What are all the different types of filming used?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JJR512, Oct 17, 2001.

  1. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    I've recently seen references to things like Super 35, scope, open matte, and other stuff, and I realized that I don't know what many of these things are.
    Mainly, what is open matte?
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  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    When they shoot a film on plain 35mm stock, you get a frame roughly the shape of your TV. The director then decides what part of this frame he wants to be seen theatrically. When they transfer to video, they take away the "mattes" that prevent the wrong part of the film from being shown
    Movies with the 1.85:1 ratio are the most frequent to use this process, except for....
    ...Super35 which is an evil process where they shoot the full frame, and then matte off a 2.35:1 area of the film (sort of like watching it letterboxed on your TV) this area is then blown up and anamorphically squished(see scope) to be presented on the movie screen. Along with the picture, the grain is also blown up leading to a degredation of the theatrical exhibition, frequently exhaggerated by the poor quality of many theaters. (Recent examples, Gladiator, Matrix, Fight Club, try watching those in most theaters, the grain is almost unbearable except in the most modern places)
    Scope (short for CinemaScope) is a process for capturing a 2.35:1 film on a full 35mm frame. Since the picture is wider than the film will allow, lenses are used to squish the image horizontally onto the frame. This is basically the same technique used for anamorphic DVDs. A lens in the theater "unsquishes" the image when it's projected. Scope provides the highest resolution 35mm aquisition, and looks stunning! (Star Wars, Indiana Jones,Mummy Returns, The Score).
     
  3. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

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  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  5. Ugo Scarlata

    Ugo Scarlata Stunt Coordinator

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    quote: Super35 which is an evil process[/quote] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    You definitely need to read up on basic cinematography before posting such statements... Relying solely on home video magazines and web sites is not a very good way to learn about cinematography!
    Contrary to what you might have heard, most DP's who choose to shoot for Super 35 are not doing so with a home video release in mind.
    There are much more important reasons for which a DP will choose Super 35. One of them is the use of spherical lenses, which produce a far sharper and less distorted picture in many situations.
    It is true that you get more grain when optically blowing up Super 35 to create anamorphic prints... But the spherical lenses can achieve a higher depth of field at lower light levels to begin with -- without having to use faster (and therefore grainier) film stock!
    Not to mention that quite a few DP's simply do not like working with anamorphic lenses in general... To put this in Home Theater terms, you could compare the arguments between Spherical and Anamorphic supporters to the DD vs. DTS debate. [​IMG]
    Cheers,
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    [Edited last by Ugo Scarlata on October 18, 2001 at 09:22 PM]
     
  6. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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    I just wanted to commend you guys for your corrective responses to Jeff's erroneous comments about Super35. It should also be noted, I suppose, that his description of regular 35 is in error as well... 99.99% of the time the film is composed for the intended AR during filming. The director does not later decide what the framing is. In post the project is framed in accordance with the framing leader that was actually filmed before production commenced. And the removal of mattes for video release would be indicative of open-matte, which he did not specify. His comments on scope are erroneous as well, as it does not utilize the full 35mm film like Super35 can, but the conventional 35mm sound frame by horizontally compressing the image at a ratio of 2:1 via anamorphic lenses to achieve the wider ARs. Scope does not necessarily provide the highest resolution 35mm film, a vague and indefensible claim anyway (for instance, shooting near full camera aperture 1.33:1 Super35 on slow Vision stock with Panavision Primo prime lenses for direct telecine could likely achieve the sharpest image possible from 35mm film stock, as you are utilizing more negative area than any other conventional 35mm cinematography method).
    Submitted respectfully, of course.
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  7. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    Let me see if I understand open matte now. A full frame (about 4:3 AR) is shot during production, however the shoot is framed in the camera viewfinder (or whatever it's called technically in the industry) with the intention of being put in theaters in normal WS ratio. To make it look WS, mattes are added to the top and bottom of the frame during post production, basically cutting off the top and bottom. Now when this movie is released to video, the originals are used but without the mattes, so the full frame goes onto video. You see on your 4:3 TV a full frame image, but with more info at the top and bottom than you were meant to see. Is that more or less correct?
    One other question: How much, if at all, is 70mm film used anymore?
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  8. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Just to add to Scott_MacD's point:
    Nearly all special effects shots are hard-matted and must be panned and scanned. A good example is Death Becomes Her. If you compare the 4:3 version to the widescreen (which, at the moment, is only available on laserdisc), you'll see that the 4:3 version has more image at the top and bottom on shots that are strictly live action. The minute you get an effects shot (which is much of the last half of the picture), the 4:3 version shows noticeable cropping at the sides.
    M.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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