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Flat vs. scope


Paul Bruening
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Hi Jonathon Benny,

 

You very effectively answerd my main anamorphic question(s). Thank you! I was under the impression that shooting anamorphic could give you a field of view that wasn't available with spherical. Now I know better.

 

I agree with you that it is through composition, camera angles and the right uses of lenses where you achieve a true sense of scope.

 

 

 

Thanks,

 

Rick

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If you re-read my original statement about sharpness/spherical lenses you will see that I covered the issue of the end result cancelling out the benefits.

So first you accuse me of addressing an issue that wasn't asked about and now you say that you addressed that very issue already anyway?

 

The terminology of your original post ('the advantages of spherical lenses being canceled out') is quite unfortunate, since it does not specifically say that anamorphic looks sharper, which is why I added my post.

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The terminology of your original post ('the advantages of spherical lenses being canceled out') is quite unfortunate, since it does not specifically say that anamorphic looks sharper, which is why I added my post.

 

I think at this point we're off the point.

 

In any case, the core issue has been dealt with.

 

Regards,

 

AJB

Edited by Jonathan Benny
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I agree with you that it is through composition, camera angles and the right uses of lenses where you achieve a true sense of scope.

 

Rick,

 

If you haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet, check it out as it is a very nice example of how some shots can be given immense "scope" through the use of spherical lenses and even using the 1.85 aspect ratio (not 2.39).

 

Regards,

 

AJB

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Rick,

 

If you haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet, check it out as it is a very nice example of how some shots can be given immense "scope" through the use of spherical lenses and even using the 1.85 aspect ratio (not 2.39).

 

Regards,

 

AJB

 

 

Uhm, thanks for the tip buddy, but no thanks. Any other 1.85 movies you would like to suggest?

 

Rick

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Did you ever Return of the Magnificent Seven?

 

I actually saw it last night, I didn't even know we had it in our library. Then when I started to watch it, it was exactly what we were talking about. It had a great amount of scope and it really was visually appealing, especially for such an old movie.

 

The lenses choice, their composition, I loved it.

 

(Unlike alot of today's movies where it's filled with alot of close shots and you really don't see anything else but the actors. I think their needs to be balance in telling the story.)

 

Thanks,

Rick

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is an interesting thread. In the film I'm working on (The Black Sky), I was concidering trying to shoot the interior scenes that take place aboard a starship in 3:4 to help convey the sense of being trapped and not being able to see the entire picture (medaphorically speaking) and "shooting" the exterior animation in a 9:16 aspect ratio to help convey the feeling of being lost in the realm of God, and using a transtion that kinda rolled or streched the frame wider as the camera pulled through the hull of the ship. But after talking to my animators we were not quite sure how exactly that would work, wheather we would shrink the top of the frame and roll or stretch out and in the sides between ratios or simple stretch out the sides, and what that would do to the audence. If it would be too jarring or distracting.

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Aye, aye, Captain, this is an interesting thread.

 

I can appreciate what you're trying to do. I really like the concept you're trying to acheive, but I believe switching between 16:9 and 4:3 formats may not be the best way to achieve that. (although anything is possible these days, but as far as looking smooth, that would be tough)

 

I would suggest shooting the whole thing in 16:9 for the main reason of it looking newer, especially for a sci-fi film.

 

Now as far as your contrast in space vs. tight space. I think you could best accomplish your tight space feel with your composition of the shots. Because if you think about it, you can shoot space in 16:9 and it still may not have the depth you want. It has to be the composition/layout.

 

In the ship, you can make your sets very tight. Make the actors have to crouch if necessary. Nothing in the way of leg room, smaller chairs, etc. You may also want to have 4:3 monitors on the ship where the actors will speak back and forth and that could be your 4:3 tight space feel also.

 

Then with your space shots, to show that expanse, you will need some frame of references to show the breadth of it. Maybe a meteor going by that is huge at first and disappears slowly to a spec, or the same in reverse. Showing the ship next to a planet is also good to show how small they are, even compared to a planet.

 

16:9 looks cooler, newer, and ready for 16:9 televisions.

 

Hope this helps, :D

Rick

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I hear what your saying. 9:16 does look newer. I was also planning to shoot digital to give it a stronger sense of feeling of reality and help break down the separation between the charactures and the audiance. But I wanted to play with aspect ratios to convey the sense of restriction and captivity differently than I'd ever see it done before like your not seeing the whole picture, and use the wide screen the John Ford used the desert, to covey the magesty and grandure of space to the point where it become overwhelming and frightening. It's funny you should mention long shots of the ship. Most of the acton takes place in a nebula The shots in open space ( ther are only a few) won't use some of the odd angles and perspectives I'm planning. Theres's also a gradual rransition from the gorgous, stunningly beautiful outer areas of the nebula to the dark and turbulent inner areas near Pandora (the system's only planet, a gas giant) I had planned to use a lot of long shots including the sequence where the ship enters the nubula where the ship keeps getting smaller and smaller until it's a pinpoint aganst the wall of nebulious gasses to help convey a sense of proportion. I planned to vary my shot between very close leaves the background as close to a boarder on very long shots w/ very few what might be deemed normal prospectives. (it lends it's self to the story) The sets are big tha largest being 75' x 20' and can use longer lenses to compact the background but I wanted to try something different.

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I was concidering trying to shoot the interior scenes that take place aboard a starship in 3:4 to help convey the sense of being trapped and not being able to see the entire picture (medaphorically speaking)

If the apect ratio is wider the compositions can reflect the absence of space more.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Different stories require different aspect ratios. And every person will see the same story in a differing way. Kubrick used academy AND he shot 60mm 2.40 (or whatever 2001 was...) he used just about every damn aspect ratio and you wont find one person on this site that can respect themselves if they said, for example, " Barry Lyndon would be better at 2.35." If someone is having trouble figuring out what aspect ratio to use on a project, especially pet projects, then they dont have command of the story in their minds eye. They don't yet "see" it for what it's worth to them. Just my two cents...

 

As for the space movie, I'm only twelve but widescreen in space kicks butt!

Edited by BARCA
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A movie can be well-composed in any aspect ratio. The more common problem is that many movies are indifferently composed no matter which aspect ratio they chose -- it's not like they'd be better in one or the other, since the filmmakers seems to have no feeling for composition anyway! But if they are good at composing, they probably can compose well in any aspect ratio. Look at some many of the filmmakers of the 1950's who jumped from 1.37 Academy to 2.35 scope (like Kurosawa did) without spending time first composing in the more intermediate shapes (1.66 or 1.85).

 

Sam Spiegel told David Lean he should study some CinemaScope films before he made "Bridge on the River Kwai" to learn how to compose for 2.35, but Lean said he didn't need to do that because he understood how to compose within any rectangle. In his case, he was right.

 

As for the notion that a squarer shape is more claustrophobic, and conversely, that a wider shape is more open and expansive, that's a common belief with a lot of validity. However, I agree with Max that scope, by showing more of the surrounding space, can create a strong feeling of the environment encroaching on the sides of the frame -- now whether that adds to the feeling of confinement or the opposite, I don't know. I have one friend with a script that takes place in small tunnels underground, and the question has been whether 2.35 would help create a better feeling of being in this space, or if 1.85 would naturally fit the shape of the tunnels better. "Alien" for example is a fairly claustrophobic movie shot in 2.35.

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Kubrick used academy AND he shot 60mm 2.40 (or whatever 2001 was...)

2001 was shot in 65mm, which became 70mm upon projection (the 5 additional millimetres are for the magnetic soundtrack). The aspect ratio of that format is 2.20.

 

If you ever buy yourself the wonderful 'Stanley Kubrick Archives', it comes with a strip of 70mm film from a print of 2001.

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I have one friend with a script that takes place in small tunnels underground, and the question has been whether 2.35 would help create a better feeling of being in this space, or if 1.85 would naturally fit the shape of the tunnels better. "Alien" for example is a fairly claustrophobic movie shot in 2.35.

That's an interesting thought. I think what would really make that type of film feel even more claustrophobic would be the transition from a more open space to the tunnels. But once you're in the tunnels I think it would come down more to composition than aspect ratio.

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The new FULL METAL JACKET book is cool, too. Great behind the scenes photos, fast read. Nothing tech. Modine did well, however.

I read that book in a day. It's a very interesting read. There is this hilarious the bit towards the end where Kubrick tells him that the last scene (which is also the last scene of the film, where they find the sniper) will be really fast to shoot, they'll be in and out fo the studio in 3 days. And then they shoot on it for months...

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