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BIG Movies!


Metropolisforever
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The desire to increase the visual impact of film has a long history. In 1929, Fox introduced Fox Grandeur, the first 70 mm movie format, which quickly fell from use. In the 1950s, Cinemascope and VistaVision widened the projected image from 35 mm film, and there were multi-projector systems such as Cinerama for even wider presentations. While impressive, Cinerama was difficult to set up, and the joints between the screens were difficult to hide.

 

Cinerama was invented by Fred Waller and commercially developed by Waller and Merian C. Cooper. It was the outgrowth of many years of development. A forerunner was the triple-screen final sequence in the epic silent film Napol?on made in 1927 by Abel Gance; Gance's 8-hour classic was considered lost in the 1950s, however; it existed only by hearsay, and Waller could not have actually seen it. Waller had earlier developed an 11-projector system called "Vitarama" at the Petroleum Industry exhibit in the 1939 New York World's Fair. A five-camera version, the Waller Gunnery Trainer, was used during the Second World War.

 

Todd-AO is an extremely high definition widescreen film format developed in the mid 1950s. It was co-developed by Mike Todd, a Broadway producer, with American Optical Company in Rochester, New York. It was memorably characterized by its creator as "Cinerama outa one hole." Unlike Cinerama, the process required a single camera and one set of lenses. Four kinds of lenses (35 mm to 56 mm, 63 mm, 65 mm, or 70 mm) covered a 128, 64, 48 or 37 degree field of view. Films were shot on 65 mm negative and the images printed onto 70 mm print stock (5mm larger to accommodate sound tracks) for projection. The aspect ratio of this format was 2.20:1. While the 70 mm film width had been used before, most notably in the Fox Grandeur process in 1929-1930, earlier processes are not compatible with Todd-AO due to differences in frame dimensions, perforations and type of soundtrack. Todd-AO actually combined the idea of 65 mm photography with frames 5 sprocket holes tall (also a process with a history extending back to the silent era) with 70 mm wide prints and the magnetic sound that first appeared with CinemaScope, although improved with 6 channels and much better fidelity. The 70 mm print adds 2.5 mm extra down each edge to accommodate some of the soundtracks. Thus the print actually carried 65 mm perforations and the 65 mm negative was contact printed directly to the 70 mm print stock, as the sprocket holes aligned.

 

The IMAX system was developed by four Canadians: Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr and William C. Shaw. During Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada, In the Labyrinth, their multi-projector giant-screen system had a number of technical difficulties that led them to design a single-projector/single-camera system. However, In the Labyrinth was hailed as a "stunning visual display" by Time magazine, which concludes: "such visual delights as Labyrinth ... suggest that cinema?the most typical of 20th century arts?has just begun to explore its boundaries and possibilities." Tiger Child, the first IMAX film, was demonstrated at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan.

 

This is a discussion thread for BIG movies.

 

Message was edited by: Metropolisforever

 

Message was edited by: Metropolisforever

 

Message was edited by: Metropolisforever

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Hi Metro. I remember seeing The Robe in Cinemascope back in '53. I couldn't believe the size of the screen. I had seen films mostly in small theaters, but this I saw in a giant theater with a brand new Cinemascope screen and stereo sound. There were a couple of times during the movie when a big speaker in the back of the theater let out a big noise and everyone in the theater jumped and a lot of people looked around to see what had happened behind them. Seems to me that would have required at least a 3-channel sound track if the main stereo speakers were up front on both sides of the screen.

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