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#1 Scott Bullock

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 06:43 PM

Isn't the aspect ratio for 35mm academy aperture 1.37:1? If so, what in the world does Pro8mm mean when they advertise that their Max-8 widescreen modification for Super 8 "gives filmmakers the ability to work in a ratio which (sic) is more compatible with . . . 35mm Academy"? I understand why it would make the frame, which I assume is 1.66:1, more compatible with HD, but with 35mm Academy??

Also, what is the aspect ratio of Super 35?
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#2 Mike Rizos

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 11:42 PM

Yes, Academy is 1.37:1. I don't know what they mean in their literature, probably an error, or possibly they think Academy is 1.85:1, or they meant to compare their format to 1.85:1. Or it could be some other Academy in the world has a wide ratio. I think max-8 is 1.58:1.

Super 35 can be 3 or 4 perf and is not a projection format, and therefore it's not expressed as an aspect ratio. 4-perf measures about 18.5x25mm and 3 perf 14x25mm. They are 1.33:1 and 1.79:1 respectively.
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#3 Scott Bullock

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 12:51 AM

Thanks Mike! I've never really studied Super 35 before as I've never entered a situation where I've been afforded an opportunity to use it. Perhaps I'm a better hands-on learner, I don't know. So, like Super 16, which also isn't a projection format, Super 35 is thought of in terms of its acquisition abilities. That makes sense.

I just think it's odd that Pro8mm has been running full page ads that state:

"The MAX-8 format begins with a widescreen modification to Pro8mm's popular Classic 8 Professional Camera. The custom modification expands the frame size on the super 8 film master. The viewfinder on the camera has the 16 X 9 frame marked for better framing during production. This gives filmmakers the ability to work in a ratio which is more compatible with High Definition, Enhanced for Widescreen DVD Mastering, and 35MM Academy."

I was with them until the "35MM Academy" part. Perhaps they mean a blowup to a 35mm 1.66:1 projection print, but that doesn't make sense either if the Max-8 format is 1.58:1. I mean, why open the camera's gate when you're going to later have to mask the print to 1.66? I suppose there could be an increase in the resolution of the blowup, but would it really be that significant?
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 01:32 AM

What they probably mean is that when a 35mm scope picture shot with spherical lenses onto the standard academy aspect ratio but framed for scope and "Cropped" to that aspect ratio when projected, their film will be less noticably different from the 35mm film being projected in scope (yeah, right), as opposed to 35mm scope shot anamorphically and desquessed when projected. Widescreen is also a "cropped" image as well

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 08 December 2006 - 01:34 AM.

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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 02:06 PM

I was with them until the "35MM Academy" part. Perhaps they mean a blowup to a 35mm 1.66:1 projection print, but that doesn't make sense either if the Max-8 format is 1.58:1. I mean, why open the camera's gate when you're going to later have to mask the print to 1.66? I suppose there could be an increase in the resolution of the blowup, but would it really be that significant?


Could it be a placebo?
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#6 Chance Shirley

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 04:21 PM

I believe 1.85:1 is often referred to as "Academy Flat." The Pro8 guys probably just left the "flat" out of their explanation.
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 05:24 PM

35mm Academy is 1.37 aspect ratio with a width of .866" and height of .630.

1.85 "flat" is a projection format, .866" X .446". In the camera is most often a "virtual" aspect ratio. The camera is actually shooting Academy but the Cinematographer frames for 1.85, usually with the help of a ground glass marked for 1.85. For projection, the projector has a hard matte at the 1.85 ratio.

Since the original camera image is really 1.37 it is possible for a full frame print to be misframed by the projectionist which is why occasionally you'll see something you're not supposed to, like a mike in the frame - the projectionist framed too high.

Everything you'd ever want to know about aspects and formats:

http://en.wikipedia....of_film_formats

http://www.panavisio...spect_ratio.php
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#8 Scott Bullock

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 11:59 PM

I see what you are saying, Hal, but how does expanding the aperture of the Super 8 gate, which is already academy aperture in terms of its relevant aspect ratio, make Super 8 "more compatible" with Academy 35mm when a portion of the widened Super 8 gate is going to have to be cropped for 35mm widescreen projection? Doesn't the widening of the Super 8 gate essentially cancel its benifitial qualities once it has been cropped? In other words, what has been gained by shooting MAX-8 if its intended workflow is to blowup to "Academy 35mm" and project either full academy or crop to, let's say, 1.85? Is the FULL FRAME of the negative going to be utilized as Super 16 would be if it were projected at 1.66:1?
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 12:25 AM

I see what you are saying, Hal, but how does expanding the aperture of the Super 8 gate, which is already academy aperture in terms of its relevant aspect ratio, make Super 8 "more compatible" with Academy 35mm when a portion of the widened Super 8 gate is going to have to be cropped for 35mm widescreen projection? Doesn't the widening of the Super 8 gate essentially cancel its benifitial qualities once it has been cropped? In other words, what has been gained by shooting MAX-8 if its intended workflow is to blowup to "Academy 35mm" and project either full academy or crop to, let's say, 1.85? Is the FULL FRAME of the negative going to be utilized as Super 16 would be if it were projected at 1.66:1?


Any widening of the Super-8 gate would help for blow-up to 35mm for 1.85 projection because you'd be cropping LESS to achieve 1.85 than you would from a Super-8 neg. It would also help for a 16x9 (1.78) transfer to HD.

It's the same principle behind Super-16, which is maybe only 10% wider than standard 16mm, but when you extract a 1.85 area from both formats for blow-up to 35mm for matted widescreen projection, Super-16 works out to be 40% larger.

A widened gate means that you (1) have slightly more negative area, and (2) have less cropping/enlarging to achieve the same widescreen aspect ratio as the less wide, squarer format. Those two factors combined add up. Now whether in the case of MAX-8 it is significant enough of an improvement to be worth the costs of converting the camera to a non-standard format, that's debatable, just like the issue of the Ultra-16 format.

I don't know the exact dimensions of Super-8 and MAX-8 but I'm going to use these figures, based on someone saying that MAX-8 has a widened gate and is 1.58 : 1 full aperture, whereas Super-8 is 1.35 : 1:

Super-8 .224" x .166" = .0372 sq. in.
MAX-8 .263" x .166" = .0436 sq. in.

16x9 (1.78) area only:
Super-8 .224" x .126" = .028 sq. in.
MAX-8 .263" x .148" = .039 sq. in.

Now someone better at math can tell me how much bigger .039 is than .028 square inches...
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#10 Scott Bullock

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 01:12 AM

Dave, perhaps I'm confusing the issue by bringing widescreen formats into it. I still don't see how shooting Max-8 is more compatible with Academy 35mm than shooting full frame Super 8 is. The full frame of the Max-8 negative area isn't going to be utilized if it's blown up and projected at Academy 35mm, is it? Sure, more negative area is being photographed, but if it is being projected at Academy 35mm, is the extra negative area even being utilized?

I guess what I'm asking is, how do you shoot at 1.58:1, or whatever Max-8 actually is, to project at 1.37:1?

Edited by Scott Bullock, 09 December 2006 - 01:16 AM.

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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 03:04 AM

Dave, perhaps I'm confusing the issue by bringing widescreen formats into it. I still don't see how shooting Max-8 is more compatible with Academy 35mm than shooting full frame Super 8 is. The full frame of the Max-8 negative area isn't going to be utilized if it's blown up and projected at Academy 35mm, is it? Sure, more negative area is being photographed, but if it is being projected at Academy 35mm, is the extra negative area even being utilized?

I guess what I'm asking is, how do you shoot at 1.58:1, or whatever Max-8 actually is, to project at 1.37:1?


Well, obviously they don't really mean 1.37 Academy. The entire point of Max-8 is clearly for widescreen applications like 16x9 transfer or 35mm projection (which hasn't been Academy for fifty years -- practically all 35mm projection is widescreen these days except for revival houses showing old Academy movies). It's just some sort of misuse of the word "Academy", that's all. I wouldn't make such a big deal about it. Everyone can figure out the point of widening a gate is for widescreen applications, not squarer formats.
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#12 Scott Bullock

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 03:42 AM

Fine, it's not a big deal; but the misuse of the words "Academy 35mm" is misleading to me. Don't get me wrong, I love Super 8, but shooting Max-8 isn't going to make prints to Academy 35mm more compatible. In fact, it's more confusing. If they'd widened the gate to 1.66 and were using the full frame of the image that would be one thing, but that's not the case here. Are you saying that there's some unspoken world where Academy 35mm actually means widescreen projection?

It's not a big deal to you because you are a professional cinematographer who probably hasn't shot Super 8 in many years, but when it comes down to contemplating whether or not to widen the gate of a camera that cost me a good sum of money based on the interpretation of a company that's trying to move their own product, it matters a good deal to me. The fact of the matter is, Pro8mm is trying to give the impression that their "Max-8" format has somehow made blowing up Super 8 to 35mm a more viable option. Pardon me for being the skeptic.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 04:38 AM

The fact of the matter is, Pro8mm is trying to give the impression that their "Max-8" format has somehow made blowing up Super 8 to 35mm a more viable option. Pardon me for being the skeptic.


Well, you can rightly be skeptical as to whether an enlargement of the Super-8 gate would make Super-8 any more "viable" for large screen 35mm projection, but basically Pro8mm is correct to suggest that widening a Super-8 gate would improve the quality of a blow-up to 35mm since all 35mm projection is widescreen and a wider negative would be less wasteful for a blow-up.

It's the same argument for using Super-16 instead of regular 16mm for a blow-up to 35mm or a transfer to 16x9 video. Max-8 is basically the Super-8 version of Super-16.

Now whether the improvement is enough to compensate for such a small negative format is debatable, but they are not lying in suggesting that enlarging the width of the gate would help (they are just using the wrong terminology.) It just may not help enough to be worth it.

You keep repeating the argument that a 1.66 negative isn't going to yield a better 1.37 blow-up -- yes, that's correct BECAUSE THEY ARE USING THE WRONG WORD. That's all, OK? They meant a blow-up to 35mm for modern theatrical projection which is always matted widescreen, or anamorphic widescreen. They used the wrong term but they are not lying about the advantages for a blow-up to 35mm.

I can't tell if you are skeptical as to the idea, which is sound, or just for some reason upset that they are using the wrong term to describe a good idea.
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#14 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 07:48 AM

"So, like Super 16, which also isn't a projection format, Super 35 is thought of in terms of its acquisition abilities."

Actually, I have seen a 'Super 16' projector at a camera market once. Though I gather this would have been an extremely rare item.
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#15 Jon Kukla

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 01:06 PM

You can project any format in the world you want, if you have the proper lens cover and gate aperture. Super 16 isn't compatible with standard 16mm projection.

Most preview theatres also have the capacity to project Super 2.35 (ie flat from the rushes) - even in 3-perf, but it isn't considered a projectable format because standard 35mm projectors aren't set up for it. In theory it wouldn't be too difficult, as long as there was an SDDS or Dolby Digital soundtrack, but the reality is that this probably is never going to be a standard setup.
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#16 Scott Bullock

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 05:34 PM

I can't tell if you are skeptical as to the idea, which is sound, or just for some reason upset that they are using the wrong term to describe a good idea.


I guess a little bit of both, David. I suppose that if the entire Max-8 negative area is being utilized in the blowup to 35mm, then it's an idea with legs. However, I was confused by the terminology that Pro8mm was using. If they'd said something like: More negative area means a better image if blown up to 35mm, that would have made sense to me. As you've said, they used the wrong terminology, and I was confused by it, that's all.

I do wonder, however, what would look better: Max-8 blown up to 35mm for projection, or Max-8 transferred to a high-end video format for video projection.

Believe me, I'm not knocking the folks at Pro8mm; they've done a lot of great things to keep Super 8 viable in general over the years. I was simply confused by the terminology they chose to use in the ad.

Thanks, everyone, for the clarification.
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#17 Mike Rizos

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:22 PM

Super-8 .224" x .166" = .0372 sq. in.
MAX-8 .263" x .166" = .0436 sq. in.

16x9 (1.78) area only:
Super-8 .224" x .126" = .028 sq. in.
MAX-8 .263" x .148" = .039 sq. in.

Now someone better at math can tell me how much bigger .039 is than .028 square inches...



I double checked with Pro 8mm and it seems Max-8 is 1.58. Here's their info on it:

http://www.pro8mm.co...arch_1_2005.pdf

They claim that the negative provides 20% extra usable image when framed for HD, which I assumed to be 16:9. But when I do the math from the above numbers I get a whoppng 39% extra.
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#18 Mike Rizos

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:52 PM

I just think it's odd that Pro8mm has been running full page ads that state:

"The MAX-8 format begins with a widescreen modification to Pro8mm's popular Classic 8 Professional Camera. The custom modification expands the frame size on the super 8 film master. The viewfinder on the camera has the 16 X 9 frame marked for better framing during production. This gives filmmakers the ability to work in a ratio which is more compatible with High Definition, Enhanced for Widescreen DVD Mastering, and 35MM Academy."

As quoted by Scott for Pro8mm full page ads.


"The MAX-8 format begins with a widescreen modification to Pro8mm's popular Classic 8 Professional Camera. The custom modification expands the frame size on the super 8 film master. The viewfinder on the camera has the 16 X 9 frame marked for better framing during production. This gives filmmakers the ability to work in a ratio which is more compatible with High Definition & Enhanced for Widescreen DVD Mastering."

As quoted by the above link, on Pro 8mm website.

It seems to me, that the marketing people (their own or ones they hired) decided to pepper the paragraph a little for the full page ads. That's all.
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#19 Scott Bullock

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 03:10 AM

Now THAT makes sense, Mike. Thanks for the information.
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