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Is 4:3 dead?


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#1 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:01 PM

I'm seriously considering buying a mint-condition SR, the only caveat being that it is 4:3. I would be using it for a series of black&white documentaries I am planning in NYC. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the aspect ratio. I'm telling myself that it is justifiable and that shooting 4:3 won't take away from the stories that I am trying to tell, but I'm worried that I'll find myself compositionally stuck. 

 

Any thoughts? Also, the deal on the camera might be too good to pass up, so I'm considering just doing it and working 4:3 for a while until I either convert or upgrade. 

 

Cory 


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:23 PM

You can always crop it, and you can also have it modified to S16mm if you wanted to. Also If you shot normal 16mm, you could in theory shoot anamorphic with a 2x squeeze (some cropping required in the end) but also interesting.

I suppose it depends on if the 1.33:1 serves the film or not (as in The Artist). But with an SR, you have some options, at least.


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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 04:40 PM

You can kind of look at 4:3 like 4-perf 35mm. If your final destination is 16:9, it's can be a waste but it gives you great re-framing ability in post. 4:3 is still a valid artistic choice. I bet in a couple years it will be all the rage again...just like in 1925!

 

A well maintained SR is so steady & sharp (with a good lens) that cropping to 16:9 isn't an issue with modern telecine/scanners. I notice a big difference from my Scoopics (I still love them though!)

 

Here's something I did at Easter testing a 4:3 SR1 brought back to life by Arri and Mike Thorton at MPS Film here in Dallas. Scanned the whole frame to check for any issues.

 


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#4 David Owen James

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 07:56 PM

I'm working on a feature film which I plan to shoot on 16mm in 4:3 ratio.  I prefer this ratio as an artistic choice, and some of my favourite directors work mostly if not exclusively in 4:3 ratio; Ozu, Bresson, Rohmer, Mizoguchi...


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#5 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:34 AM

I'm working on a feature film which I plan to shoot on 16mm in 4:3 ratio.  I prefer this ratio as an artistic choice, and some of my favourite directors work mostly if not exclusively in 4:3 ratio; Ozu, Bresson, Rohmer, Mizoguchi...

The majority of the great films were made in 4:3, and a greater number are in black and white too ... and there will never be a great film made in 3D.


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#6 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:09 PM

This is all very encouraging to hear-- and even more so that my newest SR came in the mail yesterday. I'm shooting a handful of B&W documentaries around New York, hand processing and doing some DIY telecine. Looking forward to it!

bjregrjcuaauuqk.jpg


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#7 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:12 PM

You can kind of look at 4:3 like 4-perf 35mm. If your final destination is 16:9, it's can be a waste but it gives you great re-framing ability in post. 4:3 is still a valid artistic choice. I bet in a couple years it will be all the rage again...just like in 1925!

 

A well maintained SR is so steady & sharp (with a good lens) that cropping to 16:9 isn't an issue with modern telecine/scanners. I notice a big difference from my Scoopics (I still love them though!)

 

Here's something I did at Easter testing a 4:3 SR1 brought back to life by Arri and Mike Thorton at MPS Film here in Dallas. Scanned the whole frame to check for any issues.

 

Will-- great footage and even more special that you were able to capture this on film. Were you shooting on 50D?


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#8 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:20 PM

Hey Cory,
Can you give us a quick description of your hand processing and DIY telecine. There are probably enough people in NY to have a co-operative B&W continuous processor.

Cheers,
Gregg.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 07 May 2013 - 08:21 PM.

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#9 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:35 PM

Hey Cory,
Can you give us a quick description of your hand processing and DIY telecine. There are probably enough people in NY to have a co-operative B&W continuous processor.

Cheers,
Gregg.

 

Hey Gregg,

 

I use a 100 foot tank that was made by Lomography back in the 50s similar to this one:

Lomo-Tank-3.jpg

 

I actually purchased it from the CineMarketplace about 2 years ago, and hand-processed my entire thesis film last year on it (http://www.coryzapatka.com/projects/R/). I processed over a mile of film for this puppy.

 

I shot the film on 7222, Double X negative and used D-76 concentrate from Kodak. I was able to get pretty remarkable negatives. During my telecine session, the technician told me he hadn't seen such beautiful negatives in a long time (and that labs tend to over-process to extract more silver from the film and yield a higher return when they recycle the silver). 

 

I'm currently working on converting a Lafayette Analyzer into a telecine station, and although it won't be able to transfer real-time, I will be able to do it in the comfort of my home. I am able to sync up the projector at 2fps with my DSLR, projected to about 4 inches onto a stretched vellum screen, which gives a very nice milky appearance. I'm not striving for perfection, but rather experimenting with various textures that can give different feeling to the image that will accompany the hand-processed look that I've already created. 


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#10 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 11:39 PM

Cory,

I am a but envious of that tank. Years ago I used (still have) a 30ft version, shooting quite a lot for a short film I was trying to make. Most stuff went through a home made optical printer, so the short lengths weren't a problem. I also had a 200' stainless open spiral. Ah, the joys of sucking up bulk fixer fumes in a darkroom. That (200 footer) was a real pain to load and scratched the film a bit. My thought is that in NY you definately have enough people to run a continuous B&W processor (as a co-op, a bunch of friends). It could be a small one. It wouldn't need to run every day.

Re your DIY telecine. Rather than use an image on velum, why not macro focus/ xtension bellows focus/ reverse the lens to make an image direct on the DSLR sensor? There are other threads on this forum that may be usefull to you.
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#11 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:25 AM

To be honest, I haven't tired that yet. Still looking at mirrorless camera options and wondering how that would work, or if any options exist. I do feel awful using a dslr and abusing all of the actuations it would take to digitize even just a few rolls of film.

Any ideas?
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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:09 AM

Pretty much any mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses and an ability to shoot raw would work. I have a feeling there will be quite a few GH1s and GH2s coming onto the market soon as BMD ships its cameras.


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#13 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:21 AM

 

..... I do feel awful using a dslr and abusing all of the actuations it would take to digitize even just a few rolls of film.


I wasn't allowing for the mirror issue when I said DSLR. Using a mirrorless cam seems better.
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#14 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:36 AM

 I also had a 200' stainless open spiral....

I somehow skipped over this late last night, but woah, that seems like more trouble than its worth!


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#15 Will Montgomery

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:38 PM

Will-- great footage and even more special that you were able to capture this on film. Were you shooting on 50D?

Yes, that was fresh 50D Vision 3. The lens was a Zeiss 10-100 T2.4 I think... the little brother to the 2.0. Hard to tell what lens is on your SR2 there, looks like a newer (black) version of the 2.4. 

 

By the way, your SR2 looks flawless, you got a good one. 


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#16 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:10 PM

 

I somehow skipped over this late last night, but woah, that seems like more trouble than its worth!

 
In terms of effort per foot it actually compared well with the Lomo tank. but it often put a slight scratch on the film. Needed a better human loader. The story I got from the guy that originally used it. It was used to process telerecording film. The first live TV shows here were shot on old electronic cameras, transfered to 16mm, processed and flown off to the other cities.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 08 May 2013 - 03:12 PM.

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#17 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:16 PM

Yes, that was fresh 50D Vision 3. The lens was a Zeiss 10-100 T2.4 I think... the little brother to the 2.0. Hard to tell what lens is on your SR2 there, looks like a newer (black) version of the 2.4. 

 

By the way, your SR2 looks flawless, you got a good one. 

The entire kit was purchased from an estate sale with original cases, manuals, etc. I honestly don't think any film was actually run through the film, as the magazines don't even have any of the characteristic scratches from daylight spools, etc. When I took the core adapters off of the mags, they even still had fresh oil on the bearings in the middle... the lens is the lens that came with all SRs back in the 70s, a 10-100, although it is a little slower at  f/3.0 

 

Its an SR1, not an SRII, but still pretty. Purrs like a cat. 


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#18 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:18 PM

 
 
In terms of effort per foot it actually compared well with the Lomo tank. but it often put a slight scratch on the film. Needed a better human loader. The story I got from the guy that originally used it. It was used to process telerecording film. The first live TV shows here were shot on old electronic cameras, transfered to 16mm, processed and flown off to the other cities.

How wide is the reel itself? And does it fit in normal 35mm still photo tanks? I'd be interested in trying to get my hands on one of those, since I'd rather only cut my 400' rolls into two 200' segments instead of 4 100' segments. 


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#19 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:22 AM

 

How wide is the reel itself? And does it fit in normal 35mm still photo tanks?


The spiral was about 600mm wide from memory, made of stainless with an open stainles tank. I don't know who made it. I left it at the canterbury School of Fine Arts around 1984. Maybe it's still there.
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#20 Rudy Velez Jr

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:08 AM

This makes me feel good because I am planning on doing some shooting this summer and I will probably be 4:3 considering I just have Regular 16 cameras at the moment. 

 

its great to know that Mizoguchi and Rohmer shot 4:3, I really dig their work. I love Clair's Knee, was this shot on 16mm? 


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