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Wide Scream

OK Kids...Here's the low-down.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding wide screen, but if you look at it carefully it's fairly simple if you have a tall forehead and a PhD behind your name.please use links for specs and confusion.


The Dirt

If you are going to shoot a 16:9 (1:177) you should be aware that if you are not viewing it on a 16:9 monitor "wide TV tube" the image will look tall and thin also known as "squeezed" So if you film a football it will look like an egg. If you are viewing it on a 4:3 monitor like the Sony 9045 field monitor you will find it has a 16:9 switch to enable you to see the correct aspect ratio known as "letter box" on a 4:3 monitor.

Almost all post production and duplication facilities can accommodate 16:9 / 4:3 production and ARC (aspect ratio conversion) Snell & Wilcox

Shelf life

Your archieved footage will have a higher value in the future if it's in anamorphic 16:9 format, all broadcast will eventually be transmitted in Wide Screen. In the mean time you have to convert from 16:9 to 4:3 or 14:9.

Check out the BBC for related issues.


35mm film is and was used for most feature film work as the quality and transferability is excellent.

Filmmakers wanted bigger, better images on the screen and the 35mm format was small "in their opinion" so they had to use a bigger film format .say 65mm for 70mm, this increased the budget substantially and in most cases was not practical.

Various assorted came up with the idea to put a lens in front of the film that would gather more picture information from the sides, approximately 25% more, this is known as an anamorphic lens.

So you can imagine they used the same size film (35mm) and had a wider picture with a small increase in budget for anamorphic lenses, COOL.

This format is still used and is a to (21.2x9) aspect ratio known as Cinema Scope.

They then had to project the film to hungry audiences who were hyped up about this Cinema Scope experience, the film is in anamorphic (football thing) so, to project it they needed another lens on the projector to convert the egg back to a football, when those curtains open and just keep going.Wow it looks fantastic in wide screen.

The same goes for video. With 4:3 chip cameras (Sony DSR PD 150 P) you can hire or purchase an anamorphic lens, put it on the front of the camera lens and also gather approximately 25% more picture area, these lenses are designed for 16:9 aspect ratio.

When you think about it we humans see in wide screen every day, not much height but our natural vision is wide.

There are a lot of pros and cons surrounding wide screen production so do take care and consult your client, post facility and broadcaster to ensure a trouble free wide screen film.

Visuals Group Technical Department.

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