Hateful Eight
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The Hateful Eight and its rare, 70mm Ultra Panavision format!

The Hateful Eight and its rare, 70mm Ultra Panavision format!

The Hateful Eight is the first in almost half a century (and the eleventh in the history!) tape, filmed in the legendary format Ultra Panavision 70 – on 65 mm film with aspect ratio 2.76: 1.!

Before watching movie, we usually don’t pay much attention to its technical characteristics. But exactly these characteristics are able to make the movie unique and extraordinary, helping us to see all the same, but in a completely different way.

It’s all about The Hateful Eight! After reading the article you will be know everything about the rare format and Ultra Panavision!

The maker of “Pulp Fiction” and his director of photography, Robert Richardson, were firmly committed to use this technology. Tarantino was heavily inspired by watching "Ben-Hur" (1959) movie in this format.

The film director was sure that thanks to Panavision the audience of The Hateful Eight would be able to have a "stunning visual experience".

By now, you’ve probably heard the hype surrounding Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight and its rare, 70mm Ultra Panavision format. It sure sounds fancy, but you’re probably wondering: what the heck is 70mm, anyway? And how is it going to look when you watch it in theaters? Or, perhaps more importantly for you couch potatoes, how will the film’s quality fare when it’s available to stream at home? Not to worry: we’ve got all of your formatting and aspect ratio questions answered so you’ll have an idea of what to expect from Tarantino’s latest western epic, no matter where or how you see it following its Christmas Day release.

What is 70mm and why does it matter?

In essence, a 70mm (or 65mm) print of film is a higher resolution format and twice the size of a standard 35mm print. Instead of adhering to the commonly used aspect ratios of 1.375:1 (Academy) or 1.85:1 (standard widescreen; familiarly 16:9), it stretches the image to a much wider ratio of 2.20:1 to 2.28:1.

Though it seems like a confusing, flashy new fad used by some of the industry’s most profitable directors, including Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, and Paul Thomas Anderson; 70mm has been around since the dawn of motion pictures. Back when audiences would trek out to the “movie palaces” of yesteryear, they sat before a massive, incredibly wide screen that called for an equally wide image. As populations increased and towns across the country acquired multiple movie theaters, however, the size of the screens shrunk, ultimately doing away with the 70mm format and adopting the Academy standard 35mm before the rise of digital. It’s similar to what’s happening nowadays as screens get smaller and smaller. With the advent of digital, new versions of films (that are physically shot on digital, not celluloid film) are able to crunch down the image to whatever size your screen is without compromising resolution, whether you’re watching on your TV, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

So then what is this “Ultra Panavision?”

Before we delve in any further: Ultra Panavision — the format in which The Hateful Height will technically be projected — is essentially the same thing as 70mm. It’s still 70mm worth of celluloid but features an even wider aspect a ratio of 2.76:1. It achieves this ultra-wide image because, instead of using a spherical lens, the negatives are “anamorphic,” which is just technical term for a deliberately distorted, softer lens that squeezes the image more, making it wider.

But is 70mm really that much better? And is it worth the ticket price?

Yes and yes. Especially if you love movies; specifically Tarantino movies. Why is it better? A little background: the celluloid itself is actually 65mm wide with 5mm worth of perforated edges that are used for sound. So not only do you get a sharper, much more detailed image, but you also get to hear more intricacies of surround sound (though many 70mm films still add in digital sound later on). 70mm also allows for an incredible amount of detail, so instead of just seeing snowflakes falling around Samuel L. Jackson, for example, you will theoretically be able to see how the flakes differ from the one another.

If it’s so cool, why did theaters get rid of it?

70mm releases are so rare these days because they’re outrageously expensive! Each reel of film is about twice the size of a standard film so it’s much heavier to ship, set up, and care for. The mass switch to digital has also made it practically impossible for theaters to be able to acquire the projectors needed, so installing that kind of equipment (and employing people who understand the relatively outdated technology) costs upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a pricey gamble that results in theaters proverbially crossing their fingers in hopes people will come out to see it.

Have I seen a 70mm film before?

Yes. Some notable 70mm releases in film history are Lawrence of Arabia, Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, Ben-Hur, and The Sound of Music. More recently, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises featured spurts of 70mm scenes before the director shot Interstellar in both 35mm and 70mm. This is why, if you saw it in IMAX, you could quite literally see every single detail in those 70mm shots. It should be known that The Hateful Eight will not be screening in IMAX. (NOTE: IMAX dimensions get pretty hairy because those giant screens require a manipulated image that stretches from top to bottom. So don’t get confused if you see an aspect ratio of 1.44 associated with IMAX releases — it’s still 70mm). Ultra Panavision, on the other hand, has only been seen in a handful films in cinematic history, including It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and most recently before The Hateful Eight, was 1996’s Khartoum.

How will it look when I watch it at home?

If you watch The Hateful Eight in a theater that isn’t equipped for the format, or, if you view it at home in digital, know that the letterboxes (those black bars on the top and bottom of the screen) will be thicker than they are on the big screen.

Where can I see The Hateful Eight in 70mm film?

The Weinstein Company, the pro-70mm distributors behind Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and now, The Hateful Eight, have prepared for the largest release of the format in 20 years. TWC actually employed expert projectionists to train movie theater employees around the country in anticipation for the film’s release. In 100 70mm equipped theaters (except IMAX, unfortunately), you’ll be able to see The Hateful Eight as Tarantino intended for two weeks, starting on December 25. Other theaters around the country will see the print formatted to digital beginning January 1. So it won’t as wide or crisp, but it’s Tarantino, so you probably won’t be disappointed.

The Hateful Eight hits 100 theaters with 70mm capability on Christmas Day before expanding digitally nationwide.