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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:02 PM   #1
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Aspect Ratio Advice?

I'm shooting a multi-camera wedding in two weeks and the bride wants her video delivered in 16:9. The three cameras I'm using are:

Sony FX1
Sony VX2100
Panasonic GS120

The FX1 has DV widescreen mode and the VX2100 has a widescreen option (though I've read that it isn't true 16:9), but the GS120 doesn't have widescreen (though it has a "cinema" setting which looks to be somewhere between 4:3 and 16:9. It also has a "slim" setting which "squeezes" the picture, but might look correct if cropped to 16:9 in post production...?)

I'm using Vegas 6.0 to edit with (yeah, I need to upgrade), and I'm not sure which aspect ratio I should use for each camera, and which settings to use in Vegas when editing the footage. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:13 PM   #2
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Why not shoot all of them in 4:3, then crop to 16:9 in Vegas after the fact? More work, but will likely be cleaner looking, and you'll have the option to reframe slightly should you need it.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #3
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That sounds like a good option -- at least the footage from all three cameras would be uniform. I've heard of people taping little black bars on the bottom & top of their LCD screens, so they'll have a better idea of what the 4:3 footage will look like when it's converted to widescreen in post-production...
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:36 PM   #4
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You might consider looking for a used Canon HV 20 or 30 which is relatively inexpensive and it does reasonably well, and it shoots 16:9 SD and HD.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:48 PM   #5
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I agree that shooting 4:3 and cropping in post would work best for this mix of cameras especially since the 16:9 of the 2100 sucks, no offense but my PD150, PD170, DSR250 and even my JVC5000 in 16:9 suck.
When I want 16:9 I mask my LCD for that, shoot accordingly and crop in Vegas AFTER I cut the segment. Crop 1 clip the cop and paste event attributes to the rest of the clips, adjust as neededNot the ultimate solution but cheaper than buy a camera. :-)
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:52 PM   #6
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I admit 16:9 looks bad on the VX2100.

I have to agree, the others are right about this: shoot 4:3.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 02:46 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips! Sounds like 4:3 with the mask is the way to go with the VX2100 and the GS120. But, does the Sony FX1 shoot in true anamorphic widescreen, or should I shoot in 4:3 with that too? Seems like I'm defeating the purpose by switching to 4:3 and applying a 16:9 mask when the LCD screen on the FX1 is already widescreen by default...
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Old July 8th, 2009, 05:41 AM   #8
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This doesn't help you now, but before I had three 16:9 cameras I turned away customers who asked for widescreen.

Anyway the reason you want to shoot 4:3 with the FX1 is because it will better match the footage of the other cameras in the end.

As an experiment I shot three weddings using the 16:9 mode of the VX2100 and PD150s. From my experience I would suggest you consider the following:

Use the VX2100 in widescreen along with the FX1 in 16:9 but you have to use it as follows:

The VX2100 in 16:9 mode is actually fine if you are close to the subject. For some reason the further away you are from the subject the worse it looks.

For example, I shot a ceremony in 16:9 with the VX2100 place in the rear of the church and it looked pretty bad than if it had been in 4:3.

Another wedding I shot with the VX2100 from the front pew area and it actually looked very good. For closeups it was excellent.

If you are able to leave the 2100 close to the altar down front, put the FX1 in the balcony if possible or rear of church. Use the Panasonic from another location only as a backup camera.

Use a shotgun mic on the VX2100 to capture audio and put your wireless on the Panasonic.

The only thing you'll use the Panasonic for is audio in this scenario.

You can edit using video footage from two cameras and audio from all three as needed.

So you arer technically using three cameras, but only using two for actual video.

Use the rear camera wide, lots of medium shots, and a few closeups also. You are still using three cameras as promised, but you'll only have to edit the video from two unless something goes wrong with the others.

Then in the future turn away three camera jobs until you have a third 16:9 camera.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 07:46 AM   #9
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Thanks, Jeff. Actually, I've already given this customer a great deal because she was on a tight budget and I had nothing else booked for that day, so I might explain to her that the wedding should probably be shot in 4:3 instead of making an "experiment" out of her video with 16:9 and risking problems.

My plan was to set the FX1 in the rear balcony for a wide shot, set the Panasonic somewhere on the altar pointing out towards the bride/groom/congregation (using that shot sparingly in the edit), then use the VX2100 to get close-ups during the processional & ceremony. I normally mic the groom and mount the receiver on my VX2100 so I can monitor the audio and adjust if necessary, then mix that audio with the rear cam.

On a side note, I have a business partner who also owns an FX1 and the latest version of Vegas, so for the higher-end packages we've been shooting almost exclusively in HD (which is widescreen by default) and authoring the 2 camera edits to blu-ray, and the picture quality is stunning. Our biggest issue is the encoding/rendering time -- almost an entire day for a typical 90 to 120 minute video. We're thinking we may need to change a setting somewhere before starting the render to speed things up, but we're still on a learning curve with the whole hi-def process, so hopefully things will get easier and faster with time.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 08:08 AM   #10
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I would shoot and deliver in 4:3 if you can...much smarter and the quality will be higher.

Hopefully she will not view it stretched on her tv.
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