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Aspect Ratio Question


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#1 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 05:01 PM

So, I know there are many ways to achieve a 2:35 aspect ratio but I'm particulatly curious how many major motion pictures shoot at 1.78/1.85 or some other aspect ratio and then crop to 2.35.

Further I've met some DPs who roll their eyes at that method vs using an anamorphic system.

Why is that? I know it means shooting more information in your frame and then cropping out some information but isn't using lenses, camera movement, angles and other things intended as a means to show the audience what they need to be looking at? Isn't the frame you compose your picture just as important?

Is it because its looked at as the poor man's version of a true cinema wide experience?
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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 06:42 PM

Many DP's prefer the authentic look of cinemascope's 2:35 ratio that comes from using anamorphic lenses.  You can't really get the exact same dof and image characteristics with spherical lenses.via cropping the image to 2:35.  So that would be one reason why some purists out there might scoff at cropping vs using actual anamorphic lenses.

 

Though there are drawbacks to anamorphic such as slower speed, heavier bulkier lenses etc.  It's about balancing the needs of the production as a whole with the desired look of the film.  Sometimes you'd shoot Super35mm for scope for those sort of workflow reasons.  You get the aspect ratio but not the on set drawbacks. Again, those lens characteristics though are the primary reason most DP's would fight for it.


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 06:58 PM

Guardians of the Galaxy (which I saw yesterday and greatly enjoyed) is an example - lots of computer-generated anamorphic flares, lots of circular focus artifacts.

 

Ho hum.

 

Alexa, wasn't it?


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 07:32 PM

The opening scenes were shot in anamorphic but the rest was shot spherically, apparently at the request of the visual effects people and Marvel, to allow them more flexibility in frame repositioning (though Marvel allowed "Captain America: Winter Soldier" to be shot in anamorphic...)

 

Shooting with spherical lenses for a 2.40 release has been quite common for decades, and is still more commonplace than shooting anamorphic.  Just look at Roger Deakins' work in 2.40, it's all been spherical.  All the Bond movies with Daniel Craig have been spherical cropped to 2.40.  James Cameron was the person to really make Super-35 popular for 2.40 movies starting back with "The Abyss" and "Terminator 2".

 

The aspect ratio is a separate issue from the anamorphic lens artifacts, which some people love and others feel are a distraction.

 

Anamorphic has taken off again recently mainly due to the 4x3 Alexa sensor and the feeling that the lens artifacts add an "analogue" (i.e. old school) texture that offsets the clean digital look.


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#5 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 07:36 PM

Hi Michael. Thanks for the input. I guess I can see where some purists are coming from. I ask because I was going to shoot an upcoming project in anamorphic but I was debating between that and just cropping. I've been composing a lot of shots with that framing.

And Phil, I believe it was shot on the Alexa XT Plus. I saw it in IMAX. But I guess the 2D showings were cropped to 2.39 or 2.35?
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