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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 11:25 PM   #1
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Cinerama XL2 ...?

Okay, so after a few days of shooiting with the XL2 (& loving it), I got to thinking:

Given the cam's natively 16:9 chipset, if I mounted an anamorphic converter---say the Panasonic---how much widescreen coverage could I cram into the chips?

No idea what the math would be on this . . . lovely to think about. Has anybody tried it?

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Old December 4th, 2004, 06:23 AM   #2
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I think the math is pretty simple. In 16:9 mode the XL-2 has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Now an anamorphic lens is designed to convert 1.33:1 into 1.78:1, therefore:

1.78 / 1.33 = 1.338

So if you add it to a camera that is native 1.78:1 you get:

1.78 x 1.338 = 2.38

There are some rounding errors here, and those numbers are not very precise, but basically you will be close to the Cinemascope aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Now Cinerama is closer to 2.65:1

This topic comes up regularly in several different forums, but I don't think very many people actually follow through with it. The real problem is: what will you do with the footage you shoot this way. No matter how much you stretch it, NTSC DV-25 only offers 720x480 pixels. So unless you want to up-rez it to some form of HD you're going to have to take your final product and letterbox it inside a 16:9 frame (you will also have to do this with HD for that matter). In the end you will have gone through a lot of trouble to do something which could be accomplished by just cropping the native 16:9 to 2.35:1. And you will have to deal with all the quirks of the anamorphic lens like vignetting, limited zoom range, squashed image in your viewfinder etc.

(trivia question: did you know that Cinerama is an anagram for American? :-)
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