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What aspect ratio should I shoot with, when mixing historical footage?

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ryan elder
What aspect ratio should I shoot with, when mixing historical footage?
on Aug 2, 2018 at 5:31:06 am

I am directing a documentary film project and have to decide on an aspect ratio. I will be shooting interviews intercut with historical footage. I already have a lot of the historical footage chosen with the parts I want cut out and assembled, with more to come.

Most of the historical footage is in 4:3, but I don't want to shoot the rest of the movie and interviews in 4:3 to match it. I want to shoot in something wider like maybe 1.85:1 or 2.20:1.

But the thing is, should I shoot the interviews in a wide format, and then zoom into the historical footage and reframe the 4:3 footage to a wider format? I tried it as a test and it looks good but not when you go too wide.

Or should I leave the historical 4:3 footage in it's original 4:3 format, and just keep cutting back and forth between aspect ratios as I cut from modern interviews to historical footage?

What do you think looks better between switching aspect ratios constantly, vs. having everything framed to one consistent aspect ratio?


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