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IMAX, 1:85:1, 2:35:1 and 4:3 formats - What does this means for future?

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DaveH

Established Member
Hi all,

Not sure if this the right place to post it but it is related to screen sizes.

Ok, so I have a 21:9 Philips TV which is probably 2:35:1 (2:40 perhaps) and I love it. It is my preferred format to watch films.

When I watch 1:85:1 material I will watch it with the borders at the side or sometimes refit it to 2:35:1.

Anyway, I have noticed a lot of films are being recorded in IMAX format which to me seems very much like the 4:3 of yesteryear.

Now, from my understanding cinemascope cameras (2:35:1 ish) ratio was always promoted as being wider to see the full width of the picture.

However, what I am noticing now is that IMAX films are becoming more popular in particular Star WARS has scenes filmed in IMAX.

My question is, what are the cameras they are using for this? For example, when they shoot in scope are these 'proper' 21:9 cameras or are we using a one size fits all camera and merely cropping what we see?

It seems to me we are moving backwards, I hear talk from non-film fans saying they hate borders in their films on their 'widescreen' Tvs and don't understand why The Dark Knight jumped around in formats. "Why didn't they leave it all without borders?" In fact a lot of people I know say they prefer the full height of the image, when we know this is not the case.

It seems to me that we may be moving back towards 4:3 TV's to give more real estate of the TV?

What is going to happen in the future formats do you think?

And have we seen the end of true cinemascope films? I for one would not have likes to see Laurence of Arabia in 4:3 or IMAX for that matter.

I heard a rather disturbing comment about The Avengers and that it was filmed in 1:85:1 to give the 'full height' of New York and the superheroes. Full height? What camera did they use? Have we now just ignored cinemascope and moving towards this pretend full height?

I realise for the home market, they do not care or perhaps even notice, hell I've seen a lot of people zoom out their cinemascope formats to get the full real estate. THese people also say my TV is just plain dumb.

More of a rant than specific questions but I'm just puzzled.

Thanks
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
You're right.

Most people don't understand the relationship between the different aspect ratios and think multiplex 16:9s are OK, when really they're nothing more than big (public) tv as Tarantino would say. The art of presentation has been lost in that respect with the loss of scope screens. If I understood the forums recent podcast, I think the advent of the multiplex helped rescue dwindling cinema attendance, so if that's the case, I guess we have to say that was a good thing if not begrudgingly...

Scope should be the biggest widest format except for IMAX. Everyone will tell you that (SMPTE, Dolby, CEDIA, THX etc etc), but when those changing aspect movies are put onto DVD/BD they use the 16:9 format which as you say is a bit confusing (and there is no true IMAX format for home), especially because IMAX is designed with closer seating and is shot differently. It's the only way they can do it.

They use higher res IMAX cameras for those portions (65mm/70mm film or 4k digital perhaps - use google for more info).

Directors use 16:9 to visually give the perception of more height relative to width - Spielberg did it for Jurassic Park for example. He felt a wider (scope) frame would have made the dinosaurs seem less tall.

If you want to cater for those 10 or 12 movies, you can only really do that at home with a 16:9 screen and projector, but seating distance and masking must be set primarily for 2.35 as those will be the vast majority of movies you will be watching. So. normal viewing will be in 2.35 with 16:9 (and 4:3, 2.20:1, 1.66:1 etc) shown CIH, For movies like TDK or Avengers etc, then you remove the top and bottom masking. That way, scope is still as big and wide as before, but now the IMAX parts are taller.

What's important to get this right is the seating distance - if you sit at lets say THXs recommended optimal distance of 2.4 x the screen height and that is as tall as you find comfortable for prolonged (movie) watching, then scope and 16:9 will both be as tall as you are comfortable with. Then, with the IMAX parts, the height will increase and be perhaps 1.5 x SH, so replicating the IMAX experience, while still keeping scope and 16:9 at their relative correct heights.

Anyone can do this at home, it just means getting seating distance correct for it to work right - much the same as for a CIH set up. Just getting a big screen and not considering the seating distance is just hoping for the best.

Gary
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
If I understood the forums recent podcast, I think the advent of the multiplex helped rescue dwindling cinema attendance, so if that's the case, I guess we have to say that was a good thing if not begrudgingly...

On the contrary, thanks to multiplexes we now have more 'scope screens than in the pre-multiplex era.

The recommendation taken up by most cinema chains in the mid-late-'50s was to install the largest screen possible (height and width), and most cinemas went for screens around 2.00:1, though unfortunately many cropped films of all ratios to fit the screen.

Remember, cinema numbers were at a peak in the '40s, and most of the cinemas we're thinking of were built before widescreen came along, and had to retro-fit. From the '40s onwards there weren't any new cinemas being built with any sort of widescreen in mind. Basically, the number of 'old style' cinemas built between the advent of widescreen in the mid-'50s and the rise of the multiplexes was tiny.

With the advent of the multiplex it became easier to design cinemas from scratch for either 1.85:1 or 2.40:1, rather than have to fit a screen working round existing architecture.

Steve W
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
You should listen to the podcast Steve, the numbers are quite interesting and not 'contrary' at all. Mind you, I can remember how you interpreted the THX podcast. ;)

The fact that some theatres couldn't install scope to spec is irrelevant, so why you keep posting that 50s info I've no idea - it's a bit like saying because there are so many multiplexes with 16:9 screens that must be the best way to present movies, when actually it isn't. 2:1 was a compromise format in the same way as 16:9 is. It's not a true aspect ratio.

Some aspect ratio 101s for you:

Aspect Ratios 101 | CEDIA AV Technology Blog

Video Aspect Ratios

At home, pretty much everyone can do CIH 2.35 if they want to, provided they set their seating correctly, but it's surprising how many people just want the biggest (16:9) screen on their wall and then wonder what the black bars are all about.

Gary
 

DaveH

Established Member
Liked the video aspect ration link. I like it when they show all the ratios with the same height and 2:40:1 same height but wider. One of the reasons I don't like masking in the home theatre is it normally just makes the picture smaller top and bottom.

What's CIH?
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
You should listen to the podcast Steve, the numbers are quite interesting and not 'contrary' at all. Mind you, I can remember how you interpreted the THX podcast. ;)

The fact that some theatres couldn't install scope to spec is irrelevant, so why you keep posting that 50s info I've no idea - it's a bit like saying because there are so many multiplexes with 16:9 screens that must be the best way to present movies, when actually it isn't. 2:1 was a compromise format in the same way as 16:9 is. It's not a true aspect ratio.

Some aspect ratio 101s for you:

Aspect Ratios 101 | CEDIA AV Technology Blog

Video Aspect Ratios

At home, pretty much everyone can do CIH 2.35 if they want to, provided they set their seating correctly, but it's surprising how many people just want the biggest (16:9) screen on their wall and then wonder what the black bars are all about.

Gary

Quite patronising.

I've never 'wondered what the black bars are all about'.

And no, it's not irrelevant. You said multiplexes had led to more 16:9 screens, and you're wrong.

Steve W
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
Liked the video aspect ration link. I like it when they show all the ratios with the same height and 2:40:1 same height but wider. One of the reasons I don't like masking in the home theatre is it normally just makes the picture smaller top and bottom.

What's CIH?

Dave, CIH is Constant Image Height.

However, most cinemas are not, and have never been CIH, and the idea that it's 'proper cinema' is a myth.

Since '53 cinemas have had a variety of aspect ratio screens, with a plethora of masking options.

Specs from different bodies have often suggested conflicting approaches.

The important thing is that you find something that works for you.

Steve W

Steve W
 

DaveH

Established Member
Thanks. A 21:9 (so called) TV for me has been amazing. I love the scope on it and don't mind borders down the side. It's no different from when 16:9 TV's came out and we watched 4:3 material either with the side borders or reformatted.

I just wish there were bigger 21:9 TVs around. Mines 58" and I'm used to it now. I know LG and Samsung did 108inch one offs but I don't see mass market produced 21:9 in the future.

I may have to look into a projector, 2:40:1 screen, anamorphic lens and perhaps vertical masking. And a mortgage for that lot too. :)
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Quite patronising.

Not really. We tried to help you with what the podcast was about, but you argued about it and then when Phil did a video interview with THX a year or so later you said they'd changed their tone, yet all they were saying was exactly what they had been saying since the 80s.

I've never 'wondered what the black bars are all about'.

I never said you did, but some people do.

And no, it's not irrelevant. You said multiplexes had led to more 16:9 screens, and you're wrong.

Steve W

I didn't say that, I said "helped rescue dwindling cinema attendance" which is what the data suggests. I also said they have more 16:9 screens in them than scope screens, and that's true :)

What is relevant is what the current standards of the past 40+ years say, rather than the compromises theatres made over 60 years ago.

The 'specs from different bodies' all say much the same thing - at least those from SMPTE, THX, Dolby, CEDIA etc, and the two 101 links I provided above show that. What went before over 50 years ago is now irrelevant - it says as much in the links. Why do you keep posting it into every thread when I mention CIH and the standards?

CIH is how things should be presented, just because they aren't always, doesn't mean they shouldn't be.

The links I provided here and elsewhere and have been for over 10 years all show the same thing - just read them and look at the pictures.

Scope should be the widest most epic format other than IMAX if presentation is important to you. It's not always possible to implement, but knowing how things are meant to be presented will at least give you a chance to try and get it right. Otherwise everyone will think 16:9 is the standard and scope will be shown as the smallest instead of the largest format, and that's why I'm trying to post that information here. You seem hell bent on posting the opposite.

Gary
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Thanks. A 21:9 (so called) TV for me has been amazing. I love the scope on it and don't mind borders down the side. It's no different from when 16:9 TV's came out and we watched 4:3 material either with the side borders or reformatted.

I completely agree. It's a shame that people haven't taken to 21:9 tvs in the same way as they did when 16:9 was introduced, but I think it isn't helped by the multiplexes and confusion about presentation.

I just wish there were bigger 21:9 TVs around. Mines 58" and I'm used to it now. I know LG and Samsung did 108inch one offs but I don't see mass market produced 21:9 in the future.

I may have to look into a projector, 2:40:1 screen, anamorphic lens and perhaps vertical masking. And a mortgage for that lot too. :)

You don't necessarily need an anamorphic lens - you can use a 4k projector, or a pseudo 4k pj like the JVCs and zoom to fill the screen with scope movies. A JVC X5000 is just under £4k new so won't break the bank. You can still buy X500s for around £2500 new I believe so unless you want the latest and greatest that will get you a much larger CIH/21:9 set up for almost peanuts.

I've seen used ISCO II anamorphic lense for under £1000 on ebay occasionally, but with 4k/fau4K and zooming, the pixels are still smaller than 1080 with an A lens, and is a more straightforward set up.

Side masking can be as simple as some curtains - I used an Argos corded curtain track covered in black velvet with black velvet curtains, and it worked fine.

Gary
 

DaveH

Established Member
When using the lens memory function on 2:35:1 material on newer projectors, have they improved the lack of brightness and pic quality or is still a limitation?
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
When using the lens memory function on 2:35:1 material on newer projectors, have they improved the lack of brightness and pic quality or is still a limitation?

Dave, I think the brightness shift it overplayed.

Gary will tell you the figures, but the difference isn't massive and, not as noticeable in the real world as the figures suggest.

I use manual zoom in my 2.00:1 screen and you really can tell any difference in brightness or any other aspect of of PQ at all.

Steve W
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
When you zoom, you do lose brightness because you're spreading the image over a larger area, but depending on the F-Stop of the lens means as you zoom bigger, you gain some lumens back (some pjs gain as much as 25% more lumens, but lose a similar mount of on/off contrast). An A lens can possibly help here because it uses all the light from the pj rather than just the image sans black bars and is only expanding the image on one axis, but depending where the pj is within it's zoom range, you may not actually gain much from the lens. I think Kelvin gained around 1 lux with a lens over zooming, but kept the lens do to the improved image.

Zooming is like moving your seats 33% closer, so the pixels are that much larger and more visible. How close you sit and the tech of the pj will determine how much of an issue that is or not. Many zoom and are perfectly happy with the image.

For me, the biggest most visible advantage of the lens is the use of 500,000 extra pixels to render the image.

Gary
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Yes Gary is right about the extra 1% brightness I got when using a lens (though it is now sold as I didn't feel I gained anything with it once I got my X500 with e-shift).

With the JVCs it is possible to adjust the manual aperture to regulate brightness, so I have a 1.85:1 setting and a (zoomed) 2.35:1 setting. From memory something like -13 for the former and -7 for the latter to maintainn the same peak white output at the screen. If I don't remember to change the setting when I've zoomed for 2.35:1 then I find the image looks a little dim and lacks punch. I use a Lux meter to measure at the screen and target 100 Lux which equates to 12-14fL (depending on what value I take for my screen gain).

Merry Christmas everyone, whether zooming or not. :)
 

Atmos

Prominent Member
I'm in the 16x9 sorry 1.85:1 camp because that's what my PJ was built for. I don't care what they were doing in the 1950 or any other era to be honest I'm living for the now.

Scope takes the very same 4x3 35mm film as other formats but stretches the height using an Anamorphic lens to use the full resolution of the 4x3 film available. Another lens on the PJ then stretches the image vertically to correct the distortion.

Only IMAX or 70mm film is wider and will give you any advantage in PQ.

Some PJ users are under the illusion 2.40:1 is wider than 1.85:1 which is impossible as they both use the same width 35mm film.

Now we're getting more IMAX scenes we'll see a resurgence in the 1.85:1 format and we won't have to lose all those pixels.

Avatar for the Win! :thumbsup:
 

Atmos

Prominent Member
Size of the cameras makes it impractical but they are developing a smaller digital camera.

Avengers: Infinity War
will be filmed completely with IMAX 2D digital cameras.
 

DaveH

Established Member
Yes, I read that Super 35 is basically the same size but just a cropping process. This worries me a lot as width is not gained like the old CinemaScope or even anamorphic.

Anyone know any films that are shot in 2:35:2 resulting in extra width rather than super 35?
 

CableGuy

Prominent Member
Just my view but, I'm happy with my 16:9 screen. My home cinema was previously a garage so we have a max width of 2.4m. The 92" 16:9 screen has only approx 5cm gap either side so near enough fills the width of the room, wall to wall (much like a cinema would). As my room is suitably darkened, a 2.40:1 movie, such as Maleficent that we watched last night, fills the width of my screen and the projected black borders are not a noticeable factor. The image quality is still great as there is no stretching or distortion of the image. As a perk, with movies such as The Dark Knight, the IMAX scenes 'pop' into life and fill the whole 16:9 screen.
I appreciate that we are all different and am not saying that my view is the right view. Just works for me. :)
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
Lots of arguments on all sides, many of them valid.

For me, it's interesting to see how the film-makers themselves view it, and Gary makes an important point about Spielberg (who knows a thing or two about film-making).

He shot Jurassic Park in 1.85:1 as the T-Rex and 'raptors would fill more of the screen.

Now let's just consider watching JP on a 2.40:1 screen, with the image filling the 1.85:1 centre. Now he could have shot that in 2.40:1 and filled exactly the same portion of the image with exactly the same picture as is in the 1.85:1 film we know and love, and just stuck scenery on the outer edges.

But that image doesn't have the same balance, the same composition.

In other words, Spielberg wasn't composing for the size of the image, but the shape.

BTW, this isn't a one-off. Similar reasoning was used for the switch from 1.85:1 for Spider-Man (2002) and 2.40:1 for Spider-Man 2 (2004), as more width was needed for DocOc's tentacles, and for filming Jurassic World in 2.00:1.

If anyone wants to learn more about the process you can read about in the most prominent texts on cinematography. Example:

Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers and Directors: Amazon.co.uk: Blain Brown: 9780240812090: Books

If you read these books, written by cinematographers, for cinematographers (and directors) you'll find plenty of information on shot composition, and where objects are best placed within a shot, and the impact and use of different aspect ratios.

You'll find lots on how different aspect ratios are shot, and nothing whatsoever on the ratio of screen onto which they're projected.

This is why it's vital, when appreciating cinema, to listen to the people who know what is truly intended - the people who made the films.

Of course, Gary has a point about 'spectacle'. Films are made by film-makers, and enjoyed by you. Your enjoyment is paramount and, as long as they way you enjoy the film doesn't compromise their vision, you should choose the set up that works best for you.

But the idea that, to enjoy what a director/DoP intended you to enjoy to the full, you have to watch it on a particular aspect ratio of screen, is an argument not born out by anything directors/DoPs say when discussing film-making.

Steve W
 
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DaveH

Established Member
What about super 35 V anamorphic? The super 35 means you have to crop for 2:35:1. Is it just a cheaper way to film/lazy way over anamorphic?
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
What about super 35 V anamorphic? The super 35 means you have to crop for 2:35:1. Is it just a cheaper way to film/lazy way over anamorphic?

Partly, yes.

But also, you can expand the view beyond the 2.40:1 extraction for a quite different 16:9 extraction for TV broadcasts.

The film was composed for 2.40:1, with redundant information in the rest of the negative, which can be used, but which offers a different (non-intended) composition, without cropping the 2.40:1 (intended) image.

In many ways, almost all new (digital) films are a form of 'digital Super 35'. The final 1.85, 1.78:1 or 2.40:1 image is an extraction from the originally captured image.

DCI 4k is native 4096 × 2160, which is c.1.90:1.

Steve W
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
I've posted this here and elsewhere, but there is a difference between how movies are captured, and how they should be presented.

Scope should be the widest most epic format other than IMAX - 70mm or 4k. 2k LIMAX doesn't count, but again, presentation is often compromised in commercial theatres, as well as at home - 16:9 should not be presented larger than scope if presentation and intent is important to you:

Aspect Ratios 101 | CEDIA AV Technology Blog

Video Aspect Ratios

Understanding Anamorphic Lenses

if you use the search, you will find I've posted other docs from the likes of THX and Dolby which say the same thing.

At home, we don't have IMAX projectors or source material, though we can fudge it by presenting those 10 or 12 movies that change aspects like TDK etc, but to do that, set up and seating distance will play an important part of making it work, and ideally with a 4k projector. It's easy to do, but don't fall into the trap of watching all 16:9 movies taller than scope unless that isn't important to you, because then you do scope movies a great disservice making them 77% smaller than they should be relative to your 16:9 movies.

Gary.
 
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