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VistaVision

From Academic Kids

VistaVision is a variant of the 35mm motion picture film format created by Paramount Studios in the 1950s. The film is run horizontally, as in a still camera, with a width of 8 perforations per frame. This gave a wider aspect ratio of 1.5 against the conventional 1.33, and a sharper image.

With all of the other major studios using CinemaScope, Paramount debuted VistaVision in 1954 with White Christmas. Alfred Hitchcock took to the format and used it for many of his films in the 1950s. However, it never really caught on, as it required considerable labwork including optical printing and matting down to a conventional aspect ratio on vertical film (with the exception of a very small number of theaters between 1954 and 1956), as well as twice as much film. In the end, VistaVision lost out in the general market to the less expensive, anamorphic systems such as Panavision and the more capable 70mm format. Since 1977 the format has enjoyed a brief renaissance, due to Lucasfilm's handmade retooled cameras, as an intermediate format used for shooting special effects, thanks to the reduced grain and easy adaptability of compact still cameras. However, both the advent of computer-generated imagery and usage of 70 mm for similar optical work has largely rendered this usage of VistaVision obsolete as well.

Technical specifications

VistaVision (8/35)

  • spherical lenses
  • 8 perforations per frame
  • horizontal pulldown, from right to left (viewed from base side)
  • slightly less depth of field than vertical pulldown 35mm
  • camera aperture: 1.485" (37.72 mm) by 0.981" (24.92 mm)

Famous films made using VistaVision

References

eo:Vistavision

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