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Aspect Ratios for 35mm


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#1 Angela Dalberiste

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 05:12 PM

Can you guys talk about the cinemagraphic affects of shooting a 35mm film in 4:3? My initial reasoning for wanting to shoot my project 4:3 is that my film is character oriented as opposed to landscape oriented. That is to say I want the characters to be the center of focus and the landscape their backdrop. The story is meant to be about the characters in the space and not the space the characters are in and I think 4:3 will help me achieve this through composition.

The project I am shooting is french new wave inspired and I noticed many french new waves films are 4:3, partly because this was the standard at the time but still this aspect ratio had implecations on compostion and storytelling.

Was also considering 1.66:1 which is a bit wider. Afraid 4:3 will be jarring for views on the big screen. Curios as to your thoughts?

Thanks so much.
-A.D
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#2 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:06 PM

Like "Meek's Cutoff", most people will see it as distracting and pretentious to go under 16:9 for modern productions, outside of some special venue. You aren't gaining anything with black bars on the sides, if you think about it. It will likely annoy the general viewer, especially on a personal screen, TV, etc. which is what everyone must face as being the most likely, or usually only way anyone will see the work. If distributed, you will find some big issues with quality control people and face a good chance that someone would zoom in to "fix" it.
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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:49 AM

Like "Meek's Cutoff", most people will see it as distracting and pretentious to go under 16:9 for modern productions, outside of some special venue. You aren't gaining anything with black bars on the sides, if you think about it. It will likely annoy the general viewer, especially on a personal screen, TV, etc. which is what everyone must face as being the most likely, or usually only way anyone will see the work. If distributed, you will find some big issues with quality control people and face a good chance that someone would zoom in to "fix" it.


This is probably all true, although fishtank was shot in Academy in a 4:3 style aspect ratio and there are other recent arty type films that have done it. There is presently a lot of prejudice against it, the same way some people feel about B&W films still.

I think you could get away with it tho if the fillm is either an art house film or an artists film.
Probably not a genre film so much tho! ;)

love

Freya
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#4 Mark Dunn

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:31 AM

I would say go with your choice.
We still have a 4:3 TV and it is a pleasant surprise to see 4:3 transmitted correctly, proper big close-ups and all.
Not so pleasand to see it wrongly letterboxed, though. You'd have to monitor its presentation like a crazy person Stanley Kubrick.
I have here a copy of his letter to projectionists for 'Barry Lyndon'. Ten very specific instructions including 'AR to be 1:1.66 and in no event less than 1:1.75'.
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#5 Simon Wyss

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 06:12 AM

Four-to-three is very dynamic and strong. Image and action hold well together, the bolder you use it, the more. Study The Third Man for example or La r├Ęgle du jeu.
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