Summer '99




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Wide screen aspect ratios are becoming more popular lately in video production, so what are the concerns in dealing with this wide aspect ratio format?

Many of the new cameras have a 16:9 capability built in feature that will scan a wider portion of their CCD's--effectively imaging a wider aspect ratio. This wider scan is processed in the same horizontal line time that the standard 4:3 line was scanned. The resulting image (when viewed on a normal 4:3 monitor) is an image where objects are horizontally squeezed. People look elongated; however, the entire video frame is filled horizontally and vertically. This also can be accomplished on a camera without this internal capability but with a special lens installed. Some lens manufacturers have an optional lens feature that can compress the image horizontally, which is an anamorphic lens, similar to what is used on many motion picture film cameras for theatrical release (the projector is then fitted with a "scope" lens that spreads the image horizontally, causing a normally proportioned image in a wide screen). When we have a 16:9 squeezed image and it is displayed on a wide screen monitor that stretches the scan horizontally, a normally proportioned and wide aspect ratio screen is displayed. The concern is there are few wide screen television sets and there is no standard definition 16:9 broadcast in this country at this time. Hi def broadcasting is 16:9 and 16:9 produced standard definition will up-convert more compatibly, but there will be some problems distributing a 16:9 produced standard definition production:

1. You have to either convert the image to a letter box or a "cropped" 4:3 display of the 16:9 version for normal U.S. distribution.

2. A letter box version will be technically compatible* with any distribution, but some networks may not accept a letter box version. You cannot go back to a full frame 16:9 from the letter box without degrading vertical resolution (stretching an image that is displayed in about 360 scan lines into 480). When displaying an image in fewer scan lines with black margins top and bottom, the resolution that the blank lines carried is lost. So, it's a good idea to not have your final master in a letter box format--you'll have more options if it's in a full frame 16:9.

3. A similar problem arises with a 4:3 cropped version. This is where 25% of the original 16:9 horizontal imagery is cut off and then the normal 4:3 screen is filled. This gives you a normally proportioned, full-frame image on a standard screen, but horizontal resolution is now diminished by 25%. You also have a framing (composition) problem if you didn't originally shoot it to enclose most action in a 3:4 view finder. Again, it would be best to have a master in the 16:9 version to keep your options open.

Shooting in 16:9 can look interesting and occasionally be beneficial but it has its drawbacks. The subjective allure of widescreen must therefore be carefully weighed against potential technical issues when your project is posted and distributed.

*For FILMLOOK processing, the letterbox version does impose some limitations on us for adjusting levels near the black end of the scale. We can process a cropped 16:9 or a full 16:9 (squeezed) version with no problems.



MONTREAL--The multimillion dollar action adventure series "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne" is the first high definition video-produced television series to use FILMLOOK for the downconverted version for domestic distribution.

"Jules Verne" is a series of fictional adventures of the legendary author and futurist who journeys around the world with his friend and mentor Philius Fogg. The series is produced in Montreal using hi-def 1080i cameras but downconverted after final postproduction to standard definition NTSC on Digital Beta. FILMLOOK processes the NTSC video version to give film texture and appearance for standard definition domestic release.


HOLLYWOOD--Fox Searchlight Pictures has utilized FILMLOOK to process the home video version of the documentary comedy feature "Twenty Dates." Originally shot in Betacam SP video, the feature was transferred to film for theatrical release, but the home video version for pay-per-view, domestic and international video distribution will be seen processed in FILMLOOK.


Ciernia & Associates, Inc. has been awarded The 1999 Videographer Award of Excellence in product marketing for "Loewe New Product Announcement," a video introducing the manufacturer's new digital television sets to North America.

An international competition, The Videographer Awards is a national awards organization that helps set standards of excellence for the video production industry, and awards are given based on projects that were deemed produced, shot and edited in an exceptional manner. Only 15% of the 2,333 entries were given the Award of Excellence; we at FILMLOOK congratulate Ciernia & Associates' achievement.


HOLLYWOOD--Timeline films and Turner Classic Movies have produced "Clara Bow" a documentary incorporating archive film and interview segments recorded in video and processed in FILMLOOK.

An engaging documentary of the pioneering and powerful screen icon known as the "it" girl, "Bow" is remembered by veterans of the film industry as well as family and friends of the legendary actress. "Clara Bow" aired June 14 on TCM.


FILMLOOK would like to welcome returning series "Rude Awakening" (Showtime) and "It's a Miracle" (PAX TV). We would also like to welcome new series "Undressed" (premiering July 26 on MTV), "On Common Ground" (PBS), "I was a Sixth Grade Alien" (Fox Family Channel), and "The Chimp Channel" (premiering June 10 on TBS). Best wishes for a phenomenal season.


HOLLYWOOD--FILMLOOK has processed the comedy "One Dozen," a video feature directed by Lloyd Schwartz (Brady Bunch Movie); produced by Howard Kazanjian (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi) and Ray Storey (Splash).

The comedy is a parody of the cinema classic "Twelve Angry Men," and was shot in hi-def video then downconverted for the FILMLOOK transfer.


Hummingbird Productions recently was awarded the prestigious 20th Anniversary Classic Telly Award for its production of "US West Partnership." Owner Marie V. Strohm used FILMLOOK to transform the completed video into "a richer, more elegant dimension. FILMLOOK elevated the entire project to a higher, network quality level, and in my judgment, played a major role in its overall success." FILMLOOK congratulates Hummingbird Productions on receiving its Classic Telly. We wish Ms. Strohm continued success and excellence on her future projects.


Some projects and companies that have recently utilized FILMLOOK... "La Vida Del Amor," a latin music concert produced by Los Angeles' KCOP-TV... "Classic Chevrolet" regional car dealer spots for Beaumont TX KFDM-TV... "Jenny Craig Talk show" spots for T Minus 30... "Get Skinny" Suzanne Somers spots for Somers & Somers... "Charles Parks: Working Artist," a documentary for NJN-PBS produced by Teleduction... "The Man Who Had Everything," a WOSU-TV documentary on the life of Louis Bromfield.



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