The Tower Theatre in Sacramento presents the 70mm film roadshow version of "THE HATEFUL EIGHT" www.mabhollywood.com ULTRA PANAVISION 70 RETURNS TO THE TOWER THEATRE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS FOR "THE HATEFUL EIGHT" By MABHollywood 12/25/2015 Sacramento News By Matías Bombal, Matías Bombal's HollywoodQuentin Tarantino's new picture "The Hateful Eight" is cause for celebration by folks who love the big screen experience with the look and feel of motion picture film manufactured by Eastman Kodak. In this digital age, actual film seems a long forgotten dead format, even though digital cinema has not been around for all that long. Most theatres showing "The Hateful Eight" are running what is known as a digital DCP version of the movie. DCP is a proprietary file format that is difficult to create and reproduce without the correct and expensive equipment which may be found in first run theaters. The letters DCP stand for Digital Cinema Package. All first-run theaters including IMAX, now use this technology.Tarantino insisted that he shoot "The Hateful Eight" not only on film, but with wide-screen 65mm negative augmented by the Ultra Panavision format, which when printed on release prints for theaters ends up being 70mm, twice the size of what had been the film standard for 100 years, 35mm. Tarantino convinced The Weinstein Company, his distributor, to fund the installation of just over 50 theatres with reconditioned 70mm projection equipment to augment the less than a handful of places on earth that still had 70mm equipment in place in order to distribute a special roadshow version of his movie. Matias Bombal's hand holds 35mm movie film. At the right you may see the 70mm film, twice as wide. www.mabhollywood.com Big roadshow versions of epic films in the late 1950's and early 1960's were spectacular theatrical events. The ticket price was higher, souvenir programs were sold, and the roadshow features would have a musical overture at the beginning, which would start as the theatre auditorium's lights dimmed halfway down. This created theatrical anticipation. Then, at the end of the overture, the studio company logo would be seen on the opening main curtain at the stage, the lights would dim all the way down and the movie would start. At intermission time, the curtain would close and there would be walk out music, actually recorded on the film's soundtrack- music with no image. Intermission would end and the house lights would go back to half; Again, music with no image would provide the overture to the second half. After the picture's "THE END" title would appear, there would be another few minutes of walk out music at the end. It was all part of a grand element now sadly gone from the movies, showmanship. Tarantino has a positive passion for the photographic art of film and wants the audiences of today to experience what a roadshow of that era was like. As in the classic era, he has added an overture to the beginning of "The Hateful Eight" and second overture, just before the second half, after intermission. With this special roadshow, The Tower Theatre is showing an actual 70mm motion picture film print for the first time in eighteen years. It has been thirty years since a 70mm film has been shown at the Tower in Ultra Panavision 70. 70mm is already a wide film format, but the anamorphic Ultra Panavision lens attachment makes it wider still by expanding the image further horizontally. An Ultra anamorphic lens must be on both the camera filming the image and a similar lens on the projector showing it to reproduce the image correctly without distortion or horizontal compression when projected on the screen.The Tower Theatre opened on November 11, 1938 with a double bill: "Algiers" with Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr and "Freshman Year", a now forgotten "B" picture which starred the equally forgotten Dixie Dunbar. The theatre, nestled in a tony neighborhood on the south side of the city's downtown grid, remains a classic iconic venue in the city. A drug store in the theatre building, where the Tower Cafe is now situated, gave birth to the Tower Records empire which started there. Over the years, the theatre has endured while most other theaters in the city were demolished. A vintage photo taken before the building's opening shows the original single theatre auditorium design by architect William B. David in 1938, before decorative art-moderne paintings were completed at the walls above the side exits for opening night. "Gold" leaf was added to the two columns at the stage opening to match the variegated metal leaf on the round columns in the lobby. In the early 1970's the theatre was tri-plexed to three screens to remain open and viable in the changing exhibition business. The Tower Theatre before opening day in 1938, as originally designed. It was tri-plexed in the 1970's. The part forward of the cross aisle is now two additional screens, and the upper portion is theatre No. 1- Photo: Center for Sacramento History Ironically, even though the three auditoriums are now each smaller than when it had been one big auditorium, the screen size in the upstairs auditorium No. 1, where "The Hateful Eight " is exclusively running while at the Tower, is much wider than what would have been possible at the theatre's original stage, twice as far from the projection booth. The far left and right edges of the screen in No. 1 come closer to the auditorium walls on each side than the theatre's 1938 stage would allow. For improved natural acoustics and to allow for exits on each side of the stage, the architect in 1938 brought the walls in from the wider auditorium width at the stage area as part of his original design, framing the then square screen area with drapery and two giant columns which supported the proscenium at the stage. The vintage photo shows the theatre before decorative paintings were completed by opening night and gold leaf was added to the two columns at the stage opening.Here's why: Until 1954 all movies and screens appeared square to the audiences. This was because films from 1927-1954 were made in the screen shape or aspect ratio (1.37:1) or the Academy Ratio. In today's TV and electronics lingo it is called 4:3. That all changed in 1954 when Twentieth Century-Fox and Bausch & Lomb introduced CinemaScope, "The Miracle You See Without Glasses", the widest screen image yet presented in a mass distribution. (FOX had experimented with a release of "The Big Trail" in 1930 with a process called FOX Grandeur, 70mm's great grandfather) This was to compete for movie audiences which were being lost to competition from television in people's living rooms which was then free and broadcast over the air. When TV was designed and introduced, it followed the standard image shape of the movies of the pre-1954 period. TV's had square shaped images because the movies did. Multiple formats then appeared in short order and 70mm was a new way to have a wide and giant screen. Because the 65mm negative and 70mm print size were larger, it had unrivaled clarity, which has yet to be matched in any electronic format today, including 4K.In 1985, I was working for the Tower Theatre. That year, the Tower installed 70mm equipment to show "Cocoon" first run. Afterwards, theatre had a 70mm film festival, run on the 35/70 projector. A 35/70 projector may show both film format sizes, 35mm and 70mm. "Once Upon a Time in the West" was in that festival, as were several others, and it was the first time I ever witnessed 70mm with my own eyes and in person. Even though that print was faded to pink, it was nothing short of awesome in its clarity and sharpness. The six track high-fidelity magnetic soundtrack may have been the best movie sound I've ever heard in my life.In that period, Ernie Smith and Bartley O'Kelly, from Local 252 of the Moving Picture Machine Operators Union of The International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees were the projectionists that presented these remarkable movies. Today, O'Kelly is a barista in a Sacramento coffee house that is part of Vic's Ice Cream in Land Park. He recalled recently "I remember projectionist Guy Eriksen used to say 70mm was like running cardboard. I never had any issues with 70mm. It always kept my attention, (I) could never be relaxed"After "Cocoon" and the 70mm festival, the audience interest waned and the equipment sat unused in the booth. Twelve years later, the Cinemechannica V8 70mm projector came back to life for the 1997 release of Kenneth Brannagh's "Hamlet". O'Kelly said of that engagement "Hamlet was unbelievable, the scene in the ballroom with the black and white tile floor during the wedding when they dropped the rose petals, the whole frame was crystal clear." Following "Hamlet" in 1997, the company that leased the theatre from the Blumenfeld family, which built and still owns the Tower today, removed the equipment when their leased ended. Since then, 70mm has not been shown at the Tower Theatre until the present engagement of "The Hateful Eight", 18 years later. Today the theatre is operated by Reading Cinemas US. Sam Chavez, Matias Bombal, and Chas. Phillips in the Tower Theatre's original projection booth. Photo: Jeremy DuBurg What goes into installing 70mm into a theatre projection booth in this digital age? One hundred 70mm projectors and associated equipment needed to complete each booth installation were found and renovated by the company Boston Light and Sound and leased to The Weinstein Company. The cost for implementing the equipment and installation of these machines was $80,000 in each instance. Sam Chavez of Bay Area Cinema Products supervised the installation of machine number 42 of 100 for this engagement into the Sacramento Tower Theatre, assisted by Chas. Phillips on December 7th and 8th of 2015. Tower Theatre manager Jeremy DuBurg and myself assisted and watched these gentlemen in their swift work.Over two days; The Tower's remaining Century 35mm film projector which stood next the theatre's Barco digital DCP projector in the booth for theatre No. 1 was disconnected, wires from the floor underneath it were terminated and capped and moved out of the way. A large, six foot high sound rack housing the theatre's state-of-the-art surround stereo sound amplification system was modified to include a digital DTS sound system and player unit. This is a system of proprietary CD's that have the movie's sound track on them. They play in a double deck unit and are controlled for perfect synchronization with the movie's image by a unit on the projector that reads a control track from the film. A large, incredibly heavy unit about six feet tall and three feet wide manufactured by Christie acts as a pedestal, lamphouse and control center for the projector, which is then mounted on the front of it, facing the screen. This was arduously moved into place where the 35mm machine had been.The projector is like a component stereo system. Each separate part of it has a specific purpose. The picture head, a 35/70 Century "JJ", holds the lens and reproduces the image of the movie you see on the screen. This part of the assembly also houses the mechanical shutter and intermittent movement that starts and stops 24 times in each second as the film advances through it. The movement, timed with the shutter combined with your eyes and brain's use of persistence of vision, allow the series of still pictures on the film to give the illusion of movement. This how the term "movie" got its name. On top of the picture head, Sam Chavez attached and installed, just like a penthouse on a skyscraper, the DTS control track reader that synchronizes the sound with the picture from a minute code printed on the film that it "reads" in the non-image area as it moves through the projector.Under the picture head is the sound head, to which the picture head is bolted. The name comes from the period in projection history when this unit was where optical soundtracks on film were "read" and then sent to the theatre's amplifier. It has a another more important, and still used mechanical purpose. On the back side, the motor that drives the entire machine is mounted. A gear on the sound head, connected to the motor, meshes with a gear on the bottom of the picture head so that it will engage intermittent movement and in turn, the movement of the sprockets on which the film travels. From top to bottom: DTS reader, Century JJ picture head, Cenutry sound head. Lamphouse is above the switches on the left, here being turned on for the very first time after installation. - www.mabhollywood.com On top and below the combined picture and sound head are a few rollers on arms extending away from the machine that receive and send the film to and from the projector to the platter system. A Christie Autowind 3 platter system was installed, specially modified for the heaver and wider 70mm film. Three large metal platters, horizontally mounted, each over four feet across, are spaced two feet apart from each other vertically on a unit that supports them. The entire film print of "The Hateful Eight" just fits on one of them. The film is not on a reel and sits in place on top of the platter. The beginning or "head" of the film is wrapped around a center ring, with the rest of the film wrapped around that, looking like the biggest doughnut you have ever seen. The projectionist then threads the film by taking the 'head" out of the center, lacing it through several rollers that control the speed and motorized movement of these platters to transport the film to the projector and back. Chas. Phillips installing the Christie Autowind 3 platter system. Behind him, the sound rack, amplifier and DTS playing units. At right, the Christie lamphouse/pedestal. - Photo: www.mabhollywood.com The last element to describe in this set up is the lamphouse, set in the large Christie unit to which the projector is attached. This provides the high intensity light from a xenon lamp that passes past the lamphouse's dowser arm when open, through the projector's shutter, aperture plate, the film and lens to reach the screen with the film's image. Behind the xenon bulb is a large reflector which, during this installation had to be adjusted and focused to spread the distribution of light evenly across the screen area. Ideally the illumination is measured at the screen at 16 foot-lamberts (fl) The lamp house gets quite hot and has a forced exhaust fan at the top.Sam Chavez and Chas. Phillips went about their work most professionally and quickly, accomplishing in two days what might have taken much longer. There were sound system adjustments and assembly of all these units, aligning them to work with each other flawlessly. There was also the platter system assembly and installation of multiple rollers and the mechanical timing of the motors to drive them properly. Then came the alignment of the projector's image to the screen at the theatre via the use of a SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) test film RP-91, which shows a test pattern on the screen. This is used for adjusting multiple elements, such as lens adjustments, corrections and the timing of the projector's shutter, essential for a rock-solid picture at the screen.On the second day, with all components of projector No. 42 ready, a special test film from The Weinstein Company was provided with a scene from "The Hateful Eight" and one from "The Master" to check all systems. This was run numerous times, and later used to train the employees of the theatre that would be running the film print during the roadshow engagement.With the work completed, Sam and Chas. left Sacramento to go on to other projects, with Sam returning a few times for fine adjustments. On December 18th, the feature film print of "The Hateful Eight" arrived at the theatre in a gigantic heavy duty shipping case that required four employees to lift to the booth through the auditorium. The movie was all assembled in one piece on a gigantic split reel almost 4 feet across. This was set onto the platter, the top half of the split reel removed, and the film print was ready for its first projection and the first 70mm feature projection in the theatre in 18 years. This did not occur until 2:30 in the afternoon on Christmas eve, to an empty house. Special screen masking is added to the bottom of the screen at the Tower to perfectly mask the 70mm film Ultra Panavision 70 screen image of "The Hateful Eight". - Photo: www.mabhollywood.com Well, almost empty. No one was allowed in, aside from select theatre staff and manager Jeremy DuBurg's team working on adjusting the screen masking to correctly mask the top and bottom of the image, as this is a very wide film. Screen masking is that black felt-like border you see around most movie theatre screens. The additional black fabric added for "The Hateful Eight" originally hung at the top of the Sacramento Crest Theatre's screen before it was replaced by CSLM, Inc. in the late 1990's for masking of a different type. It had been carefully stored by CSLM and later, a collector, who has loaned it to the Tower for the run of engagement of "The Hateful Eight". A fitting tribute of solidarity in the interest of improving the level of excellent showmanship.At 6pm on Christmas Eve, a sold-out crowd savored a roadshow Ultra Panavision 70 film print for the first time in thirty years at the Tower Theatre. It had been 18 years since the last 70mm print had been run there. The limited run of "The Hateful Eight" includes a special souvenir program included in the price of admission. In the first five days, "The Hateful Eight" sold out most screenings at the Tower, making a house record for the theatre, and placed it 13th in the nation with top grosses out of one hundred screens showing the roadshow version of the movie on actual 70mm film. Long lines of up to 400 persons at the theatre wrapped around the theatre parking lot into residential streets in Land Park, with many waiting in the cold for three hours to get in.It is an experience like nothing else you will ever see! The movie is 3 hours and 8 min. long, including an intermission of 12 min. It is showing daily at the Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive at 16th and Broadway in Sacramento. An overexposed view at 9pm allows you to see that even on the fifth day, lines of up to 400 persons waited up to three hours in the cold to get in to sold out shows of "The Hateful Eight" at the Tower Theatre - Matias Bombal Photo The Return of Ultra Panavision 70: The Hateful Eight at Tower Theatre - MAB Novelty Matías Bombal's Hollywood offers: An MAB Novelty The Return of Ultra Panavision 70: The Hateful Eight at Tower Theatre The Weinstein Company's "The Hateful Eight" 70mm Ultra Panavision Roadshow http://thehatefuleight.com/ For more information about "Matías Bombal's Hollywood" Please visit: http://www.mabhollywood.com for exclusive content Twitter: @MABHollywood The clip from The Weinstein Company's "The Hateful Eight" entitled Select B-Roll (Part 1 of 2) seen in this short Novelty featurette is used with permission of the copyright holder by license granted "Matías Bombal's Hollywood" via agreement with EPK.TV, supplier of clips to media for the purpose of review, promotion and publicity. The Hateful Eight (Roadshow) - Review - Matías Bombal's Hollywood Matías Bombal offers his review of: The Weinstein Company's "The Hateful Eight" 70mm Ultra Panavision Roadshow Version http://thehatefuleight.com/ For more information about "Matías Bombal's Hollywood" Please visit: http://www.mabhollywood.com for exclusive content Twitter: @MABHollywood The clips from The Weinstein Company's "The Hateful Eight" entitled "You All Saved Me", "Frontier Justice", and "In Cahoots" seen in this review are used with permission of the copyright holder by license granted "Matías Bombal's Hollywood" via agreement with EPK.TV, supplier of clips to media for the purpose of review, promotion and publicity. Subscribe to get the best Sacramento stories delivered free right to your inbox. Yes Please! Thank you for subscribing!