International projectionist (Jan-Dec 1954)

Record Details:

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VOLUME XXIX APRIL 1954 NUMBER 4 As Of The Moment By JAMES J. FINN This is another in a series of definitive articles which IP directs to its readers and all those who are interested in the latest technical developments and, consequently, the economic well-being of the industry. ON THE basis of present developments, 3-D presentation is just floundering around. Maybe Technicolor's astute management will come up with the answer to single-film 3-D projection — and it is hardly conceivable that an organization such as Technicolor would go to any great technical or economic length to prove a point wrong. However successful their efforts, the cruel, inescapable fact remains that analyzers (viewing spectacles) would be required for exhibition purposes — a process which IP has always regarded dubiously. What Went Wrong? 3-D pictures were mangled on both the production and projection ends. IP can only reiterate those questions which it has posed repeatedly, as follows: In the 3-D field, did it work out correct 3-D camera methods and correct projection equipment and processes in advance? Did it provide reasonable size reels and enough projectors to handle the job sensibly and without long and unpleasant intermissions? Did it put good stories into 3-D? And did it furnish acceptable 3-D spectacles for the audience? Were the 3-D pictures on the screen bright enough? Did the producers enthusiastically support 3-D with their best directing, acting, writing, and technical talent? Did the enthusiastic audience reaction to the handful of, at least, fair 3-D pictures jar the producers into producing more and better 3-D pictures? Were the problems of the studio, the boxoffice and of Labor all sympathetically and intelligently considered? To all these questions, the unfortunate answer is a re-sounding "No!" In any event, IP can never lend assent to the use of viewing spectacles for motion pictures unless some radical improvement is effected. Production, Exhibition Values Cinerama was and is the first really honest effort to deal with a widescreen picture. Why? Because both in production and in projection they did not cheat on production values, projection, or Labor. It is unfortunate that the economic status of the industry, no less than the deplorable lack of acceptable subject material, militated against the widespread use of this system. Moreover, certain technical deficiencies, including a view of Niagara Falls flowing upward when viewed from the balcony, indicate that the structural characteristics of existing theatres are woefully deficient in terms of viewing conditions. Examining the Record Now we come again to the CinemaScope process which has the industry in such a dither. It is undoubtedly true that the exhibition of CinemaScope productions has to date resulted in a profit for exhibitors and has given the industry an economic "lift." However, while IP is and always will be interested in the economic health of the industry, its primary task is to convey technical information. To this end IP is of necessity forced to restate its original evaluation of the CinemaScope system, as follows: 1. Historically, there is nothing new about Chretien's anamorphic lens. We say this not in a deprecatory sense but only to keep the record straight. Proof of this is readily available by reference to the issue of IP for July 1939, (p. 13) in which a full description of the Chretien anamorphic projection lens, together with an illustration of the "giant" curved screen, was INTERNATIONAL PROJECTIONIST • APRIL 1954 k.