Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Shooting Cinemascope on 16mm

Published : 8th March 2011

Hi all,

I am soon to shoot a short on super 16mm and the director has become keen on the idea of shooting in 1:2.35 widescreen. This is a format I love but have never attempted before on 16mm using spherical lenses due to the relatively small negative area you would be using to form the image. Does anyone out there have experience of this or better yet know of any examples of films that have been shot this way. in defence of the idea we are shooting predominantly day exteriors in the highlands of Scotland (great light, esp. this time of year,)and so can use good primes at a healthily stop on good slow emulsion. I have shot anamorphic on 16mm but it’s pretty messy and ironically you still throw away some neg area with a 2:1 squeeze as you frame academy in a super 16 frame and crop to left and right!

Love to hear anyone's thoughts on the matter. If I get the fear I will suggest to the director that we go 1:1.85 for cinema compatibility.

Simon Vickery
DoP (UK based.)


>> I am soon to shoot a short on super 16mm and the director has become keen on the idea of >>shooting in 1:2.35 widescreen. Does anyone out there have experience of this or better yet know of >>any examples of films that have been shot this way.

Best recent example of this is Aranofski's "The Wrestler" shot on a 416 mostly with a 12mm Zeiss Superspeed and Kodak 250D and 500T, I believe. Went through a 2K Di scanned on an Arriscan at Technicolor. Even with these faster stocks the colour fidelity and sharpness clearly outperformed the SI-2K on a 70' (21.3M) screen. This was a spherical S-16 with a crop If you want even better sharper lower noise look use 50D and 200T instead.

Robert Houllahan
Filmmaker
www.lunarfilms.com
VP Cinelab Inc.
www.cinelab.com


Simon Vickery wrote:

>> Does anyone out there have experience of this...(?)

I shot a feature a few years ago titled "the Substance of Things Hoped For" which was S16mm framed for 2.35. Quite a few people told us we were crazy, but the end results were much better than
we expected.

We shot on an Aaton package with Zeiss primes from Oppenheimer using Kodak 250D which we overexpose a half a stop. (In retrospect, we probably should have overexposed it a full stop.)

In addition to the things you mentioned, I'd suggest that you always shoot a framing chart at the head of each roll, and then be prepared to get calls from the lab at odd hours.

However, if I were to shoot another 2.35 feature on the cheap, I'd probably use 2 perf 35mm instead.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Administrator, CML
http://www.cinematography.net


I've AC'd a number of projects in 2.35-on-16 and the DP and the director(s) have always been quite happy with the results. I'll leave the discussion of stocks to the DP's on the list and just toss in a
couple of notes from a logistics perspective.

1/. If at all possible, procure 2.35 markings for your ground glass. These are generally available for rental if your camera has a removable GG. You can also roll-your-own with a bit of pencil on a
removable GG, and we have even used a bit of scotch tape (the "magic" kind for minimal residue) on an Aaton LTR (non-removable GG) with no adverse affects. *Don't* make your operator have to guess - give them a real 2.35 frame in the eyepiece.

2/. If possible, center the 2.35 frame vertically in the gate. If you are working against the top or bottom edge of the gate, you are much more susceptible to shot-ruining hairs. Frame in the middle, and you
can tweak in both directions in the xfer if necessary.

3/. As Jessica noted, regular framing charts are a must. You probably can't get away with it on every roll (on a fast-moving set) but at least twice a day. Include in bold letters "FRAME FOR 2.35" to avoid
mistakes in the transfer. (Tip of the hat to Mako for his great framing charts.)

4/. Make sure *every* monitor that comes anywhere near the set is taped off for 2.35 as well. The existence of 1.66, 1.85, and/or TV markings on the GG is going to be confusing for a lot of people
looking at the monitors.

This piece was shot using these techniques:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlHTbYWCmko

Andy Stadler
AC / San Francisco


My recommendation is to use the new HAWK 1.3x anamorphic lenses made for Super-16 to 2.35:1 scope format. With this lenses you use the hole negative area of S-16.

More info about this new lenses can you find at Vantage Film.
http://www.vantagefilm.com/

Hans Hansson, FSF
DOP, Sweden


>> With this lenses you use the hole negative area of S-16.

"And though the holes were rather small. They had to count them all Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall"

Tim Sassoon
Megachiropteran
Santa Monica, CA


>> With this lenses you use the hole negative area of S-16.

>>"And though the holes were rather small They had to count them all Now they know how many >>holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall"

And, (of course)


"What is the toughest thing about making a film? Putting in the little holes. The sprocket holes are the hardest thing to make. Everything else is easy, but all night you have to sit with that little puncher and make the holes on the side of the film. You could faint from that work. The rest is easy: the script is easy, the acting is easy, the directing is a breeze...but the sprockets will tear your heart out. "


--- Mel Brooks, comedian, writer, film director.

Dominic Case
film ~ technology ~ strategy
Sydney Australia


Dominic Case wrote:

>> "And though the holes were rather small

Holier than thou, eh, Dominic?

Jeff Kreines


Jeff Kreines wrote:

>> Holier than thou, eh, Dominic?

Not nearly as hole-y as 14-perf, horizontal-mag X-Pan format  "VistaVision II"...sure, sure...3 minutes seems like a short runtime for 1000' of film, but let’s worry about where we get the lenses first...

Robert Jackson
Bradenton, FL


>> 14-perf, horizontal-mag X-Pan format "VistaVision II"...sure, sure...3 minutes seems like a short >>runtime for 1000' of film

Double the width and add a perf and you've got IMAX.

Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA


Tim Sassoon wrote:

>> Double the width and add a perf and you've got IMAX.

Good point. But you'd have to shoot 25-perf IMAX to match the aspect ratio of 14-perf, horizontal-mag X-Pan format "VistaVision II"...and then your 1000 feet of film would only last you two minutes. Heh...or
there's always anamorphic lenses. Kind of surprising that nobody seems interested in anamorphic IMAX, actually. Of course if it got popular there would be rampant rumours about steroid use among camera operators.

Robert Jackson
Bradenton, FL


I shoot most of Tacita Dean's films on Anamorphic 16mm.

1. Disappearance at Sea (Shown at Tate Modern, Tate Britain for
Turner Prize Nomination and MOMA NY etc.)

2. The Uncles (Shown at Berlin Film Festival)

3. Banewl (Total Eclipse of The Sun)

4. Presentation Sisters (Cork, City of Culture)

5. Boots (shown at RIBA and Sydney Biennale)

6. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0268/is_3_45/ai_n27100821/

These are only a few places that they have been shown. They have all been shown around the world in major art galleries and only as projected film and they all look beautiful. They are projected quite large in darkened galleries. The largest showing was at Shaulager in Basel for Tacita's retrospective.

I use the standard 16mm gate with my Russian Anamorphics 35mm, 50mm and 75mm. They have PL/BNCR double mounts. I also use a 25mm Cooke with a Kowa Anamorphic on the front. The Russian Anamorphics have a great look and it's only a dormitory story that they are soft at the sides, they are sharp over the whole frame.

The Kodak stocks now are excellent and I usually find it hard togo past 250D with it's very wide latitude and mixed light acceptance.

At the moment Taicta is cutting a film we shot with two 16mm Arri’s. We used SR3s from Clairmont Los Angeles with Cooke anamorphics. Clairmont gave us excellent equipment and we used it to shoot with Merce Cunningham in San Francisco, The Craneway Event. You can Google that.

Give me a call if you want to shoot a test with my Anamorphics, they are for hire.

John Adderley DOP UK
020 8542 4847
07973 730 042