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3D Movies, The IMAX Movie Theater and Legacy Film Formats

Ultra HD, 3D and the IMAX movie theater are not everything. There have been many film technologies since the 7th art was invented. I have an inclination to take on account the configuration of the image of a movie and perceive them as either more or less aesthetically pleasing depending on the technical specifications particular to it.

It’s ironic, that of the formats I checked, I can say I like them all. It’s hard to tell which one I like the least. Even the least sophisticated that I found when I researched for this article, 35mm spherical.

It isn’t that important in the euphony of all the elements that make a movie. The photography and generally the final feel of the film can be better than one in an HD movie of similar subject and themes.

cinerama technology

On IMDb, clicking on More and then Technical Specs, one can see what was used for color, camera, laboratory, negative and print formats and cinematographic process.

One thing I discovered recently is that if you watched a lot of movies and TV during your life, comes a moment that just watching something and noticing the qualities of the image, you can pinpoint roughly in which decade it was filmed, even if it’s a period drama, or if you don’t know the actors.

Maybe this sounds punctilious or highfalutin, but taking these details on account is my way of experiencing movies. Maybe this, rather than an acquired taste, is the product of having grown up watching movies and TV series in the analog era.

There were at least four primitive factors that played a part in how a movie looked in the analog era.

  • Film stock
  • Camera
  • Cinematography Process
  • Color processing / Post-production

Film Stock

There are hundreds of types of film stock, many were discontinued. It would be meaningless to list them here.

Processes

More than eighty labs and techniques from 1899 to 1977 are documented on Wikipedia. From 1977 up to now, I guess that the market for this, coupled with FX and other post-production services is so big, that it isn’t possible or useful to list them all.

Camera / Projector Tech

cinerama logo

Fox Movietone (1927-1949)

fox movietone

Todd-AO

Todd-AO film technology

Cinerama (1952)

Cinerama film technology

CinemaScope (Fox, 1953)

Cinemascope film technology

Cinemascope film technology

Cinamascope Variants

Paramount’s VistaVision

Paramount’s VistaVision film technology

RKO’s Superscope (Warner’s, competed with Cinemascope)

RKO’s Superscope film tech

Technirama (Technicolor’s, Todd-AO Compatible)

Technirama film tech

Techniscope (Italy, 1960)

Techniscope film tech

Panavision (replaced Cinemascope)

Panavision film tech

Super Panatar (1954) AKA Gottschalk Lens
Ultra Panatar (1954)
Auto Panatar (1958)

Ultra Panavision 70 (MGM’s Camera 65)

Ultra Panavision 70 film technology

Of this list, the only ones that flew below my radar were Movietone, Technirama and Todd-AO. I watched movies using these formats, I mean I wasn’t taught the brands, like for the other formats, with specific logos in the titles. Or I didn’t watch the titles unroll, or I overlooked them.

IMAX

IMAX Movie Theater

I watched two movies in an IMAX cinema that has an 85 x 65 feet screen. I liked them. I think that once you watch a 3D IMAX movie, there’s a high probability that you are going to stay thinking about it for days afterward.

For those that haven’t watched an IMAX movie yet, the best recommendation I can give is this: don’t go to watch a 3D IMAX movie in an altered state of consciousness.

In my personal case, what I thought of IMAX is that’s totally disruptive. Because it can impress persons like me in a negative way.

Negative in the sense that the thought of not caring for watching regular movies in a movie theater anymore may take over one’s personal taste for movies. This skewed view on cinema can linger on one’s mind for an unhealthy period of time. It happened to me!

Outro

3D movie audience

When I researched for this article I understood that the best way to watch a movie using a software video player, is to either take the time to check on IMDb the Technical Spec section, and then to set the correct aspect ratio in the player, or to use a player that is capable of auto-detecting the correct aspect ratio, like PotPlayer.

Sometime in the future I’ll add a section on anamorphic and anaglyph 3D cinema and other movie-related amusements.

Movies Stills

The Mark of The Wolfman
The Twilight Zone Season 1 Episode 1
The Devil’s Rain
The Search for Paradise
The Fly
The Fall of The House Usher
Vertigo
Invasion of The Body Snatchers
Blood And Roses
Dracula Prince of Darkness
The Keep
The Hateful Eight

Photo Credits

Wikimedia Commons 1,2,3
Retrogasm

Bholenath

I curate horror things for horror fans to discover them without hassle

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