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Old January 30th, 2003, 12:24 PM   #1
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Getting a 16:9 image onto a 4:3 CCD...

I own a Canon XL-1, and I'm planning on shooting a feature in the next six months. I aiming to get my feature to have the best film-look possible (ha, aren't we all?).

One of the things I am aiming for to achieve the effect to have my film shot for widescreen. Before with other projects, I simply used a small TV as a field monitor with electrical tape on the top and buttom of the screen to make sure my image was framed up. This allowed me to frame my movie for both standard 4:3 and 16:9. This worked pretty well in the past, but in retrospect, it was a pain in the butt the whole time to lug around a TV. In fact, it wasn't just a TV. Because the TV didn't have in A/V inputs, I had to run the camera into a VCR and then into the TV. So, as you can imagine, it was a lot to haul.

Anyway, since then, I've been looking for a simpler way. Recently I came across OpTex's "XLAnamorphic Adapter" over at www.zgc.com. I'm debating whether or not to purchase this, and I have a few questions to anyone out there who has used this or knows more details about it than I do.

1) I assume I'll have to get a XL1S 16x Manual Servo Zoom lens, correct? (Obvious question, I know, but wanted to make sure)

2) If I were to use this during shooting, when I looked into my standard XL-1 viewfinder, will I see a 16:9 image or will I see a stretched 4:3 image?

3) If I were to shoot with a 16:9 image (the one the adapter gives me, not the internal one, mind you) I'll be pretty much ditching a full frame version of my film, correct? Cause zooming in on a standard XL-1 720x480 probably won't look good, given the low resolution. Correct?

4) Has anyone had any first hand experiences?

Sorry for the long post.

Art
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Old January 30th, 2003, 12:31 PM   #2
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I don't have all the answers, but I can help you one the way
perhaps.

The image will looked like a stretched 4:3 picture in your view-
finder (your point 2). To really just the image you would still
need a monitor or laptop or something. For more than one
reason:

1. You will see it in 16:9 anamorphic instead of 4:3 (if you get
the correct monitor ofcourse)

2. You will see the overscan as well instead of a severely cropped
image from the viewfinder (since you will need all of the image
with 16:9 this is quite important!)

3. You can beter focus and should have a better color
reproduction than the standard viewfinder.

What will your final output format be? The 16:9 format will not
add much to your film-look. It will add resolution though when
you want a widescreen output. You will loose resolution when
you output on 4:3.
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Old January 30th, 2003, 12:47 PM   #3
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>What will your final output format be? The 16:9 format will not
add much to your film-look. It will add resolution though when
you want a widescreen output. You will loose resolution when
you output on 4:3.


I'm being realistic and not aiming for anything above DVD. So, I'd like for the DVD to fully 16:9 (both menus and movie, which is a post thing, I know), so I'm pretty much giving up on 4:3. Even when I do a VHS version, it will only be my basic 16:9 image.

I know 16:9 isn't a big deal in terms of film-look, but a lot of times when I see 16:9 movies, it helps give them a cinematic feel and mostly it's just preferance.

I guess I'm going to have to shell out some money for a small TV that has A/V imports....

Art
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Old January 31st, 2003, 07:21 AM   #4
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16:9 on a 4:3 will look exactly the same as when you have plain
4:3 with black bars added. I think that is the "cinematic" feel
that you are talking about. Those black bars will automatically
dissapear on a 16:9 TV (if the signal is 4:3 plus bars).

The ONLY thing that 16:9 adds is more resolution on a device
that understands a 16:9 anamorphic signal. It will not change
how the picture looks (if you would add bars to 4:3 that is)
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Old January 31st, 2003, 09:27 AM   #5
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You will never see a 16:9 image in your viewfinder whatever lens you have and regardless of wether you use an anamorphic adaptor or the internal electronic 16:9 - you will always see a horizontally squished image. You will need an external monitor capable of showing 16:9.

If you use the Optex anamorphic adaptor (or any for that matter) bear in mind that you will be retricted on your wide angle to about 12mm.

True 16:9 via the adaptor will always be better in resolution terms than simply cropping your picture, but it has been pointed out that most of these adaptors leave something to be desired and penalties in resolution terms mean that you do not get a straight corresponding increase in quality - you are after all placing more glass on your lens.

It is a simple matter to compress the 16:9 image vertically later in most NLEs for output to a 4:3 version, where this will still give you better quality than if you crop an existing 4:3 image.

The trick is to make two versions - a true 16:9 version and a 4:3 version derived from it, in the manner described above. You will always compromise the quality by displaying a 16:9 version in 4:3 because this requires cropping some 25% along the horizontal plane.

Regards.
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Old February 7th, 2003, 01:49 PM   #6
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From what I've heard the new Optex anamorphic adapter isn't all that. I had a brief discussion about it and he suggested to wait for the Century Optics alternative which should be shipping around april. Apparently Don has fiddled around with the prototype and was pretty enthusiastic about it. It's supposed to be full-zoom-through so I suppose the widest angles can be used too.

Personally I wouldn't worry about preserving a 4x3 copy. DVD players can do that by internal zoom, and if 16x9 is what you want it to be, that's what you should do. Even video-rentals are not allergic to the letterbox anymore.

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Old February 7th, 2003, 02:05 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Barend Onneweer :
Personally I wouldn't worry about preserving a 4x3 copy. DVD players can do that by internal zoom, and if 16x9 is what you want it to be, that's what you should do. Even video-rentals are not allergic to the letterbox anymore.
Bar3nd -->>>

Unless they're the type that get everything from Blockbuster.
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Old February 10th, 2003, 06:05 PM   #8
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anamorphic tv

Maybe this is a little off topic, but regarding shooting in 16:9, if you still want to use a televison as a monitor -- I see a lot of really cheap ten inch TVs with AV inputs these days -- you can easily convert just about any model to an anamorphic display. I did this with a movie we shot this summer and it worked great, other than the obvious hassle of lugging the frigging thing around. Check out this post --

http://gregl.net/videophile/16x9on4x3.htm

To convert my cheap GE TV, all I did was zoom in on a rubber ball in digital 16:9 mode (anything that is perfectly round would work) and adjusted the vertical until the ball was perfectly round. I used a ruler to measure it on the screen. Not the most precise method I suppose, but good enough to frame a shot. Best of all, since you don't lose any pixels when you do the vertical squeeze, you actually INCREASE the resolution of the viewable space on your monitor. My P.O.S. $99 TV looks really sharp! One warning -- as the directions say at the above Web site, don't touch any settings without writing everything down, and then most importantly, put the paper in a safe place. I was smart enough to write down my settings, but damned if I know where that paper is, so my TV is pretty much permanently anamorphic now. It's no big deal. I only use it watch footage anyway, but I'd be real careful with this technique if you were trying it on a TV that you valued. The good thing is, cheap TVs can look pretty good because of the increase in resolution I mentioned.
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Old February 10th, 2003, 07:44 PM   #9
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Re: anamorphic tv

<<<-- Originally posted by marcoleavitt : Check out this post --

http://gregl.net/videophile/16x9on4x3.htm

That is very cool! In service mode on my 19" Wega there's an option to turn on 16:9. I had been wondering why Sony doesn't provide this feature on their smaller TV's.... I have a 27" Wega that lets you turn on 16:9 mode with the remote, but my 19" doesn't have the same option. I had no idea this stuff was possible, and it makes me kick myself too because I had a little Sony with screwed up screen geometry... I ended up throwing it away after opening the case and finding no adjustments, but with this info I probably could have fixed it!
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