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Super Panavision 70
TypeFilmmaking technology
InventorMike Todd
Robert Gottschalk
Inception1959 (1959)
Models madeSystem 65 (since 1985)

Super Panavision 70 is the marketing brand name used to identify movies photographed with Panavision 70 mm spherical optics between 1959 and 1983. It has since been replaced by Panavision System 65.

Ultra Panavision 70 was similar to Super Panavision 70, though Ultra Panavision lenses were anamorphic, which allowed for a significantly wider aspect ratio. However, Ultra Panavision 70 was extremely rare and has only been used on a handful of films since its inception.


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, compared to an anamorphic widescreen image. 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, the same as Todd-AO.

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.

Unlike formats such as Super 16mm and Super 35mm, the "super" designation does not denote a modification of the film frame, but was rather to distinguish it as being of superior quality to 35mm anamorphic Panavision. 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

Panavision System 65/Super 70

In 1991, as a response to an increased demand for 65 mm cameras (in the mid-1980s Steven Spielberg had wanted to film Empire of the Sun in Super Panavision 70 but did not want to work with the old 65 mm camera equipment),[1] Panavision introduced an updated line of 65 mm cameras and optics known as Panavision System 65 and monikered in advertising and release prints as Panavision Super 70. The system was designed to compete with the parallel development of the Arriflex 765 camera. The new System 65 camera was self-blimped, with reflex viewing designed as the 65 mm cousin to the 35 mm Panaflex camera (and used many of the same accessories). Only two System 65 cameras were ever built, and the small fleet of old 65 mm handheld 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. 300 mm, 400 mm, 500 mm) were converted Canon telephotos.

In the wake of the box office failure of the first Panavision System 65/Super 70 feature Far and Away, combined with the fact that 35 mm digital surround sound had arrived and minimized the multi-channel sound advantage the 70 mm format had, meant that a hoped-for renaissance in 65/70 mm film production never materialized. In the 2010s, this renaissance finally materialized following a string of successful films from director Christopher Nolan, which were produced and screened in 70mm IMAX. Following the effort made by Quentin Tarantino and Boston Light & Sound to restore a large fleet of 70mm projectors for the release of The Hateful Eight, 70mm projection once again became available to non-IMAX venues.

Movies using Panavision System 65/Super 70

See also


  1. ^ a b c Everett, Todd (May 21, 1992). "Panavision redefines the wide-body look". Daily Variety. p. 17.
  2. ^ "The Master: Framed in 65mm for Maximum Visual Impact". Eastman Kodak. September 26, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  3. ^ Hemphill, Jim. "Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC continues his collaboration with director Terrence Malick on the abstract, poetic love story To the Wonder". The American Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  4. ^ Altman, Randi (26 February 2015). "The color of Terrence Malick's 'Knight of Cups'". postPerspective. Retrieved 17 July 2022. Both of the films were shot on 35mm, some 65mm, Arri, GoPro, and a little bit with Red and Blackmagic. GoPro, obviously, has a slightly different look, but it cuts in really well with 35mm, 4K and 65mm.
  5. ^ Sharf, Zack (12 July 2017). "15 Essential Movies Shot On 70mm Film, From '2001: A Space Odyssey' to 'Dunkirk'". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017.
  6. ^ Dillon, Mark (April 2020). "Rehired Gun". American Cinematographer. 101 (4). Hollywood, California, United States: American Society of Cinematographers: 36. ISSN 0002-7928.