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‘The Hateful Eight’ Uses 50-Year-Old Lenses for Its Impressive 70mm Look

Cinematographer Robert Richardson discusses the unique experience of shooting it.

The Hateful Eight cinematographer Robert Richardson got an opportunity not many in his craft get these days: to shoot the film on 70mm and with vintage, unique Ultra Panavision 70 lenses that haven’t been used in almost 50 years. Quentin Tarantino’s latest film will also be screened at select theaters via 70mm film projectors in lieu of digital.

“Some of these lenses…had not had had light pass through them in 40, 50 years. And they don’t even look like lenses.” Richardson tells Variety. “They used a prism in the front to create the width and there was a flat element. It’s actually a very flat-looking lens, in terms of the way you get distortion on the edges, because the elements are bigger. When it was put up on a screen for me to look at… the minute it hit the small projection screen, which was just showing you numbers, I was like, ‘That’s it. We’ve got to make this work. We’ve got to make this work.’ Because it was as if there’s a smoky quality. This amber light just diffused the image. I started shooting and I felt it immediately on the faces. Once they got the lenses to be able to take out on a test, I shot tests with people in Montana and the faces were just like nothing I’d ever shot before. We had all this high definition from being 70mm, but the skin rolled off in the sweetest way. The faces were beautiful.”