Highlights from the History of Motion Picture Formats
Patterson, Richard, American Cinematographer
Throughout its relatively short history, the film form has assumed a wide variety of shapes and sizes
The history of technical developments in motion pictures is a relatively poorly documented field, even though it spans less than 100 years. Because of the spontaneous development of techniques on many fronts it is often difficult to say who did what first. Moreover, because it was a field so open to commercial exploitation, experimenters often worked in complete secrecy, and many of the accounts we have of early developments were written by people who had no way of knowing what others were doing in the same field. Historical accounts are also subject to a very natural chauvinistic bias, and it is often quite revealing to read accounts of early developments written from a French or Russian perspective.
All this is simply by way of saying that this article is not intended to be a contribution to scholarly research in the history of motion picture technology. It is simply meant to be a survey culled from a variety of publications which sums up some of the highlights in the development of motion picture formats. My concern has not been to make judgments as to who invented or introduced a particular format, but to examine the major trends and indicate what some of the sources were. The criterion used in selecting developments was simply the impact that they had on the industry as a whole. This is, admittedly, an arbitrary criterion, and I do not by any means wish to slight the significance of developments which have not (yet!) affected the industry at large. Had I been writing in 1950, I might very well have passed over Henri Chretien's anamorphic lens as an interesting but essentially irrelevant development in the history of motion picture technology.
The history of motion pictures has been one continuous experiment with various film widths and projection formats. In addition to 8mm, 16mm, 35mm, 65mm and 70mm, there have been as many as 25 other film widths used for motion pictures. Film historians are always amused by the implication that wide films are something new, since some of the earliest experiments in motion picture photography used film over 60mm wide. In 1897, for example, Enoch J. Rector photographed the Corbett-Fitzsimmons prize fight using 63mm film. He had about 20 of his Veriscope projection machines made, and the fight films were exhibited all over the country.
Thirty-five millimeter became the standard film width simply because Edison chose to work with 35mm film. Since he sold more equipment than his competitors in this country 35mm became more widely adopted. In 1895, Lumiere, in France, redesigned his Cinematograph to be compatible with the kind of film Edison used so that he could take advantage of the motion pictures produced by Edison's company. Prior to that Lumiere had used 35mm film with a single round perforation for each frame. In 1907 an agreement was reached standardizing 35mm film, and in 1916 the formation of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers furthered the trend toward standardization.
The fact that Edison chose to use 35mm film with four perforations on each side of the frame also resulted in the 4 × 3 format which became standard for the motion picture frame and screen. It has been suggested that if Edison had been designing his original film for projection rather than for viewing in a Kinetoscope, then he would have naturally designed a wider format, since he would have thought in terms of a stage. As it was, though, the 4 × 3 format became standardized, and there was little real impetus to change it until the advent of sound.
This is not to say that there were not other formats used. During the first decades of motion pictures, there was of course a plethora of film formats and screen sizes. One of the most striking experiments and perhaps the first "wide-screen" presentation was Raoul Grimoin-Sanson's Cineorama patented in 1897. His system consisted of ten synchronized projectors projecting from a central booth onto a huge circular screen. Cineorama was presented at the Paris Exposition of 1900, but, needless to say, it was not commercially exploitable in the way conventional motion pictures were.
Another remarkable experiment was Abel Gance's Polyvision technique used for certain sequences in his 1927 film Napoleon. Polyvision consisted of three projectors projecting conventional 35mm film onto three conventional screens attached side by side. The three screens were filled with one continuous panoramic image or used to present three different images simultaneously. The effect was spectacular largely because of the imagination with which Gance used the technique. M. G. M. acquired the film for distribution in the U.S. but released only a conventional 35mm print of it because they felt the task of converting theaters for Polyvision was too great. The Tryptych sequences were reduced so that the three panels fitted into a single 35mm frame, and the entire film was re-edited drastically.
A much simpler technique for expanding the screen size during certain spectacular scenes was introduced in 1924 by Lorenzo Del Riccio and called Magnascope. It consisted of installing a screen which was four times the normal size and using a wider-angle lens to project the special sequence. The extra screen area was masked off by curtains until the sequence began, and then the curtains were opened up so that the image seemed to expand to four times its original size. Magnascope was used for the finale of Old Ironsides in 1926 and was considered a success. Most theater owners did not bother to adapt their facilities for Magnascope, since they did not need to lure customers, and the films could be shown on a conventional screen. The technique was last used in Portrait of Jennie in 1949 and soon after was made obsolete by the advent of Cinemascope.
At the beginning of the sound era there was a great deal of interest in wide film formats. Many people had been developing wide screen formats using wide films for ten or twelve years, but there was little interest in changing the standard 1.33:1 35mm format until the presence of the sound track on the film began to cramp the picture area. Several wide film formats were introduced in 1929 and 1930, but they were all short-lived. Perhaps the most prominent of these was Grandeur, a 70mm format developed by the Fox company and used for Happy Days in 1929 and The Big Trail in 1930. Mitchell Camera Corp. built the 70mm cameras, and a 70mm projector was developed which was easily convertible to 35mm for conventional use.
Another wide film format called Natural Vision was developed over a tenyear period by George K. Spoor and P. John Berggren. They designed a camera to take 63mm film, and RKO used the system side by side with a normal 35mm camera to shoot Danger Lights in 1930. Magnifilm, a 56mm (?) format developed by Lorenzo del Riccio, was used by Paramount in 1929 for We're In the Navy Now, and Warner Brothers used a 65mm format for Kismet in 1930 and The Lash in 1931. M. G. M. entered the race with a wide screen process called Realife in 1930. Realife used a wide-gauge film in the camera, but reduced the image onto 35mm film for projection by means of wide-angle lenses. King Vidor used the process for his 1930 Billy the Kid, and it was used again in 1931 for Great Meadow. Another 65mm format was used for The Bat Whispers released by United Artists in 1930. None of these wide screen formats survived as such past 1931, since the cost of converting theaters and laboratories was simply too great at the time. The advent of sound had already necessitated costly conversions, and the Depression made further conversions totally unfeasible.
One of the most interesting aspects of the flurry of interest in wide screen formats around 1930 was the theoretical discussions regarding the ideal format, or aspect ratio, for the motion picture screen. In developing the Magnifilm format, Lorenzo del Riccio is reported to have done a statistical survey of paintings of the old masters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to determine what proportions were considered best for a painting. He arrived at the conclusion that 1.85:1 was the "golden ratio" and designed his Magnifilm format accordingly. Similarly, in the 1930 Cinematographic Annual, Dr. L. M. Dietrich cites the "excellent and exhaustive work of Lloyd A. Jones, CL. Gregory, W. B. Rayton, A.S. Howell, J.A. Dubray, F. Westenberg, etc." which "brought about the so-far-unrefuted result that a 5 ? 8 proportion of a picture frame rectangle conforms most closely to the rectangles appearing in the outstanding records of beauty in the known history of art." This, of course, would be an aspect ratio of 1 .60: 1 .
Dietrich himself goes on to examine the psychological and physiological basis for the preference for these proportions. He measures the field of vision for the human eyes, taking into account the effort required to move the eyes vertically or laterally, and comes up with a theoretical explanation for the choice of a 5 ? 8 rectangle. He also undertakes an analysis of "nature's beauty laws" and comes up with the conclusion that the "classical" rectangle of 1:1.681 is "the geometrical and mathematical basis or fundamental expression of a system of proportions manifesting itself in all cosmic phenomena."
William Stull's discussion of the Grandeur format in a 1930 issue of American Cinematographer provides another interesting glimpse into the kind of thinking behind the development of wide screen formats. The Fox Company's considerations were pragmatic as well as aesthetic. Stull cites, first of all, the need for larger screens because of the growth of movie audiences and says that a larger film format was necessary to preserve image quality when projected onto larger screens. He then goes on to discuss the reasons for changing the aspect ratio along with the film width:
Firstly, the addition of the soundtrack has reduced the width of the-, picture-area, which was a/ready regarded as somewhat too narrow; secondly, the advent of the stage-revue type of picture has made the need for a roomier format more apparent.
Under the old system- before the addition of the sound track altered the proportions of the picture- many Directors, Cinematographers, and Art-Directors considered the standard four-to-three proportions of the "frame" too high in relation to its width to be perfect artistically. Now, with the sound-track reducing this already static proportion to nearly a square, even the public feels the need of a more dynamic proportion for the picture. This is plainly evidenced by the numerous expedients used by theatre-owners to restore even the old rectangular proportions by means of reduced projector apertures and shorter-focus lenses.
It was to meet this condition that, several years ago, the engineers of the Fox Company decided to devise a more practical film standard. After long experimentation, with literally hundreds of different frame-sizes and proportions, they finally determined upon the present Grandeur standard as the most suitable artistically and economically. Viewed from the mechano-artistic viewpoint, the proportions of the Grandeur frame are midway between the static root-four rectangle (2x4 units) and the dynamic root-five proportion (2 ? 4.5 units). The actual dimensions of the Grandeur frame are as stated 22%mm ? 48mm.
Viewed from a practical viewpoint, the Grandeur proportions offer many advantages to all concerned. The director can film his spectacular scenes and stage or dancing numbers to their best advantage, with fewer cuts- and no need of closeups. The cameraman has greater scope in his composition and considerable advantages in his lighting. For instance, the present disproportionately high sets necessitated by the more nearly square picture have made such things as backlighting increasingly difficult. In fact, in many cases, true backlighting is impossible, and what passes for it is really top-lighting, which must be very carefully counterbalanced by skillful arrangement of the floor lighting units-and is even then unsatisfactory. Similarly, Art-directors are confronted with grave problems in the design and artistic ornamentation of the higher sets.
Now, however, in Grandeur, all of these problems are reduced. Direction of expansive scenes is simplified, for the proportions of the 70mm frame are such as to give ample scope for all movements with, at the same time, adequately large figures. The Cinematographer's task is lightened, inasmuch as the sets do not have to be made nearly so high, allowing the back-lighting to strike at more effective and natural angles. Dance scenes need no longer be "followed" as there is ample room in a normal long-shot for all the lateral movement used in most dances. In practice, composition in the new format does not present nearly the difficulty that would be expected at first thought.
More recent discussions of wide screen formats have tended, of course, to cite simply the fact that the field of human vision extends about 40° horizontally and 20° vertically, not counting peripheral vision, without going into the kind of analysis Dietrich undertook. This can be seen as a justification for aspect ratios around 2:1. It can also be combined with theories about perception and audience involvement to result in the recommendation that the screen be larger than the normal field of vision, so that the viewer must choose the portion of the image towards which he will direct his attention at any given moment. All of this raises theoretical and aesthetic questions which extend far beyond the scope of this article.
Wide film formats disappeared from the scene temporarily in 1931, and when they reappeared again in the fifties many people had forgotten that they had been used so widely before. Narrow-gauge "amateur" films, on the other hand, came to stay; and the emergence of narrow-gauge films is probably more of an indication of progress in motion picture technology than the occasional reappearance of wide film formats. Narrow films depend on the development of photographic emulsions which are refined enough to yield acceptable images within the smaller frame. The introduction of a true amateur film also required the development of a safety base.
Like everything else, however, narrow-gauge films have been around since the turn of the century. Birt Acres introduced a 17.5mm camera and projector in 1899 which used conventional 35mm film split in half, and Biokam used a 17.5mm film with a single perforation between each frame also in 1899. In 1912 Pathé Kok introduced a 28mm projector and 28mm safety film for projection of reduction prints from 35mm originals. The real narrow-gauge revolution began, however, in 1923 when Eastman Kodak introduced their 16mm reversal safety film, and Pathé introduced their 9.5mm format.
1930 saw the advent of the 16mm sound projector, and, in 1932, Eastman Kodak introduced their 8mm (or Double 8mm) system using 16mm film in the camera which was split when processed. As emulsions improved 16mm began to be used professionally, and in 1965 the Super-8mm format was introduced. The 9.5mm format was widely used in Europe until the Second World War when it fell into disuse. Probably the smallest-gauge motion picture film to date is the 3mm format developed by Eric Berndt in 1960. Today, of course, Super-8 has acquired a professional status, and 16mm or Super-16 is being used for shooting theatrical features. Many theaters now have 16mm projection facilities, and the development of wet-gate printing has made it possible to get high-quality 35mm prints from 16mm originals.
The big revolution in commercial motion picture formats started in 1952 with the introduction of Cinerama, followed immediately by the introduction of Cinemascope. The technical processes involved in the Cinerama and Cinemascope formats had been in existence for as long as twenty years, but it took the competition of television to make the motion picture industry at large interested in exploiting them commercially.
Cinerama was the name Fred Waller gave his multiple camera format when he revamped it after the Second World War. Originally his system, which was used for a special presentation at the 1939 World's Fair in New York and was called Vitarama, consisted of 11 projectors projecting simultaneously onto a huge curved screen with a quarter dome on top. From this he developed a five-camera system which was used during World War II to train gunners by projecting films of aircraft onto a huge spherical screen. In 1952 Lowell Thomas and Merian C. Cooper produced This Is Cinerama, which demonstrated the viability of Waller's revamped system. It was a smashing success, and Cinerama was used for seven productions including How the West Was Won and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm in 1962.
The original Cinerama system used three interlocked cameras and a triple projection system projecting images onto a deeply curved screen measuring 90 feet by 26 feet and composed of 1100 overlapping vertical strips of perforated tape set at angles like the slats of a Venetian blind. The separate images overlapped slightly and were blended together by a mechanical device on the projectors called a "gigolo," which diffused the edge of the image so that there was effectively one image on the screen. The Cinerama camera had three 27mm lenses mounted at 48° angles so that the overall field of view was 146° wide and 55° high. The camera used 35mm film, but it was designed so that the frame had 6 perforations rather than 4. It also ran at 26 frames per second in order to eliminate shutter flicker in projection. For exhibition a fourth film carried six magnetic sound tracks, and the impact of Cinerama was at least partially due to the effective use of stereophonic sound. (Stereophonic sound had been used earlier in some presentations of Fantasia, but it was included as an integral part of Cinerama.)
The success of Cinerama (and the need to compete with television) caused the industry once again to take up wide screen formats. Cinerama spawned other similar multiple film systems such as Cinemiracle, Thrillarama, and Wonderama; but the most significant response was the introduction of Cinemascope, in which a wide screen image is obtained by means of an anamorphic lens.
An anamorphic lens systematically distorts an image so that it can be restored to normal by another complementary lens. The idea for an anamorphic process was first patented in 1862, and one of the earliest uses of anamorphic lenses was in an additive two-color system developed by Ernst Zollinger in Italy in 1910. He used an anamorphic lens to compress the image vertically so that he could put two different colored images on each frame. In projection the images were unsqueezed and superimposed. In 1927 Henri Chretien of France designed the anamorphic lens which was to be the basis of Cinemascope. His lens compressed the image horizontally by a ratio of two-to-one so that it was possible to project an image twice as wide as the conventional image using conventional film in a camera with a conventional film transport mechanism. In 1935 Paramount Pictures took an option on his system, but only used it to shoot ten reels of test footage. Chretien himself presented the system at the Paris Exhibition in 1937, but it was not until 1952 that the system was adopted for commercial use. Twentieth Century-Fox optioned the system, shot some tests and then announced that all of their productions would be done in this process which they renamed Cinemascope. The first Cinemascope production was The Robe released in 1953.
The Cinemascope image originally had an aspect ratio of 2.66:1, but it was reduced to 2.55:1 in order to make room for 4-track magnetic sound. At first all Cinemascope releases had only the four channel magnetic sound tracks, but after a year or so, release prints were made with a conventional optical track, as well as the magnetic tracks, in an effort to encourage more theater owners to adapt for Cinemascope. Even prior to this concession, however. Cinemascope was a booming success; and most of the other studios began producing films in Cinemascope or a similar anamorphic process. The addition of the optical sound track resulted in a further reduction of the picture area so that the aspect ratio became the now standard 2.35:1.
The third wave in the wide screen revolution came when Michael Todd left Cinerama in 1953 and joined forces with American Optical Co. to produce Todd-AO, a 65mm non-anamorphic wide screen system. The impact of Todd-AO on the industry is largely due to the fact that Todd was able to mount Oklahoma as the first production in the new format.
Todd-AO was a completely redesigned system intended to achieve the impact of Cinerama in a much simpler fashion. Mitchell designed a 65mm Todd-AO camera which pulls down five perforations at a time, so that the image area is about 3½ times that of conventional 35mm film. For making prints, a 70mm film is used so that there is additional room outside the perforations for magnetic sound tracks. It is projected onto a curved screen with an aspect ratio of 2.2:1. Oklahoma was released in 1955 followed by Around the World in Eighty Days and South Pacific in 1956 and 1958.
The inevitable combination of anamorphic lenses with wide film came with the introduction of Ultra-Panavision, first used by M. G. M. under the trade name Camera 65 for the photography of Raintree County in 1957. UltraPanavision uses a 65mm camera with anamorphic lenses having a squeeze ratio of 1.5:1 rather than 2:1 as in Cinemascope. The image is squeezed further in printing so that the final image is compatible with Cinemascope projection lenses. The aspect ratio of Ultra-Panavision when projected in 70mm is 2.75:1 but Ultra-Panavision pictures are often released in 35mm so that the aspect ratio is 2.35:1 as was the case with Raintree County. UltraPanavision was also designed to permit release in the 3-projector Cinerama format, though, of course, the original Cinerama system was eventually replaced in most theaters by a 70mm projection system designed to be compatible with Todd-AO.
In 1954 Paramount introduced its VistaVision format designed to produce high-quality images on wide screens, while avoiding the drawbacks of the anamorphic or wide film systems that had been introduced by its competitors. VistaVision uses conventional 35mm film, but it runs through the camera horizontally with eight perforations per frame, so that a wide screen image is produced on the negative which is about twice as wide as a conventional 35mm image.
The concept of achieving a wide screen image by placing the image hori- zontally on conventional 35mm film was suggested as early as 1929 by Captain Ralph G. Fear in an article in American Cinematographer. Rather than run the film through the gate horizontally, however, he advocated the use of an optical system which would turn the image on its side. The same sort of optical system was used in Douglas Leigh's Glamorama system presented in 1953. When Paramount took over the development of Leigh's system, however, they eliminated the use of such an optical system and renamed the format VistaVision.
In designing their wide screen format. Paramount felt that the aspect ratio for Cinemascope was too long and narrow so they opted for the "golden ratio" of 1 .85:1 At the same time, they designed the system so that it would be as compatible as possible with other existing projection systems. At its best VistaVision was projected with a special projector running the film horizontally and projecting a 1.85:1 image using a contact print from the negative. The first VistaVision production, White Christmas, was presented in this manner at Radio City Music Hall in 1954, and critics were impressed with the image quality.
For theaters which could not convert their projection systems, VistaVision productions were released in two ways. A flat 35mm reduction print was made for cropped projection at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 to 1.85:1, or squeezed 35mm reduction prints were made for projection with anamorphic lenses at an aspect ratio comparable to Cinemascope. The first of these methods was popular, since many theaters had adopted the practice of cropping conventional 35mm prints to a 1.85:1 aspect ratio in order to use a wide screen. Flat VistaVision prints included special square framing marks in two places at the start of each reel as references for the projectionist in setting his frame for the 1.33, 1.66, or 1.85 ratio. VistaVision, because of the size of the original image, offered by far the best quality image for projection in this manner. At the same time. Paramount maintained that, when projected in its original size, VistaVision offered a superior image to wide film formats because the film received better support in the projector gate and was not subject to bowing in the way a wide film was.
The combination of VistaVision's horizontal frame with the use of anamorphic lenses came in 1957 with the advent of Technirama 70. Technirama uses camera lenses with a 1.5:1 squeeze ratio (rather than the 2:1 squeeze of Cinemascope) and produces an image which is either unsqueezed onto 70mm film or squeezed further and reductionprinted onto 35mm film for projection at 2.55:1 or 2.35:1 like Todd-AO or Cinemascope. In a few instances, special anamorphic projection lenses were made, so that a contact print of the horizontal frame could be projected by a VistaVision horizontal projector.
A variety of other wide screen systems involving various kinds of anamorphic lenses and wide films were spawned in the fifties, many of which were simply an existing process with a different name or with only slight modifications. One other unique process, however, which is widely used in various countries under different names is the process known here as Techniscope. Techniscope is a wide screen process using a conventional 35mm film and non-anamorphic camera lenses. The Techniscope camera is modified to pull down 2 perforations at a time, and the camera aperture is reduced to produce an original image which is half the size of the conventional 4x3 35mm frame. The image has an aspect ratio comparable to Cinemascope, and it is optically printed to yield a squeezed print compatible with conventional anamorphic projection systems. The chief advantages of Techniscope are the fact that it uses half as much camera negative and permits the use of conventional camera lenses. It was introduced in 1963 and is still widely used.
There have also been a variety of systems developed in an attempt to improve on the use of a deeply curved screen in Cinerama. One process which was widely hailed in 1957 was Cinemiracle, a three-camera process similar to Cinerama, but using mirrors in the camera set up and the projection system. A variety of systems have been designed to permit the use of a deeply curved screen with only one projector, including the Arc-1 20 system developed in England, the Smith-Carney system developed in 1958, the French Heraclorama system, and the Dimension-150 system developed by Richard Vetter and Carl W. Williams at U.C.L.A. The Arc-1 20 and Smith-Carney systems both involved the positioning of parts of the image within a 35mm frame so that they could be projected through separate optical systems onto the appropriate portion of the large curved screen. Heraclorama and the Dimension-150 systems involve projection lenses with a curved field of focus.
Attempts have also been made tc expand on the Cinerama concept, result ing in environmental projection systems such as Disney's Circarama system pre sented at the Brussels World Fair ii 1958 and subsequently installed at Disneyland. Circarama involves 11 cameras and projectors projecting an image on a cylindrical screen surrounding the viewer. For the 1962 World Exhibition in Seattle a projection facility called the "Spacearium" was designed for the presentation of 70mm film on a dome by means of a special optical system. The film presented was Journey to the Stars, a 12-minute voyage through space via special effects photography, and the effect was similar to a planetarium in motion. More recent world's fairs have witnessed ever more elaborate environmental projection systems such as Astrorama at Expo 70, but there is little opportunity for such presentations to affect the format for the commercial exhibition of motion pictures.
World's fairs and exhibitions were also one of the proving grounds for multiple-image and split screen formats which have, of course, influenced the look of commercial motion pictures. For the most part, multiple-image formats have been incorporated into conventional wide screen films simply by using optical printers. A comparable format which has been advocated for some time is the so-called "dynamic frame" in which the proportions of the image vary according to the content. A dynamic frame was achieved in the British Film Institute's The Door in the Wall in 1955 simply by matting portions of a Cinemascope frame in printing. Eisenstein was very interested in the aesthetic possibilities of a dynamic frame, and the Russians have developed three systems of "varioscopic" cinematography. The most important of these is Vario-70 using 70mm film with a 10-perf oration pulldown, such that seven aspect ratios ranging from 2.35:1 to 0.46:1 can be used. The other systems, Vario-35 and Vario-35A, employ conventional 35mm film with flat or anamorphic lenses.
Finally, no discussion of motion picture formats would be complete without some mention of the various attempts at stereoscopic or three dimensional presentations. As with wide screen formats, experiments in three dimensional motion pictures have been going on since before 1900. The illusion of depth can be achieved in various ways. One of the earliest methods used for motion pictures was that of the stereopticon in which two separate images were viewed independently by each eye through the use of a viewer with a divider separating the field of vision for each eye. Stereopticons had, of course, been popular with still photographs in the 19th century, but the application of the technique to motion pictures was limited. The first commercially viable three dimension technique was conceived before the turn of the century and exploited commercially under the name of Audioscopics in the mid-thirties. Audioscopics involved two images tinted complementary colors (red and cyan) and viewed through glasses with tinted lenses.
The greatest boost to three dimensional techniques came in 1932 when the Polaroid company developed a way of making inexpensive polaroid lenses, so that the two images required for the illusion of depth could be distinguished by having opposite polarities. The 1939 New York World's Fair included an extremely popular three dimensional film presentation by John Norling employing the polaroid process. This system was refined over the years and eventually used in the 3-D revolution which swept the industry in 1953. As with Cinerama, the competition of television was largely responsible for the wide-spread commercial use of 3-D presentations. Many difficulties with the system, including the nuisance of wearing viewing glasses and the necessity of using two projectors at a time, incumbered the system and helped to bring about its abandonment by most producers and exhibitors after a few years.
Another three dimensional system which did not require viewing glasses was refined by a Russian, Semyon Ivanov. Presented in 1941, it relied on a special screen which reflected two different images at slightly different angles and required that the audience hold their heads in a fixed position throughout the screening.
The idea had been suggested as early as 1896 by Berthier in France and various experimentors had worked with it over the years. It offered the advantage of requiring only one projector with a special optical system and was used for several feature films starting with a 1947 production of Robinson Crusoe. It was not imported to the United States, however, until 1955 when interest in three dimensional processes was waning.
It is difficult to speculate about future developments in motion picture formats. Direct projection of electronic or videotape images onto large theater screens will probably become an increasingly popular process. Perhaps holography will be perfected to the point where three dimensional images will be projected in theaters without screens. One thing is certain, however: the motion picture industry will continue to experiment with novel and unusual ways to present its product to the public.…
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Publication information: Article title: Highlights from the History of Motion Picture Formats. Contributors: Patterson, Richard - Author. Magazine title: American Cinematographer. Volume: 54. Issue: 1 Publication date: January 1973. Page number: 40+. © American Society of Cinematographers Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.