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Gautam Valluri

Super Technirama 70, 8/35mm blow-up to 70mm possible?

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Hello all,

 

I'm currently working on a film restoration project for a French film archive. We have the Super Technirama negatives to a french film made in Brazil in the 1960s, that we're considering to blow up to a 70mm release print.

 

To be precise, the film was shot on 8-perf/35mm horizontal VistaVision style with a 1.5x anamorphic squeeze. This was intended to be blown up to 5-perf/70mm release prints.

 

This is the film: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0353979/

 

We're not sure if the producer ever managed to make any 70mm release prints. We know that the film was shown originally in Brazil but that may be 35mm prints, we don't have any surviving copies of that. He had originally intended to release it on 70mm in France but he ran out of finances before he could. He had managed to get a visa d'exploitation in France though.

 

I had approahced FotoKem in Los Angeles and they said they do not have the possibility to do a un-squeeze on the 8/35mm negative to print to a 5/65mm inter-negative. They've suggested a 4K digital interneg to 70mm filmout but I really don't see a point in that.

 

Anybody here knows any labs and/or technicians, restoration experts who could do this? Basically we need to do a 1.5x un-squeeze from a 8/35mm to a 5/65mm.

 

I feel like this is a longshot, as the archive will probably eventually just go with a 4K restoration DCP but if I can find a way to achieve a 70mm filmout and a price quote to present our financers, this could happen.

 

Also, can anyone confirm if this is the first French film shot for an intended 70mm release?

 

Jacques Tati's Playtime (1967) is the only french 70mm film I know and this film predates it by a good three years.

 

Thanks in advance for responses!

GV

 

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Technicolor used to do the blow-up/desqueeze from Technirama to 70mm (aka Super Technirama 70) maybe they still have the anamorphic lens needed for the optical printer. Otherwise talk to a company that deals more with restorations like YCM Labs (if they are still around).

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Man, this is one of the biggest issues because it's such an unusual format. When technicolor closed their lab, the older technicians retired and many of them took these one off precious bits. I know of some amazing stuff sitting in garages here in Los Angeles, including an ultra panavision set of anamorphic lenses for reduction prints of that format to 2x anamorphic 35mm. With that said, these guys don't really want to part with any of their toys. We're working on acquiring a 70mm gate for one of our scanners and yes it's easier then doing optics, the owner (former technicolor employee) hasn't wanted to budge on his very outrageous price. It's a one of three ever made item and probably the last one in existence, so he wants to keep it. This is the problem you'll probably run into a lot sadly.

 

YCM is still around, but from my knowledge, they only do 16mm and 35mm. I'm not sure if they would have any optical printing parts for 5/70.

 

The idea of scanning the negative and doing a 70mm laser out, is pretty smart. It would allow you to clean up the source and make strikingly good 70mm prints.

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Just remembered that we now have Robert Harris posting on this site — he did the photochemical restoration of “Spartacus”, which was also a Technirama production released in 70mm. Hopefully he will chime in.

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Thank you David and Tyler. I managed to find YCM's phone number on the Kodak Lab Directory, will certainly contact them.

 

I hope Robert Harris chimes in, I found a brief account of his work on Spartacus over on in70mm.com, it's fascinating.

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The idea of scanning the negative and doing a 70mm laser out, is pretty smart. It would allow you to clean up the source and make strikingly good 70mm prints.

 

Well Tyler, my reasoning was that since the film never had a wide release, the negatives are in a very good condition (except for a slight magenta-shift due to age). It hardly requires any real restoration work and I imagined striking a 5/70mm projection print would bring out the originally-intended image to screen at long last.

 

Also, I remember reading a thread here criticising Ken Branagh's decision to shoot "Murder on the Orient Express" on 65mm and then have it go through a 4K DI before printing to 5/70mm release.

 

Does a laser out make provide a better image?

 

And there's the great example of Jerome Deschamps restoration of Jacques Tati's Playtime (1967) done completely on 70mm.

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Laser out can deliver a crisper image with less issues for sure. The main criticism with Murder's workflow is that they didn't use the full 2.20:1 aspect ratio, they shot the movie framed for 2.40:1 and cropped the top and the bottom, even on the film prints. This kinda ruins the look of the format, it just looks like something shot on 35mm. Also, generally digital finishes are over-done, so they look too digital even when lasered back to film.

 

In my eyes, if you scan negative at 8k and laser it back out at more than 4k... lets say 6k, I personally don't think anything will beat that. You're dealing with lossless quality really, it's going to look as good as the original camera negative if done that way. Sadly, most laser out's are done at 2k even today, so that really makes the film have a digital look.

 

Of course, the cost to do the digital work would be exorbitant. I think the photochemical blow up would be a lot cheaper if you could source the lens.

 

Yes, Robert Harris would be the person to talk to, I forgot he did Spartacus.

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