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CinemaScope™

From Wikipedia, Chace Audio

CinemaScope™ is a widescreen film process used between 1953 and 1967. In the 1920s, French professor Henri Chrétien developed a process he named Anamorphoscope, based on lenses that employed an optical trick to produce an image twice as wide as conventional lenses. That process would later become the basis for CinemaScope, which used anamorphic lenses to squeeze a wide image onto a standard frame, allowing film to be shot and projected at up to a 2.66:1 aspect ratio – twice as wide as the conventional format of 1.33:1. CinemaScope was enthusiastically accepted by Hollywood film studios looking for a way to bring audiences back to theaters after presuming them lost to television. Twentieth Century Fox bought the rights to Anamorphoscope and released the first film shot in CinemaScope,The Robe, in 1953.

Although CinemaScope was capable of producing an image at 2.66:1, Fox's addition of a four-channel soundtrack via two magnetic strips located on both sides of the film frame reduced this ratio to 2.55:1. This offered one of the first stereophonic magnetic soundtracks available to theaters. However, theater owners were dissatisfied with contractually having to install the magnetic stereo playback equipment needed to screen CinemaScope films, and drive-in theaters had trouble presenting stereophonic sound at all. Due to these conflicts, Fox revoked their policy of stereo-only presentations, and added an optical soundtrack to their prints while still keeping the magnetic tracks for those theaters that chose to present their films in stereophonic sound. The addition of the optical soundtrack further reduced the width of the projected aspect ratio to 2.35:1.

Panavision, who initially manufactured anamorphic lens adapters for CinemaScope theaters, developed a rival process that prevented the “stretched image” effect that audiences found problematic with CinemaScope. U.S. studios soon started adopting the use of the Panavision lenses as they were more affordable than the CinemaScope process and were not owned or licensed by their rival studio, Twentieth Century Fox. By the mid-1960s, CinemaScope was rarely used.

This definition is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License found at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html . It uses material from the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CinemaScope.

Cinemascope™ track configuration as seen through the projector.

cinemascopediagram.jpg

Cinemasope™ prints have four magnetic strips - two on both sides of each set of sprocket holes.

cinemascope_smaller.jpg

Standard prints of the same era did not have magnetic strips on the film. As seen here, they used a dual bilateral variable area optical sound track for audio playback.

colorprint.jpg