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Old 11-11-2017, 11:34 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,881
Few things:

-All the great movies in the cinema have varying aspect ratios which happen to include 2.39:1. There are many modern and old classics that were shot 1.77:1, 1.85:1, 4:3 or other variations.

-The 2.39:1 is (was) primarily derived from using anamorphic lenses. An anamorphic lens 'squeezes' the field of view of a particular lens onto a frame of film, or a digital sensor at a ratio of (most commonly) 2:1. 4-perf 35mm motion picture film (which is the most commonly used for 35mm capture) has a 4:3 aspect ratio. When you use a 2:1 squeezed anamorphic lens on a 4:3 film frame, when you de-squeeze it later in post you end up with an aspect ratio of ~2.39:1. Therefore, to get the appropriate aspect ratio you generally need to use a camera that has a 4:3 sensor. Alternately, some modern anamorphic lenses have 1.33x squeeze versions available which can be used on a 16:9 sensor and give you the appropriate aspect ratio when de-squeezed.
If you decide to go this route, you will require a camera or monitor that has a de-squeeze function or a ground glass that can be fitted with a de-squeeze, otherwise you will see 'squeezed' very tall images that are very difficult to frame up.

-You can crop a 'normal' spherical lensed picture to a 2.39:1 aspect ratio easily in post. These decisions should be made in pre- (as you've done) because you need to frame appropriately, knowing that you'll be cropping out the top and bottom of the frame.

-Many cameras allow you to show 'frame lines' that you can set to your desired aspect ratio, and they are literally coloured lines that show you where your desired frame will be. It does nothing to the actual footage, so you still need to crop later, but you will be able to frame appropriately.

-Many monitors have frame lines available to allow you to frame up.

-If your camera does not have frame lines and you don't have an external monitor (or yours doesn't have frame lines either), you can download and print a frame guide. You frame up the guide square to camera, and fill the frame with the guide. You can then use the guide to put tape over the top and bottom of your monitor to cover the parts that will be cropped out. Most rental houses that have a testing bay will have one of these.

Lastly, using a particular aspect ratio can be an aesthetic creative choice that should be designed in conjunction with your story and film and what works best for it. It can also be purely a technical choice. Aspect ratio has little to no bearing on a film's worth - classic films are so because of their storytelling, and would still be classics even in other aspect ratios. Selecting a wider aspect ratio will not automatically make your film look 'better' or 'more cinematic' nor more 'like a classic' - it is purely a creative and/or technical choice.

Last edited by jax_rox; 11-11-2017 at 11:39 PM.
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