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Cropping Regular 16 to 1.85


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#1 Cory Dahn

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 11:04 AM

Hi all,

I'm in production of a student film that is being shot on an old Aaton LTR. The film features many wide open spaces, and we decided to crop our image from the 4:3 of regular 16mm to 1:1.85 to give a bit more room for the landscapes. Unfortunately, Super-16 cameras are only available to upperclassmen projects, so that option is not available. Also our school's rental house won't allow gates to be modified for Super-16.

My question is this: How much image quality will be lost in the cropping process? Is it better to crop and blow up the image in Final Cut Pro? Or should this be done during the transfer? My main concern is the digital grain and loss off sharpness that blowing up the image in post can produce. FCP has a matte effect, but all it does is put bars into the frame. We'd like to not see the bars when the film is projected in its final form.

If anyone has experience or examples of a cropped regular 16 image, I'd love to see it!

If I'm unclear about anything, let me know. Any suggestions are appreciated!

The project is shot on Kodak Vision 3 500T and Vision 2 50D using an old Angenieux 12-120 T/2.2 Lens.
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#2 Chris Millar

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 02:35 PM

it depends on your output format aspect and res and what you'll be working in when you're editing - full widescreen aspect, 4:3 letterbox or 16:9 with letterbox...

But in general terms, if you scan at the output aspect you'tre going to be better off as you're only blowing up grain. If you scan at 4:3 then crop you are zooming in on both the grain (which will be the same as above) and also adding a digital smudge of the made up inbetweeny pixels...


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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 06:36 AM

The project is shot on Kodak Vision 3 500T and Vision 2 50D using an old Angenieux 12-120 T/2.2 Lens.


Hi Cory,

You can see samples of footage shot with that Angenieux 12-120 lens, in regular 16, cropped to 16:9, on Kodak 250T film at the link below. They were shot with an Arriflex 16S, but the camera makes no difference.

Film Clips

I found that stopping the lens down to T4 brought the sharpness up quite a bit.

Best,
-Tim
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#4 Cory Dahn

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:25 AM

Thanks guys!

Chris: I believe we want to edit in the full widescreen (1.85) aspect as that will be our final output format. So during the telecine process I should let the technician know that we want to blow up to the 1.85 ratio, so we don't blow up and digital grain in post, correct? So this means we would have to make all of our cropping decisions during the transfer?

My other concern was that we would see the black bars on the top and bottom when projected; you believe if we scan and edit in widescreen and output to widescreen we won't have that problem? Sorry, I was a tad confused at what you meant...

Tim: thanks for the clips! I've been trying to stay around the middle apertures for exposure to maintain sharpness, I believe we have only been at 2.8 for a few shots total.
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#5 Chris Millar

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 01:46 PM

Thanks guys!

Chris: I believe we want to edit in the full widescreen (1.85) aspect as that will be our final output format. So during the telecine process I should let the technician know that we want to blow up to the 1.85 ratio, so we don't blow up and digital grain in post, correct? So this means we would have to make all of our cropping decisions during the transfer?

My other concern was that we would see the black bars on the top and bottom when projected; you believe if we scan and edit in widescreen and output to widescreen we won't have that problem? Sorry, I was a tad confused at what you meant...

Tim: thanks for the clips! I've been trying to stay around the middle apertures for exposure to maintain sharpness, I believe we have only been at 2.8 for a few shots total.



Ok, it was confusing as I was trying to cover most possibilities but I need info to be clearer:


Assuming this projector is your final final (final) output medium - what is the natural aspect of the projector and its resolution ?

The trick is to try to keep data as optimised for both acquisition and output formats, not just resolution as one number but in terms of the aspect involved as there is an interplay between them in terms of efficiency.

You figure out which you are relatively more stuck with and pin all decisions and workflow considerations around that ...

I'm not sure which one you are stuck with yet - sounds like it might be the presentation format ?
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#6 Cory Dahn

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 03:31 PM

Presentation format is most likely the deciding factor: I'm not entirely sure of the resolution of the projector we're using, but I figured that the 1:185 ratio was a safe bet for theatrical presentation in general. Plus, it's the aspect ratio that we have been framing for during shooting. By the way, our final presentation format will be from a hard drive.

I figure I have two options:

Crop to 1:1.85 in FCP using the matte effect, then export to the 1:1.85 aspect ratio for the This would give us flexibility in terms of framing, as we could make slight adjustments. But is there a way to remove the matte in the final export? (Apart from digitally zooming in)

Crop to 1:1.85 during the telecine, and edit the 1:1.85 file, and export for the same ratio. This is simpler, however it will take more time during the telecine process, which will raise the cost of the transfer. Plus, I wouldn't have the freedom of minor framing adjustments in FCP.

What do you guys think? Thanks again for helping out!
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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:17 PM

Presentation format is most likely the deciding factor: I'm not entirely sure of the resolution of the projector we're using, but I figured that the 1:185 ratio was a safe bet for theatrical presentation in general. Plus, it's the aspect ratio that we have been framing for during shooting. By the way, our final presentation format will be from a hard drive.

I figure I have two options:


Well if u already shot with a 1.85 aspect, then u are stuck with it! ;)

You have a 3rd option. I'm not sure if the telecine can provide you with such a thing as 1.85 anamorphic scans anyway, especially if you are scanning hd. Instead you could do a normal 16:9 transfer, bring it in on a 16:9 timeline, and then letterbox to 1.85 in post which would allow for tiny adjustments in the framing.

The way you should have shot the film was to mask the viewfinder and to make a framing chart and 2 shoot that at the start of the roll so the telecine operator would know what the frame line should be.

It is likely that yr projector will be 16:9.

If u had more cash u could do a 3k transfer or something and crop in post but the workflow would be more complicated and it seems like you are already struggling.

love

Freya
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:26 PM

If anyone has experience or examples of a cropped regular 16 image, I'd love to see it!


Black Swan was shot on Super16 but was cropped to 2.39, so it might be a similar effect except they had really good lenses whereas you are shooting on an Ageniux zoom.

They also will probably have better scans!

Might be worth a look tho.

love

Freya
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#9 Matej Pok

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 10:49 AM

Hi,

after reading this thread, I´ve decided I want to share with you my experiences of cropping N16.

this is it:
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=54110
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#10 Derek Katz

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 06:13 AM

When shooting Regular 16, always frame for 4:3. You'll get a far more interesting (unconventional) composition and a stronger image. And isn't omitting a section of your film frame something you might regret later? Widescreen isn't going anywhere, full frame is a beautiful quirk on her deathbed.
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#11 Chris Millar

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 01:21 PM

When shooting Regular 16, always frame for 4:3. You'll get a far more interesting (unconventional) composition and a stronger image. And isn't omitting a section of your film frame something you might regret later? Widescreen isn't going anywhere, full frame is a beautiful quirk on her deathbed.


I don't quite understand the motivation as it's been explained here - why not apply the same logic to 1.85 on 4 perf 35mm ?

You can also shoot 4:3 (or as tall as you like) on widescreen - just frame it tall and pillar box
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