Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

"I have all these thoughts, and I'm pretty sure they all contradict each other."

YESTERDAY'S PEARL OF WISDOM (no pun intended)¹:
When drinking bubble tea, it is better to load up early on the pearls than it is to end up with a cup of tapioca balls and ice.

Up until this week I had been observing all of my camera test footage through the enclosed cables, which means that I'd been seeing all of the material downcoverted to standard definition. The camera has an HDMI out on it, but it is a Mini-HDMI, and good luck trying to find a cord or adapter for that in your local Radio Shack.² I ordered the piece online and it arrived over the course of the weekend. Sandy, the cinematographer on The Early Mixes, dropped by Monday night to check out the camera and meet Dan, and I took some daylight test footage to check out in high definition.

The difference was pretty impressive. Colors were much more saturated (accuracy depending on the various light settings I was testing out), lines were razor-sharp and the detail was... well, you could count the blades of grass on the neighbor's lawn across the street. I also shot off of the television a shot from Dune in order to get an idea as to the difference between the 1.77:1 (HD's native 16:9) ratio and the 2.35:1, which is what we're shooting The Early Mixes in. As it turned out, the frame lines rather neatly bisected the in-camera status display graphics, making them convenient guides for framing.

I've always preferred the 2.35:1 ratio for a myriad of reasons, but I have not until now had a format with the resolution that would make shooting in it reasonable. I could have shot material on DV in 2.35:1 as there was a 16:9 function in that camera - the matte ratio would have been identical to the one we're using now³ - but again, it would have compromised resolution too much. When we were shooting on film, anamorphic lenses didn't exist for the silent Bolex and Scoopics, ArriScope lenses were available for the Arriflex but were ridiculously expensive to rent or buy at the time. I could have added a matte, but imagine an already grainy sixteen millimeter frame letterboxed to 2.35:1...? Yeah.

16:9 Widescreen TV showing 2.35:1 Cinemascope Image

¹ This is, of course, a bald-faced lie. Of course I intended the pun.

² Remember when Radio Shack would have whatever you needed to hook anything up to anything else? Well, nobody does anything themselves anymore, the cable guy does it, so they don't. When did hooking up a cable box become "skilled labor?"

³ Itself not too dissimilar from the process of matting an Academy Standard 1.33:1 frame for the 1.85:1 standard projection ratio.
Tags: filmmaking, high def, the early mixes
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