I've just had a rather unsettling experience. We shot with
a Panasonic Vari-Cam and down converted to 4:3 using a Panasonic
deck to Digi-Beta. In the process we seemed to have lost about
10% of our head room. Frames are now uncomfortably tight.
The on set monitor was an Astro and a CRT. I was assuming
a common top line for down convert (similar to 35mm approach).
Is it common to lose this much picture information in a down
convert? The HD source tapes are fine.
Thanks in advance
Nick Hoffman NYC DP
This is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to shoot
Shooting for a letter-box presentation on 4 x 3 television
the top of the frame is absolute; you see everything right
up to the black bar. Displayed in 16 x 9, you lose some of
the top, bottom, and sides. Unfortunately, the only solution
seems to be to allow much more headroom than you might like.
This is a fact of life we’re all going to have to live
with as we enter the age of multiple aspect ratios in common
Too wide, too devoid of action on the sides of the frame;
what a nightmare!
I don’t believe the down converter is cropping any more
of the picture than a 16 x 9 display, but you definitely need
In the process we seemed to have lost about 10% of our head
If I have to downconvert to 4:3, I put on the monitor the
usual markers for 4:3, but I assume that this markers are
not the "safe" area of a monitor...
It's like viewing a 4:3 monitor with the under scan option.
Pol Turrents (ACTV)
DoP Spain, Barcelona
Nicholas Hoffman wrote :
>I was assuming a common top
line for down convert (similar to 35mm >approach). Is it
common to lose this much picture information in a down >convert?
You will loose top and bottom info when you go to 4/3. It's
the same a shooting DigiBeta and choosing 95 or 90% frame
When shooting for a 4/3 finish, I always adjust my view finder
frame lines (top, bottom, and sides) to approximate 95% of
transmission. I'm not familiar with the Panasonic, but with
my f-900, I consider the side lines generated by the camera
when choosing the 4/3 frame lines in the menu as transmission
lines, just like a TV ground glass in film, where you have
transmission and safe action. I use the horizontal and vertical
variable frame line generator to create a "safe action"
area in my eyepiece. I then point the camera at a 4/3 chart
to adjust the monitor generated side lines to my safe action
lines in the VF.
I haven't had any complaints with 95%, but I'd like to hear
from anyone who might suggest a different % choice, like 92.5%
or even 90%.
>You will loose top and bottom
info when you go to 4/3. It's the same a >shooting DigiBeta
and choosing 95 or 90% frame lines.
Is this why my SD downconverts from HDCam telecine sessions
don't line up to the 1.78 Widescreen matte in Final Cut Pro?
If I apply that matte to a HDCam dub, I lose the top and bottom.
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Try going into the menu of the 720 deck and choosing a 13x9
output. This will give you all the vertical information and
not look letterboxed, in fact I'll bet no one will even notice
it's not 4x3. The 4x3 option crops some.
On another topic, I thought the Oscars looked fabulous in
HD -- some of the best video I've seen at home in HD.
If any one needs criticism, it's ESPN for filling their HD
channel with upconverted and stretched SD for most of their
schedule. It looks nasty, and I suppose they think people
will think it's HD.