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Watch: How to Prepare a 70mm Interstellar Print for Projection

One of the more unexpected side effects of Interstellar‘s much-ballyhooed release in 35mm, 70mm and 70mm IMAX has been a wave of videos from local theaters showing their patrons exactly what it takes to prepare and project 70mm. My pick of the litter is this nicely shot two-minute video from the Willow Creek 12 Theater in Plymouth, Minnesota. Watch the process from start to finish as eight cans of film arrive, are unlocked, checked for damage, and then fed onto a platter for projection. An earlier video showed the theater testing its 70mm projector for its first 70mm engagement in 22 years. Want a more detailed step-by-step verbal explanation? This video from Fort Lauderdale has you covered.

An aside: prepping this post and doing a little research on 70mm projection, I found this 1990 article from the Deseret News about the difficulties of catching 70mm in Salt Lake City. At that time (not so long ago!), 70mm blow-ups of films shot in 35mm weren’t uncommon, but print trafficking was still a problem. Chris Hoynes broke down the availability issue for local viewers on a case-by-case basis, e.g.:

A couple of weeks ago, when a 70mm print of Back to the Future, Part III was released from a Los Angeles theater, Cineplex Odeon brought it into its 70mm auditorium at the Crossroads Mall. But that was four weeks into the film’s run and, unfortunately, most people who would have gone out of their way to see it didn’t know about it. By Friday it was already gone.

Of course, now prepping a comprehensive celluloid release is even more of a special operation.

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