"Squeezed" Movies Challenge 3-Ds
That stupendous Golgotha set is only one
of 39 used in the filming of The Robe. One
extends more than 200 feet from the camera
to a distant throne. That means that lenses
must be stopped down sharply to increase
their depth of focus. Under the hopped-up
lighting, any imperfection in the scenery
stands out like a cracked ceiling in the
Broadened real-estate, however, is not the
only key to Cinemascope's dramatic punch.
For years, the three-units-high, by four-units-wide, standard movie frame has been a
miniature picture window through which you
watch a story unfold in peephole glimpses.
Each time a director wants to widen your
view, he moves this window to the right or
left, and it takes you the better part of a
second to readjust your vision.
Cinemascope Helps Focus Attention
In Cinemascope, there are no picture
windows. Your eyes roll casually about an
unframed scene, dismissing unimportant
details to focus on the story action. Don't
think Cinemascope's directors and
technicians aren't helping you along.
Suppose they want you to swing your
attention from Paulus, the centurion, to
Marcellus, owner of the robe. The actors are
50 feet apart. But the camera makes no hasty,
"panning" sweep to bridge the gap between
them. Instead, an audio engineer boosts the
pickup from one of the three mikes used to
produce stereo sound. Lighting experts
slowly shift their spots from Paulus to
Marcellus, and the legate turns his head
slightly toward the camera.
You do the rest, coached by the
intensified output of the loudspeaker nearest
Marcellus, and the eye-catching highlights on his face.