DVX 100 Ratio Issue
Published : 19th April 2005
I am going to shoot a digital feature and I own a DVX100 with the anamorphic adapter. Because of the style we are going to shoot in the adapter would hinder the shoot with its flaws. Ideally it would be nice to get the DVX100A and do a 16x9 electronic squeeze but the budget might not be up for that.
Given that scenario would people use the 16x9 mode on the DVX100 which basically letterboxes the 4x3 image or shoot 4x3 and protect for 16x9 then drop the matte in post. What would give me the best resolution since it might go to print. I am leaning toward shooting 4x3 and protecting for 16x9 since I have read this has been done before.
You should never use the letterbox feature. You handicap yourself right off the bat by blacking out the top and bottom of the image giving you far less resolution and less ability to manipulate the image in post including not being able to shift the image up and down which can be very valuable and adding a smaller letterbox if desired.
I take gel and tape it to the LCD monitor so I have the benefit of both a 16:9 composition and can see through to the full 4:3. I only ever use the letterbox feature to help me place my gel.
Cinematographer / DIT
Why not see if you can drag an XL2 out of Canon?
As for the anamorphic adaptors, the quality is very low and they are not consistent focus with zoom; they also rob you of the wide end of the zoom which is exactly the end that's not far enough anyway.
It is trivially quick and simple to do the postproduction de-squeeze in something like VirtualDub, which will do it in better-than-realtime on a reasonable modern desktop PC.
Brian Fass wrote:
>would people use the 16x9 mode on the DVX100 which basically >letterboxes the 4x3 image or shoot 4x3 and protect for 16x9 then drop >the matte in post.
I don't actually see much difference between these two methods.
Are you doing a lot of long lens for your shoot, which would disqualify the anamorphic adapter? I've shot quite a bit with the anamorphic adapter and have had really good results provided I side step some of its limitations. That said I have not seem a film out, but side by side comparison of anamorphic /non anamorphic on my hi rez monitor looks quite comparable.
Can you swing a test & film out a minute of anamorphic vs cropped 4x3?
Am I the only one who thinks it's okay to mix anamorphic and cropped 16x9 shots in the same project? You deal with the squash/unsquash/matte issues in post, but I've gotten a decent match in my tests.
Seems worth it to have whichever is more important (vertical resolution vs zoom range/filters/adaptors/etc.) on a shot-by-shot basis.
>Given that scenario would people use the 16x9 mode on the DVX100 >which basically letterboxes the 4x3 image or shoot 4x3 and protect for >16x9 then drop the matte in post.
We shot 4:3 on a XL-1 feature once with the idea that it would be letterboxed in post. However, the director changed her mind during post and they never letterboxed it. As a result, everyone has way too much headroom and I cringe every time I see footage from it.
>What would give me the best resolution since it might go to print.
The anamorphic adapter would give you the best resolution for a filmout. You would either need to devise a way to work around the limitations of the anamorphic adapter, or accept a lower resolution image and shoot 16X9 in camera on the DVX100a. Shooting 4:3 and letterboxing in post is slightly less desirable since the DV codec will be compressing additional picture information that will not be used.
>Am I the only one who thinks it's okay to mix anamorphic and cropped >6x9 shots in the same project?
If you're staying on video or projecting the footage onto small screens, the differences in resolution aren't as apparent.
However, if you're projecting onto large screens, the differences in resolution will be more noticeable (assuming all other variables are equal).
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
>We shot 4:3 ... director changed her mind during post and they never >letterboxed it.
Euch, oh boy, I thought only I was involved in shitty enough productions to have that happen. In my case, the director put a title (stuck down, obviously) in an area which should have been masked. Ohforf....
>Shooting 4:3 and letterboxing in post is slightly less desirable since the >DV codec will be compressing additional picture information that will >not be used.
I tend to think that letterboxing in post looks subjectively better. It's certainly less data - a whole bunch less - but the resample that most cameras do is just horrible. Resample a picture in Photoshop with "nearest neighbour" checked - it's a little better than that, depending on the camera, but not much. The resulting jaggies flicker in interlaced formats, look horrible on slow tilts or diagonal lines, and what's more they kick off the DV codec horribly and cause it to mess up the information distribution.
I find that postproduction ARC, which you can do as a renderable process in less than realtime, looks at least smooth if it doesn't look sharp - and it isn't going to look sharp either way.
Jessica Gallant writes:
>the director changed her mind during post and they never letterboxed it. >As a result, everyone has way too much headroom and I cringe...
Argh. Did they end up having to write the mic boom into the story?
But seriously, anyone considering a low-budget widescreen shoot would probably do well to wait for the XL-2 to become available...maybe get their name on the waiting list NOW.
On the other hand, never ever use version 1.0 of *anything*!
On the OTHER hand,. the XL2 seems to be mainly an evolution of a tried-and-sort-of-true design.
On the *OTHER* hand, you never know...
Marin County, CA
Thank you all for your input. I have decided to go 16x9 in the camera without the anamorphic adapter. The reasons are to avoid any confusion in post and I need use of the whole range of the zoom which I can't get with the anamorphic adapter. Thanks again.