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Framing for 2.35:1 using the DVX100B...


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#1 John Herzog

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 01:36 AM

I apologize if this topic has been addressed before. I have done several searches, but haven't been successful in finding an answer. I ask for your patience.

Are there any tools available to help you frame for Cinemascope (2.35:1) using the DVX100B? I'm currently doing tests on a project that will be shot with that framing in mind, but am at a bit of a loss as to how one might specifically frame for that aspect ratio.

After some contemplation, it occurred to me that the use of a monitor might be helpful in terms of physically marking off the active area using a marker, or by taking the size of the monitor, doing the math, then sticking pieces of dark paper at the top and botom of the monitor (a little primitive, I know). However, that doesn't help the camera operator who will need to see exactly what needs to be captured while filming, either through the viewfinder or on the LCD.

Any ideas out there?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 01:50 AM

You can create a 2.35 framing chart on your computer, print it out, shoot it as a reference in editorial (cut the framing chart into the head of the project) and also mask your camera's LCD monitor (use Scotch tape so you can still see outside the framelines) and the viewing monitor.
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 03:23 AM

I just shot a short where we did this exact same thing on JVC GY-5000 (1/2" chip, minidv camera). I made a framing chart in Photoshop, attached below. Notice that the 2.35 frame has an almost common top with the TV safe line. This is so that if you change your mind about the aspect ratio later, you will still have a mostly usable frame without excessive headroom.
[attachment=1934:attachment]

First, we taped the chart to the wall, making sure that it was square. Then we set up the camera so that the lens was level to the chart and framed it so that the outer 1.33 frame line was just inside the underscanned frame. We used a field monitor with an underscan function. Then we taped off the monitor with 1/4" paper tape just outside the 2.35 lines. Then we shot 5 seconds of the framing chart so that I could tell exactly where we were supposed to be framed in the edit. We tried black china markers to mark the monitor and viewfinder, but it didn't work. The GY-5000 doesn't have a flip-out LCD, so the camera op double checked his framing on the monitor. It turned out pretty well since we were shooting on a stage and most of our shots were static.

By the way, I learned several things about shooting 2.35 while trying to compose the storyboards.

First, because you have so little vertical play, you need to level foreground and background elements so that they line up to the camera's eye level, if that makes sense. For example, you may need to raise foreground elements on apple boxes for low-angle shots. I had one shot where an actor in the far background walks up to a table in the near foreground and picks up a picture frame. The camera was on the table, tilted up. I had to put the picture on a stack of books to get it in the same frame as the actor. It would have been better to raise the whole table up, but we didn't have the time.

Second, use the rule of thirds to place actors and important objects in the frame. Usually, I placed the actor's eyes one third of the frame from the side and one third from the top.

Third, use raking angles to get objects to fill the frame. This is especially important for inserts and tight shots.

Fourth, make sure you get a wide angle adapter for your lens! This is the only way you'll be able to get wide angle-of-view shots which we normally associate with anamorphic shots. I was totally bummed that my master shot I spent so much time designing wasn't possible on set because our lens wasn't wide enough (7.7mm on 1/2" chip) and we couldn't back up any further on the stage. As a bonus, barrel distortion will be reduced because you'll be cropping off most of the visible curvature in post.

So those are the things I learned. Oh, and if you're shooting DV, try to use the large depth of field to your advantage and stage action in depth (foreground to background). Good luck with your project!
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#4 John Herzog

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 07:21 AM

Many thanks to both of you. Your excellent advice and tips will definitely come in handy.

Thanks again!
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#5 Jason Reimer

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 10:34 AM

Many thanks to both of you. Your excellent advice and tips will definitely come in handy.

Thanks again!


You can buy transparent overlays for the camera's LCD screen at this website:
http://www.aspectcorrect.com/

I have a few of them in different aspect ratios for my DVX, and they're very useful. That would be for simply cropping the frame; Barry Green's DVX book tells you how you can do it with an anamorphic adapter. I would also recommend getting ahold of that if you can.
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#6 John Herzog

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 12:28 AM

Thanks for the heads up about the overlays, Jason. I will definitely be sure to check out Barry Green's book.
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