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4x3 Doc film close to finishing principal photography, thinking of going 16x9

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Dima Venkov
4x3 Doc film close to finishing principal photography, thinking of going 16x9
on Feb 20, 2009 at 12:20:03 am

Hello,

I've been shooting a documentary for over a year now and an important turn of events has just occured, which will most likely bring the story to a close fairly soon. I estimate that the film has been shot about 2/3 way in, perhaps even 3/4.

I've been shooting 4x3 so far and I can't say I'm thrilled about the format in general and my framing in particular. I looked at a selects reel I made and applied a widescreen filter to it and the framing seemed better, especially because I have the option of adjusting the offset setting of the filter to every shot. So now I can't decide between these options:

1) Shoot 16x9 from now on:
-1a) Switch to squeeze mode
-1b) Switch to letterbox mode
-1c) Stay on 4x3 but frame for 16x9 filter to be applied in post
2) Stay 4x3 and leave the options open for the film to be 4x3 or 16x9. In other words decide in post production.

What would be your recommendation and what would be the things I should keep in mind if I switch to any of the 16x9 options?

Also, what are the pros and cons of any of these options as far as postproduction and distribution are concerned? Distribution will be done mostly thru festival circuit and perhaps European television.

My camera is a PAL dvx100BE and I'm shooting the project in 25p.

Thanks for your help!



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Richard Herd
Re: 4x3 Doc film close to finishing principal photography, thinking of going 16x9
on Feb 20, 2009 at 12:53:15 am

I pick option 2.



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Rick Wise
Re: 4x3 Doc film close to finishing principal photography, thinking of going 16x9
on Feb 20, 2009 at 1:23:12 am

I agree: stay in 4:3 since you've shot everything else that way. Then adjust in post.

What is it about your framing that you don't like? Putting subjects too much in the middle? Not playing 1/3, "rule-of-thirds"? Too much head room?

If masking to 16:9 "cures" the framing, I suspect it's the headroom issue. Just try to keep the same excessive headroom so that "fixing it in post" becomes more standard. Trying to adjust each shot up or down will be a big post burden.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Dima Venkov
Re: 4x3 Doc film close to finishing principal photography, thinking of going 16x9
on Feb 20, 2009 at 9:54:18 am

hey thanks for the replies. I usually stick to the rule of thirds but a lot of my "close ups" are actually medium shots with more torso than I would have liked. I'm not sure why it happens that way. So usually, it's not too much headroom, its too much on the bottom of the frame.



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John Sprung
Re: 4x3 Doc film close to finishing principal photography, thinking of going 16x9
on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:10:27 pm

Changing to squeeze or letterbox would result in the rest of the material not matching for resolution with what's in the can. So, stay with flat 4:3, but bear in mind that you may want to do a tilt-and-scan later to make 16:9.



-- J.S.




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