There is a certain kind of person who loves the minutia of mechanical processes. Whether they are car lovers or guitar collectors, these people love to learn and reiterate jargon, issue dates and the names of long bankrupt companies that mean nothing to the layperson.
Then there is the kind of person who just wants their car to go fast and not explode on the freeway. They love the feeling of driving down a backroad at night with the wind in their hair, but don’t necessarily feel the need to know what a camshaft pushrod is.
With the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film The Hateful Eight, a lot has been said about it being shot on 65mm Ultra Panavision and projected in 70mm with a roadshow presentation. It’s an exciting, once in a lifetime cinematic experience that could be mistaken for film-nerd jargon. But we at The Astor are going to break down just what your ticket gets you.
At the most mechanical, unromantic level this could be seen as an issue of size and clarity. 70mm film is far larger than 35mm, so when you project light through a film frame and onto a screen you get more resolution. 70mm has a resolution comparable with 8K, up to four times that of what is traditionally projected in a digital cinema.
But that sort of dull math ignores the unique aesthetic pleasures of film, the beauty of still frames projected onto a blank screen to create the illusion of movement. It’s a cinematic philosophy that Tarantino has espoused his entire career, one that sits at the core of The Hateful Eight’s roadshow release (more about that later). The Hateful Eight’s dailies were screened in 70mm and the print colour-timed photochemically, making it a top to bottom analogue process of old school craftsmanship.
Ultra Panavision 70
This refers to the lenses that The Hateful Eight was shot on and that The Astor Theatre (possibly uniquely) will be projecting with. It’s a hyper-specific format that was only used for a few select pictures, including Ben-Hur. Coincidentally, the lenses The Astor will be using to project the film were made for the 1959 Beh-Hur roadshow and refurbished by Panavision in California. It essentially means a crazily wide image with an aspect ratio of 2.76:1. For comparison, the wide screen epic The Good, The Bad and the Ugly was projected with a 2.35:1 ratio. This means that The Hateful Eight will be, in all likelihood, the widest and clearest image you have ever seen in a theatre.
Not to be confused with the distributor of the same name, roadshow in this context refers to the cut of the film The Astor will be running. Specifically, it was designed by Tarantino to be seen in the cinema on 70mm film, with an extra six minutes of footage, built in overture and intermission and a printed program. But frankly it strikes us as the height of redundancy to explain what Samuel L. Jackson has already explained better:
Hateful Eight at The Astor
The Astor Theatre has for decades been advocating the craft of cinematic presentation, with an emphasis on showmanship and detail. The Hateful Eight 70 Ultra Panavision Roadshow presentation is close to the perfect articulation of that philosophy. It’s a handcrafted experience wholly unique to modern cinema and we couldn’t be more honored to present it in the way it was made to be seen.
The Astor will be screening The Hateful Eight roadshow from January 14th. See the Calendar for times.