Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ernie Zahn

Aspect Ratio Question

Recommended Posts

So, I know there are many ways to achieve a 2:35 aspect ratio but I'm particulatly curious how many major motion pictures shoot at 1.78/1.85 or some other aspect ratio and then crop to 2.35.


Further I've met some DPs who roll their eyes at that method vs using an anamorphic system.


Why is that? I know it means shooting more information in your frame and then cropping out some information but isn't using lenses, camera movement, angles and other things intended as a means to show the audience what they need to be looking at? Isn't the frame you compose your picture just as important?


Is it because its looked at as the poor man's version of a true cinema wide experience?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Many DP's prefer the authentic look of cinemascope's 2:35 ratio that comes from using anamorphic lenses. You can't really get the exact same dof and image characteristics with spherical lenses.via cropping the image to 2:35. So that would be one reason why some purists out there might scoff at cropping vs using actual anamorphic lenses.


Though there are drawbacks to anamorphic such as slower speed, heavier bulkier lenses etc. It's about balancing the needs of the production as a whole with the desired look of the film. Sometimes you'd shoot Super35mm for scope for those sort of workflow reasons. You get the aspect ratio but not the on set drawbacks. Again, those lens characteristics though are the primary reason most DP's would fight for it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guardians of the Galaxy (which I saw yesterday and greatly enjoyed) is an example - lots of computer-generated anamorphic flares, lots of circular focus artifacts.


Ho hum.


Alexa, wasn't it?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening scenes were shot in anamorphic but the rest was shot spherically, apparently at the request of the visual effects people and Marvel, to allow them more flexibility in frame repositioning (though Marvel allowed "Captain America: Winter Soldier" to be shot in anamorphic...)


Shooting with spherical lenses for a 2.40 release has been quite common for decades, and is still more commonplace than shooting anamorphic. Just look at Roger Deakins' work in 2.40, it's all been spherical. All the Bond movies with Daniel Craig have been spherical cropped to 2.40. James Cameron was the person to really make Super-35 popular for 2.40 movies starting back with "The Abyss" and "Terminator 2".


The aspect ratio is a separate issue from the anamorphic lens artifacts, which some people love and others feel are a distraction.


Anamorphic has taken off again recently mainly due to the 4x3 Alexa sensor and the feeling that the lens artifacts add an "analogue" (i.e. old school) texture that offsets the clean digital look.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Michael. Thanks for the input. I guess I can see where some purists are coming from. I ask because I was going to shoot an upcoming project in anamorphic but I was debating between that and just cropping. I've been composing a lot of shots with that framing.


And Phil, I believe it was shot on the Alexa XT Plus. I saw it in IMAX. But I guess the 2D showings were cropped to 2.39 or 2.35?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Serious Gear

    Broadcast Solutions Inc

    Just Cinema Gear

    Metropolis Post

    G-Force Grips

    FJS International

    Ritter Battery

    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

    Wooden Camera

    The Original Slider

    Abel Cine

    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

    Visual Products


    Gamma Ray Digital Inc

    Rig Wheels Passport

    Tai Audio

    Paralinx LLC


    Cinematography Books and Gear
  • Create New...