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Encyclopedia > CinemaScope
A Fox logo used to promote the CinemaScope process.
A Fox logo used to promote the CinemaScope process.

CinemaScope was a widescreen movie format used from 1953 to 1967. Anamorphic lenses allowed the process to project film up to a 2.66:1 aspect ratio, twice as wide as the conventional format of 1.33:1. Although CinemaScope was shortly made obsolete by new technological developments, the anamorphic presentation of films initiated by CinemaScope in the 1950s has continued to this day. Image File history File links Fox-CinemaScope. ... Image File history File links Fox-CinemaScope. ... Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the major American film studios. ... The inner box (green) is the format used in most pre-1952 films and pre-widescreen television. ... Anamorphic widescreen is a cinematography and photography technique for capturing a widescreen picture on standard 35mm film. ... The aspect ratio of an image is its displayed width divided by its height (usually expressed as x:y or x×y, with the joining colon or multiplication symbol articulated as the preposition by or sometimes to). For instance, the aspect ratio of a traditional television screen is 4:3... // Recovering from World War II and its aftermath, the economic miracle emerged in West Germany and Italy. ...

Contents

History

Origins

Henri Chrétien demonstrates his Anamorphoscope lenses.
Henri Chrétien demonstrates his Anamorphoscope lenses.

A French professor named Henri Chrétien developed and patented a new film process that he called Anamorphoscope in the late 1920s. It was this process that would later form the basis for CinemaScope. Chrétien´s process was based on lenses that employed an optical trick which produced an image twice as wide as that produced with conventional lenses.[1] In New York, a premiere of Chrétien´s new process impressed the major Hollywood film studios of the time, who were eager to win back lost audiences from television’s allure.[2] Image File history File links Hcretien-x. ... Image File history File links Hcretien-x. ... Henri Chrétien (February 1, 1879 – February 6, 1956) was a French astronomer and an inventor. ... Look up lens in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Henri Chrétien (February 1, 1879 – February 6, 1956) was a French astronomer and an inventor. ... Henri Chrétien (February 1, 1879 – February 6, 1956) was a French astronomer and an inventor. ... See also list of optical topics. ... NY redirects here. ... Henri Chrétien (February 1, 1879 – February 6, 1956) was a French astronomer and an inventor. ... ... A film studio is a controlled environment for the making of a film. ...


Twentieth Century Fox bought the rights of the Anamorphoscope. However, the format needed more development before it would be ready to use. The first of Chrétien´s lenses were quickly transported to Hollywood where they were further analyzed. From this analysis the basis of CinemaScope was formed. Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the major American film studios. ... Henri Chrétien (February 1, 1879 – February 6, 1956) was a French astronomer and an inventor. ... ...


Fox´s pre-production of The Robe was halted so that the film could be changed to CinemaScope, what Fox President Spyros Skouras called the future of film making. Twentieth Century Fox´s famous advertising slogan, “Movies are Better than Ever”, gained credibility with the ground breaking 1953 film The Robe. With the introduction of CinemaScope, the movie industry was able to re-assert its distinction from its new competitor — television.[3] Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the major American film studios. ... A cinema presenting The Robe The Robe is a 1953 Biblical epic film that tells the story of a Roman tribune who commands the unit that crucifies Jesus. ... Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the major American film studios. ... A cinema presenting The Robe The Robe is a 1953 Biblical epic film that tells the story of a Roman tribune who commands the unit that crucifies Jesus. ...


Early implementations

A promotional picture advertising The Robe and CinemaScope. The small box in the center represents a regular-width screen.
A promotional picture advertising The Robe and CinemaScope. The small box in the center represents a regular-width screen.

The comedy How To Marry A Millionaire was the first film to be shot in CinemaScope. However, The Robe was released first. Fox utilized its influential people to promote CinemaScope. With the success of The Robe and How To Marry A Millionaire, the process became a hot property in Hollywood. Fox licensed the process to many of the major film studios including Columbia, Universal, MGM and Walt Disney Productions. Disney created one of the best-regarded examples of early CinemaScope productions with the live-action epic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.[4] However, due to initial uncertainty a number of films were shot simultaneously with anamorphic and regular lenses. Despite some early successes, the adoption of CinemaScope was slow and only major blockbusters were made in the format — 10 to 30% of total output during typical years in the 1950s and 1960s. Image File history File links Robe-Cinemascope-Ad. ... Image File history File links Robe-Cinemascope-Ad. ... A cinema presenting The Robe The Robe is a 1953 Biblical epic film that tells the story of a Roman tribune who commands the unit that crucifies Jesus. ... Comedy has a classical meaning (comical theatre) and a popular one (the use of humour with an intent to provoke laughter in general). ... How to Marry a Millionaire is a 1953 film, directed by Jean Negulesco and starring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable. ... A cinema presenting The Robe The Robe is a 1953 Biblical epic film that tells the story of a Roman tribune who commands the unit that crucifies Jesus. ... Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the major American film studios. ... ... A movie studio is a controlled environment for the making of a film. ... This article is about the major American media conglomerate. ... MGM logo Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM, is a large media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of cinema and television programs. ... Walt Disney Pictures logo (2006-present) Walt Disney Pictures is an American film studio, with off-shoot studios in Japan and other sites in the United States. ... 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1954 film starring Kirk Douglas as Ned Land, James Mason as Captain Nemo, Paul Lukas as Professor Aronnax and Peter Lorre as Conseil. ... // Recovering from World War II and its aftermath, the economic miracle emerged in West Germany and Italy. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ...


Rival processes

Paramount Pictures created its own visually superior VistaVision technique as a rival to CinemaScope
Paramount Pictures created its own visually superior VistaVision technique as a rival to CinemaScope

The fundamental technique that CinemaScope was built on was not patentable because the anamorphoscope had been known for centuries. Anamorphosis had been used in visual media such as Hans Holbein's painting, The Ambassadors (1533), as early as the sixteenth century. Some studios sought to develop their own systems rather than pay Fox. Image File history File links Vista-vision. ... Image File history File links Vista-vision. ... Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, based in Hollywood, California. ... A VistaVision 35 mm horizontal camera film frame. ... Andrea Pozzos painted ceiling in the Church of St. ... Hans Holbein is the name of two German Renaissance painters: Hans Holbein the Elder (1460-1524) Hans Holbein the Younger (c. ... The Ambassadors (1533) is a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger in the National Gallery, London. ...


In response to the demands for a higher fidelity spherical widescreen process, Paramount created the visually superior process of shooting horizontally on the 35 mm film reel called VistaVision, and then printing down to 35 mm. Thus, a finer grained negative was introduced, and consequently less grainy prints. VistaVision died out in the late 1950s, with the introduction of finer grained film stocks. Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, based in Hollywood, California. ... A VistaVision 35 mm horizontal camera film frame. ...


RKO used the Superscope process in which the standard 35 mm image was cropped in post-production to create a widescreen image. This article is about the film production company. ...


Another process called Techniscope was developed by Technicolor Inc. in the early 1960s, using normal 35 mm cameras modified for two perforations per frame instead of the regular four and later converted into an anamorphic print. Techniscope was mostly used in Europe, especially with lower budget films. A Techniscope camera frame. ... Logo celebrating Technicolors 90th Anniversary Technicolor is the trademark for a series of color film processes pioneered by Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation (a subsidiary of Technicolor, Inc. ... This article is 150 kilobytes or more in size. ...


Many European countries and/or studios used standard anamorphic process for their widescreen films, simply a clone of CinemaScope, renamed to avoid the copyrights of Fox. Some of these are Euroscope, Franscope, and Naturama (used by Republic Pictures). In 1952-53 Warner Brothers also planned to develop an identical anamorphic process called Warnerscope, but after the premiere of CinemaScope they decided to simply buy it from Fox instead. Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the major American film studios. ... Republic Pictures Corporation (aka Republic Entertainment) is an independent film, television, and video distribution company that was originally a movie production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, best known for its specialization in quality B pictures, westerns and movie serials. ... Warner Bros. ...


Technical difficulties

A CinemaScope 35mm camera film frame showing a circle. It has been squeezed by a ratio of 2:1 by an anamorphic lens.
A CinemaScope 35mm camera film frame showing a circle. It has been squeezed by a ratio of 2:1 by an anamorphic lens.

Although CinemaScope was capable of producing a 2.66:1 image, the addition of multi-channel COMMAG sound reduced this to 2.55:1. A change in the basic 35mm film aperture eventually reduced CinemaScope to 2.35:1. Often theaters with smaller screens would further crop the format to make it fit. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (838x623, 11 KB) A frame of 35 mm CinemaScope camera film. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (838x623, 11 KB) A frame of 35 mm CinemaScope camera film. ...


A general problem with expanding the image meant that there could be visible graininess and brightness problems. To combat this, larger formats were developed: initially an unsuccessful 55 mm, and later the 65/70 mm format. The initial problems with grain and brightness were eventually reduced thanks to improvements in film stock and lenses. 70 mm film (or 65 mm film) is a high-resolution motion picture film format. ...


CinemaScope lenses had a problem known as the “mumps”: the anamorphic power was decreased when objects approached close to the camera, which meant that close-up's would slightly over-stretch an actor´s face. This problem was avoided at first by composing wider shots, but as anamorphic technology lost its novelty, directors and cinematographers sought compositional freedom from these limitations. Issues with the lenses made it difficult to photograph animation using the CinemaScope process. Nevertheless, many animated short films and a few features were filmed in CinemaScope during the 1950s, including Disney´s Lady and the Tramp. Close Up is a half hour long New Zealand current affairs program produced by Television New Zealand. ... Lady and the Tramp is the fifteenth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. ...


Decline

Panavision, who initially made their fortune manufacturing anamorphic adapters for CinemaScope theaters, innovated the CinemaScope process by including a dual rotating element which was controlled by a focus ring in order to keep the plane of focus at a constant anamorphic ratio of 2x. After screening a demo reel comparing the two systems, many US studios adopted the Panavision anamorphic lenses. The Panavision technique was considered more attractive to the industry because it was more affordable than CinemaScope and was not owned/licensed-out by a rival studio. By the mid-1960s even Fox had begun to abandon CinemaScope for Panavision (famously at the demand of Frank Sinatra for Von Ryan's Express). Fox eventually capitulated completely to third-party lenses by 1967. Panavision is a motion picture equipment company specializing in camera, lens, and grip equipment, along with related accessories. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... Francis Albert Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and Academy Award-winning actor, often cited as the finest male American popular song vocalist of the 20th century. ... Von Ryans Express is a 1965 World War II film produced and directed by Mark Robson. ...


Modern references

While the lens system has been retired for decades, Fox has used the trademark in recent years on at least three films - Down with Love, which was shot with Panavision optics but used the credit as a throwback to the films it references, and the Don Bluth films Anastasia and Titan A.E. at Bluth's insistence. Nonetheless, these films are not true CinemaScope as they use modern lenses. CinemaScope's association with anamorphic projection is still so embedded in mass consciousness that all anamorphic prints are often referred to, generically - many times erroneously - as "'Scope" prints. Down With Love is a 2003 film directed by Peyton Reed and written by Eve Ahlert and Dennis Drake. ... Panavision is a motion picture equipment company specializing in camera, lens, and grip equipment, along with related accessories. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article or section contains a plot summary that is overly long. ... Titan A.E. is a 2000 animated sci-fi space adventure film from Fox Animation Studios and Twentieth Century Fox. ...


See also

Anamorphic widescreen is a cinematography and photography technique for capturing a widescreen picture on standard 35mm film, or other visual recording media with a non-widescreen native aspect ratio. ... This is a list of film formats known to have been developed for shooting or viewing motion pictures since the development of such photographic technology towards the end of the 19th century. ... Super 35 is a motion picture film format that uses exactly the same 35 mm film stock as standard 35mm, but puts a larger image frame on that stock. ... Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the major American film studios. ...

External references

  • CinemaScope at Widescreen Museum
  • CinemaScope: A Concise History
  • CinemaScope Explanation at ScreenSound Australia
  • Bijil, Adriaan. "The Importance of Panavision: In the Beginning." The 70mm Newsletter 67. March 2002.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Cinemascope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (496 words)
Cinemascope, or more strictly CinemaScope, was a widescreen movie format used from 1953 to 1967.
The hypergonar lens patents were acquired by 20th Century Fox in 1952 and the system was renamed "Fox CinemaScope." The advantage over Cinerama was that all the system needed was an additional lens unit fitted to the front of ordinary cameras and projectors.
CinemaScope itself was called Regalscope when used by the Fox adjunct Regal Films for fl-and-white features.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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