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Composition & Aspect Ratio


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#1 Joseph Dudek

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:38 AM

This might be a rather elementary question, but one I'm having difficulty understanding.

Take for example the original Tobe Hooper "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", shot by Daniel Pearl, which was filmed on 16mm on an Eclair. I'm assuming when it was shown at the cinema in the 70s it was blown up to 35mm and shown @ 1.66? Was the result a change in the composition, say a wider view of the image, with the top and bottom cut off slightly? How can filmmakers prepare for this, if your film is going to be scaled up or scaled down, or viewed in a ratio other that in the native ratio to the format it was shot in, how is it possible to maintain the painstakingly careful compositions chosen by the director and DP?

Say a 70mm film viewed on an HDTV? An S16 film blown up to 35mm screened @ 1.85?

Another question: Why is that generally formats like 16mm & S16mm are limited to the aspec ratios of 1.33 & 1.66 respectively, yet 35mm can be anything native from 1.5:1 to 1.85:1?





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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:25 AM

You can mark the ground glass in the camera to show the final aspect ratio when framing. I don't know about the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", but I'd assume they'd frame for 1.85, since it's more common.

Super16 can be screened at 1.85, it depends on the masks used in the projector.

Of course, your framing can also be thrown off by a poorly racked projector - this is something the film projectionist can adjust. Or the use of the wrong mask in the projector, which I've seen a few times.

Super 16 can also be framed for 16:9 when shooting for HDTV. If you're doing a theatrical release you'd usually frame for 1.85, since that's what most cinemas now use.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 18 November 2012 - 07:26 AM.

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#3 Joseph Dudek

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:34 AM

Just to add:
With digital projection, although lacking at times the richness of a film print, is it more likely for films to show the aspect ratios that the filmmaker has requested, seeing as they can adjust such things through their computer?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:58 AM

Yes and no. It's possible just unlikely that distributors and exhibitors want to deal with non-standard aspect ratios so it would be discouraged.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:30 AM

I suspect you'd find that the automated screen masking systems in most places would deal only with flat and scope.
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