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To 16:9 or not to 16:9

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Mark D'Agostino
To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 11, 2008 at 3:30:23 pm

Hi all,
I've been shooting commercials and marketing videos for nearly 30 years, (video,16mm,35mm). A year and a half ago we jumped into the HD world,(HDX900). I recently had a difficult time convincing a marketing director for a bank that her commercials should be shot to be viewed 16:9 letterboxed. We're in Syracuse, New York and none of the stations air in HD or have plans to do so any time soon. Fortunately, the bank president, who just bought a 50" plasma and whose father owned movie theaters, when asked, said without hesitation that the spots had to be shot 16:9. The marketing director owns a 32" 4:3 TV.

How do some of you convince clients to maintain 16:9 even if it will only be shown letterboxed? By the way, the argument for "future-proofing" didn't impress her in the least.

Thanks in advance for your advice,


Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Ernie Santella
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 11, 2008 at 3:56:04 pm

I have clients who are idiots too. Maybe a roundabout way is to suggest using the black space for graphics. Marketing folks love graphics. So, if you are letter-boxing the footage in a 4:3 screen, you open up a new world to putting titles under/over. Information that can be used creatively.

Ernie Santella
Santella Productions Inc.
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 11, 2008 at 10:51:02 pm

Yes but remember, they're not idiots. They are simply not yet fully informed of their range of options using today's technology.

Noah

Check out My My FCP Blog and my new RED Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook,
DVD Studio Pro and How to Light Interviews.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Ernie Santella
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 12, 2008 at 3:15:17 am

You must have nicer clients that I have. Most of mine are rude, overbearing, know-it-all's who all want to be Directors and back-set editors. None worse than Creative Directors - Sheeesch!

Ernie Santella
Santella Productions Inc.
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Matthew Romanis
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:52:03 am

Question- How many art directors does it take to change a light bulb?
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Answer- "Does it have to be a light bulb???"



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Wynn Winberg
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:09:34 pm

You guys are reminding of the day we made a conscious decision to abandon the agency business and focus on corporate. Life has been much less frustrating since.

As far as 16:9 or not - do you really have to make a decision on that until post anyway? As long as I have the 4:3 markers up on my monitor when we shoot, so that I can reassure my client that we are not "committing" to 16:9 by losing important information outside of those markers, they typically don't care. You lose some of your artistic freedom by composing for a 4:3 version even though you are shooting 16:9 - but it's a great opportunity to add onto the post budget later by offering "widescreen" and "fullscreen" versions - it's a perceived value added service.

Just my 2 cents.

___________________
Wynn Winberg
ARIES PRODUCTIONS
Arlington, Texas
817-640-9955


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Noah Kadner
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 12, 2008 at 7:58:15 pm

It's one way to go but then you're adding all those transcodes in post. Plus any client likely to be a problem about this upfront is not going to be able to get their head around shooting 16:9 but protecting 4:3 anyway or vice versa.

Noah

Check out My My FCP Blog and my new RED Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook,
DVD Studio Pro and How to Light Interviews.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 15, 2008 at 2:53:15 pm

Hi Wynn,
I have been forced a few times to take the approach of framing 4:3 and keeping 16:9 space clear to "future-proof". I try to avoid that when possible because should the 16:9 version ever air then all the framings and compositions are compromises. I'd actually prefer not to keep the 16:9 clear to be sure they never used it. Now, I'm not a purist and think every frame I capture is art. I do a lot of industrial type stuff where your method works perfectly. In fact, one client actually did change his mind once he saw the 16:9 version of what we originally agreed would be a 4:3 program. The compositions were wider than they should have been but it showed his crews in action clearly and he was able to play it full screen on his new HD TV in the conference room.
I guess the bottom line is there is no one size fits all answer to my original question. Not all clients follow logic and there are still a lot of them out there with 4:3 TVs at home. That's their comfort zone. In 5 or 10 years, this question goes away.

Thanks everyone for your input!


Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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John Sutherland
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 17, 2008 at 3:49:11 pm

I explain to my clients that most people actually perceive a 16:9 letterboxed image to be newer, cooler, better, and I really do think that's the case in the real world. I basically said: 4:3 = old; 16:9 = new. But I'm lucky in that most of my clients are not crazy and high strung...

John


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: To 16:9 or not to 16:9
on Dec 17, 2008 at 4:07:23 pm

John,
Could I have your client list? They sound wonderful. Your approach is basic and thus incredibly elegant. Thanks for the input!

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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