Widescreen format standardization

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ray Chuang, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    We know that for widescreen formats for theatrical movie projection, the three formats known around the world are 1.66 to 1 (used primarily in Europe), 1.85 to 1 (the hard matte format of the Panavision/Arriflex movie camera), and 2.35 to 1 (the standard format for very wide aspect ratio projections).

    Given that during the 1950's we had all kinds of experimentations with widescreen formats as wide as 3 to 1 (Cinerama, Todd-AO, CinemaScope, etc.), does anyone know when did the film industry more or less standardize on the widescreen formats I mentioned above?
     
  2. Paul W

    Paul W Second Unit

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    Some directors like shooting flat and hate anamorphic.

    Some directors don't.

    I think that is the main reason we have 1.78:1 and 2.35:1.

    Also 1.66:1 seems to be standard to animated films, but I think it's not too far of a jump to go to 1.78:1 (of course I know almost nothing about producing animated films, so anybody can feel free to chop me off at the legs).
     
  3. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    Paul,

    I believe the 1.78 to 1 aspect ratio is the aspect ratio used on today's widescreen HDTV television monitors and projection TV's (the ones that accept 720p and 1080i component video inputs for the North American market).

    The smidgen-wider 1.85 to 1 aspect ratio is the "hard matted" aspect ratio found on most movie cameras nowadays. To get the 2.35 to 1 aspect ratio you need anamorphic lenses for these movie cameras.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    By the early 1970s, it was pretty much 1.66:1, 1.85:1, and 2.35:1.

    Cameras are usually unmatted, which means the entire 1.37:1 image (or 1.33:1 for Super-35) is exposed. Recently, prints are hard-matted due to many theaters not framing correctly...the mattes are essentially used after the shooting.
     
  5. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Ray,

    Super 35 is a spherical process that allows the DP to "protect" to 2.35:1 without using anamorphic lenses.

    The benefits: better low light shooting (anamorphic lenses require more light on-set to be used) and deeper focus can be accomplished; the con: greater amount of film grain and other print anomalies, which can obscure said benefits.

    I guess there's something to be said for 65mm prints (projected using 70mm negatives with the extra 5mm space for added audio tracks) and their 2.20:1 ratios: greater detail and picture quality than 35mm (allowing the picture to be shown on a huge screen), spherical lenses with no barrel distortion that is produced when using anamorphic lenses (although Panavision has improved the grinding of their lenses with computer aided lasers to reduce this problem) and better focal lengths with the ability to shoot in lower light.


    I say we return to the original Todd-AO type process of 65mm cameras and negatives (you can add an anamorphic lens to create a wider ratio than 2.20:1, but with a much milder squeeze ratio with less anomolies) and running at 30 frames per second. Those few classics shot this way are magnificant to behold. I hear that Maxivision using standard 35mm film and 48 frames per second is also quite good (I guess it really only takes small modifications of cameras and projectors to make them compatible to Maxivision).

    Dan
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  8. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    My belief is that we need a real "upgrade" in the projection department whether "digital" or film projection...

    My proposed TRUE High Def. Broadcast Standard:

    16:9 aspect
    1920 x 1080 Progressive X 72 FPS

    My proposed Theater Projection Standard:

    16:9 aspect
    7680 x 4320 Progressive X 72 FPS

    2.35:1 aspect
    10152 x 4320 Progressive X 72 FPS

    (Eliminate 1.66:1, 1.85:1 completely)

    No one will complain about pixelation or eyestrain, I guarantee it! [​IMG]

    The frame rates should be increased, and whatever the standard is, IT HAS TO BE PROGRESSIVE. The fact that 1080I is called "HDTV" is really depressing to me.

    1080P @ 72 FPS is true HD AFAIC.

    -Dennis
     
  9. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    Dennis,

    You idea can be done, but only after we see storage media into the terabyte range become cheap. 1.78 to 1 aspect ratio 1080p 72 fps HDTV is going to require that much disc space for a movie, that's to be sure.
     
  10. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I love what Dennis is proposing. We just need the storage capability to make it feasible.
     
  11. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    Dennis, curious why you want 72fps? Why does the frame rate need to be increased? Film is 24fps (and I know they shoot at higher rates when doing slow-mo and stuff like that)...so why 72?
    maybe i'm missing something here.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Kami: There are certain artifacts that result from frame rates at 24 fps. Most fast action is blurred because of the length of time the shutter is open for. Grates on cars and so forth can also have weird effects when in motion. There are others which I am less familiar with, as well. But almost all of these are elliminated at 48 fps. I certainly see no reason to expand the frame rate outside of the 60 fps maximum that HDTV currently supports.
     
  13. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    Yeah, but I always thought that blurriness and the low frame rate is what gave film that "dream like" quality. Look at video cameras...they shoot at 60 interlaced frames per second which results in little to no motion blur and the motion seems TOO smooth and not like film at all. It's just stale. Just look at footage shot with a home movie camera or DV camera and you'll know what I mean. The motion just isn't the same.

    Can film's motion really be duplicated at 72fps? 24p digital video cameras are getting really popular...everyone, even indie film makers, want to shoot at 24p nowadays. There is now a DV camera on the market that shoots at 24 progressive frames per second. I have used it and the motion is very similar to film.
     
  14. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  15. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    To standardize film ratios is like saying that all art has to be the same size because we only have one ratio-sized picture frame and all art has to be able to fit in that. Ratio is an artistic and stylistic choice made by the director and dp... and shouldn't be limited simply because of the technology constraints. Saying that is like saying all films should be pan-and-scanned to fit a 4:3 TV, because that's what's avaliable.
     

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