The Hateful Eight is the latest film from renowned director Quentin Tarantino; but despite its 2015 release date, the film will be rooted in the 1950s and 60s thanks to its filming techniques.

When Tarantino embarked upon writing The Hateful Eight, the director was adamant that it would be shot with 65mm film and projected in 70mm. Instead of opting for IMAX’s 70mm format however, the director turned to Ultra Panavision 70 – a format that has not been utilised by a major film studio since Khartoum’s release in 1966.

The result of Tarantino’s usage of Ultra Panavision 70 is one of the most panoramic film experiences in recent years; thanks to an extremely wide aspect ratio of 2.76:1. IMAX pales in comparison due to its 1.43:1 aspect ratio, while standard films utilise the standard 1.66:1 aspect ratio.

To date there are currently only two film formats capable of beating Ultra Panavision 70’s wide aspect ratio; the first is Polyvision which has only been utilised once for the 1927 film Napoleon and had a total aspect ratio of 4:1, while the other is Disney’s Circle-Vision 360° which utilises multiple projectors to create a 12.00:1 image.

What’s surprising about Tarantino’s choice is the fact that very few cinemas around the world are capable of playing the film the way the director intended. That’s why when the film opens in the US and Canada on Christmas Day, it will only be shown in 96 screens in the US and four in Canada.

Six cinemas in the UK are capable of showing the film in 70mm film; although it has yet to be confirmed if it will see a 70mm release in the UK. The cinemas with the suitable equipment include:

• Filmhouse (88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh)

• Picturehouse at FACT (88 Wood Street, Liverpool)

• Odeon Leicester Square (24–26 Leicester Square, London)

• Pictureville Cinema (National Media Museum) (Little Horton Lane, Bradford)

• The Rex Cinema (High Street, Berkhamstead)

• Greenwich Picturehouse (180 Greewich High Road, London)

From a technological standpoint 70mm film is virtually obsolete; most cinemas in North America and Europe have converted to digital projectors and even IMAX, a film stalwart, has been rapidly developing new digital technologies.

For the cinemas that are taking part in the screenings, it’s certainly not an affordable undertaking. The New York Times spoke to an engineer who specialises in movie theatre installations who claimed that he may charge $60,000 to $80,000 (£40,000 to £53,000) per screen, just to get the system up and running – not counting costs for labour.

The reason behind the high costs are clear – the equipment is hard to find as it is no longer being manufactured. A similar problem arose during production of the film, forcing Panavision to produce new lenses at a rate of one a day.

Old technology also doesn’t always work as well as modern-day digital projections. Critics watching the movie at the Crest Westwood theatre in Los Angeles slated the film due to problems with the film’s focus.

Some critics called the screening ‘very near disastrous’ with The Weinstein Company being forced to switch the projector midway to a more modern digital projector.

There are other issues with film as well – including the transportation of the movie print itself.

The Hateful Eight is more than three hours long and the reel was so immense that it is transported in a custom case. It also weighs almost 160kg – meaning a fork lift is needed to carry the thing.

Ultra Panavision 70 may not have been used for nearly 50 years, but it could be making a comeback if Tarantino gets his way. During an interview at Comic-Con earlier in 2015 the director claimed that Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars: Rogue One will also feature footage projected in 70mm.

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