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Brian Duke March 3rd, 2007 10:29 PM

Keeping 2:35.1 Ratio aspect when going to film
Does anyone know Lucas and others take the HD footage and transfer it to film and get the 2:35.1 ratio aspect? Do you letterbox it and is the letterbox then transferred with with the image to film? Or is it cropped? What kind of film would it be transferred to? 35mm or 70mm?

I am shooting a feature with the HD100 and Mini35 and I want to keep it cinema scope 2:35.1 aspect ratio. I hope I am clear about what I am trying to say.

Thanks guys

Charles Papert March 3rd, 2007 11:17 PM


The easiest way to do this is to simply shoot with 2:35 guides, then filmout to 2:35. You are simply "throwing away" the information that is above or below the guides, equivalent to the letterbox seen when watching 2:35 on a 16:9 TV.

You could use anamorphic lenses on the Mini35 which would result in a higher resolution image ultimately, but not as much as if you were using a 4:3 native chip. Also you'd better get yourself a really good focus puller (and plenty of light!)

A few years ago I shot tests with the F900 and Digiprimes and filmed out the same shot to both 1:78 and 2:35, then we switched between the two projectors in the screening room. The 2:35 was very slightly softer, but much less than you would think. It was enough to convince me to shoot a feature this way.

One concern I would have is the relative softness that the Mini35 presents, which will magnify using this method. It's a bit dicey based on Andrew's filmout of the early test material I shot with the Mini35 and JVC100.

Tim Dashwood March 3rd, 2007 11:20 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Hi Brian,

A 2.35:1 release print will always be scope, so the parts of the frame not used will never be on the print. Your "flat" capture is cropped to 2.35 and optically squeezed into the 35mm scope format.
In 1.85:1 flat format you have the option to hard matte or not. Most of the time you wouldn't bother. The problem is if the projectionist screws up the alignment, you might end up seeing boom mikes.

When I posted Deepa Mehta's film "Fire," which was shot flat, we hard matted 1.85:1 because our DP (Giles Nuttgens) was worried that some regions of the world still use 1.66 mattes. This is the only time I was ever asked to hard matte.

By the way, I've had the HD250 in my hands for a couple of weeks now and I have discovered some features that haven't been promoted.
In fact, I think they are just addtional things we asked for in our big wishlist last year and the engineers kindly added them.

One that would be of interest to you is the new 2.35:1 frame line options. The great thing is that you don't just get the option to centre cut, but you can also shift it up into a common topline!
The other cool new thing that I know I specifically asked for is that you can switch the shutter into "degrees" format. So you get 180 on the display instead of 1/48th. 90 instead of 1/96th, and so on. Very cool for us guys who still think in film terms.

One last thing.... Have you thought about shooting with anamorphic lenses?
I know it would be bloody expensive, but also very cool to test on the mini35.
You would have the opposite problem though that you would have to throw away information on the left and right of the 1280x720 frame (and end up with just 960x720 for the scope print.
I tried some anamorphics the other day on the HZ-CA13U to test the concept. I've attached a couple frame grabs of what would happen. 50mm Clairmont Anamophic focused at 12', T2.8.

Tim Dashwood March 3rd, 2007 11:23 PM

Charles beat me to it. Sorry for the repetition.

Charles Papert March 4th, 2007 02:04 AM

Yeah, but you were more specific Tim! I was trying to think about what percentage of the sides get trimmed off when using anamorphics on a 1:78 system, but the math hurt my head, so thanks for supplying that.

Robert Thomas Baumer March 4th, 2007 03:09 AM

This is an interesting thread.

Can I ask beginners question?

Is hard matte when there are horizontal black bar across the top ond bottom of the frame?

Is soft matte just guides?

Brian Duke March 4th, 2007 03:56 AM

Thanks to both Tim and Charles. ALWAYS informative. Wish either one of you would DP on my film, shooting in April here in Los Angeles. ESPECIALLY since both of you have experience wih the HD100 and Mini35. I might even get the HD200 or 250 before shoot.

Tim, does the HD200 have the 2:35.1 framelines? And what did you think of the outcome of using anamorphic lenses? Would you shoot a feature like that if you knew it would be transferred to film?

PS. I always use a 23HD monitor that has 2:35.1 markers on it. Not sure how to use anomorphic lenses, but that would be great to use if it keeps better quality.

Charles: I went to the screening of your footage and yes, it was soft, but not as bad as expected, and I also think thsoe tests were done really early on, and I personally have learned a lot since then and have gotten some nice images, even shooting interior.

For example, here is a small clip from a short I did last summer I am working on completing: http://hd-motionpictures.com/Reflect...0Sample%20.mov

IF by slight chance any of you are interested contact me duke@hd-motionpictures.com its a REALLY fun project. 21 days. I plan on using plenty of powerful lights for interior shots.

Thomas Smet March 4th, 2007 07:17 AM

There may be a cheaper way to shoot anamorphic.

I thought of this a few months ago but still have not tested it out.

What about some of the old lens adapters that came out for a short period of time that would turn a 4x3 dv camera into a 16x9 dv camera. These lens adapters were anamorphic and allowed cameras such as the first DVX100 a higher quality option to shoot 16x9. Well I did the math and if you put one of these lens adapters on a native 16x9 camera you stretch it out to something that is pretty darn close to 2.35:1. You actually get something like 2.37:1. In theory this should work very well with the JVC cameras since they use native resolution anyway. You should get results similar to film anamorphic adapters except not stretched as much. I think film adapters strech all the way from 4:3 to 2.35:1 which is a pretty big stretch. With HD we already start with something that is wider then 4:3 so we are only stretching 1.33x in the horizontal direction.

For 1080 HDV cameras this may also work but the stretch is a lot more since 1080 HDV is already anamorphic at 1440 pixels and not 1920. The stretch is pretty equal to how film stretches a 4:3 frame into 2.35:1 since 1440x1080 is a 4:3 ratio.

Anyway if somebody happens to have one of these old apaters sitting around it would be nice to see how well it works. I think the one made by Panasonic for the DVX100 would work since it uses a 72mm thread (I think).

Steve Benner March 4th, 2007 09:06 AM

This has been a question of mine for a while now regarding Cinescope workflow. I am thinking about doing a 2.35 with my HD100 (I would have to figure out the guidlines myself) and was curious about the workflow as well.

Are movies that use Cinescope shot in 2.35/2.40 natively, or are they shot anamprhically or 4:3 with guidelines? I ask this, because when I watched the behind the scenes for Lord of the Rings, the Monitors Peter Jackson was watching was a standard 4:3 monitor with Guidlines (or so it seemed).

Also, when shooting a movie on film in cinescope, what aspect ratio is the footage presented in: 4:3 or 16:9? Because Avid cannot handle 2:35 natively, which ratio is the footage conformed to.

One more thing, I just saw Zodiac (I imagine he shot in 16:9 with Cinescope Guidlines) and it got me thinking. What quality is film when projected nowadays? If I watched this on my HDTV at home, it would have looked much better I imagine. I have heard about 2K projectors coming out more widespread, but what are they currently.

Sorry about the largely off topic stuff, but I have been curious for a while and figured this was a good thread to ask it in.

Jack Walker March 4th, 2007 11:19 AM

Here are a couple of Wikipedia articles that are a good start to answer your questions:



The second one has the most detail on all the formats.

If you wanted to talk to someone about the possibility of using the anamorphic adapters on the JVCHD*** cameras amd lenses try calling Schneider Optics (Century Optics) in Van Nuys, California or Hauppauge, New York. They make and adapt equipment for special situations, and you may not be the first to ask these questions. Here is the contact information:


David Mullen March 4th, 2007 12:15 PM

First of all, you have to remember that in video (not digital data files) you are limited to 4x3 (1.33) or 16x9 (1.78) recordings -- any other aspect ratios on display are achieved by letterboxing or other forms of mattes.

There are a number of ways to shoot a movie destined to be shown in 2.35. 35mm print projection for 2.35 always uses the squeezed (anamorphic) CinemaScope format. An anamorphic projector lens unsqueezes the image onto the screen.

"Lord of the Rings" was shot in 4-perf Super-35 and composed to be cropped to 2.35, then blown-up & squeezed by 2X into the CinemaScope anamorphic format. So what you see on the set are 4x3 video monitors running a feed from the video tap in the camera (a little single chip CCD) that is taking a picture of the groundglass in the camera viewfinder, with the 2.35 framelines on display. The image is composed for cropping 1.33 down to 2.35.

Some people now shoot 3-perf Super-35 (one perf shorter in height), which is 16x9 full-frame, thus waste less when cropping to 2.35.

You could also instead shoot in 4-perf 35mm with anamorphic lenses. These have a 2X squeeze and squeeze a 2.35 image onto an area of the frame that is half as wide (to round up, if the projected image is 2.40 : 1 when unsqueezed, this means that the camera and projector gate is 1.20 : 1.)

"Zodiak" was shot in 1920 x 1080 HD using the Viper camera, which has a unique function where it can arrange subpixels on the CCD in order to expose a 2.35 frame and squeeze it electronically to fill a 16x9 HD recording (which is roughly a 1.33X squeeze, just like those anamorphic adaptors used in DV.) This means that on the set, some sort of converter is need to display the image on a 16x9 HD monitor as a 2.35 letterboxed image rather than a squeezed image.

Now in terms of editing, some of these movies cut in standard def video for offline purposes, just to generate an EDL, so they often just telecine to 4x3 with a 2.35 letterbox.

A digital cinema projector is not limited to 4x3 or 16x9 video recordings, so could show a 2048 x 870 pixel file or so in order to project a 2.35 image.

Tim Dashwood March 4th, 2007 01:45 PM

Thank you David. I was just about to give the exact same answer.

The frame guides I pointed out when I shot with anamorphics the other day really should be 1.2:1, but of course they don't exist in the HD100/200, so 1.33:1 was the closest thing to it. I also used 960 horizontal pixels as a general guide for transmittance. It would actally be slightly wider.

With the many complications associated with shooting anamorphic lenses, the one major benefit is is the ability to use the full 4-perfs of the standard 35mm gate. This gives you the the finest grain possible for the final print.

So would we get the same benefit in 1280x720?

If you shoot spherical and crop for 2.35/2.4:1 then you will end up with 1280x533, equaling 682,240 pixels.

If you shoot anamorphic 2:1 for 2.35/2.4:1 then you will end up using a total of 1008x720 transmitted pixels, equaling 725,760 pixels.

So the pixel count is higher with anamorphic, but it is only a relatively slight difference in total pixel density, so don't base your decision on that.

Let's look at the other advantages & disadvantages.

Disadvantages of Anamorphic lenses:
  • Anamorphic lenses will be more expensive to rent.
  • You likely won't be able to see the full unsqueezed preview on the monitor you have.
  • The fastest speed of most anamorphics is T2.2, so that will make is even more difficult for mini35 shooting. (ToddAO has some as fast as T1.4)
  • Anamorphics take some getting used to with regard to blocking, rack focus, and "horizontal" lens flaring.
  • There is no 720P precedent for posting anamorphic through to a scope filmout (that I know of) so you'd be in completely new territory.
  • You will have to pan & scan for your TV version - even if it is back to 1.78:1, therefore throwing away even more pixels. If you shoot spherical you can protect for 1.78 or even 1.33.
  • Spherical lenses are generally considered to be of higher optical quality.

Advantage of Anamorphic:
In your case, you are already using a mini35 adapter so shallow DoF is not hard to achieve. Since anamorphics are twice as wide, you would generally choose anamorphic focal lengths twice as long as the spherical counterpart, meaning you will have an even shorter DoF (at least on one axis.) It is very hard to judge DoF with the charts because anamorphics have an ellipse of confusion instead of a circle of confusion. I think for safety's sake most focus pullers would assume the DoF of the focal length marked on the lens, instead of dividing it by two.

So if you like the look of anamorphic, then it is worth considering. I would suggest simply conducting a test and follow it through to filmout.

Tim Dashwood March 4th, 2007 02:00 PM


Originally Posted by Thomas Smet (Post 635627)
What about some of the old lens adapters that came out for a short period of time that would turn a 4x3 dv camera into a 16x9 dv camera. These lens adapters were anamorphic and allowed cameras such as the first DVX100 a higher quality option to shoot 16x9. Well I did the math and if you put one of these lens adapters on a native 16x9 camera you stretch it out to something that is pretty darn close to 2.35:1. You actually get something like 2.37:1.

Yes it does work. 2.35:1 doesn't actually exist anymore, we just call it that for historical reasons. The actual aspect ratio is 2.40:1 so 2.37:1 fits quite nicely into that range.

The problem with a 16x9 adapter slapped on the front of a lens is that it screws up the focusing characteristics of the lens. I used the Panasonic 16x9 adapter to shoot a film on the original DVX100 and we had a hell of a time maintaining proper focus. A high quality monitor was required at all times.

Duke is shooting with a mini35 adapter, so his options are open to everything he could use on a 35mm camera.

Brian Duke March 4th, 2007 02:20 PM


Originally Posted by Tim Dashwood (Post 635828)
A high quality monitor was required at all times.

Duke is shooting with a mini35 adapter, so his options are open to everything he could use on a 35mm camera.

I just want to add that I shoot NOTHING unless I have my 23" HD monitor for focus pulling etc. I tried the tape measuring hoping it was in focus and it was a disaster. 40% of the footage was out of focusand/ or soft. Since I used the monitor that hasn't been a problem. I would never go by measurement again.


Steve Benner March 4th, 2007 02:56 PM

Thanks for all the responses. Awesome info.

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