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2.35 shooting on Super35 camera negative - using full 1.33 frame or is there black letterboxing?


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#1 Jana Slamova

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:16 AM

When you shoot on Super35 4-perf camera negative, and your intended frame aspect ratio is 2.35, is the whole 1.33 film frame frame filled image informations, that is cropped to 2.35 in postproduction, or the image is already cropped to 2.35 on the negative, and upper and lower frame parts is black (letterboxing)?

 

I have included an image for better understanding. How looks the Super35 camera negative, like image A or B?

 

EDIT: I know the negative is usually orange and the colors of image should be inverted, please ignore this mistakes

 

ua8z.jpg

 

398j.jpg


Edited by Jana Slamova, 28 November 2013 - 11:19 AM.

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#2 Jana Slamova

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:24 AM

This is how the negative should really look:

 

klzm.jpg

 

xs4m.jpg

 

Which one is correct?


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#3 David Cunningham

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:28 AM

super35 is 3-perf. There is an image every 3 perfs. Each frame is only 3 perfs. It's not cropped out of 4perf. It's actually a different negative pull down.

See this Wikipedia article. It's actually pretty good.

http://en.m.wikipedi...g/wiki/Super_35
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#4 Jana Slamova

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:31 AM

This is how it is!! It sounded really strange to me, that they will waste 1/4 of that extremelly expensive film stock when shooting Super35. Thanks for your reply David!! Now it makes sense!


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#5 David Cunningham

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:34 AM

Apparently sometimes it IS done with a crop, but I've never heard if it being done that way. It wouldn't make any sense. TV shows like two and a half men, greys anatomy and house all use 3-perf Super35 although the final season of house was all Alexa-based and I've heard rumors that greys did or will be switching to digital. Glee is also shot in 3-perf Super35.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:42 AM

When you are shooting 3 perf you have a 1.78:1 ratio-- there would be very little cropping involved. for a 2.35:1 ratio, you're cropping a bit but allowing yourself room to reframe slightly in post. One of the main reasons is that this is cheaper than shooting 4 perf anamorphic and allows you to use regular (e.g. non anamorphic) lenses to shoot with which are generally sharper, faster, and more readily available.

Some shows also will shoot 4 perf for crop later on because in the end the cost of film stock is negligible compared to the overall costs of the film as a whole and there are times when you're putting so many cameras on a scene that you can't get enough 3 perf bodies (or you're filming something like an explosion where you can't be near the camera and will want to be able to tweak the frame slightly later on).

Even in digital we'll sometimes shoot, on say a red, 1.85:1 to later crop to 2.39:1-- I just had 2nd unit do this on a feature I shot in order to allow us to reframe on the landscapes they were getting.

 

Of course many films these days shown in 2.39:1 (2.35/2.40 all the same meaning basically) were shot 4-perf with anamorphic lenses, which squeezes things optically and is then desqueezed.


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 12:39 PM

Super-35 is not only 3-perf (even the Wiki link that David posted shows that Super-35 is either 4-perf or 3-perf) -- it's been 4-perf for most of its existence as a format!  People only started shooting 3-perf full aperture for theatrical movies in the early 2000's, though it was being used for TV before that.  Super-35 means shooting full aperture, meaning exposing picture information out to each perforation row, not leaving room for an optical soundtrack.

 

Super-35 started out with the movie "Greystoke" (1984) and was 4-perf.  Back then it was called "Super Techniscope" because John Alcott felt it was an improvement over 2-perf Techniscope, allowing him to shoot "Greystoke" with spherical lenses for a blow-up to 4-perf 35mm anamorphic and 5-perf 65mm.

 

After "Greystoke", you had "Top Gun" and "Silverado", all made using the Super Techniscope moniker.  But since Techniscope was a system developed by Technicolor Labs, the more generic term "Super-35" replaced it by the mid 1980's.

 

Again, these were all 4-perf Super-35 movies.  Even most of Roger Deakin's Super-35 movies have been 4-perf.

 

As far as the negative aperture, some early Super-35 movies used a hard matte in the camera gate (something easy to do with Panaflexes for example) so that they weren't exposing a full 1.33 : 1 negative, feeling that this was too hard to keep clear of equipment if composing for a crop to 2.40.  So movies like "Greystoke" and "Terminator 2" have a hard matted negative, matted to something near 1.50 : 1 or so, then composed for cropping to 2.40.

 

But even this practice soon was dropped as being unnecessary, and many visual effects people wanted the cinematographer to shoot and expose the whole negative area in case they could use that information.

 

Super-35 was not really a new idea though in 1984.  In the 1950's, there was a process called SuperScope where a 2:1 image was composed within the 1.37 Academy area of the 4-perf 35mm negative, the idea being that 2:1 was about the most you could get away with cropping Academy. The 2:1 area was blown-up and squeezed to 4-perf 35mm anamorphic (CinemaScope) with a hard matte on the sides to keep the image 2:1 instead of 2.35 : 1.  In the last few years of SuperScope's use in the late 1950's, they were experimenting with shooting 4-perf 35mm full aperture, not Academy, and composing for cropping to 2.35 : 1.  Some people called this process "SuperScope-235" but it's unclear if any actual features were shot in this process.  By this time, low-budget producers started just cropping Academy to 1.85 and not spending the money to blow-up SuperScope to CinemaScope.  And then by the early 1960's, 2-perf Techniscope was invented.

 

This is some history of 3-perf that I gave to Mark Mueller at Arri that they used on their website:
 
 
For more information about 3 perf and a historical perspective, here are some articles (Thanks to David Mullen, a Cinematographer from LA, for sharing his research):
 
 
* In the Sept. 1973 issue of the SMPTE Journal, pg. 742, is an article titled "A Universal Format for Film Production" by Bernstein, Wysotsky, and Konoplev. It is a translated reprint of an article in Tekhnika i Kino Televideniya of January1973. It recommends shooting in 3-perf full-aperture as a way of generating either 1.85, 2.35 anamorphic, or 4:3 TV versions from the same negative.
 
* In the March 1975 American Cinematographer magazine is an article by Kenn Davis proposing a new lens system with a 25% anamorphic squeeze, in order to get a 1.85:1 image onto a regular 16mm frame, and a 2.35:1 image onto a 3 perf 35mm frame. He then goes on to explain other advantages of a 3 perf system, including for 1.85 production.
 
* In the June 1976 American Cinematographer magazine is an article by Miklos Lente, proposing a 3 perf format called "Trilent-35". It used the Academy width but the 3-perf height.
 
* In the July 1986 American Cinematographer magazine is an article by Rune Ericson titled "3-Perf in the Future".
 
* In the February 1998 issue of "International Photographer", Vittorio Storaro proposed his "Univision" 3 perf Super35 format. 
 
--
 
You can see from that list of articles above that even though 4-perf Super-35 started being used in 1984, 3-perf was mainly just in the proposal stage at this point.
 
3-perf started being used for TV as a way of saving stock, and the negative has a native 1.78 : 1 (16x9) aspect ratio, although the start of 3-perf for TV predated the transition to HDTV and most shows were composed for 4x3 inside of 16x9.  I think "Max Headroom" (1987) might have been one of the first 3-perf shows, and one of the first U.S. shows to shoot film at 30 fps (3-perf was being used to compensate for the increased frame rate in terms of stock usage).  TV shows could shoot 3-perf because it was all for telecine transfer only; features avoided 3-perf at the time because it not only required an optical printer blow-up to 4-perf for release printing (as did 4-perf Super-35) but negative cutters had a hard time with the edge code system in matching to 3-perf EDL's.  It wasn't until D.I.'s became popular in the mid 2000's that most of the reasons to avoid 3-perf for Super-35 went away.

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#8 David Cunningham

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 08:47 PM

David, you are a wealth of knowledge!  How do you have time enough for us!?  Thanks for all your great input on all the forums.

 

-Dave


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