We shot a thing in S16 with anamorphic lenses. I argued for 35mm just because I know how tricky and confusing anamorphic in 16mm can get for unititated, but to no avail.
Panavision provided us with a special made 1.66 ground glass with markings for the 1.2:1 anamorphic frame in the middle. I used the C-series lenses. My widest was a 30mm, so I also carried some pherical lenses for wider shots I couldn't achieve with the 30mm, which isn't very wide on 16mm.
I get a call from the best light telecine - everyone's panicking and they're screaming at me because they can see stuff in frame on the sides that shouldn't be there (light stands, cars, gennys and whatnot). I calmly explain that they have to use just the central part of the frame, unsqueeze that and everything will be fine, since those things are out of the frame lines and will not be used anyway.
Then I get the classic: "but that means zoooming into the negative - that will look poop on 16mm!!". I explain that yes, you have to zoom, but there is no other way to achieve anamorphic on 16mm, unless you use the whole width of the 1.66 frame - which not many are prepared to do since then your aspect ratio will be 3.32:1 - veeery letterboxed. Besides you're using the same amount of negative as a letterboxed S16 frame would have, so there is no difference in sharpness or grain compared to that. Now, this can be accepted from non-technical people, but when you're getting this misconception from colorists and support, then I just kinda lose the will to live a little.
But - It gets more confusing. "But normally you just stick a letterbox on at the top and bottom and that's it - you're not supposed to zoom, reframe or squeeze". Sigh.
At this point I decide to get down there myself. I'm really fired up now cause I KNOW I'm right, but I'm realizing that there is not going to be a happy end to this - I'm going to be the scapegoat, they're going to blame me (that's how it works here in the UK - blame anyone you can to get the heat off yourself) and that's it.
Naturally, when I arrive everyone in frame are tall and thin as sticks. It's not been unsqueezed properly and stuff on the sides are showing up. That no one in this room has reacted to this is perhaps not so strange, but that the colorist and his senior technical guy can't see it's not been done right is amazing.
Here's also a technical issues with telecine - they don't have fixed values for squeeze and unsqueeze, it's all done by eye on a little pot that you tweak. This makes the unsqueeze slightly arbitrary. What I sjould have done is made up a frame board, but there simply was no time to do it - it was a very hectic shoot.
I'm sharing this with you because I've run into a similar problem once before and I want you to be able to avoid these things for the future. Lessons learned:
1. Explain everything technical like you would to a child. DO NOT assume that technical people and professionals know what they're doing just because they've been around for a while. Draw, make diagrams - whatever it takes.
2. Explain again and again and again and again the difference between anamorphic and letterbox. They're not the same.
3. Don't be a nice guy like me and reason calmly - be a total screaming bitch and blame everyone else. If you're nice - people assume your guilty 'cause you don't fight as hard for your POW.
4. Don't ever shoot 16mm anamorphic unless you've made people understand what it entails and made clear that you will be throwing away large chunks of your negative.
5. Assume that no one except yourself have understood the fact that zooming in on a neg in telecine is not the same as losing resolution. Even very seasoned colorists and camera people can sometimes be heard saying that shooting a N16 neg is better than extracting the N16 frame from a S16 frame, because then they "don't have to zoom". This is absolutely false.
Phew - sorry. Just had to get it off my chest.
Edited by AdamFrisch, 17 June 2005 - 09:22 AM.