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HD 16:9 Transfer of "square" frames


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#1 Will Montgomery

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 12:01 AM

If I plan to take a standard 16mm frame and transfer it to HD, should I consider a horizontal anamorphic so I can get the most pixels out of the transfer and have the option of doing the "pan & scan" myself in my NLE?

In otherwords, zoom in to fill the frame left & right then squish the vertical down so I get the entire film frame in, then expand it in Final Cut and move the frame up & down as needed?

Does this make sense if I can't be present at the transfer to guide the framing or don't want to take the time during the session?

Seems like this would give me more pixel info to work with rather than transfering will pillar boxes and zooming in with my NLE.
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#2 Joshua Reis

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 04:12 AM

If I plan to take a standard 16mm frame and transfer it to HD, should I consider a horizontal anamorphic so I can get the most pixels out of the transfer and have the option of doing the "pan & scan" myself in my NLE?

In otherwords, zoom in to fill the frame left & right then squish the vertical down so I get the entire film frame in, then expand it in Final Cut and move the frame up & down as needed?

Does this make sense if I can't be present at the transfer to guide the framing or don't want to take the time during the session?

Seems like this would give me more pixel info to work with rather than transfering will pillar boxes and zooming in with my NLE.



Hi, yes, if you are shooting standard 16mm (4:3) and transfering to lets say HDCAM (16:9) you can perform a horizontal squeeze. Normaly anamorphic transers are verticaly stretched (lets say super 16 1.78 HDTV GG to digibet 4:3). This would allow you to maximize the horizontal resolution and utilize the full data rate of HDCAM or whatever tape format that you choose.
When you import the footage in finalcut pro, you can actually create a custom sequence present and assign the footage and sequence with the correct pixel aspect ratio. This way final cut pro will unsqueeze the footage on the fly on your computer monitor without any rendering while you edit (just like regular anamorphic footage). I dont't know what the correct pixel aspect ratio would be to set in the sequence settings at the moment, but I'm sure with a few tests one could easily figure it out.
However, if your deliverable is 16:9 in the end, its best to perform a zoom or pan and scan in the telecine to pull the most detail from the film. Even though you are photographing with standard 16, this assumes you would be framing for 1.78. Essentialy this is done all the time with 4 perf 35mm when framing for 1.85.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 11:15 AM

I would just transfer it twice, once pillarboxed to 4x3, the other cropped to 16x9 full-frame.

If you're always going to stay in 4x3, there isn't any reason to stretch it out to fill 1920 x 1080 because there is no delivery format that needs 4x3 stretched out that way -- you'll just end up with a pillorboxed 4x3 master.

And if you need a 16x9 full-frame version, then with a 4x3 stretched HD transfer, you'll just be cropping 1080 vertically rather than 1920 horizontally to get back to a 4x3 pillorboxed HD master, so there is no advantage in stretching 4x3 out to fill 16x9 there too.

So when do you need to use all 1920 x 1080 pixels for your 4x3 image? The only advantage, where all pixels could be used, is a film-out to 1.37 Academy, but since that's not a projection format anymore except in rare cases, I don't see the advantage there either.
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:51 PM

Thank you both for your help, I think I'll combine advice and do the horizontal anamorphic, see if I need to do any or much pan & scan, then sit in on a 2nd transfer and have the colorist match any panning/framing I need to do.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:27 PM

What "pan and scan"? You shot in 4x3! You'd be cropping vertically to get 16x9 full-frame, not panning and scanning your 4x3 image horizontally. And you'd have the same number of lines to work with to do your crop whether you transferred 4x3 pillorboxed or 4x3 stretched to fill 16x9 horizontally. I guess you gain a little in that your horizontal is already 1920 across...
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 08:50 PM

What "pan and scan"? You shot in 4x3! You'd be cropping vertically to get 16x9 full-frame, not panning and scanning your 4x3 image horizontally. And you'd have the same number of lines to work with to do your crop whether you transferred 4x3 pillorboxed or 4x3 stretched to fill 16x9 horizontally. I guess you gain a little in that your horizontal is already 1920 across...

Sorry if I used the wrong terminology, I meant paning up and down (vertically) to frame for 16:9 after the fact, not a good way to shoot obviously, but the low budget no setup shots I'm talking about benefit from fix in post (I know, the wrong why to think about it, but sometimes necessary.)
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Visual Products

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