Magazine article American Cinematographer


Magazine article American Cinematographer


Article excerpt

Sound in the Dark

Apart from a gap in the 70s, I have subscribed to AC since 1968. I am not in the film or TV industry but am interested in keeping abreast of technical developments and, as far as time permits, in all aspects of cinema and the careers of filmmakers.

I was very disturbed, therefore, by a letter in the April issue of Empire magazine to the effect that the soundtrack could diminish the quality of the picture. Is this really possible? In all my years of moviegoing and reading about technology, I have never heard such a theory propounded.

When I saw Bram Stoker's Dracula, I did not think there was anything wrong with the film; it was slightly grainy, perhaps, but otherwise showcased the look that Coppola and Ballhaus had devised as per the AC articles. Some sequences, like the early encounters between Nina and Lucy away from Dracula's influence, were very bright, anyway, as were many shots during the final chase where the look subtly changed: there was snow and more blue and white light.

I am continuing to find much of interest in AC.

- Murray A. Callen

Edinburgh, Scotland

India in 70mm

In the February AC issue, Mr. Georges Loisel mentioned that India is believed to have produced a few films in 70mm. The fact is, so far no true 70mm films have been produced in India using 65mm picture negative. The first film released in 70mm format was Sholay in Hindi, which was photographed in Cinemascope by Mr. Dwarakdas Divecha. The 70mm prints were made in London by Technicolor.

The first 70mm release print (blown up from Cinemascope negative) printed in India with 6-track stereophonic sound was Padayottam(1983 in the Malaysian language), which was photographed by me and processed and printed by Prasad Film Laboratories, Madras. Since then about seven more films have been printed in 70mm.

Lack of 65mm cameras, processing and editing facilities, and 70mm theaters is the main reason why this format is not opted for. Recently one of our technicians has made a prototype 65mm camera which has reached the testing stage only, for want of financial support and enthusiasm from film producers.

- K. Ramachadra Babu

Madras, India

Wexler in Color

Haskell Wexler's first color film was not Norman Jewison's 1967 In the Heat of the Night, as stated in your otherwise excellent tribute to this cinematographer (AC February). Six years earlier, from April through July 1961, Wexler shot in Eastman color The Fisherman and His Soul in Gaibu, in northeastern Brazil, for director Charles Guggenheim. It was from a script by Dale Wasserman based on the Oscar Wilde story.

The film was to have been released on the art film circuit in the spring of 1962, but I don't believe it was.

- Jerry DeMuth


Todd-AO Short

I read with interest Mr. Georges Loisel's letter concerning the 70mm release of Far and Away. He states that he was disappointed "when screening the non-commercial short . . . to promote the new Todd-AO camera: the picture was markedly worse than that of Miracle of Todd-AO, shot 35 years ago."

At a recent SMPTE meeting at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, all film formats capable of being screened in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater were reviewed, including the new Todd-AO short referred to by Mr. Loisel. At the conclusion of the screenings, several hundred evaluation ballots were distributed and the new Todd-AO 70mm film received the highest marks by a wide margin (9.8 on a scale of 10). The results were published in a subsequent issue of the SMPTE Journal.

Let none of us abandon 70mm because of a few isolated aberrations.

- Dr. Richard Vetter,

ASC Associate Member

Director, Todd-AO

Camera Division


My compliments for the excellent article by Benjamin Bergery on motion picture laboratory practice (AC March). …

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