Quentin Tarantino goes ultra wide (and very retro) for “The Hateful Eight”


posted Monday, December 7, 2015 at 3:20 PM EDT


To capture the widest possible shot for his new film, The Hateful Eight, accomplished filmmaker Quentin Tarantino utilized Panavision’s Ultra 70mm cinema format. The Ultra 70mm is the widest cinema format in existence and is very rarely used. It has been used in a very small number of films, including Ben-Hur and Battle of the Bulge.

Ultra Panavision 70 was originally used from 1957 to 1966, but Tarantino has opted to bring it back for his eighth feature film. Images on Ultra Panavision are captured using 65mm film (the extra 5mm that make up the 70mm projection print accommodates the soundtrack) and is recorded at the traditional 24fps used in cinema.

With the last film shot using Ultra Panavision being Khartoum in 1966, acquiring lenses and gear for The Hateful Eight was no easy task. Thankfully, Panavision keeps all of their equipment in storage, so they were able to dig up equipment for Tarantino, but it had to be fixed up and retro-fitted. Some of the lenses used in the filming of The Hateful Eight hadn't seen light since the 1960s, but they still worked perfectly well and captured stunning imagery.

To see the inspiration for Tarantino’s use of Ultra Panavision, watch the video below. In the video, we also get to see some of the actors from the film discuss the advantages and challenges of the format and see people from Panavision discuss the equipment.

Tarantino’s passion for film-based cinema is very evident in the above featurette, and he was actually one of the filmmaker’s who successfully convinced Kodak to continue to make their 35mm motion picture film. Tarantino's passion for the 70mm format extends to his actors as well, as Tim Roth says in the video, "I think for the actors, we're in a movie. We're not in a hard drive, we're in a movie."

With an aspect ratio of 2.76:1, the beautiful and rugged mountains and landscapes of Colorado (although the film is set in Wyoming) will look truly glorious in their 70mm projection. The Hateful Eight will be opening in the US on Christmas and will be available for viewing in 70mm at select theaters worldwide. The special 70mm showings will be in "road show" format, which means that there will be an overture and an intermission, in addition to special footage that will not be available in the regular digital theater showings.

(Seen via PDN)