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Why isn't 2-perf for a 2.39 extraction more common?


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#1 Jeff Hammond

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:11 AM

I don't know a whole lot about 35mm having grown up in a digital age, but I'm wondering if someone can school me a bit (or provide some helpful links).

 

I was reading about 12 Years a Slave in American Cinematographer, and the article mentioned that McQueen and Bobbitt chose to shoot 4-perf with a 2.39:1 extraction. My question is: what is the advantage in that method (which seems more common) vs. shooting 2-perf (or even 3-)? Is the quality significantly reduced when calibrating for 2-perf vs. 3- or 4-?

 

I understand using 4-perf when shooting an anamorphic picture, but when using spherical lenses, is it really necessary or beneficial? 

 

Presumably the extra negative in a 4-perf frame can be used for re-framing, etc.,. Is this correct? Any insight and knowledge (or just some links) would be tremendously helpful. Thanks!


Edited by Jeff Hammond, 10 December 2013 - 05:13 AM.

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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:20 AM

You have double film surface with 4-perf. compared to 2-perf.


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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:52 AM

You have double film surface with 4-perf. compared to 2-perf.

 

That's a perfectly true statement, and if you are shooting 4perf anamorphic to get 2.39 then that would certainly give you a significant advantage but the original poster mentions the word "extraction" which I take to mean that the 4perf image is cropped to get 2.39. In that case the advantage is a lot less obvious when compared to 2 or 3 perf.

 

Freya


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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:56 AM

Well, Freya, I never quite got the point about 2.39 besides 2.4 and 2.35.


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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:53 AM

We don't have enough information. People shooting spherical 4-perf for cinemascope (call it 2.39, 2.4, whatever) would typically be using super35, but that isn't mentioned either.


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#6 Simon Wyss

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:10 AM

The CinemaScope workflow had a standard film and a full-frame aperture (four-to-three aspect ratio), contact printing onto specially perforated stock, later nobled with becoming part of ISO 491, and the two magnetic stripes inside the perforation on the cel side simply covering the utmost parts of the picture. Anamorphized the 4:3 image would yield a 8:3 screen picture (2.66:1). For COMMAG presentation 2.55:1 was chosen. After the general passage (back) to standard COMOPT releases CinemaScope would get the 2.35:1 AR. That remained common from about 1960 to 1990. Four-track optical prints were not tried, neither were six-track optical in 70, as far as I know.

 

Super 35 is nothing else than full aperture like normalized since 1909, sometimes a tad bigger still on the film with aperture heights around .74". There is not more than .999" between the hole rows of type N, P, and DH perforations (Bell & Howell, Kodak Standard, Dubray-Howell, respectively). One can, of course, have a .75" by 1" aperture, why not.

 

 

Who can explain the 2.40:1 and 2.39:1 stories to me?

 

 


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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:24 AM

 

 

Who can explain the 2.40:1 and 2.39:1 stories to me?

 

 

 

David I suspect! ;)

 

I can tell you that 2.40 is the current standard that was supposed to put an end to minor variance between 2.35 vs 2.39 etc but I dont know the full history. In actual practice I suspect theres very little difference in most situations between 2.39 vs 2.40. I suspect almost everyone wouldn't be able to see any difference between the two. After all theres so many people who can't even tell when 4:3 is stretched out to 16:9 on their tv's! (Yikes!)

 

Freya


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#8 John Salim

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:38 AM

I was always led to believe 2.40:1 was instigated specifically to hide 'neg flashes' ( from anamorphic cut negatives ) in movie theatres.

 

John S :rolleyes:


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#9 Freya Black

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:53 AM

Okay I've got a bit more time than I had this morning so I'm going to take a stab at replying to the Original posters question:

 

As Phil suggests we don't have enough information. Is it just 4perf or is it Super35 4perf? I'm going to assume that it is Super35 for the sake of my reply because that makes a bit more sense.

 

Sadly I'm not 100% equipped to answer this but I'm going to take a stab at it.

 

Cinemascope used 2x anamorphic lenses to double the width of the 4 perf anamorphic frame, (although we are talking something along the lines of silent aperture, so it's' a bit taller than even academy as I understand it). You might thus expect that 2perf, being half the negative area, would give a result very similar to cropping 4 perf down to 2.39 (or whatever you want to call it). In the past I've made this assumption too, but apparently it isn't the case.

 

3perf Super 35 can actually use more negative area for 2.39 because it can extend into the soundtrack area. 2 perf could extend into the sound track area in the same way and some 2perf cameras can do that but this may not give  more negative area for 2.39 because the height of the negative is already limited, so it can only go so high in order to maintain the same aspect ratio. 3 perf can go wider into the soundtrack area but also can go a bit higher too because it's higher generally. In this way 3 perf can maintain the same aspect ratio but covering a greater amount of film negative area. 

 

I'm not clear on what advantage you could get from cropping 4perf over cropping 3perf however but both should give more negative area in Super35 fo the 2.35 aspect ratio.

 

A wilder idea I recently came across was a production using 1.33x anamorphic lenses on 3perf film! This took the 16:9 aspect ratio of 3perf and stretches it to 2.39. Thus saving film costs and maximising the use of the 3perf film area for 2.39 as there was little cropping involved. (You still have to crop the Super35 neg area to get 2.35 in 3perf as the apect ratio is closer to 16:9)

 

I hope that makes sense, as I say I'm not really 100% equipped to answer  the question off the top of my head as there's too many aspects of this that are hazy in my head these days, but it might get things a bit closer.

 

Freya


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#10 Chris Burke

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:26 AM

The advantage when shooting super 35 4 perf is the extra room in which to re-frame if necessary. There is no image quality boost between 4 and 3 perf, but 2 perf is slightly smaller and there for theoretically grainier. I have experimented a bit with 1.33x anamorphots on Super 16 and the results are great. When the Letus 35 anamorphic adapter is available for rental, I am going to try that.


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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:37 AM

It also seems a lot harder to find 2 perf bodies around, especially in the US. 3-perf is much more common and that's normally what you'd shoot for a 2.39 w/o anamorphic lenses, primarily for the loner run times on the mag and other associated savings.


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:47 AM

4-perf 35mm anamorphic uses more total negative area than Super-35 cropped to 2.40.

 

3-perf and 4-perf Super-35 use the same negative area for 2.40, there is just less waste with 3-perf.

 

2-perf 35mm uses a slightly smaller negative area for 2.40 because if 4-perf 35mm full aperture is 1.33 : 1, then 2-perf 35mm full aperture is 2.66 : 1, and that's too widescreen, so the sides have to be trimmed to get 2.40 : 1.

 

CinemaScope was originally going to use 2X anamorphic lenses on 4-perf 35mm full aperture, so a 2.66 : 1 image on a 1.33 : 1 negative area, with the sound run in interlock on a separate mag roll like Cinerama did it.  But then it was decided just before its release to put thin mag stripes on each side of the 35mm print, and to make more room for them by having Kodak make smaller sprocket holes on the print stock (CS perfs).  This shaved the width on each side down to 2.55 : 1. Early scope movies like "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" used that format.

 

Then it was decided to make normal prints with an optical soundtrack on the left side only like regular movie prints did.  This shifted the center of the image on the print to the right like with standard Academy and 1.85.  The width of the unsqueezed image because 2.35 : 1.

 

Then in the early 1970's it was decided to make the projection aperture a little shorter to hide splices better at the frame line.  This created a roughly 2.39 : 1 aspect ratio.  Then in the early 1980's it was decided to standardize the width of all 4-perf 35mm sound print apertures to .825", so the shape changed again but it still came out to approximately 2.39 : 1.

 

Most people either round this up to 2.40 or down to the old 2.35 number when talking about it.

 

The current standard for an anamorphic projector aperture is .825" x .690", which is 1.1956521, so a 2X stretch it becomes 2.3913042 : 1.


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#13 Simon Wyss

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 01:23 PM

Then in the early 1970's it was decided to make the projection aperture a little shorter to hide splices better at the frame line.  This created a roughly 2.39 : 1 aspect ratio.  Then in the early 1980's it was decided to standardize the width of all 4-perf 35mm sound print apertures to .825", so the shape changed again but it still came out to approximately 2.39 : 1.

 

 

Proof of the producers’s shortsightedness and small-mindedness. Not one CinemaScope production has been reported that offered

  1. A-B roll conformed negative for invisible splices, and
  2. step prints, I mean precision copy for best steadiness. Does nobody try to tell me that that is not feasible. It is.

 

No changes in the theaters would have been necessary.


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#14 Mark Dunn

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 01:56 PM

1) Not Cinemascope as such, no, but Panavision and so on. There haven't been cut-in optical dissolves since, I'd say, about 1960 if not earlier- they're all A and B cut from then on. You can see the difference.


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#15 Jeff Hammond

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:51 PM

Thanks everyone for responding, and thanks to Freya, and David for their more in-depth explanations. 

 

We don't have enough information. People shooting spherical 4-perf for cinemascope (call it 2.39, 2.4, whatever) would typically be using super35, but that isn't mentioned either.

 

I just checked. They did indeed shoot Super 35.

 

 

A wilder idea I recently came across was a production using 1.33x anamorphic lenses on 3perf film! This took the 16:9 aspect ratio of 3perf and stretches it to 2.39. Thus saving film costs and maximising the use of the 3perf film area for 2.39 as there was little cropping involved. (You still have to crop the Super35 neg area to get 2.35 in 3perf as the apect ratio is closer to 16:9)

 

Interesting approach. On the surface, it seems to make more sense (when it comes to maximizing the frame) than shooting with 2x anamorphic lenses on a Super 35 frame, like Blomkamp and Opaloch chose to do on Elysium (RED Epic with Panavision C-, E-, and G-series anamorphics). However, I'm sure they had their reasons to prefer the Panavision glass over 1.33x alternatives.


Edited by Jeff Hammond, 10 December 2013 - 09:52 PM.

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#16 joshua gallegos

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 12:38 AM

i remembered this interview where David explains it all so thoroughly, I think it's great this kind of information is around for those who cannot get into film school. 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=zFJ9xS3Gt4Y


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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 01:56 AM

One reason 2-perf isn't used as much as 3-perf is just that there are a lot more 3-perf cameras out there; the resurrection of 2-perf is a fairly recent event that happened just as film was declining in use and most lower-budgeted movies were switching to digital.

 

Same goes for 1.3X anamorphic, the 1.3X Hawk lenses rented by Vantage are just not as readily available as 2X anamorphics, plus they have much less obvious anamorphic artifacts, and many people shoot anamorphic for those artifacts.

 

2-perf had its heyday in the days of Technicolor dye transfer printing, when Technicolor Labs were coupling using their Techniscope cameras with getting a deal on blowing it up to 4-perf scope while going to b&w positive matrices to make dye transfer prints from.  So when Technicolor stopped making dye transfer prints in the early to mid 1970's, 2-perf had to be blown-up conventionally to color intermediate dupe stock and not only were the results not as good, but Technicolor was no longer throwing in the discount and most people either switched back to anamorphic or to standard 1.85.

 

This reduction in the popularity of 2-perf happened just when the new self-blimped sound cameras of the 1970's appeared like the Arri-BL and Panaflex, so 2-perf cameras generally predated those models and were often converted Arri-2C's, Mitchells, Cameflexes, etc.  So it is only recently that new 2-perf movements were designed for modern film cameras.


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