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"Soft Matte" Attachments or Etchings?


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#1 John Michael Corey

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 05:21 AM

I'm a newbie and not too familiar with all the vernacular, so I apologize ahead of time if this thread seems silly. So, here goes...

I know the HVX200 shoots at 16:9, but are there any "soft matte" attachements/accessories available for the HVX200?

This seems like a simple solution for shooting at one's preferred screen ratio (I want to shoot at 2.35), and then have simple, fast computer cropping to 2.35 that even a kindergartner could do. The cropping would be at constant & exact defeined parameters.

Yes, yes, i know one can crop any footage like aforementioned, but "soft matte" footage would be much more desirable because the cameraman will have skillfully "framed" all of the footage superbly within the soft matte (2.35 box i'm hoping). I think it's asking too much of the cameraman (me) to be able to perfectly frame every piece of footage (left-to-right, top-to-bottom) with 2.35 in mind when shooting at 1.78.

Looking at getting 1.78 to 2.35 while sitting at my home computer, i see nothing but bitter compromises and agonizing disappointment in having to crop footage this way or that way, and being insanely frustrated that none of my footage can be the way in which i wanted. Especially, when if there was just some sort of soft matte attachement for the view finder so that i'd have a faint 2.35 box centered in the middle of the screen as i'm shooting so that i can frame my shots and footage accordingly. Maybe better yet, how about having a faint 2.35 box laser-etched onto my viewfinder lens?

I feel like there's got to be some simple solution to this problem. Is there?
Thanks.
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 04:32 PM

I feel like there's got to be some simple solution to this problem. Is there?
Thanks.


Just shoot a framing chart with the camera, and use tape to mask the onboard LCD to desired cropping.
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#3 John Michael Corey

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 09:42 PM

Thanks for the reply.

After googling frame chart... If i understand correctly, one would tape the frame chart to a wall, push in slowly and precisely dial in the desired frame ratio (2.35 for me), and then tape (or mask off) the viewfinder lens accordingly. Right?

Thanks again.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 11:19 PM

Yes.

It's not hard to draw on a computer a box that is exactly 1.78 : 1 with another box that is 2.35 : 1 but shares the same left & right edges, and then make a print-out. Or just use a ruler and a sharpie.

Frame up the chart so that your outer edges correspond to the camera's 16x9 area and then use tape on the camera's LCD screen to mark the top & bottom of 2.35 by matching to the chart. You can use clear tape if you still want to see the edges of the full frame.

Record the chart for future reference.
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#5 John Michael Corey

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 02:49 AM

Thanks for the easy solution to my dilemma.

I'm definitely going to use magic or transparent tape so that i can better frame my shots in the newly plotted 2.35 box. Some seasoned DP's may not need to see a buffer zone to help in framing their footage, but i recognize that i will... My interest with the camera is in developing/honing directing skills, while getting acquainted enough with camerawork to be able to someday work with (and hopefully communicate seemlessly with) a naturally gifted DP.

Since researching numerous facets of the whole film/movie process, it's become readily apparent that it truly takes a collaboration of many different & uniquely skilled/talented/dedicated individuals working synergistically to create the desired end result.

As a budding director, i hope that i have the vision, decisiveness, communication skills, and delegatory wisdom to succeed.

Thanks again.
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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 10:36 AM

The HVX 200 lets you set some camera safe markers on the screen. I believe it is set for 90%. So if you leave it on it may give you an easy top and bottom reference. Just ignore the sides.
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#7 John Michael Corey

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 04:21 PM

Cool tip. I'll experiment with safe marker settings/flexibility and see how accurately the marked viewfinder compares to actual footage. I think the results will be much more accurate if the footage is:

1.) played at a size smaller than (completely displayed within) whatever monitor i happen to be using - because different monitors vary on what may be "natively" cropped left/right and top/bottom. In other words, do not use any monitor screen edges as accepted footage borders.

2.) And, very importantly, the larger the monitor used, the more accurately one can judge the discrepancy between viewfinder markings (or taped borders) and actual footage.

If the safe markers just aren't a big enough crutch for me when shooting, then i'll stick with good clear/magic tape.

Thanks again for the tip.
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