Super Panavision 70

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Super Panavision 70 was the marketing brand name used to identify movies photographed with Panavision 70 mm spherical optics between 1959 and 1983.


During the late 1950s, the Hollywood filmmaking community decided that changing from filming in the commonly accepted 35 mm format to 65 mm film would provide viewing audiences with an enhanced visual experience. To this end, cameras began to be designed to handle 65 mm film stock. The first camera system to be released using this format was Todd-AO, in 1955. The second was MGM Camera 65, a system designed by Panavision, which was introduced in 1956. In 1959, Panavision introduced Super Panavision 70 to compete with these two systems. Unlike its counterpart Ultra Panavision 70, which used anamorphic lenses, Super Panavision used spherical lenses to create a final aspect ratio of 2.20:1.

In 1959, Walt Disney Productions was the first studio to release a film, The Big Fisherman, using this process.

Some of the films made in Super Panavision 70 were presented in 70 mm Cinerama in select theaters. Special optics were used to project the 70 mm prints onto a deeply curved screen to mimic the effect of the original three-strip Cinerama process.

The terms "Super Panavision 70", "Panavision 70" and "Super Panavision" were interchangeable, whereas the term "70mm Panavision" referred to films shot in 35mm anamorphic Panavision and blown up to 70mm for release.

Movies using Super Panavision 70[edit]

Panavision System 65/Super 70[edit]

In 1991, as a response to an increased demand for 65mm cameras (in the mid-80's Steven Spielberg had wanted to film Empire of the Sun in Super Panavision 70 but didn't want to work with the old 65mm camera equipment), Panavision introduced an updated line of 65mm cameras and optics known as "Panavision System 65" and was monikered on Advertising and Release prints as "Panavision Super 70", which was designed to compete with the parallel development of the Arri 765 camera. The new System 65 camera was Self-Blimped, with Reflex viewing designed as the 65mm cousin to the 35mm Panaflex camera (and used many of the same accessories). Only two System 65 cameras were ever built--and the small fleet of old 65mm Hand-Held Reflex cameras had their lens mounts modified to accept the System 65 lenses. The System 65 lenses were all a medium-format variant of lens designs from the (then) current line of Panavision Primos. All System 65 telephoto lenses (i.e. 300mm, 400mm, 500mm) were converted Canon telephotos. In the wake of the box office failure of the first Panavision System 65/Super 70 feature, the Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman/Ron Howard directed vehicle, Far and Away, combined with the fact that 35 mm digital stereo sound had arrived and minimized the multi-channel sound advantage the 70mm format had, meant that a hoped-for renaissance in 65/70mm film production never really took off.

Movies using Panavision System 65/Super 70[edit]

  • Far and Away (1992); During the "land rush" sequence, slow motion footage was filmed with Arri 765 cameras; plus a 35mm VistaVision camera and several 35mm Panavision cameras with anamorphic lenses were used.
  • Dead Sea (1992) - short film released in LA area
  • Hamlet (1996)
  • The Witness (1998) – short film produced for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Connecticut
  • Spider-Man 2 (2004) – selected special effects shots only
  • The New World (2005) – "hyper-reality" scenes only
  • Inception (2010) – "key sequences"
  • The Tree of Life (2011) - selected scenes
  • Samsara (2011) – the first feature film photographed entirely in 65mm since Hamlet; theatrical release was presented in 4k digital projection and 35mm anamorphic prints
  • Snow White & the Huntsman (2012) - selected wide shots and second unit work
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - selected scenes
  • The Master (2012) - The projected frame on 70mm release prints (and all digital prints) were "Hard Matted" to 1.85:1, clipping the sides and throwing away 16.3% of the full frame exposed on the 2.20:1 aspect ratio 65mm negative. About 85% of the film was photographed in Panavision System 65; the rest was shot in spherical 35mm with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Master: Framed in 65mm for Maximum Visual Impact". Eastman Kodak. September 26, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 

External links[edit]