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James Steven Beverly

who's in charge

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Generally speaking, yes, the DP chooses the stocks. There are situations though where a tight budget may cause a DP to have to compromise on this. Over the years, it hasn't happened too much to me because I'm pretty adamant about the reasons why I want to use a certain stock, but occasionally you have no choice because of a deal the production has made for the stock already.

 

So it's good to think about alternative stocks that will do a similar job, so at least you can make an alternative suggestion that could be acceptable to the production and keep you relatively happy. For example, if 5218 is unaffordable and the production wants you to try 5279, you may decide that a closer match to the look you want would be Fuji Eterna than 79 would be (i.e. you need less contrast, not more), so you can suggest they look into that.

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By all means, "if your heart is set" on using a particular Kodak stock, involve your Kodak sales representative in the negotiations.

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Personally, I preferred it when he was shooting in 35mm anamorphic Technovision rather than 3-perf 35mm framed for 2:1, but at least he's using more of the negative than if he were cropping to 2.39. Plus he currently prefers doing the blow-up using an optical printer over a D.I., which I'm not sure is a great idea (since 3-perf is not a projection format, he tries to blow-up to scope with side mattes to preserve the 2:1 frame, but this doesn't always happen: "Dune" was shown at 1.78 on TV and the two "Exorcist" prequels he shot were not shown at 2:1 either, as far as I recall -- the Harlin version was released in 2.39 and the Shrader version in 1.85.)

 

And even in the DVD releases, he's been unable to get distributors to stick to 2:1. My DVD's of "Picking Up the Pieces", "Dune", "Tango" and "Goya in Bordeaux" -- all Univisium -- don't match in terms of aspect ratios. So I think instead of creating a single aspect ratio, he's created an additional aspect ratio.

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I love that fact that Storaro is encouraging different aspect ratios. We are noticing that the de facto 1.66:1 is being phased out. So within the next five years all movies will be formatted in either 1.78:1 or 2.40:1. But David, why do you always say 2.39:1? Isn't it 2.35 or 2.40?

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I love that fact that Storaro is encouraging different aspect ratios. We are noticing that the de facto 1.66:1 is being phased out. So within the next five years all movies will be formatted in either 1.78:1 or 2.40:1. But David, why do you always say 2.39:1? Isn't it 2.35 or 2.40?

 

Well, the point of the "Uni" in Univisium is to encourage a single aspect ratio to emerge to cover both TV and cinema.

 

Current SMPTE standards for 35mm anamorphic projection specifies a projector gate that is .825" x .690", which equals an aspect ratio of 1.195621 : 1, which with a 2X unqueeze becomes 2.3913042 : 1.

 

Technically, it hasn't been 2.35 since the early 1970's, but for a decade, there was a different SMPTE gate standard that was around 2.39 : 1, then it was adjusted again -- I think to a slightly overall smaller gate that still is around 2.39 : 1. But some theaters still have the old 2.35 gates, and many screens and their black borders further trim and reshape the aspect ratio.

 

Most places like Panavision just round-up 2.39 : 1 to 2.40 : 1 in their literature.

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Current SMPTE standards for 35mm anamorphic projection specifies a projector gate that is .825" x .690", which equals an aspect ratio of 1.195621 : 1, which with a 2X unqueeze becomes 2.3913042 : 1.

 

Technically, it hasn't been 2.35 since the early 1970's, but for a decade, there was a different SMPTE gate standard that was around 2.39 : 1, then it was adjusted again -- I think to a slightly overall smaller gate that still is around 2.39 : 1. But some theaters still have the old 2.35 gates, and many screens and their black borders further trim and reshape the aspect ratio.

 

Most places like Panavision just round-up 2.39 : 1 to 2.40 : 1 in their literature.

 

It has been over a decade since the SMPTE standard specified 0.838 x 0.700 inches as the "scope" image area. It was reduced to 0.825 x 0.690 inches in 1993 to reduce the risk of showing poorly made negative splices that sometimes intruded into the image area. Originally, the image area was even larger, 0.839 x 0.715 inches, which is where 2.35:1 is remembered from.

 

Here's the history of the "scope" image area:

 

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/apertures.htm

 

From 1957 through today, there have been a number of small changes to the anamorphic projector aperture recommended standards. John P. Pytlak of Eastman Kodak dug through countless back issues of the SMPTE Journal in order to provide the following chronology of the changes to the standards:

 

The March 1957 SMPTE Journal has PH22.104-1957, the standard for 2.55:1 anamorphic (no optical track), with an aperture size of 0.912 X 0.715 inches. Notice of withdrawal of this standard was in the January 1964 Journal.

 

The December 1957 SMPTE Journal has PH22.106-1957 for 2.35:1 anamorphic, with an aperture of 0.839 X 0.715 inches. It was unchanged in the September 1964 Journal. The November 1965 SMPTE Journal published PH22.106-1965 still with the 0.839 X 0.715 aperture size.

 

In the September 1970 SMPTE Journal, a new draft of PH22.106 was proposed, with an aperture size of 0.838 X 0.700 inches, to minimize the flashes at splices. This was republished as standard PH22.106-1971 in the October 1971 issue.

 

In the June 1976 SMPTE Journal, the two (flat and scope) projectable image area standards (PH22.58 and PH22.106) were consolidated into one standard and renamed PH22.195. The publication of PH22.195-1984 in the October 1984 Journal still had the scope area as 0.700 X 0.838 inches.

 

The June 1992 SMPTE Journal published a proposed revision, with a scope area of 0.690 X 0.825 inches. In August 1993, the standard was published as SMPTE 195-1993, with the current area of 0.690 X 0.825 inches. So August 1993 is when the two formats became the same width of 0.825 inches.

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