A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How 70mm Projection Works


The Hateful Eight director Quentin Tarantino and The Weinstein Company have strongly encouraged audiences to see the movie in 70mm as opposed to the standard 35mm. The campaign was likely not as successful as they hoped: Only a relatively small number of theaters are equipped for 70mm screenings, and many viewers chose not to visit those theaters. Projectionist Andrew Walker decided to show moviegoers what they were missing in the short documentary above.

Shot with a Nikon D810 and set to Ennio Morricone’s “L’estasi dell'oro (The Ecstasy of Gold)” from the soundtrack for the 1966 film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the clip is a collection of footage taken during 59 showings of The Hateful Eight during its 70mm Roadshow, a two-week special engagement at 100 theaters around the country where the film was shown in the rare format before the general theatrical release. Walker's video doesn’t show scenes from the actual movie, so there are no spoilers—but it does show the process of loading the projector and a time-lapse of all the things that have to work properly in order for the audience to see Tarantino’s movie as the director envisioned it.

Making that process run smoothly can be challenging. In an article for Indiewire, another 70mm projectionist named Adam Witmer wrote about his experiences and the challenges that projectionists face during each screening. “Many of these projectors are practically antiques," he wrote. "[T]he platter systems were never intended to support the weight and size of 70mm, and entire new pieces of equipment had to be specially manufactured for this production.” Witmer added that “dozens” of mechanical failures are not uncommon, which becomes easier to understand after seeing the video above.

Banner image via Vimeo

[h/t: Gizmodo]