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Shooting 1.85:1 in Super 16mm


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#1 Richard Eisenstein

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 08:00 PM

I have an upcoming project that I will be shooting in super 16mm and the director is requesting that we shoot it in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I figure we can accomplish this with the use of hard mattes. Has anyone out there done this before? What are some precautions that I should conisder and how exactly can we accomplish this? Are there in fact hard mattes for the Super 16mm format in this aspect ratio, or are they all suited only for 1.66:1?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 08:16 PM

I have an upcoming project that I will be shooting in super 16mm and the director is requesting that we shoot it in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I figure we can accomplish this with the use of hard mattes. Has anyone out there done this before? What are some precautions that I should conisder and how exactly can we accomplish this? Are there in fact hard mattes for the Super 16mm format in this aspect ratio, or are they all suited only for 1.66:1?


Why hard matte the negative? Super-16 is not a projection format, so whatever format it ends up on, whether SD, HD, or a 35mm print, just hard matte / letterbox that. Just frame the Super-16 neg for cropping to 1.85. Get your video dailies letterboxed to 1.85.

A 1.85 hard matte on the original negative is generally a bad idea -- you want the image on the print to be slightly larger than the 1.85 projector mask or else black bars become visible on the screen if the projection even slightly misframes (and they will).

In fact, most people would use a 1.66 or 1.78 hard matte for something that was going to be projected with a 1.85 mask, if they use a hard matte at all. Most of the movies that Allen Daviau shot for people in the 1980's & 90's were hard matted to 1.66 but framed for 1.85 projection.

So I'd shoot full aperture, compose for cropping to 1.85, get your dailies letterboxed to 1.85, blow this up to 35mm with a 1.68 matte (which is what happens when you put full aperture Super-16 onto 35mm, unless you use 16x9 HD as an intermediate, in which case the image is 1.78.) Then project the print with a standard 1.85 projector mask.
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#3 Richard Eisenstein

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 12:35 AM

Why hard matte the negative? Super-16 is not a projection format, so whatever format it ends up on, whether SD, HD, or a 35mm print, just hard matte / letterbox that. Just frame the Super-16 neg for cropping to 1.85. Get your video dailies letterboxed to 1.85.

A 1.85 hard matte on the original negative is generally a bad idea -- you want the image on the print to be slightly larger than the 1.85 projector mask or else black bars become visible on the screen if the projection even slightly misframes (and they will).

In fact, most people would use a 1.66 or 1.78 hard matte for something that was going to be projected with a 1.85 mask, if they use a hard matte at all. Most of the movies that Allen Daviau shot for people in the 1980's & 90's were hard matted to 1.66 but framed for 1.85 projection.

So I'd shoot full aperture, compose for cropping to 1.85, get your dailies letterboxed to 1.85, blow this up to 35mm with a 1.68 matte (which is what happens when you put full aperture Super-16 onto 35mm, unless you use 16x9 HD as an intermediate, in which case the image is 1.78.) Then project the print with a standard 1.85 projector mask.


Thank you so much David! How much of the top and bottom of the frame should I frame for to keep my composition safe for 1.85:1? I really appreciate your wisdom. By the way, I loved your work on Akeelah and the Bee! I was very moved by that film and I loved the lighting as well.
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 03:05 PM

You can get a ground glass/fiberoptic screen for most cameras that will indicate where a 1.85 extraction would be from the Super-16 frame.
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Willys Widgets

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Tai Audio

Visual Products

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

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Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

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