Cine Gear Expo: 'Hateful Eight' 70mm Test Footage Dazzles

Quentin Tarantino in Lyon - H - 2013
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Test footage from Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight — photographed by two-time Oscar winner Robert Richardson — received enthusiastic applause when it was projected in 70mm anamorphic film for a full house at the Paramount Theater on Saturday at Cine Gear Expo, which is being held on the Paramount lot.

"He really wants to get people back into theaters. You’re not going to get this [at home]. He did something really great to bring that [experience] back," Panavision's vp optical engineering Dan Sasaki said of Tarantino, a vocal film proponent. "Quentin wanted an epic Western, something that hasn’t been seen in forever, that would really wow people. [When he saw this test,] he started bouncing in his seat."

The test footage included actor close-ups, as well as interiors and a range of exteriors at different times of day and with varying lighting conditions.

While not confirmed by Panavision during the session, word on the street is that plans are underway to equip roughly 50 U.S. theaters to show the movie in 70mm film. Work is also being done to find the most precise way to create a digital version for digital cinema release.

Currently in post, Hateful Eight was lensed on 65mm negative and is believed to be the first production since 1966's Khartoum to use Ultra Panavision 70 anamorphic lenses. Sasaki related that Richardson came to Panavision looking for something different, and when he saw the look created by these lenses, he said, "This is it."

This led to an enormous effort at Panavision, which reworked 19 of these classic lenses for the production in just a few months. (Incidentally, these lenses are expected to next be used for Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One by cinematographer Greig Fraser.)

Since Tarantino and Richardson wanted long takes in Hateful Eight, Panavision also developed a 2,000-foot magazine for the film cameras. Kodak, the film supplier, and Fotokem, the lab, were also involved in this effort.

The Hateful Eight was shot on location in Telluride, Colo., as well as onstage at Red Studios.