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Cinemascope 2,35:1 aspect ratio does not make any sense today
  • 45 Replies sorted by
  • @apefos to be specific, the DCI chip has an AR of 1.9:1, this, combined with masking and the lens attached to said projector has absolutely nothing to do with the shape of the screen. Yes all content is letterboxed within the 2048x1080 pixels of the DCP but this has little to do with projection.

    Now, image size does have to vary so when an odd bod wants 2.66 instead of cropping to 2.39 on the DCP, it's a physically smaller image, but it IS 2.66:1, not letterboxed 1.9:1 (or 1.85:1) when actually projected. Any Cinema with a true 1.9:1 AR screen is a total travesty outside of the living room.

    I get your point about TV and screen real estate vs aesthetics, but Cinema is still trying to keep scope images something you can actually see at full width that you can't at home (unless you have a 21:9 TV)

  • To gauge the thread participants.. to get a feel for where everyone is coming from, answer the following.

    Where do you like placing your horizon line?

    Do you have multiple favorite placements for it for different reasons? Explain the reasons.

    Where do you like your vanishing point, and why? (Also if you have multiple spots in the frame, where and why?)

    If you don't know the answers off the top of your head without looking up the terms, then we're not on the same page, and my insights as to why Cinemascope is here to stay are falling on deaf ears. All this other stuff is mostly irrelevant, as it is relative to one's distance from the screen. Cinemascope isn't still around for fun or nostalgia, it provides a much different canvas with much more interesting opportunities for angles, lines and shapes than 16x9.

  • Today you can do any aspect ratio that you want. half of the live cell phone videos you see are like 9:16, jej.

    I will always consider the wide 'scope' ratios as beautifully cinematic, but it's not better or worse than 1.85 or 16x9.. At times, even 4x3 can be preferable to the wide screen. It just depends on all the factors mentioned by all of you above.

    For home theaters you can employ a curtain or matte insert if the bars bother you that much.

    As for anamorphic.. I like the look from the lenses.. it provides a unique dimensionality to the image

  • @robertGL You know, I suspect we all agree on every point you make. Ergo, contrary to the OP's thread title, Cinemascope 2,35:1 does indeed continue to make sense today. :-)

  • @vitaliy_kesselev Fibonacci here, Fibonacci there, Fibonacci everywhere

  • It seems each people like one aspect ratio most.

    Or each project or part of a project needs a different aspect ratio

    So aspect ratio is a personal (view) choice.

    "I need some freedom, freedom for my people..."

  • Not sure if you read the entire post @zcream, or tuned out after the first paragraph, but you'd see I don't like fibonacci. I was just acknowledging that some do, and that using it makes compositions that are inert. And Motion Pictures should never be inert.

  • Almost never. For a film driven by dialog and shot around a table (say 12 Angry Men), 4:3 is no problem. I never cared much for those Lumet films, but they are a legitimate genre, and there is no need for 'scope or even 16:9.

  • Today I went to the theater to see a new film called "Policia Federal: A Lei é Para Todos" talking about the "Lava Jato" operation.

    The screen was a 2,37:1 screen and the movie covered all the screen. This aspect ration in the cinema theater is just wonderful, but for television set the 16:9 is much better when watching a film at home. Unless you have a home theater projector in a bigger screen to make 2,37:1 to be good at home.

  • If your goal as a cinematographer is to use every possible square inch of somebody's home television, then yes. 16:9 is the best ratio. Otherwise, it's probably worth choosing the ratio based on other criteria.

  • Is anyone gonna tell him that most theaters have full 16x9 and some ever 4x3 screens, and that they section them off with motorized curtains to accommodate whichever aspect ratio that particular film screening requires so that there are no black bars or pillars allowing the theater the flexibility to accept multiple formats for distribution, or are we gonna wait until he figures this out for himself?

    Obviously, the Cineramadome here in Hollywood and other theaters of it's type that are still standing only screen cinemascope, but most theater chains allow themselves the option. If you're seeing letter-boxing in the theater either the motors are broken, or the theater itself is too cheap to bother with the curtains.

    Or in some cases you have this wonderful shitshow. https://i0.wp.com/media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/wp/wp-content/images/dunkirk-formatguide.jpg

  • Is anyone gonna tell him that most theaters have full 16x9 and some ever 4x3 screens, and that they section them off with motorized curtains to accommodate whichever aspect ratio that particular film screening requires so that there are no black bars or pillars allowing the theater the flexibility to accept multiple formats for distribution, or are we gonna wait until he figures this out for himself?

    Many theaters I know have no curtains at all. :-)

  • I guess we're spoiled here in the US

  • To paraphrase McLuhan: 'All aspect ratios exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.' and 'The user (viewer)of any aspect ratio is its content.' I think he'd exclaim each aspect ratio to be its own medium and thereby have a unique effect.

  • @shian yes.. I just finished an extended run of Dunkirk in 70mm interspersed with the DCP, it was nice of Warner to let us know 2 days before that it was going to be 2.20 on the DCP prompting some hurried new screen files to get a nice image. I assume every chain here in the UK just ran it cropped to 2.39, it would be impressive if they all worked to show a non-standard DCI ratio.

    I also just dealt with a certain animated film from the east in IMAX and dealing with their deliverables for Xenon, Laser etc is amusing to say the least.

    I'm lucky to work in a place where 2 screens still have masking, curtains, 35mm & 70mm but yeah most modern cinemas don't have them, like our 3rd, (it's actually a requisite of Dolby Cinema to have a floating screen with no masking or curtains), but to see my post previously you can still really nicely do 2.39 at full width, down to 1.33 without them. As I say it's just about setting up the projectors right. It really pains me to hear these experiences of cinemas with 16x9 screens and bad presentation. AR should be a total non conversation in the cinema space outside of celluloid as you should be able to see all of them presented to their strengths, all the way from 1:1(Mommy) up to 2.76:1 (Hateful Eight).

    The whole point of my ramble is what @eatstoomuchjam is saying, good projection means the filmmakers can do whatever they want creatively and should be able to see it correctly in the cinema (if it's destined for it).

  • @rrsduncan do you guys still have to change lenses for that or is the projector just stuck with one AR and you crop with curtains...or as u detailed... just let go out letterboxed?

  • @shian nothing ever goes out letterboxed.. yuck! Yeah the right way to do it is to have your screen the width you want for scope and the height you want for flat. So on a good cinema screen (and I do include most of the chain screens) without masking, you can hit both. You do have a bit of the screen not showing picture in this case, which you would ideally mask off, but you aren't letter or pillar boxing the actual content so you don't see any black bars. Because of the hard borders you get with digital, you really don't notice the rest of the screen (top and bottom for scope and sides for flat), it just melts away, but you do notice the nice change between flat and scope (say your adverts are flat and then your feature is scope).

    The chip in a DCI projector is physically an AR of 1.9:1 but you can mask it digitally with what we call 'screen files', you then have a zoom lens that moves with the macro, so all content from 1.9:1 down to 1:1 runs within 'flat' the 2048x1080 pixels (or the 4k eq) macro and all scope content runs in the 2048x858 and blown out optically to the correct width. It's seamless (with a Barco or a Christie, no comment on the others) and gives that nice big scope image and the theatre aspect of changing aspect ratios during the show. In the halls with curtains we still close them after the ads and before the feature so the curtains open out on the correct AR.

    For Dunkirk we have to use the flat option, mask off the black padding and then zoom it out to get the correct 2.20:1. For 70mm it was natively 2.20:1 and did look great.

  • yeah LB yuck... but on the screens without curtains aren't you technically letterboxing

  • It's letterboxing in the sense that it doesn't completely fill the screen from top to bottom, but it isn't detrimental when done right. You get a nice wide image for scope using all the information on the DCP and a cracking image for everything else. Yeah ideal to have moving masking, but complexes that don't show celluloid just aren't interested.

    For me letter or pillar boxing would be having a flat image in a scope container, or scope in flat. So in the extreme, using the 2048x1080 setting but running a scope movie. In this case you have pillar boxes from the whole rest of the screen on either side and actual letterboxes, so projected black bars top and bottom. And more importantly, a horrible tiny image floating in the middle of nowhere.

    I've never seen any 'real' (not in the house or a church hall) cinema do this, but jeez it'd be horrible.

    I did run a film that used a 2x anamorphic on 1.78:1 footage and that wasn't going to look good anywhere!

  • It seems 16:9 can be the best option for smartphones, tablets, computers, home tv and home projectors, youtube and vimeo.

    And 2,37:1 can be a better option for cinema theaters.

    Both options can be best if your goal is to fill all the screen.

    If you do not matter about pilarbox or letterbox, so your criativity is free to use any aspect ratio.