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Learn about the various film formats




Relative areas of TV and film formats
Drawn to scale based on aspect ratio
Relative areas of TV and film formats

A-TV safe title area.
B-TV safe action area. This boundary is also visible on video camera viewfinders.
C-1.33:1 aspect ratio, the complete area transmitted by TV, clearly visible when the "underscan" button is pressed on a professional video monitor.
D-1.85:1 aspect ratio, what is normally seen at theaters in North and South America.
E-70mm aspect ratio.
F-Anamorphic (CinemaScope, Panavision) 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
G-Ultra 70mm (1.25:1 squeeze) aspect ratio.


Film Formats
1.37:1 Regular 16mm camera aperture
1.78:1 Super 16mm (16X9) camera aperture
1.33:1 35mm full camera aperture
2.40:1 Anamorphic projection aperture
1.85:1 35mm 1.85:1 projection aperture
2.40:1 Super 35mm extracted area for anamorphic projection
1.33:1 35mm TV transmitted area
1.78:1 4-perf transmitted area (16X9)
1.78:1 3-perf (16X9) camera aperture
2.20:1 65mm camera aperture
2.20:1 70mm projection aperture
Film Formats
The extracted area on the 70mm frame indicates the area an anamorphic 35mm blow-up would occupy.



Note about shooting in Super 35mm with a 2-perf Techniscope camera
Shooting 2-perf Super 35mm (2.40:1) with Spherical lenses allows great savings as you use less negative material. Super 35mm allows you to transfer the image to 4-perf 35mm anamorphic without major problems. If you do the transfer in the digital domain, either using the Discreet Inferno* or Quantel IQ, you can additionally eliminate the excessive grain. This allows for an excellent anamorphic negative.
2-perf Super 35mm to 4-perf 35mm anamorphic


Glossary

16X9 a measurement that identifies the difference between the width and height of an image. The shape of the image of high definition cameras, super 16mm shots and images destined for high definition TV broadcast.
anamorphic a film paradigm where the width of an image is optically squeezed by a camera lens. Normaly associated with the Panavision anamorphic lenses that compress the width by a factor of 2:1. An anamorphic projection at a theater requires an anamorphic lens on the projector. This lens would unsqueeze the width of the image by a factor of 1:2.
aspect ratio a measurement that identifies the difference between the width and height of an image. The well known aspect ratios are 1.33:1 (TV), 1.37:1, 1.78:1 (16X9), 1.85:1 (theater projection aperture), 2.20:1 (70mm) and 2.40:1 (35mm anamorphic projection aperture.)
spherical a lens that does not have anamorphic qualities. This type of lens does not optically squeeze the width of the image. 35mm and medium format still cameras use spherical lenses.
perf short for perforation. Identifies how many perforations make up a frame of film.




The image next to "Relative areas of TV and film formats" courtesy of Anton Wilson, Cinema Workshop, 4th. Ed., (A.S.C. Holding Corp., Hollywood, CA), p.82. The image next to "Film Formats" courtesy of Panavision, North American rental equipment price list, 1999-2000 Ed., (Panavision, Woodland Hills), p.15. The image for "Note about shooting in Super 35mm with a 2-perf Techniscope camera " courtesy of Anton Wilson, Cinema Workshop, 4th. Ed., (A.S.C. Holding Corp., Hollywood, CA), p.69.

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