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Super 35?


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#1 Boris Sorokoumov

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:36 PM

Hey everybody! Is Super35 format widely used today for movie production? Or is it Panavision? In what format are most blockbuster movies filmed today?
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#2 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:49 AM

Hey everybody! Is Super35 format widely used today for movie production? Or is it Panavision? In what format are most blockbuster movies filmed today?

Your question opens up a large can of worms.
First of all, there is no such format as "Panavision"

It's true movie reviewers routinely refer to movies released in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio as "Panavision Widescreen", but that is not correct. You can get Panavision cameras set up to shoot just about any of the common aspect ratios and you can shoot 2.35:1 with other makes of camera.

If you want 2.35:1 anamorphic you can order special lenses that compress the picture sideways so the widescreen image will fit on a standard 1.33:1 film frame. A matching lens on the projector then stretches it out again so it fills the 2.35:1 screen.

Panavision make the best anamorphic lenses, but you can get them from other manufacturers. One major advantage of shooting anamorphic is that your final release film can be a direct contact print off the original negative (although for larger runs it's usually done from an "inter-negative" copy for safety reasons). This makes it the cheapest approach if you want a film release.

With normal 1.33:1 35mm, some of the film area has to be reserved for the sound track for cinema release. However if you are going to be scanning the negative into a computer for the post-production rather than printing directly off the negative, there is no need for a sound track area, and so the whole width of the film can be used, which gives less grain for the same film stock.

This is what is generally known as "Super-35"

There are a few problems using cameras designed for standard-35. First of all, not all lenses designed for standard 35 are suitable for Super-35, and the lens centering has to be adjusted so the centre of the focussed area strikes the centre of the Super-35 emulsion area.

Most big-budget 2.35:1 films these days are shot on super-35, edited on computers, and an anamorphic printing negative is made from the final computer file. Anamorphic prints are then made in the usual way.

Before computer editing (Digital Intermediate) was possible, Super-35 film was edited in the old-fashioned way and then optically printed using an anamorphic step printer lens to produce an anamorphic release negative.

Some anamorphic releases such as the last two Star Wars films and Superman Returns were shot with 1.78:1 HD video cameras, with only the middle 800 scanning lines appearing on the release print. An anamorphic release negative was then made in the same way as for Super-35-scanned film.

One drawback of Super 35 is that only the middle part of each film frame is actually used, the rest of the negative area is "wasted". Some cameras have been modified for "2-perf pulldown" which as the name suggests pulls down only half as much film per frame. While this saves a lot of film, the downside is that very few Post Production facilities are set up to handle 2-perf footage.

There is no easy answer to your question. Why are you asking?
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 01:36 AM

Super-35 means exposing the image across the Full Aperture (silent) rather than the Sound Aperture (Academy / standard 1.85 / anamorphic) using normal spherical lenses.

Technically this means that both 4-perf and 3-perf Full Aperture photography could be called Super-35, though some people reserve this label for just 4-perf 35mm.

Generally the point of Super-35 is to compose for cropping to some widescreen format, often 2.40 for theatrical features.

Lately, thanks to the crop & conversion to anamorphic being done digitally as part of the D.I., Super-35 has come to dominate over anamorphic lensed photography for making 2.40 anamorphic release prints (i.e. "scope".)

Panavision is both a camera rental company that rents cameras for both spherical and anamorphic photography, and also has referred to in the past to shooting with standard 2X anamorphic lenses made by Panavision.

Just recently, we've seen many Super-35 to anamorphic conversions -- "Revolutionary Road", "The Day the Earth Stood Still", "Australia", "Quantum of Solace", "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor", "Tropic Thunder", "Ironman", "The Incredible Hulk", "Chronicles of Narnia 2"... I haven't seen a recent release actually shot with anamorphic lenses since "Appaloosa", "The Dark Knight", and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", and "The Ruins".
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#4 Boris Sorokoumov

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 11:56 AM

Thank you for your answears!

There is no easy answer to your question. Why are you asking?

I'm trying to figure out why not all movies do not arrive to movie theaters in scope format (2.35:1). After all, scope format is much more pleasant to viewers.
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:16 PM

After all, scope format is much more pleasant to viewers.

It is? According to who?
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#6 Ralph Keyser

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:30 PM

Lately, thanks to the crop & conversion to anamorphic being done digitally as part of the D.I., Super-35 has come to dominate over anamorphic lensed photography for making 2.40 anamorphic release prints (i.e. "scope".)


Is there any downside to going this route assuming you are doing a D.I. anyway?
I have no experience with anamorphic photography, but my understanding is that the lenses are heavier, slightly slower, and more challenging to focus due to a narrow depth of field when compared to the same spherical lenses. I'll assume that they are more expensive to build as well. I can certainly understand why the conversion from Super-35 is popular.
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#7 Chris D Walker

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 05:12 PM

From what I've read yes, anamorphic lenses are heavier. Yes, they have a shallower depth of field when compared to Super35 with both at the same aperture. However, Panavision have built fast anamorphic lenses that go to T/2, sometimes faster, and the depth of field issues can be resolved by shooting at a slower stop such as T/8 or T/11.

The reason some choose to shoot anamorphic over Super35 is the 30%+ extra real estate that is captured on film, providing a cleaner image (given that both are shooting with similar speed film and equally performing lenses). When going through a DI, anamorphic tends to look better on screen if I do say so.

A downside to Super35? Perhaps if one were rating the stock at 500ASA or more there would be more pronounced grain than in anamorphic due to less film area being used to create a 2.39 aspect ratio. There are more pros and cons for both, I just don't feel the need to list them or their proponents/opponents.
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#8 Boris Sorokoumov

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 09:31 PM

It is? According to who?


Everyone I know prefers to watch 2.35:1 films in theatres .

Are most films shot at 35 mm for making movie copies on 1.85:1? Why not use Super-35 format from the begining? I can not understend... Is filming with Super-35 more expensive than 35 mm?
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#9 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 05:52 AM

Is filming with Super-35 more expensive than 35 mm?


Hi ,

Quite possibly as a DI is required or an optical re-size. Of course regular Anamorphic kicks ass quality wise as long as it does not go through a DI.

Stephen
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#10 Boris Sorokoumov

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 11:28 AM

I have heard that some commercial movies are shot in super-16 so as to get film copies 1.66 or 1.85. Does anyone know anything about that? Is 16 mm ever used for shooting movie theater films?
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#11 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 11:43 AM

I have heard that some commercial movies are shot in super-16 so as to get film copies 1.66 or 1.85. Does anyone know anything about that? Is 16 mm ever used for shooting movie theater films?


Hi,

Yes for many years now, 'The Draughtmans Contract' being one of the first films with a large distribution.

Stephen
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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 11:54 AM

I have heard that some commercial movies are shot in super-16 so as to get film copies 1.66 or 1.85. Does anyone know anything about that? Is 16 mm ever used for shooting movie theater films?


Why are you putting the same question in different threads? You've asked the same thing in the 16mm forum.
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#13 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:01 PM

Why are you putting the same question in different threads? You've asked the same thing in the 16mm forum.



OK I am going to close this thread, the original question was asked in 3 seperate forums, like Brian I don't have time to waste with people who ask the same question in multiple forums.
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