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

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Andrew Somers
Re: What aspect ratio should I shoot with, when mixing historical footage?
on Aug 8, 2018 at 4:44:00 am

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


Hi Ryan,

This is very much YOUR CHOICE AS A STORY TELLER.

I would suggest that you shoot everything 1.778 (protecting the full 16x9 frame) as this will give you the most flexibility in post. And in fact, this is a decision that will make more sense in post — remember that (unless using anamorphic lenses) that 2.39 is just a CROP of the camera sensor which is typically 16x9.

Of course, there is the issue of do you compose for 1.778, or 1.85, or 2.39? 1.778/1.85 are very close, and if you compose for 1.778, a 1.85 common top crop will often keep the same intent. Also if you shoot full 4K (4096x2160) you have a lot of room to re-compose for a 1920x1080 master.

Also, mixing aspect ratios is commonly done, especially in documentaries. And don't think that you have to do every shot "the same way", do what is needed to tell the story and keep the audience engaged. Take a look at some Ken Burns documentaries as an example.

But again, what does the story need at that point? To see the entire 4x3 frame? To be zoomed in tight to a subject inside the 4:3 frame, so that the rest of the frame fills the screen? There are no rules, only what your story needs for the telling.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://GeneralTitles.com


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