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June 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
"John G. Thomas" <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 6 Jun 1994 11:28:24 -0700
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (55 lines)
On Mon, 6 Jun 1994, Daniel Pisano wrote:
> John,
> >         The opening sequence is a text book on sound effects.  I remember
> > Leoni saying that the film was shot in "Techniscope."  35mm, but only
> > pulling down three perfs at a time.  The process was quite popular at the
> > time.  I think the "Conformist" was also shot in that format.
> Um. Say, what?
> What is Techniscope and how does it differ from the 'normal' 35mm panavision
> screening?
> And what 'is' normal anyway?
        Well, usually a standard 35mm MP camera pulls down at the rate of
five perfs at a time.  The resultant image is about 34X24mm.  Regardless
of how the film is projected, this 5 perf pull-down is called "flat."
That is, the original image, regardless of how its shown is in the
standard 1.33:1, or "academy" or "SMPTE" format.  Later, when the film is
shown in a theater, the projectionist has several options as to how the
image will be "cropped."
        If, for instance, the projectionist places a small slide just in
front of the film that corresponds to the 1.85:1 format, the top and
bottom of the image is never scene.
        In a film I just finished, I had to discuss with my Director of
Photography prior to filming as to what future markets I thought the film
would be used in.  TV, theaters in the U.S., Europe?  The ground glass
that the cameraman looks through has several different lines etched into
it which shows the camerman, (or, I almost forgot, cameraPERSON!), the
various formats.  99.9999% of all films shot on 35mm are shot this way.
        "Scope", as we knew it in the 50's, 60's and 70's is rarely used
today.  If you glance through any edition of the American
Cinematographers Manual, you'll see diagrams of this.
        Now, Techniscope was a compromise, and not a very bad
idea....EXCEPT when the film would later be shown on TV.  By pulling down
just the three perfs at a time, (or so the idea goes), the normally
"wasted" image at the top and bottom of the of the film frame would not
be exposed at all.  The idea was that you'd save a lot of bucks in raw
stock that way...and you can save some.  But, in the long run, the need
to have the full frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio won out.  Other non-standard
formats were also tried, Super 16mm, for instance.  But both ideas, in my
humble opinion, turned out to be semi-false economy.
        I'd go on and on with this, but I'd bore most of the folks on
this list to death.  If you'd like more info, give me jingle.
-------->from John G. Thomas([log in to unmask])in Hollywierd,Calif.<---------
         Michael Jackson's new film (A Western)   "Lonesome Glove"