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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion TRV900, PD100A and other Sony DV camcorders.

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Old April 21st, 2003, 05:26 PM   #1
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Anybody know?

Can you use a 16:9 adapter on the PDX10 when it is switched to native 16:9? This would seem like a real cheap way to get an ultra wide aspect ratio. Kind of gimmicky, I know, but I would really like to experiment with a setup like this. For one thing, it seems like it would give you near HD resolution -- same pixels, but in a smaller space -- and my computer would be able to handle the processing because the files wouldn't be any larger than NTSC. This is the biggest hurdle of HD for me. Even when these cameras become affordable, you will need a really heavy duty machine to edit the footage. I'll bet it would blow up to 35 mm really nice too.
Century makes an inexpensive adapter with 37 mm threads. It would be great if you could use it. The only problem I can see is that it might vignette because the camera's native 16:9 gives such a wider angle of view to start with. Love to hear from anyone who has tried this.
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Old April 21st, 2003, 08:23 PM   #2
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Actually I thought of that too. Can't see why it wouldn't work, and century has one for about $300. Of course I suspect it will have the usual anamorphic adaptor issues of limited zoom range, possible vignetting at full wide and possibly some distortion.

But as I thought about this I wondered what I'd do with any footage shot this way. Do you want to view it on a computer monitor or project it with a video projector? Otherwise it seems that you'd have to letterbox it for a 16:9 TV. And in that case you might as well just crop it.

Assuming square pixels on a computer monitor a 16:9 anamorphic image should expand to 853x480. Add a second 16:9 anamorphic lens and you get an aspect ratio of 3.16 (1.78x1.78) so that would give you a 1517x480 image (check my math :-) You're up into the cinerama or super panavision 70mm aspect ratio there.... see

Also, with only about 530 lines of horizontal resolution possible, the image would probably look a little soft. But it is an interesting idea. If you try it I'd love to see some full size frame grabs!
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Old April 21st, 2003, 09:27 PM   #3
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Well, it'll be a while before I try to pull something like this off, but I figured at the very least this footage would look best displayed letterboxed on an HD television, which would seem to be good planning for the future. But who knows? If I can ever pull a production together worthy of actual movie theater distribution, this looks like the most inexpensive, realistic way of going about it. Shooting PAL would help a little too. It wouldn't look like "Lawrence of Arabia," but the fact that's its feasible right now and not in some theoretical future that entails raising lots and lots of money is just staggering. I'm sure most everyone on this board has seen Ben Syverson's notorious Web site about his experience mounting a Kowa PA-35 on a GL-1,

but as noble as that experiment is, it just doesn't seem practical for a feature length project. One thing that stands out in his observations though, is that the increased resolution allowed him to slightly underexpose his images and mitigate the contrasty look that video is saddled with by bringing the image back up in post. I would think that if you also converted the image to black and white (so shots would match) you might get something that looks fairly presentable to regular audiences on a movie screen. These opportunities are only going to get more feasible as more and more camcorders incorporate native 16:9.

You're right though. These are all very specialized situations, and maybe not useful enough in the near term to justify running out and buying a new cam and adaptor.
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Old June 1st, 2003, 09:36 AM   #4
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On Ben Syverson's website, he says that using electronic 16x9 in conjunction with a 16x9 anamorphic adapter gives an aspect ratio of exactly 2.35:1

Any idea why doing this on PDX10 would give an aspect ratio of 3.16:1? Is is something to do with the non-cropping action of the electronic 16:9 on the PDX10 compared to the model Ben Syverson used? Or is someone out on their maths? No good asking me because I haven't got a clue.
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Old June 1st, 2003, 10:51 AM   #5
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cinemascope on the PDX-10

Arrggh... mea culpa! I was making a wrong assumption, I multiplied the aspect ratios themselves and not the anamorphic stretch factor. I think the math should really look like this:

The anamorphic lens changes the standard 4:3 (1.33) aspect ratio to 16:9 (1.78). Therefore the "stretch" factor would be 1.78/1.33 = 1.34

We're starting with the PDX-10's native 16:9 (1.78) frame. The result of adding the adaptor would be an aspect ratio of 1.78 x 1.34 = 2.39. I've rounded all this to 2 decimal places which accounts for some error. If I run the numbers at the full precision of my calculator I get 2.37037

So, yep, Ben is right (within a factor of .02 ;-) and I was wrong. Damn, now this makes me start to want one of those 37mm anamorphic adaptors....
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Old June 1st, 2003, 11:39 AM   #6
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This question has come up before at The conclusion is correct: it's one or the other. One reason the PDX10 is such a hot ticket item is that it has a very good 16:9 mode. With an adaptor (and shooting in 4:3 with an adaptor), the 16:9 results will not be as good. Infact, you don't even have zoom-through with an adaptor. So if you own a PDX10, don't waste your money on a 16:9 adaptor.
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Old June 1st, 2003, 02:12 PM   #7
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Frank, I think maybe you missed the original premise. If you're already shooting in 16:9 mode on the PDX-10, and ALSO use the anamorphic adaptor you could capture 2.35:1 aspect ratio anamorphic video that uses all 480 scan lines.

Now of course you'd be stretching the camera's 530 lines of horizontal resolution pretty thin to end up with an 1128 x 480 frame. But such is the nature of DV. The 37mm century anamorphic lens costs $320 at B&H

There are certainly some issues with this approach. For one, the PDX-10 has a pretty narrow field of view to start with. According to Century's website the anamorphic adaptor gives a 33% wider field of view, making it like a .67x wide lens in other words. That's a bit of a limitation... I'm pretty fond of my .45x wide lens. And of course it will have all the usual problems like limited zoom-through, possible vignetting issues, etc.

The other question relates to how you plan to use any video shot at 2.35:1. Unless you're viewing it on a computer screen or digital projector you'd do just as well to shoot in 16:9 and crop. But for $320, hell, I might just give it a try someday since I have access to good digital projectors...

Awhile ago somebody from Scandanavia posted a link to a very nice trailer for a horror film they were shooting on DV, I think it was about summer campers being terrorized. Anyway, the QuickTime clip was at 2.35:1 and I wrote to ask how they accomplished this. He replied that it was done on a PD-150 using builtin 16:9 mode PLUS an anamorphic adaptor lens. Evidently he was printing the final version to film for theatrical release. If this is the sort of thing you want to do, then the PDX-10 should give better results due to the native 16:9 mode that uses all 480 lines, and would also be much cheaper than a PD-150 plus anamorphic adaptor.

But going back to your comment, I agree that it would make absolutely no sense to buy the anamorphic lens and then use the PDX-10 in 4:3 mode. The built-in mode should be much better.
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