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-   -   16:9 argument with my new shooter (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-vx2100-pd170-pdx10-companion/122863-16-9-argument-my-new-shooter.html)

Jeff Harper June 1st, 2008 10:04 AM

16:9 argument with my new shooter
I shoot weddings, etc using the VX2100 and the PD 150/170. I always shoot in 4:3 mode.

I have a new shooter who just finished film school, who questions our (my company's) continuing to shoot in 16:9.

I explained that when running multiple cams, doing multiple gigs, etc., it's not worth it. I also explained to him that it's fake widescreen, it distorts.

He countered with the fact that he uses FCP and chooses an anamorphic setting and it looks fine to him when he makes his own videos.

I belong to a community of wedding videographers who still use the 4:3 sony cams and NO ONE I know of shoots in the fake 16:9 mode.

I personally have never even tried shooting in the 16:9 mode on these cams, don't see the purpose, not for what I do.

Am I missing something here, is the kid right and are all of us old geezers in cincinnnati are just too old-school to know what's good?

I truthfully don't have anything left to counter him with, and finally had to admit I had never tried it, and that I would just for kicks.

Can anyone give me some guidance here?

Truth be told, it irritates me that people end up watching my videos stretched out on the screen anyway, as so many people have widescreen TVS now, but until I switch to native 16:9 cams, I feel I should just keep on as I have been.

What do you think? What do I tell him?

Please don't recommend I get new cams unless you have $20K to replace my current ones for me! I'm making that transition as best as I can.

Don Bloom June 1st, 2008 11:45 AM

having tried the '16:9' with the VX1000/Pd150/Pd170/DSR250 and even a JVC5000U NONE of them shoot in true 16:9 and to my eye the "fake" 16:9 of those cameras really is pathetic. I have never had a problem with clients asking why I shoot in 4:3 since most don't really know the difference anyway. They see what they see be it 4:3, 4:3 stretched or 16:9, and go on with life.
Since he works for YOU why not tell him, 'this is OUR way of shooting and we edit the product in the same mode it was shot." Meaning get with the program or hit the door. Well maybe that's a bit harsh but I think you get what I mean.
I would never use it (the '16:9' of those cameras)for a paying job. It really just doesn't look good at all. At least not to me.
Just my $.04 worth adjusted for the rising cost of fuel.


Chris Hurd June 1st, 2008 12:38 PM

Nothing wrong with shooting 16:9, as long as the camera is native 16:9. These aren't.

Jeff Harper June 1st, 2008 01:21 PM

Thanks guys. This kid was talking with such conviction about how great it looked, I really got to thinking there was something to what he was saying. Ahhh, to be young and know everything, what a blissful state that was.

Tom Hardwick June 1st, 2008 01:45 PM

Jeff, your VX and PDs when set to their 16:9 mode don't distort. Whatever gave you that idea? OK, they lose vertical resolution and the viewfinders give a smaller image, but that's the only two downers.

As you've found out, folk that can afford your wedding filming skills don't come home from their expensive honeymoon and switch on an old 4:3 CRT, now do they? What they do is stretch, expand, 'smart', 15:9 and god knows what else to your footage, and yes - that sure does distort it.

Very few of them (I'll wager) will bother to switch their nice plasmas to the 4:3 mode, and anyway, as I've found out some 16:9 TVs don't even have a 4:3 mode these days.

So your 4:3 footage is being stretched and pulled to fill these screens. Surely it's better to film in their 16:9 mode and stop the client messing about and getting it wrong?

I used to film with my PAL VX2k in the 16:9 mode and it looked just as good on a 16:9 TV as shooting in 4:3 and have the TV expand the footage to show the central 432 lines. IN NTSC land this cropping will mean a greater resolution hit, but surely it's time to give it a test run.

One thing though. Your clients will make assumptions unless you tell them otherwise. They'll assume the film will be supplied on DVD. They'll assume it will be in colour, sharp and well exposed. They'll also assume it'll fill their posh new TV screen, and I'm not sure how much longer you can continue keeping stum about this last point.


Chris Barcellos June 1st, 2008 02:34 PM

This issue with the VX and PDs has been going around for several years. Ultimately, those of us who shot in 16:9 on the camera, had three methods of doing so. One way was to engage the 16:9 function. Another was to shoot 4:3, but mask in camera using a mask from the memory card. This worked great. The third was to use a 16:9 adapter. They ran about about $1000 at one time. Essentially what occurs is the adapter squeezed a wide view into the 4:3 frame, distorting the image. In post (in Vegas, for instance) you change the properties of the clip from 4:3 to 16:9. . I just bought one on a close out from Century Optics for $99.00. It is clear they see the future.

These days you can get a better 16:9 native images with a $ 800 camera like the HV30, so this debate is dissappearing. Only thing missing in these new cameras is VX/PD low light capability...

David Heath June 1st, 2008 04:16 PM


Originally Posted by Jeff Harper (Post 886629)
Truth be told, it irritates me that people end up watching my videos stretched out on the screen anyway, as so many people have widescreen TVS now, but until I switch to native 16:9 cams, I feel I should just keep on as I have been.

What do you think? What do I tell him?

I think the above says it all. Deep down, you know 16:9 makes increasing sense for this work, but also know that if you have a 4:3 camera, it's best used in 4:3 mode. I fully agree.

BUT, if a friend was about to employ someone to film their daughters wedding, and asked my advice about what to look for, then "make sure they film true widescreen" would be well up my list of check points for them. (Along with "if they don't, go away and find someone who does".)

The wedding DVD may be looked at for years to come, well after 4:3 TVs have gone the way of monochrome sets. Should customers really have to put up with watching the picture stretched, or with black bars at the side? Even if they currently only have a 4:3 TV, a DVD player and widescreen DVD will produce a centre-cut or letterbox picture for it - as they do with cinema DVDs.

So, what to do?

Originally Posted by Jeff Harper (Post 886629)
Please don't recommend I get new cams unless you have $20K .........

Ah! Bang goes that idea....... :-)

All I can say is that anybody not able to offer a widescreen (and ideally HD) product, may find themselves increasing being squeezed by companies who do offer it. It may become not a case of can you afford to buy new cameras, but can you afford not to?

Simon Denny June 1st, 2008 04:50 PM

Hi Jeff,
The PD 150/170 records to tape in square pixels and a true 16.9 cam use's rectangle pixels.

The PD 150/170 in 16.9 mode just puts black bars top an bottom.
Even if you mask the LCD and use an anamorphic setting in post, this will resize the footage to get 16.9 wich on a 4.3 TV looks ok but when played on large widescreen, resoultion takes a hit and looks like a very cheap camera which theses camera are not.


Noa Put June 2nd, 2008 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by Simon Ash (Post 886793)
resoultion takes a hit and looks like a very cheap camera which theses camera are not.

I guess that with ntsc the resolution hit is bigger then with pal, sure I see a loss in resolution when I film in 16:9 mode with my vx2100 but it's acceptable on older crt screens were you hardly can see the difference, only big lcd's cause bigger problems. I have seen lcd's (or might be plasma's, not sure about that) at my clients were my 16:9 dvd's looked quite good and I have seen lcd's were my footage looked like crap.

That's the main reason why I intend to switch to HD by the end of this year, for regular dvd I hope to get a better resolution and for blu-ray I should be sure to get a very good image.

The thing about filming in 4:3 is that I was doing that about 2 years ago but since then wide screen tv have really flooded the market here, since last year I always have filmed in 16:9 mode because with 4:3 there are other problems to consider.

First of all, selling 4:3 is out of the question here, no way my clients want to look at their expensive wedding in an old format on their expensive widescreen lcd.

you can also bet they, like Tom said, will start to stretch your footage to fit their screen. I can tell you that no-one has a clue when it's correctly stretched, most of them will watch a completely deformed image and if I don't tell them, most of them won't notice. Today's lcd's have so many options in choosingseveral widescreen modes they just don't know. If it fills their screen, then it's OK.

The biggest problem I see with filming 4:3 is if they stretch it it will be either deformed or a part of the top and bottom of the image is missing, which will cause chopped of heads and so, meaning you have to take that into consideration while filming to leave anough headspace.

That's why I allways film in 16:9 mode because then they can only distort the image with a wrong setting but I will tell them when they look at their dvd, if it's correctly set I will be sure that what i want to appear on screen will be seen and not covered by the TV.

Martin Mayer June 2nd, 2008 09:39 AM


Originally Posted by Simon Ash (Post 886793)
The PD 150/170 records to tape in square pixels ......

I'm not sure WHAT you are saying here and, with respect, I'm not sure you are either. Pixels on tape don't have a shape, and there is no meaning to the phrase "square pixels". Even non-anamorphic "square" pixels used in 4:3 footage are NOT 1:1 aspect ratio.


Originally Posted by Simon Ash (Post 886793)
The PD 150/170 in 16.9 mode just puts black bars top an bottom.

This is simply not true (regarding the signal recorded) and again, with respect, shows a complete lack of understanding of anamorphic footage and how the PD150/170 produces it (which it does). True, the PD150/170 do not have 16:9 sensors, but your post is very misleading.

FWIW, in response to Jeff, I agree with Tom H and I fear your new shooter is right: Jeff, how can you say 4:3 footage - usually stretched for watching on a 16:9 set - is an acceptable way to proceed?

Jeff Harper June 2nd, 2008 09:44 AM

I suppose the only way to see if shooting in the fake widescreen is acceptable to me is to try it!

Martin Mayer June 2nd, 2008 09:57 AM

Good idea. As Tom H says - it will letterbox the V/F and LCD, but (and this is a big but) it will NOT letterbox the recorded footage. Recorded footage will be anamorphic (full frame) 16:9, synthesized by expanding the central c.400 lines (from memory) to fill the frame height, giving a "correctly" distorted (tall and thin) anamorphic image.

The captured footage can be treated as true anamorphic 16:9 by your NLE, and will show a small loss of vertical resolution - although I defy your customers to notice it.

I found it OK (until I eventually went to HDV) and it was CERTAINLY better than delivering 4:3 footage eight years into the in 21st Century - which I would find professionally excruciatingly embarrassing.

Chris Barcellos June 2nd, 2008 10:01 AM


This thread is a combination of serveral different original threads. http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ght=16%3A9

Ryan Postel June 2nd, 2008 10:54 AM

The wedding video company I worked for a little over 3 years ago made the switch from 4:3 to 16:9 back then after they bought new widescreen TVs (as people do nowadays) for the demo room and the 4:3 demo videos looked embarrassingly bad with the bars on either side. People would ask why the image didn't fit the TV and would that be the same for their TV at home.

Plus, we found that people assume that 16:9 = professional and 4:3 = my own dinky camcorder.

I'm not saying that 4:3 cameras don't produce a good image, but that things are progressing. The whole argument of standard to widescreen aspect ratio seems a bit dead at this point. The kid is right.

Jeff Harper June 2nd, 2008 11:07 AM

Yes, I suppose he is. I'm shooting some wedding porn tomorrow in a park. I'll shoot it in 16:9 and see what happens.

I am overwhelmed with editing and need to get off of this board!

To avoid temporarily researching this much as I am overloaded with work, can I simply shoot in the 16:9 mode, set my project properties in Vegas to 16:9 and I'll be good to go?

Thanks for all of your feedback, very much appreciated.

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