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Hi everybody,

I have a question related to the film To the Wonder by Terrence Malick. In an interview for the American Cinematographer magazine,  director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki says that for “To the Wonder we did some tests and decided on the compromise of going 2.35 but shooting spherical— partly because I really, really love the sharp, clean Master Primes. We also went with spherical because we were shooting in a lot of houses.”

Since Lubezki speaks about the 'compromise' of going 2.35 but shooting spherical, my question is: does that mean that they shot super 35 and then cropped the image, therefore loosing some part of the original frame?


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5 hours ago, Miguel Roman said:

does that mean that they shot super 35 and then cropped the image, therefore loosing some part of the original frame?

Simply, yes.

Some cinematographers prefer to create 2.35:1 by using spherical lenses and cropping. Like Lubezki, Roger Deakins does this because he prefers the look of Master Primes. Other cinematographers have done it because they dislike anamorphic lenses. David Watkin once described them as an "optical nightmare". Sometimes there are other practical considerations, like close focus or weight, that preclude using anamorphic lenses.

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Thank you for your answer Stuart; I read that, in the time when celluloid was the norm, there was an optical step at the end of the answer-print process that could decrease slightly the quality of an image shot in super 35. Do you know if this was always the case? I guess with digital there is no such a problem anymore...

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The optical printer crop & squeeze to 4-perf 35mm anamorphic dupe element went away with digital intermediates by the mid-2000's. For a long time in the decade of the 2000s, since most D.I.s were done at 2K, and there was no generational loss difference between formats, Super-35 and anamorphic looked rather similar in quality since you needed a 4K D.I. to really see the difference in resolution, though Super-35 was in theory still slightly grainier even in 2K, but that depends a lot on how the movie was photographed.  Super-35 movies that avoided 500 ASA stocks looked quite good technically, blown-up optically or converted digitally.

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19 hours ago, Raymond Zananiri said:

So the convention (for spherical 2.35) is to shoot 4-perf and crop rather than use 2-perf?

As David says, 3 perf s35 is the most common format to crop. It uses less stock than cropping 4 perf, and offers flexibility to reframe, which 2 perf does not.

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