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Reasons to use 1.85 or 2.39


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#1 Ocean Zen

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 04:57 PM

I'm curious.

2.39 is often preferred for anything with large outdoor landscapes.
But what other reasons are there to pick 1.85 or 2.39


I know the choice often comes down to personal preference and content,
but it'd be great to get a list in one thread of good reasons for both.
:)
I'd love to hear from all you pros.
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:01 PM

I don't think it's tied to subject matter at all, just how you prefer to frame and stage the film. If in doubt, take a viewfinder and go have a look at your sets, that should help you to make up your mind.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:06 PM

What DP said that 2.39 was good only for shooting snakes and trains?

Personally, I love 2.39. I love the wide area available for staging players. That lends itself well to more dramatic and longer interactions between players per shot. At the same time, it can be a pain in the butt trying to find something to put in all that dead space on single subject, medium-body shots. It doesn't lend itself well to TV style directing. You know, cutting back and forth between single actors who fill up each frame.
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#4 Ocean Zen

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:16 PM

What DP said that 2.39 was good only for shooting snakes and trains?

Personally, I love 2.39. I love the wide area available for staging players. That lends itself well to more dramatic and longer interactions between players per shot. At the same time, it can be a pain in the butt trying to find something to put in all that dead space on single subject, medium-body shots. It doesn't lend itself well to TV style directing. You know, cutting back and forth between single actors who fill up each frame.

Good point. - Thinking about it, a lot of comedies are in 1.85 and they often tend to do the back and forth thing.

I'm writing a spec script at the moment that I will direct (a few years away yet). A lot of it takes place outside in the woods, on fields etc, daylight and full moonlight. Probably about 70% is outside, so I'd love to do 2.39.

I also like the look of anamorphic 2.39 but I'm now thinking for the night shots outside the shallow depth of field might be a problem.
Maybe if the full moonlight was artificial there would be enough light to stop down the lenses so the dof isn't too shallow.


Is there anywhere where I can look at lots of film screenshots shot in anamorphic? I found google images to be pretty useless as so many DVDs use anamorphic to fit a film into 4:3 sd dvd.

Thanks guys

Edited by Ocean Zen, 18 June 2008 - 05:17 PM.

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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:50 PM

Good point. - Thinking about it, a lot of comedies are in 1.85 and they often tend to do the back and forth thing.

I'm writing a spec script at the moment that I will direct (a few years away yet). A lot of it takes place outside in the woods, on fields etc, daylight and full moonlight. Probably about 70% is outside, so I'd love to do 2.39.

I also like the look of anamorphic 2.39 but I'm now thinking for the night shots outside the shallow depth of field might be a problem.
Maybe if the full moonlight was artificial there would be enough light to stop down the lenses so the dof isn't too shallow.


Is there anywhere where I can look at lots of film screenshots shot in anamorphic? I found google images to be pretty useless as so many DVDs use anamorphic to fit a film into 4:3 sd dvd.

Thanks guys



anamorphic doesn't equal shallow depth of field, any format can have that. 2.39 has a grander more dramatic feel to it that lends itself to more dramatic material. I think that what aspect ratio is used IS tied into the subject, contrary to what others have said. Your sets will also be affected by the story, so will your framing. Whether you shoot anamorphic or say 2 perf, you can have as deep a focus as you want.

with 2.39, I have heard, I think on these boards, that you can go from the objective to subjective within the same shot. Of course you can do that with 4:3 or anything in between, it is just easier with a scope format.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:59 PM

I too tend to think that the format in which you shoot should be tied to the story. I personally find 2.39 to pit man v/s the environments a bit more (because your char is smaller and generally you see more environment). But that's just my thinking, and it's all totally subjective.

Look at Punch Drunk Love for some nice Anamorphic shooting. It's recent and really nicely shows what's possible on today's stocks anamorphically IMHO.
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#7 Ocean Zen

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 06:06 PM

I too tend to think that the format in which you shoot should be tied to the story. I personally find 2.39 to pit man v/s the environments a bit more (because your char is smaller and generally you see more environment). But that's just my thinking, and it's all totally subjective.

Look at Punch Drunk Love for some nice Anamorphic shooting. It's recent and really nicely shows what's possible on today's stocks anamorphically IMHO.


Good idea - I started to look for stills from specific films and got loads.

One of my favourite shots
Posted Image

Edited by Ocean Zen, 18 June 2008 - 06:09 PM.

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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 06:16 PM

Blade runner was definitally beautiful..

As for anamorphic in comedy, Bridget Jones Diary was framed for 2.39:1, though I'm not sure off hand whether or not it was shot with anamorphics or just cropped.
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 06:18 PM

Yes, singles are awkward in 2.39. But for the walk'n'talk three shot it's perfect.



-- J.S.
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#10 Ocean Zen

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 06:24 PM

Yes, singles are awkward in 2.39. But for the walk'n'talk three shot it's perfect.



-- J.S.

What's a three shot?
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 06:26 PM

A shot comprised of 3 people.
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#12 Giovanni Speranza

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 06:51 PM

Widescreen has to do with our eye's nature.
Try to look at a square image. I will seem vertical.
The 4:3 ratio instead seems square.
But our eyes are horizontally aligned and we have a widescreen sight.
Widescreen film is more natural for our sight.
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#13 John Sprung

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 07:31 PM

I don't buy the idea of any particular film format being "natural" to our sight. We don't have frame lines, film does.
There's stuff in front of me that I can see, and stuff behind me that I can't see. But I'm not at all aware of the boundary.

Film has composition, everyday life doesn't. Everything in a flim should be controlled, selected, intended for a purpose.
That's what makes it worth our while to make and watch films. That's why it's an art.



-- J.S.
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#14 Arni Heimir

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 08:19 PM

What DP said that 2.39 was good only for shooting snakes and trains?

Personally, I love 2.39. I love the wide area available for staging players. That lends itself well to more dramatic and longer interactions between players per shot. At the same time, it can be a pain in the butt trying to find something to put in all that dead space on single subject, medium-body shots. It doesn't lend itself well to TV style directing. You know, cutting back and forth between single actors who fill up each frame.

Fritz Lang
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#15 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:29 PM

What DP said that 2.39 was good only for shooting snakes and trains?


So it would be the perfect format for Snakes on a Train.
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#16 Frank Barrera

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:18 PM

if we could forego the aesthetic discussion for a moment let's remember that a common decider of aspect ratio is the distributor.
Obviously they have little concern of storytelling or framing or whatever. they just pay the bills and make it all happen.

I have shot two features and the aspect ratio was not something that I and the director could discuss. It would be 16 X 9 or nothing.
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#17 Freya Black

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 03:57 AM

What DP said that 2.39 was good only for shooting snakes and trains?


It's "snakes and Funerals!" trains didn't come into the matter!
As has already been suggested it was a quote from the great director Fritz Lang.

love

Freya
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#18 David Rakoczy

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 09:00 AM

2:39 (whether anamorphic or spherical) also lends itself more to Overhead and Under Lens lighting.
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#19 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 09:03 AM

The differences go beyond the screen size. Anamorphic lenses are way heavier and longer and that affects your decision. It's difficult to shoot in practical tight locations with anamorphic lenses. They are also slower and that can play a role. There's also a spherical format called Super 35 which will give you the same aspect ratio without the distortion of scope glass which may or may not be desired. Some love the flares and other characteristics of scope glass. Super 35 however requires an optical blowup and can lead to a slightly softer picture, unless you're doing a DI but that's another reason why some might go with anamorphic. Visual Effects also play a key role. Many concerns beyond the screen size.

I've found that anamorphic projection in movie theaters tends to look like ass also because most projectionists today are high school students who really don't give a crap. Union projection is all but gone outside NY and other major cities and you'll often see misaligned lenses and things will look crooked, out of focus on the sides and just generally soft so your best opportunity to show your film in a multiplex is really subject to a 17 year old choosing to care whether it looks right. I'd rather stick to the 1:85 ratio and avoid the issue altogether. On DVD and home theater projection, 2:35 will mean a screen that is 40% blacked out. This is because there are no 2:35 televisions and home theater projection will require an anamorphic lens. These are very expensive items that also require a large space for the increased screen size. Most people won't own an anamorphic lens so although I love the look of 2:35, it's getting increasingly hard to justify providing a smaller picture to your audience. The original intention of 2:35 was to provide a larger picture.

Edited by Michael LaVoie, 19 June 2008 - 09:05 AM.

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#20 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 02:42 PM

What DP said that 2.39 was good only for shooting snakes and trains?

Personally, I love 2.39. I love the wide area available for staging players. That lends itself well to more dramatic and longer interactions between players per shot. At the same time, it can be a pain in the butt trying to find something to put in all that dead space on single subject, medium-body shots. It doesn't lend itself well to TV style directing. You know, cutting back and forth between single actors who fill up each frame.


Actually it was Fritz Lang & snakes and funerals.
Marcus Aurelius' funeral in the snow in 'The fall of the Roman Empire' is among the highlights of 70mm wide screen.

Think of it as negative space rather than dead space.
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