Everything posted by Jonathan Hornby
I wonder if a contributing factor to this perception that 70mm and IMAX has less distortion might be due to the lack of lens choices. It is my understanding, for instance, that only Panavision made anamorphic lenses for standard 70mm, and they only made a single set. Seeing Hateful Eight projected in 70mm, shot on Ben Hur anamorphic lenses, still looked really clean... so, with only spherical prime lenses and a single set of anamorphics from Panavision available, Its easy to see how such films have less visual distortion than a great deal of other productions that had more tools (and dear I say shortcuts?) available. It is also a nice novelty to view old family movies from the 1950s onward, shot on 70mm and viewing on a recently mastered Blu-ray, and think that it could have been shot yesterday. 70mm is indeed the gold standard.
I have seen this some data before... but even more convincing as seeing it projected in several of Nolan's 70mm IMAX releases; the images are bright and rock steady. If you know how a basic projection works, there's little difference from a 35mm theater system to that of a modest 8mm home projector. IMAX changed that with a revolutionary system for their film. This recent video showing the last viewing for a particular IMAX theater shows off the ingenuous design:
A 70mm/15-perf negative records an incredible amount of information that gives these films a “look” closer to medium format portrait photography. When viewed on a big screen you see color, detail and scale that is differentiates it from 35mm and digital projection. Of course seeing The Dark Knight on a Home Screen looks great, which is attributed to the quality of shooting on the largest format for motion picture. You can see it for yourself in Nolan’s movies: when Dunkirk was in theaters, I saw it on IMAX 70mm/15perf dome, standard 70mm, and digital IMAX. The former made a huge screen into a window into a different world. Standard 70mm presented a very high quality experience for viewing a blockbuster. Digital IMAX in comparison was similar to a home viewing on a Tv. To best understand IMAX is to personally view a 70mm print; an easier way is to compare prints from 35mm and medium format still-frame photography. Obtaining an optical print of these show a level of clarity and color that is still difficult for screens to depict, and shooting on a larger negative helps to give a unique look and quality to the image.