Thursday, March 24, 2005

Maybe My Screen Shouldn't Be So Wide!

I'm working all day, and into the night on my new feature.
A few hours each morning, I fool away my time sleeping.
Just before dropping off, I usually read something, lately
about widescreen movie systems.

When I owned a movie theatre, I said to myself,
"My movies should be in 4-perf Scope, so the
Projectionist can't muck them up."

True enough, once that Scope lens is on, all he can do is
frame up and down and focus. If he's wrong, it's immediately
apparent. In a Flat print, there's just too much leeway.
He can frame, focus, put in the wrong matte, oh it's horrible.

Stanley Kubrick framed his movies for a 1:66 ratio, and
Jim Cameron composes his widescreen into the top of the
Silent 35mm frame, (so-called "Super 35," rediscovered
by the late, great John Alcott, Stanley Kubrick's DP.)

Others shoot Academy frame, composing as though 1/7 of
their image at top and bottom won't be seen. Those will
be projected in 1.85 aspect, masking the top and bottom.

Everybody else intentionally distorts their movie, to squeeze
a 2.39 frame into four perfs. All well and good in the theatre,
but when you convert for broadcast or DVD, you must pan-and-scan
or letterbox. It's all a tradeoff, and anybody's guess.
So what would be so wrong to compose in 1.37 Academy?

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