70mm Film Projector How Does It Work
70mm Film Projector How Does It Work

Have you ever wondered what is happening behind the scenes inside the projection room of a movie theater when you are watching a movie? If you are a film nerd or if you just appreciate it in any other way, you will love this footage of a 70mm film projector showing The Hateful Eight.

Andrew Walker is a projectionist who captured this footage of a working film projector, and the footage is beautiful. Seeing this makes me want to go to a movie theater, not to watch a movie, but to see something like this.

If you want to know more about this beautiful peace of machinery which was filmed in this video, it is called: Cinemeccanica Victoria 8.

What is 70mm film?

When you take a look at the well-known formats such as Blu-Ray, HD, IMAX and 3D, it might seem like the 70mm is the new guy in the industry, but people have been shooting on a 70mm film since the beginning of movies. Due to its larger size, the 70mm film is able to produce a much better image than the standard 35mm film.

Douglas McLaren, Music Box Theatre projectionist:

From an audience standpoint, it’s a much crisper, brighter, and ideally more uniform and stable image. There are details in these films that you have just never, ever seen before. There’s just so much more going on in these 70mm prints than even on your Blu-ray.

Basically, the difference between 35mm and 70mm is similar to the difference between DVD and Blu-ray. The picture is much bigger and it has more detail.

If 70mm film is so much better than 35mm, why aren’t more films shot in 70mm? The answer is simple: cost. 70mm is not cheap, and many theaters simply weren’t interested in buying expensive equipment needed to play the films. Each reel is about twice as heavy as a normal 35mm reel. For example, Interstellar, came on 49 reels and weighed more than 600 pounds (272 kg) in total. Restoring old movies from a 70mm prints is also not easy. A new print of Lawrence of Arabia cost roughly $71.000 to make just one copy.

70mm IMAX copy of Interstellar
70mm IMAX copy of Interstellar

A lot of move theaters (IMAX and some indie theaters) are advertising their capability of projecting movies from a 70mm film. You wont be disappointed if you decide to experience it yourself.