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creating a letterbox inside the camera for 1.85


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#1 Zachary Vex

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 03:53 AM

hi everybody. i'm new and inexperienced, and my last 4 hours of using the search function hasn't helped answer these particular questions:

1] when preparing a film for a festival, is an optical track on standard 16mm still used?
2] if a film is shot on super 16mm, is 35mm blowup absolutely necessary for festival projection, or are there projection machines available that have full-coat mag running parallel to the super 16mm film?
3] if i want to prepare a standard 16mm film for 1.85 projection, is it possible to shoot the negative with a prepped camera that has black cards on the matte box or a carefully-cut mask inserted in the filter holder next to the film? the purpose of this would be to have a film that was shot wide and able to be projected on standard 16mm projectors. does anyone do this?
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 08:14 AM

hi everybody. i'm new and inexperienced, and my last 4 hours of using the search function hasn't helped answer these particular questions:

1] when preparing a film for a festival, is an optical track on standard 16mm still used?
2] if a film is shot on super 16mm, is 35mm blowup absolutely necessary for festival projection, or are there projection machines available that have full-coat mag running parallel to the super 16mm film?
3] if i want to prepare a standard 16mm film for 1.85 projection, is it possible to shoot the negative with a prepped camera that has black cards on the matte box or a carefully-cut mask inserted in the filter holder next to the film? the purpose of this would be to have a film that was shot wide and able to be projected on standard 16mm projectors. does anyone do this?


Good questions.

1] You need to do research on the particular festival you want to enter. Some still list 16mm film as a "presentation" format option. In that case, yes they can project 16mm film with an optical soundtrack. Be aware that the sound quality is not going to be so hot, and in all likelihood it will be mono sound.

2] I have never read of, or entered a film festival that had the facilities to project Super 16 with full-coat mag running parallel. If you do not have the funds to do a 35mm blow up, what many folks do is shoot Super 16, transfer the film, edit the film digitally (Final Cut Pro, AVID) and output to DVD or DigiBeta. Many film festivals now have the facilities to project digital, from a DVD or from DigiBeta. Again, best to check with the festivals you want to enter, see what there "presentation" formats and requirements are.

3] Again, I guess this is possible, but you could also matte in post. What I have done on a couple of 16mm films for festivals is shoot standard 16 with a "taped" viewfinder (indicating the 1:85 frame) and then had the telecine operator transfer the footage in Standard Def widescreen 16:9, edited the footage with Final Cut Pro, and output to DVD. No festivals that we entered had any problem with this.

Hope that helps,
-Tim
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 11:23 AM

Tim answered the first two questions. Yes, you can make a 16mm print with an optical soundtrack, though film festivals are showing 16mm prints less and less often now, since fewer people are making them. No, interlock sound with a Super-16 gate in a projector would be unlikely at most film festivals unless you brought in and set-up all the projector and sound equipment yourself.

You can't get a sharp and consistent enough 1.85 mask in front of a camera lens. It has to be either a matted gate or done in post.

Most people would hard-matte a negative slightly less than 1.85, like to 1.78 or 1.66, so that the matte would not be visible in a blow-up to 35mm for 1.85 projection, since the slightest misframing on the projectionist's part would make the matte visible.

This is why shooting Super-16 (which has a 1.68 : 1 gate and thus puts a 1.68 : 1 hard-matted image in an optical blow-up to 35mm) is a good idea, or finishing to 16x9 HD for a transfer to 35mm, which would put a 1.78 : 1 hard-matted image onto 35mm.

We had talked before here about maybe creating a "C-roll" in contact-printing regular 16mm that would burn-in a hard-matte onto a regular 16mm print, but you should talk to your lab.
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#4 Zachary Vex

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 02:52 PM

...You can get a sharp and consistent enough 1.85 mask in front of a camera lens. It has to be either a matted gate or done in post.

...We had talked before here about maybe creating a "C-roll" in contact-printing regular 16mm that would burn-in a hard-matte onto a regular 16mm print, but you should talk to your lab.


Did you mean "can't get a sharp and consistent..." ?

Ahh, interesting... a "C-roll" matte in negative would have a clear letterbox and burn the print to black. I've been working/thinking in reversal for too long! This idea never crossed my mind.

Thanks to both of you for your help.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 06:32 PM

Did you mean "can't get a sharp and consistent..." ?


Yes, thanks, I corrected that. For some reason, I often forget to add the negative to a sentence and end up stating the opposite of what I meant.
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#6 Deepak Bajracharya

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 10:32 AM

Hi David,

If you remember, it was back in 2001 that you have answered most of my querries including the blow up
print from super 16. According to your suggestion I shot one film using ARRI BL 16 camera converted to s16 with only a zoomlens , the only one currently available in rent in Kathmandu.

For my next venture, the director/producer doesnot want to take the risk being only one camera available, because our actor will fly from Austrilia for a very limited period. Despite of knowing the advantage of s16 over regular 16, most probably I have to go with r16.
Have done before with r16, it was a 35mm optical blow up directly from the negative in academy ratio, this time i decided to go for widescreen 1.85:1 with a mark on ground glass for composition.

What will be the process during printing to obtain the 1.85:1 ratio? It was oweful to watch the films composed for widescreen but with no hardmatte in projection during the Australian Film Festival in KTM, may be the projectionist unaware of the framing or unavailable of the aperture plate.

This film will be for local market.

regards,
deepak
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#7 Will Montgomery

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:30 PM

I just have to say that what a great forum this is when cinemotgraphers from Nepal and enthusiasts from around the world can get answers from Hollywood vets.

That is all. Please return to your regularly scheduled forum.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 02:18 AM

Then why not hard matte the 35mm optically blown-up internegative? I'd use a 1.66 or 1.78 hard matte even though it will be projected with a 1.85 projector mask. It's good not to have a picture matte exactly the same size of the projection matte, because any misframing means that you'll be seeing a black border on the screen.
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#9 Deepak Bajracharya

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 11:36 AM

[quote name='David Mullen ASC' date='Sep 12 2006, 11:18 PM' post='127088']
Then why not hard matte the 35mm optically blown-up internegative?

Dear sir,

It will be direct optical blow up from 16mm negative so no internegative. Just 5 to 7 prints are more than enough for the local theatrical release. In due course I will request the lab technician ( if not possible in Nepal then in Mumbai lab ) to do for me as accordingly. I think this is not a regular practise so this be an unusual request.

Definately its the great forum that gave the opportunity to enhance my knowhow ( I had only a 1st year course of cinematography from VGIK, Russia ) with vast knowledge of such class vets.

Regards,
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