Behind the Motion Picture Canvas: Film Formats through the 21st Century

Presented by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council

Hosted by Rob Hummel
With special guests John Bailey, Stephen Burum, Allen Daviau and Caleb Deschanel

Continuing with screenings of “Manhattan” and “The Black Stallion” on September 10 and 11.

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.” – Martin Scorsese

The motion picture aspect ratio isn’t just a frame for the picture; in the hands of an accomplished filmmaker, the aspect ratio can have a significant influence on the storytelling process. Join Science and Technology Council member Rob Hummel for an illustrated lecture that traces the history of motion picture formats from the silent era through the 21st century. “Behind the Motion Picture Canvas” will examine the role that emerging technology has played in the evolution of film formats, and how the technical choices made by Thomas Edison and William Dickson at the dawn of the film era continue to influence the way we look at movies today.

The program will include clips from such films as “The Great Train Robbery” (1903, full aperture 1.33:1), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938, Academy aperture 1.37:1), “White Christmas” (1954, VistaVision 1.85:1), “Lady and the Tramp” (1955, CinemaScope 2.55:1), “Sleeping Beauty” (1959, Technirama 70 2.2:1, Composed for 2.55:1), “The Sound of Music” (1965, Todd-AO 65mm 2.2:1), “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970, Super Panavision 65mm 2.2:1), “Silverado” (1985, Super 35 2.40:1), and “The Accidental Tourist” (1988, Panavision 2.40:1).

Cinematographers, including John Bailey, Stephen Burum, Allen Daviau and Caleb Deschanel, will be on hand to discuss the role of film formats in shaping their creative decisions, including the technical constraints and the creative opportunities that the choice of a film format brings to a motion picture.

Hummel has served on the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee and edited the 8th edition of the American Cinematographer Manual. During Hummel’s tenure at Technicolor, he worked closely with over 70 cinematographers ranging from John Alonzo to Vilmos Zsigmond, giving him a unique perspective on the creative process of working with film formats.

Check back for program updates.

“Behind the Motion Picture Canvas: Film Formats through the 21st Century” continues with two nights of screenings hosted by Rob Hummel. Both screenings will be held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Thursday, September 10, at 8 p.m.

Manhattan (1979) – 96 mins.

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen

This classic romantic comedy stars Woody Allen as Isaac Davis, a twice divorced 42-year-old comedy writer struggling to cope with the women in his life.
With Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway.
Directed by Allen. Produced by Charles H. Joffe. Written by Allen, Marshall Brickman. Cinematography Gordon Willis.
Premiering a newly struck print from the Academy Film Archive.

Filmed in Panavision with Eastman B&W negative. Released in 35mm Anamorphic (CinemaScope) with Eastman Kodak B&W prints. Prints by Technicolor.

Academy Award nominee: Supporting Actress (Hemingway), Writing – Screenplay written directly for the screen (Allen, Marshall Brickman)

Friday, September 11, at 8 p.m.

The Black Stallion (1979) – 118 mins.

Kelly Reno

Based on Walter Farley’s acclaimed 1941 children’s novel, “The Black Stallion” tells the story of Alec Ramsay (Kelly Reno) and his relationship with a wild Arabian stallion.
With Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Clarence Muse.
Directed by Carroll Ballard. Produced by Fred Roos, Tom Sternberg. Screenplay Melissa Mathison, Jeanne Rosenberg, William D. Wittliff. Based on the novel by Walter Farley. Cinematography Caleb Deschanel. Premiering a newly struck print from the Academy Film Archive.

Filmed in 35mm with Eastman Color negative, composed for 1.85. Released in Eastman Color prints composed for 1.85. Prints by Technicolor.

Academy Award winner: Special Achievement Award – Sound Editing (Alan Splet)
Academy Award nominee: Supporting Actor (Rooney), Film Editing (Robert Dalva)

Event Information

Wednesday, September 9, at 8 p.m.
Doors open at 7 p.m.
Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Directions, Parking & Theater Policies

All seating is unreserved.
Contact Info
(310) 247-3600

“The Great Train Robbery,” 1903. The first standardized film format was a frame contained within a 35mm film area of four sprocket holes.

“White Christmas,” 1954. Turning the film on its side and doubling the image size was Paramount’s response to CinemaScope.

Please note: Images shown here do not reflect the original format of these films.

Rob Hummel, Stephen Burum, Allen Daviau, John Bailey and Caleb Deschanel

Host and council member Rob Hummel with cinematographers Stephen Burum, Allen Daviau, John Bailey and Caleb Deschanel.

Rob Hummel

Host and council member Rob Hummel.

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