.

And note that the real IMAX format uses 65mm film going through the camera sideways. The frame is roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes or a deck of cards.
...Hey Adam: Yes. I was well aware this was the production which turned out to be Natalie Wood's last. In fact Doug Trumbull told me they could not complete the film as originally intended because there were still a couple of scenes left to film. However, they did have enough for clever editing , and most folks don't know what *should have been* there, so it still flows.
Regarding IMAX, this is a 65 mm copy of 35 mm Vista Vision essentially ! IMAX is 15 perf 65 mm sideways. The late camera genius Jan Jacobsen designed a triple throw 5 perf pull down and turned it on its side. Time & time again, 65 mm motion picture shooting (In all of its various frame sizes) has been shown to be demonstrably superior to any extent alternative 35 mm or digital format.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #5
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Current Film Directors Are Rediscovering 5 / 65 mm

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Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
Great stuff Mark thank for the history and bring up some great questions.
...Hi Paul: Thanks :-) The current upcoming release called *INCEPTION* has a great deal of it shot in 5 perf 65 mm. It should be interesting to go see at the cinema. I know the president of one of the major American cinema chains has repeatedly tried to get the studios to shoot and release in 5/70 mm again (It's 6/65 mm in the camera & 5/70 mm in the projector), to no avail. The problem is we only have Vitorio Storaro in the ASC who's openly pushing for 5/65mm shooting. Most of the other Academy award winning cinematographers who shot 65mm all the time, like Leon Shamroy, and Robert Surtees, are dead ! However, we do have Don Burgess and Mikael Solomon ASC, who also have experience shooting 5/65mm. I think most of the directors who shot 5/65mm often are also gone, so perhaps 3D shooting will lead to a rediscovery of the 65 mm shooting format ?
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Old June 9th, 2010, 11:07 AM   #6
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Mark I will check out the films you mention.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 03:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mark Job View Post
. I think most of the directors who shot 5/65mm often are also gone, so perhaps 3D shooting will lead to a rediscovery of the 65 mm shooting format ?
I doubt this will be the case, since it seems to be digital cameras and projection that are making 3D movies more possible for the mainstream.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #8
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Who Says 3D Has A Future Anyway ?

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I doubt this will be the case, since it seems to be digital cameras and projection that are making 3D movies more possible for the mainstream.
...Hi Brian: It's not clear quite yet how mainstream 3D will become in modern cinema. If the dark and fuzzy 120 Grand US projectors are any measure, then I'd bet against it, but who knows ? After all, technology has a way of getting better all of the time.
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