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Old August 19th, 2020, 12:19 PM   #1
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Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

I am planning on shooting my next project and I noticed that two movies I saw recently, The Witch, and Marriage Story, were both shot with this aspect ratio.

I like it and was thinking of using it, but would it be considered too weird or unsafe for film festival standards do you think, since it's not exactly a standard aspect ratio?
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Old August 19th, 2020, 10:28 PM   #2
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

1.66 (5:3) was briefly popular among European art house films of the late 1970s and early '80s, but I haven't seen it used much since. Because of that experience, I always associate it with low budget black and white movies with weighty ambitions but middling execution.

Personally, I don't think it's visually different enough from the 1.78:1 HD video standards to be worth the trouble. Getting exhibitors to display it properly will require constant vigilance.
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Old August 20th, 2020, 01:25 AM   #3
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Oh okay, but when recent movies like Marriage Story (2019) or The Witch (2015) were shown in theaters, did the exhibitors have to jump through extra hoops to play them?
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Old August 20th, 2020, 06:58 AM   #4
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Haven't you gone through an entire thread dealing with this subject (with another aspect ratio)? The answers won't have changed in the meantime and the procedures will remain the same.
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Old August 21st, 2020, 12:51 AM   #5
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Oh yes it's just that 1.66:1 feels like a different game since it's even much less wide compared to 2.20:1 that I asked about before. But I can apply the same principles then.
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Old August 21st, 2020, 01:25 AM   #6
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Yes, it's the same as viewing a 1.33 film on a 16:9 screen, you'll get pillars on either side.
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Old August 31st, 2020, 09:37 PM   #7
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Yeah I know there will be pillars on the side, but wonder if will come off as amateur. Movies like The Witch and Marriage Story got away with it, but wonder if it can still look amateur.
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Old September 1st, 2020, 12:30 AM   #8
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

It will only come off as amateur if the rest of the film looks like it doesn't have a high standard. You need to have an aesthetic reason for using 1.66, if you don't, you must question why you;re wanting to use it.

Festival audiences will accept things if it's appropriate for the film. They aren't a mainstream audience, which can be less open in what they expect to see,
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Old September 1st, 2020, 01:10 AM   #9
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

What do YOU define as amateur? The average viewer doesn't;t even notice they are shooting and watching portrait on their wide screen TV. What people hate is being made aware of things they don't need to know.

Look at the first use of really widescreen cinema. The huge vistas and the extra space in the shots. However, virtually all of them were great on 4:3 TVs panned and scanned properly. The action took place in the main in the centre zone, and many cinemas could not even show these movies properly, but they were great movies based on content and performance.

In my head their are two words. Amateur and Amateurish. Very, very different. The first means enthusiast, goal seeking, adventurous, flexible and of course the money thing - thin budget or micro budget and good people working for free or expenses maybe. That is an amateur production. An amateurish product is totally different. That's just standards set at a very low level. Bad actors, bad script, bad technical procedures, bad marketing and generally bad decisions. I think the two words get interchanged sometimes by people who don't really know the difference. Amateur can be very high quality, amateurish is embarrassing.

In a reasonably local town there is a film club., I got asked to do a little talk a year or two back, and I thought I should probably join - UNTIL - I did the session for them and found a bunch of incompetent, amateurish people who thought they knew it all, and sounded like they did until I saw what they were shooting. It was simply dreadful. Everything compromised in every department yet they thought they were really hot.

The other day on TV there was a short section of a police movie and I went back and watched it again on catchup. A gripping scene, but I realised the cameras were clearly hand-held and the wobbled badly. I normally hate this, but the sound, the picture sharpness and the acting meant I had totally missed wobblycam - a pet hate. Watching again it was I think one take with two cameras, each on an over the shoulder shot, fast cut as the two actors spoke. I missed the poor stability first view. Gripping content, brain didn't bother to wander. This is where aspect ratio lays. Does it really matter? Will they notice? Why exactly did you pick it?
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Old September 1st, 2020, 10:44 PM   #10
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Oh okay, I thought that Amateur and Amateurish were the same thing, my mistake :). I meant amateurish then.

Well my main reason is because then you don't have to show a lot of extras in scenes with lots of background extras, in especially in these covid 19 times. So that was the main reason. I mean I could shoot it in 1.85:1 and get closer but I figure 1.66 gives shaves off even more, which may help, when it comes to extras.
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Old September 2nd, 2020, 12:19 AM   #11
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Ryan, sometimes you make the most ridiculous statements. Too silly to take seriously. I trust your joking here?
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Old September 2nd, 2020, 01:04 AM   #12
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

You can have amateurish professional films.

Sometimes, professionals will deliberately make a film "amateurish" because that's the feeling they want to create, a sort of home movie effect.
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Old September 2nd, 2020, 06:04 AM   #13
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Oh okay. No, I am not joking, but there are filmmakers who have done in the past. I cannot remember which movie it was but it was a musical, where the director wanted to shoot in cinemascope, but the producer wouldn't let him, saying that he would need to hire more dancing extras if they did. So my reasoning was the same, is the less wide, the less extras.

Is that bad of me?
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Old September 2nd, 2020, 08:34 AM   #14
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

Cinemascope doesn't mean just width though - it means less height. My world of theatres is a good example - the only critical thing for number of dancers is stage width and depth, height is unimportant, so cinemascope theatre would simply have lower scenery and drapes. 4:3 would have lots of height many theatres don't have. Unless you intend shooting totally in wide shot, the more cast argument doesn't work. If you shoot 16:9 and pull back till your cast fill the frame it has no real impact on cast quantity.
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Old September 2nd, 2020, 09:00 AM   #15
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Re: Would shooting in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio be too weird for film festivals?

The difference between 1.85, 16:9 and 1.66 isn't isn't large compared to CinemaScope, I don't think the extras is a good argument for shooting 1.66. the most noticeable difference is the frame height. That's something that many of the great 1.33 films make full use of, with staircases and characters on different levels within the frame.
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