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accepted modern formats and aspects


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#1 steve waschka

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:23 PM

if you look at me as the average forum user... im relatively new to cinematography. ive been involved in wet darkroom black and white photography since middle school some 30 years ago. and picked up cinematography i guess somewhere well into production made super 16mm. but the price of cameras was still crazy so all of mine to date are standard 16. i have, within the past 3 years, rekindled a serious usage for the equipment and have questioned my gear near regularly ever since. i have thought of opening the gates but never taken a tool to them yet for a fear of no return. and ive spent a lot of time utilizing anamorphic adapters to the point i have a lomo 35nap that is restored and aligned near flawless. but it weighs 5lbs and is the size of a blimped zoom lens. you need a mitchell tripod and 35mm size shade to accommodate the rig. its the only model i can pull back to 40mm, 20mm equivalent, with no vignetting. pulling focus. it can be done. not by yourself mind you.

recently screening dark night, a HUGE favorite of mine, i couldnt help but notice how the imax scenes, in a small way, come full circle around the scope aspects that so many pictures seem to strive. now CLEARLY imax being cinematography's large super human choice of format is absolutely AMAZING. but i cant help but imagine wally pfister staring through the fingers his face rests in at a camera on a stand weighing god knows what saying "how the $#@* am i gonna mount THAT on a helicopter!?". much in the same way, at my relatively pewny level, i look at a rig thinking "i love the final look but its just oppressive gear to work with." Today 16x9 is the obvious realm of mainstream inhouse media. you cant by another aspect except at a thrift store. so therefore i hate it. bad plan i know, but none the less. im REALLY trying to like 1:33-37 but my mind keeps telling me it hates the side bars. and it actually DOES seems easier to move your eyes side to side rather than up and down. but am i just subconciously feeling that way so i can sell all my gear and buy sr3's? i thought movie theaters were just designed that way so that there was no way possible a home tv could compete with them. and how long before its all internet anyways? on a computer screen 4:3 is still VERY relevant. whats your thoughts on todays formats and aspects?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:01 PM

There is no good or bad aspect ratio and I suppose that as long as one can live with black borders somewhere in the frame, one can choose whatever seems to best suit the story, though most distributors for theatrical features will insist on you delivering something that can be shown either in 1.85 or 2.40, unless it is clearly an art house piece or you are incredibly powerful in the industry.

The shapes in the 1.50 to 2:1 range tend to be the most "natural" to compose action within, the shape of the frame doesn't call as much attention to itself as a nearly square one or a really long horizontal one.

I just saw the restored "Napoleon" (1927) and when the curtain opened up and the 3-picture Polyvision scenes began (nearly 4:1 being three 1.33 : 1 frames side by side), the audience applauded. It was truly uplifting, similar to the opening of "This is Cinerama", which I also saw in 3-panel Cinerama several years ago. So I think there is something intrinsically exciting about very sharp images on a big screen. But the operative word is "big", on a TV set, wider formats just get shorter, they don't get bigger.
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#3 Matt Stevens

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:35 PM

So I think there is something intrinsically exciting about very sharp images on a big screen. But the operative word is "big", on a TV set, wider formats just get shorter, they don't get bigger.

Unless you have a Constant Image Height projection setup at home. But few do, of course.
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#4 Tom Jensen

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:20 AM

I think that 1.33:1 has lost its appeal and the industry prefers a wider screen as the accepted format. It looks better to most people.
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#5 steve waschka

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:23 PM

david: i finally saw seven days in utopia. i liked it. i havent played golf since college but i enjoyed the sport and i enjoyed that film.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:38 PM

Thanks!

The Blu-Ray just came out and, of course, it's better than the DVD.
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#7 steve waschka

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 02:06 PM

is the washer toss close to or actually part of the development of that putter? i tried to do some online research but only saw mention of the guy from ocala being at the premiere.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 03:29 PM

I don't know if there is a connection.
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#9 steve waschka

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 06:26 PM

Unless you have a Constant Image Height projection setup at home. But few do, of course.


actually i have a screen around 11ft diag that i originally purchased to review 16mm. i eventually bought a modest dlp projector to watch blurays. its amazing how many films contain more than one aspect. or more than one camera negative format.

also i like to catch those shows on channels such as fx where they have commentary, behind the scenes and / or b roll footage. i watched one for Hancock the other night in which i even caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a small vistavision rig.

if you want to study others work, projectors are the way to go. ive got my eye on a higher end model. just gotta burn the lamp out on this one first.
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