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TARDIS Index File

Techniscope

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TechniscopeComparison

Bernard Cribbins in Techniscope (aspect ratio of 2.33 stretched to 2.39) and in television high definition (1.78). Both images are the entire frame rendered at the same height — the natural height of Techniscope.

Techniscope was the Technicolor 35mm, non-anamorphic film format used to record and distribute Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. These were the only two Doctor Who stories recorded in the format, which was somewhat popular in Europe in the 1960s. The aspect ratio it captured to negatives was 2.33, meaning that it could be enlarged easily to cinema "standard widescreen" of 2.39. By contrast, BBC Wales Doctor Who is filmed at a 1.78 aspect ratio — meaning that the two Dalek movies are noticeably wider widescreen than the modern, high-definition television series.

Within the film industry, Techniscope is viewed as an economising measure. It is particularly associated with low-budget Italian films of the 1960s. This is because it has twice as many frames in the same length of film as, for instance, the more standard CinemaScope stock. This in turn means that the positive print must be blown up by a factor of two. Natural image degradation therefore occurs, which is usually noticeable to even untrained eyes if they are given the opportunity to compare images in quick succession.

Nevertheless, the cost savings were considerable enough to have made many European filmmakers take notice of Techniscope. Certainly, the lower quality Techniscope wouldn't have mattered much to contemporary British Doctor Who fans, who were used to seeing William Hartnell in dodgy, terrestrially-broadcast black-and-white. The choice might have been more noticeable to the American audience who had, by 1965 become accustomed to Panavision's more luxurious Ultra Panavision and anamorphic formats.

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