American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 40

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U

Another Vintage Tool

ltra Panavision 70 lenses were
not the only technology literally
pulled out of mothballs in order to
make The Hateful Eight. To meet
director Quentin Tarantino's demand
for 70mm print dailies, the production faced a dilemma regarding how
to efficiently add Fostex DV40
audio-sync playback during dailies
production at FotoKem. After a
lengthy search, producer Shannon
McIntosh located a decommissioned
70mm Officine Prevost Milano
flatbed editing table that was
wrapped in cellophane and stored in a
warehouse of the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
FotoKem technicians determined
that they could, with some significant
effort, modify the machine - which
had been donated to the Academy by
the now-defunct Boss Film Studios
- to enable it to physically sync
audio tracks with picture for the film
dailies.
According to Vince Roth,
FotoKem's 70mm technical director,
although the Prevost was intact, it
needed a complete overhaul to fit the
project's needs. The work on restor-

40

December 2015

*|*

ing the unit was performed by Roth,
projection technician Cal Orr and
audio technician Brad Johnson. "It had
been adapted previously to a different
drive system," Roth explains. "Initially,
we thought we would have to buy a
whole new controller for the synchro
motor, but then our projection engineer
came up with a brilliant idea to put in
what is called a bridge rectifier
[circuitry to convert AC to DC output]
and then a big potentiometer - a voltage control system. Then we had to tear
the entire thing apart and clean every
single roller - everything on it - and
do some rewiring for the [new voltage].
We adjusted the lamps, cleaned everything, checked the drive system, fixed a
large control knob, and added an
encoder for DV40 that would output
time code for that sound system. But it
was worth the effort, because it has
excellent resolution - better than
current 70mm [editing tables] I have
seen - with a really nice prism block.
By a miracle, we made it work."
- Michael Goldman

American Cinematographer

Wide Wide West

the 11th Ultra Panavision 70 movie -
the first since 1966.
Over the course of three different
test runs, Richardson and Tarantino
learned not only about the lenses, but
about "the durability and functionality
of the camera systems and the quality of
the film stock, and also the viability of
the processing chain," Tavenner notes.
"Our laboratory, FotoKem, was in top
form, because they have been developing and printing 70mm Imax film for
years."
The commitment to the Ultra
Panavision 70 lenses, however, led to
"layers of other complications," as
Sasaki puts it. Central to the equation,
of course, was Panavision's lens-modification project. The endeavor involved
"first getting two focal lengths to work,"
Sasaki adds. "The mounts had to be
modified and we had to change the
spherical components to clear the
camera. In an attempt to get those
[initial] lenses to move, we were soaking
them in chemicals.
"We were worried they would
disintegrate when we took them down
to their base components," he continues, "but fortunately, back then, they
made everything out of brass,
aluminum and steel, so they were basically bulletproof and we got them to
work mechanically. We found suitable
primes, readjusted them, made new
mounts, and sure enough, they actually
worked."
Through the course of the modification process, coatings, cylinders and
all sorts of mechanical components
were fixed, adjusted or completely
replaced. A few focal lengths did have to
be built from scratch with newer glass,
in cases where the older glass was
irreparably damaged or those focal
lengths did not exist in the Ultra 70 era.
But for the vast majority of the lenses,
Richardson says, "the essence of the
Ultras was not changed. We asked Dan
to not alter the prisms because the sheer
joy was that the nature of those lenses
can't be duplicated with other pieces of
glass.
"I really didn't need any diffusion



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - December 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 5
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 6
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 7
American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 8
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American Cinematographer - December 2015 - 112
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American Cinematographer - December 2015 - Cover4
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