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PD-170 4: and 16:9 question


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#1 Vitozonchello

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 08:54 AM

Hi,

I?m planning to shoot a short film soon which I would like to have ?widescreen?. I?m aware that my PAL PD170, which I am shooting on, does not have true 16:9 and the best think to achieve anamorphic is to use an anamorphic lens. However, because the film is being shot handheld I have read a lot of articles saying this would be a nightmare for focus. I have also read not to shoot 4:3 and mask it in post so..do I just go ahead and shoot with my wide angle lens (supplied with the camera) and use the in built 16:9 mode in the camera so at least I have the desired aspect ratio (which seems almost the same as masking it in post anway?) ?

I also read on American Cinematographer that Dod Mantle, who shot 28 Days Later, used the in camera Frame Move Mode 16:9 on the XL1 he was shooting on so is what?s good enough for him good enough for me etc?


What is the best thing to do?

Thanks
Carlo
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#2 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 11:13 AM

I’m planning to shoot a short film soon which I would like to have ‘widescreen’. I’m aware that my PAL PD170, which I am shooting on, does not have true 16:9 and the best think to achieve anamorphic is to use an anamorphic lens. However, because the film is being shot handheld I have read a lot of articles saying this would be a nightmare for focus. I have also read not to shoot 4:3 and mask it in post so..do I just go ahead and shoot with my wide angle lens (supplied with the camera) and use the in built 16:9 mode in the camera so at least I have the desired aspect ratio (which seems almost the same as masking it in post anway?)? I also read on American Cinematographer that Dod Mantle, who shot 28 Days Later, used the in camera Frame Move Mode 16:9 on the XL1 he was shooting on so is what’s good enough for him good enough for me etc? What is the best thing to do?

It's typically more difficult to focus using an 16:9 anamorphic lens adapter on a PD-170 than shooting without it, especially when working handheld. Depending on the adapters, the anamorphic adapter may weigh more than a W/A adapter, which may make handheld work more tiring. Some 16:9 anamorphic adapters are not "zoom through", meaning they lose focus if you zoom the cam's lens in more than about half way or so.

The PD-170's electronic 16:9 mode is surprisingly effective. Although technically not quite as sharp as using a high quality 16:9 anamorphic lens adapter (such as the one made by Century Optics), it's much easier to operate the camera without an anamorphic adapter installed. Theoretically you retain 25% more resolution using a anamorphic adapter lens compared to using electronic 16:9 mode or cropping in post, but in practice the difference is much less.

Croppping in post -- shoot in normal 4:3 mode, not 16:9, but "protect" for 16:9 by marking the cam's LCD, viewfinder and external monitor -- has the advantage of allowing you to adjust final framing in post. For example, you may be able to crop out a boom microphone which dips into a shot.

Your idea of using a W/A adapter may be an appropriate solution, and gives you the option of removing the W/A adapter when you want a narrower angle of view or longer focal length, and so forth. However, note that some W/A adapters are also not "zoom through".
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#3 Vitozonchello

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 11:45 AM

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your advice and I?d agree with everything you?ve said, especially about the anamorphic lens, and thanks for the tip about the w/a adaptor-I?ll watch out for that.

One question. Am I right in thinking then that shooting in-camera 16:9 is really the same as shooting 4:3 but with black bars on - as this isn?t true 16:9 and not anamorphic? It would therefore, like you say, be safer for me to shoot 4:3 but mark for 16:9 so I can alter framing in post?

Thanks
Carlo



It's typically more difficult to focus using an 16:9 anamorphic lens adapter on a PD-170 than shooting without it, especially when working handheld. Depending on the adapters, the anamorphic adapter may weigh more than a W/A adapter, which may make handheld work more tiring. Some 16:9 anamorphic adapters are not "zoom through", meaning they lose focus if you zoom the cam's lens in more than about half way or so.

The PD-170's electronic 16:9 mode is surprisingly effective. Although technically not quite as sharp as using a high quality 16:9 anamorphic lens adapter (such as the one made by Century Optics), it's much easier to operate the camera without an anamorphic adapter installed. Theoretically you retain 25% more resolution using a anamorphic adapter lens compared to using electronic 16:9 mode or cropping in post, but in practice the difference is much less.

Croppping in post -- shoot in normal 4:3 mode, not 16:9, but "protect" for 16:9 by marking the cam's LCD, viewfinder and external monitor -- has the advantage of allowing you to adjust final framing in post. For example, you may be able to crop out a boom microphone which dips into a shot.

Your idea of using a W/A adapter may be an appropriate solution, and gives you the option of removing the W/A adapter when you want a narrower angle of view or longer focal length, and so forth. However, note that some W/A adapters are also not "zoom through".


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#4 Greg Gross

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 12:56 PM

Shoot in 4:3 then go 16:9 in post. If you want shoot with 16:9 lens and learn.
There is really nothing complicated about the matter at all. Sometimes those
not familiar with this camera are very surprised at what it can achieve.

Greg Gross
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:55 PM

Shoot in 4:3 then go 16:9 in post. If you want shoot with 16:9 lens and learn.
There is really nothing complicated about the matter at all. Sometimes those
not familiar with this camera are very surprised at what it can achieve.

Greg Gross



I'd definately agree with Greg. Just shoot the whole area and you can matte it down in Final Cut. Better yet, mask it with clear tape or threads in the viewfinder so you can visualize the 1.78 frame, bu can also see outside it like on a groundglass. You'll be able to see what's coming close to the frame, such as an approaching microphone zeppelin for example.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 11 January 2006 - 02:58 PM.

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#6 Hakan AKIRMAK

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 05:21 PM

Hi everyone!
I'm new in here. And this is my first message in this forum.

I'm going to start shooting a short film a few days later but I'm confused. Must I shoot 4:3 mode and finish 4:3 mode too? Or must I shoot 4:3 mode and then I mask to 16:9 mode in premier? Which one is logical?

I'm thinking about transfering dv to film later. And is logical second way which I saidl? I'm not sure.. :unsure:

Is anyone know 28 days later is recorded in 4:3 mode? And then how could be wide in theaters? Did they masked in editing program?

Thanks..
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#7 Vitozonchello

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 05:21 AM

Hi,

I did some tests last night and certainly agree that shooting 4:3 is the better option for look. The frame in post was almost the same as 16:9 (I had it on 1:1:85) but the shot looked cleaner with better light. I kept everything in 4:3 when I took it into FCP and taking the footage across to DVDPro was very straightforward too. You end up with the bars all the way through the process but on some TVs it will read the bars and bounce out to 16:9, which I think is what happens if you went with the inbuilt 16:9 option.

Hakan-you would shoot 4:3 and then mask 16:9 in post. You could still have a 4:3 version but your frame would be larger of course.

This is the link to the 28 Days Later article in American Cinematographer for all those interested:

http://www.theasc.co...azine/index.htm

Hope what I've said is correct.

Carlo

Hi everyone!
I'm new in here. And this is my first message in this forum.

I'm going to start shooting a short film a few days later but I'm confused. Must I shoot 4:3 mode and finish 4:3 mode too? Or must I shoot 4:3 mode and then I mask to 16:9 mode in premier? Which one is logical?

I'm thinking about transfering dv to film later. And is logical second way which I saidl? I'm not sure.. :unsure:

Is anyone know 28 days later is recorded in 4:3 mode? And then how could be wide in theaters? Did they masked in editing program?

Thanks..


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#8 Phil Connolly

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 07:56 AM

Hi

I would agree with the general consensus and shoot 4:3 and ARC in post.

A couple of years ago I did a film on the PD150 with century optics anamorphic adapter and it was a pain, zooming wasn't possible, focus was tricky(its bad enough on the PD150 to begin with). The results were not that great and not worth the hassel in my opinion. The anamorphic adapter does have is own artifacts - softens the image etc...

I would say that the image shot with a anamorphic adapter is not much better than that of a ARC'd image.
(ARC = Aspect Ratio Conversion)

Again, converting to 16:9 in post is usually better in post than camera - I've shot a lot on the XL-1 and the 16:9 mode is quite soft, shooting in 4:3 and ARCing to 16:9 in final cut pro resulted in better images. The 16:9 mode on the 170 is probably better than that of the XL-1, (I've not used 16:9 on the 170)- but still I would still prefer to have the reframing flexiblity of cropping in post.

There are different ways to achive 16:9 in post and some are better than others - I usually just do it in FCP, but I have found on the occasions when I've used a standalone aspect ratio converter, like the s & w ARC 150 - the image looked even better - expensive though, but this definatly would be better than the cheap ARC built into the camera
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#9 Hakan AKIRMAK

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 05:04 AM

Vitozonchello and Phil Connolly, thank you so much for your kind answers!

I read the article about "28 Days Later" which in American Cinematographer. But I think they used anamorphic adapter for shooting. I decided using 1:1.66 mask on 4:3. What about that? Will it be good for short film? I'm planning send my film to some festivals.

I'm waiting your answers. :rolleyes: [font=Verdana]
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#10 I J Walton

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 08:00 AM

When using cameras that don't shoot High-res widescreen. I shoot in 4:3 and then crop in after effects. The best thing about this is the fact that you can move your image up or down a little to help frame shots neater. It's what I miss, now that I shoot "true" widescreen. I liked having the extra freedom of editing shots in post.

Edited by I J Walton, 16 January 2006 - 08:00 AM.

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#11 Vitozonchello

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 09:26 AM

Hakan,

That should be fine. Personally I'm using a 1.185.1 mask in FCP as this is closer to a 'widscreen' aspect ratio than 1.1.66.1. But it is up to you. Most or all festivals should accept all aspect ratios.

Carlo

Vitozonchello and Phil Connolly, thank you so much for your kind answers!

I read the article about "28 Days Later" which in American Cinematographer. But I think they used anamorphic adapter for shooting. I decided using 1:1.66 mask on 4:3. What about that? Will it be good for short film? I'm planning send my film to some festivals.

I'm waiting your answers. :rolleyes: [font=Verdana]


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#12 Greg Gross

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 12:46 PM

When I shot my second dv feature to direct dvd,I had the production company rent me
two DVX-100A's and both were set up with cinema packages. I shot 4:3 and then went
16:9 in post. Really got great results,it was simple. I really was concerned about focusing
issues and the ability to work fast with two cameras. I have long time experience as a stills
photographer,so I'm used to observing entire frame and paying attention to whats in the frame.
On my first dv to dvd shoot I used two Pd-170's without anamorphic lens. I really agonized over
using anamorphic lens Vs. no anamorphic. I researched issue here on forum and one post I read
(David Mullen ASC) suggested 16:9 in post. I had already known that soft focus,shallow focus could
be an issue. I did a lot of the camera work for my shoot and I wanted to be able to work fast and feel
secure. My director on the first shoot was a women who started to pressure me about how we would
shoot. I had to make a decision pretty quick so I called a production facility in NYC and they tuned me
in to the world of post production. They were in complete agreement with Mr. Mullen(the info from his
post) thus I was able to solve my dilema. Forum has been very helpful to me and is a great source to
me for pre-production woes. In pre-production meeting with director soon after,I told her I wanted to
shoot without anamoprhic lens and she disagreed. I told her I would not be able to photograph the pro-
duction and would have to turn the job down. I never call myself DP, I use the term "photographer and
I refer to photographing the production. My director did not really know what she was doing but I resp-
ected her at all times. I think she had been reading some fancy articles in magazines. Anyway she called
the production facility in NYC and got tuned in to post-production also, and then called me back to get me
to re-consider. I shot my second production with the same director and we are starting to develop a true
working relationship. I really appreciate Mr. Mullen's FAQ and posts on the forum,they have been great
pre-production tools for me. I'm hoping someday to shoot anamoprhic lens with film. One benefit for me
out of all of this, is that in small circles they are saying that I can work fast. Not a bad attribute to have.

Greg Gross
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