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cropping from 16:9 to 2.39:1 in real time

fake anamorphic anamorphic alexa mini change of aspect ratio

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#1 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 12:02 PM

I'm filming a short comedy musical in about a month using an alexa mini + zeiss ultra primes ....this is for broadcast television and we're shooting 4k ...my director likes the idea of changing aspect ratios in real time...for instance: we are on a close up of some performer in 16:9 and all of a sudden they break into a song and the aspect ratio changes in front of our eyes to 2.39:1 ...here are some questions I have:

-has anyone done something like this? if so what are the challenges for pulling this off?

-in your opinion how can this blend with camera movements? for example pushing in/ pulling back  on a dolly and changing from 16:9 to 2.35:1 ...

 

thanks in advance!


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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 12:56 PM

An aspect ratio change between cuts is as simple as a normal cut. You would only have to decide whether you wanted the two aspect ratios to share a common top/bottom or common sides.

With common top/bottom you would need to pillarbox the 1.78:1, and with common sides you would need to letterbox the 2.39:1. If the idea is to make the 2.39:1 feel larger and more epic by comparison, then I would suggest common top/bottom so that the 2.39:1 frame is physically larger.

If you want the aspect ratio to change in shot, then you would need to add that effect in post. It could be as simple as a one-frame pillarbox/letterbox overlay, or a more complicated animation of the frame edges expanding over several frames. Perhaps the effect you are thinking of is something like the the original 1950s CinemaScope presentation where the curtain slowly opens to reveal the full width of the widescreen?

Or are you asking about how to do the aspect ratio change in-camera?
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#3 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 08:36 AM

Satsuki, thanks for responding...the effect we're aiming to achieve is a in-shot change of aspect ratio...it's a post animated effect that's going to mask over the 16:9 to create a 2.39:1 ratio...

My concern has little to do with the post effect, rather with the precautions I need to take in pre production and during the production...for instance: does this method force me into using wide lenses for the most part? I'd be losing a big part of my vertical and some horizontal real estate....a medium shot becomes a close-up composition ...so on and so forth...

also how is this change in aspect ratio will play once done in conjunction with a move... for instance: wide shot, dolly in to a medium and change ratio at the same time....or start with a close up in 16:9 , then dolly back to a wide and change to 2.39:1 at the same time....I've never seen an example of this and I'm very curious to know if anyone has done this before with successful results....

I hope I managed to explain this clearly....


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#4 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 08:43 AM

You just have to adjust your compositions for the wider ratio Kiarash, that's the only real consideration.

We just did this on a Bollywood picture I shot over in India, with all of the songs and dream sequences that our lead character experiences, shifting him into a 'movie' world, where the aspect ratio would morph from 1.85:1 down to 2.39:1

It's quite fun to do, particularly planning out the transition shots, that will move you from the one space to the other.


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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 04:22 PM

I'm with Mark on this one, sounds like you mainly just need to plan your transitions well. Whether you use a straight cut, a lighting cue, a dolly move, or moving stage set pieces, you need to figure this out first. Then depending on the method, that will determine your lens choices.
 
For example, with a straight cut transition, you wouldn't have to do anything besides change your frame guides in the camera since the editor will re-size the shots in post.
 
If you want the screen width to expand horizontally for an in-shot transition, then you need to set up custom frame guides with a 1.78 within a 2.39 full width guide. That way, you can see both frame lines while operating the shot, and all you need to do it to make sure you're not cutting off any important info during the 1.78 portion of the shot. It would be a good idea to shoot a framing chart for post for this shot to help make sure the pillarbox mattes line up in post.
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#6 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 06:44 PM

thanks guys! much appreciate your help....


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