Full Screen vs. Wide Screen

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    • #37304

      Hi, I’ve been making videos for several years now, but I’m trying to expand to the next level. I’m currently using a Panasonic AG-DVC7 as my main camera. Right now, I’m trying to give my movies more of the film appearance, but I cant really decide on whether to go full or wide screen. I am having trouble deciding, because on my camera (it’s SD and full screen), when I select the “Cinema” setting instead of having the “extended” picture it just crops off the top and bottom which to me seems to defeat the purpose of having it widescreen. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • #165235

      With SD, chopping off the top and bottom will be the best you can do in that direction. What I’ve read is, put black tape along the top and bottom of your LCD screen along the edge(not touching the screen itself of course) and then compose your shots. You can use your “cinema” setting instead of tape. Then if the the top comes back in, justpull in black bars on the top and bottom in your editing software.

      I’d go wide to make itseem a little more like film. But that’s just me. However, I wouldn’t go to all the hassle of buying a whole new “widescreen” camera.

      It does seem a little strange tojust chop off the top and bottom, but youdo what you gotta do. Get creative with your shot composition.

    • #165236

      Are “cinema” and “extended” 2 settings in your camera that attempt 16:9? If so, one is Letterbox and the other is 16:9, but it’s not true 16:9. I’ll explain what I mean.

      Letterbox footage is 4:3 footage that has the top and bottom cropped off. On a 4:3 television it will look fine. If you watch a 16:9 movie on a 4:3 TV, you’ll notice it will look the same as your letterboxed 4:3 footage you shot. Now this is the downfall on letterboxed footage: If you watch that same 16:9 movie on a wide screen TV, it will fill the whole screen. But what happens if you watch regular 4:3 footage on a widescreen TV? It has black bars on the sides because it isn’t large enoughhorizontally to fill the screen, ya know what I mean? Now if you take that 4:3 footage and now letterbox it, then watch that on a widescreen TV, not only will it still have the black bars on the sides, but it all has the image cut off at the top and bottom from the letterboxing, and that looks horrible. It’s like a 16:9 image that doesn’t fill the screen; like it was scaled down or something. Does this make sense?

      Now this is what I mean by “not true 16:9.” If you’re camera doesn’t have 16:9 CCDs or CMOS sensors, then it will not shoot true 16:9. Since your camera has 4:3 sensors instead, what your camera is doing is stretching the image, and then when you capture it with 16:9 settings, your NLE will squeeze it and you will end up with a 16:9 image. This image will look the same as a letterbox 4:3 image when you watch it on a 4:3 TV, but it will also fill a widescreen TV like your 16:9 movie. The downside to this is all that stretching and squeezing degrades the image.

      In conclusion, if you want a cinematic look, you want a 16:9 image whether you achieve it via letterbox or the stretching mode of your camera. If you are POSITIVE your film will only be viewed on a 4:3 TV, then the letterboxed 4:3 image is the way to go because it doesn’t degrade the picture. But if you think there is a chance it will be viewed on a widescreen TV, then shoot the stretched method.

      I personally think letterbox will suffice since not maybe people have widescreen TVs yet. If you plan on shooting a lot of films in 16:9 though, a camera that shoots true 16:9 might be a nice investment for the future though.

      I hope that helps. Good luck

      ps. if you want a cinematic look, there is more you have to do besides shoot 16:9 and 24p. So don’t forget to light like film, execute camera movements like film (no zooming!), try to get the shallow depth of field of film, etc…

    • #165237

      So don’t forget to light like film, execute camera movements like film (no zooming!), try to get the shallow depth of field of film, etc…

      What’s wrong with zooming? I used to zoom on Super-8 all the time with no problems. I know you cannot do anything very fast (zoom, pan, dolly or truck) but why not zooming at all?

    • #165238

      zooming it just something you don’t see in hollywood films. They always dolly in or out. It’s more cinematic looking, i think because you’re eye can’t zoom in like a lens can. You can only walk closer to something to get a close up.

      You can zoom in to get your shot…but don’t record the zoom. ya know what i mean?

    • #165239

      zooming it just something you don’t see in hollywood films.

      I disagree. Just look at afilmlike Cloverfield.Thereis very evident zoominginthat movie, grantedit’smadeto looklike “amateur”footage,but that stillshows zoomingin Hollywood.

      What abouta movielike Lordofthe Rings?In Fellowship,theyusedzooming,thoughitmay nothave been aparent. The used a technique called a zoom tracking shot or dolly zoom shot. It’s where they zoom in as they track out on a dolly, or zoom out as they track in. The idea is it changes the perspective of the scene while making it feel as if we are almost not moving. I think Jaws might have used this shot too, but I can’t remember for certain.

      Also,I just wantedtopointout thatthough a shallow depthof fieldis verycommoninfilm,it’s notsetin stone.Just lookat Orsen Welles.

    • #165240

      Jeez. I don’t mean they NEVER zoom. Yes there are movies that have have zooming. Some have a lot, some just a little, but for the most part, hollywood films dolly before they zoom.

      and yes…i know you don’t ALWAYS see shallow DOF. but once again, FOR THE MOST PART, they do.

    • #165241

      I’m sorry if I upset you with my post; that wasn’t my intention. You did say twice that zooming didn’t happen in Hollywood (“no zooming!” and “always dolly in or out”) so I just wanted to expand upon what you said and make sure the OP knew that zooming can be done in certain cases.

      To methisforumis aboutcollaborating together to createthe most accurateand bestinformation aboutfilmin one place that iseasy for peopletofindand understand.

      Again, I’m sorryif I’ve upset you.

    • #165242

      nah man, you haven’t upset me. don’t sweat it man. Thanks for the concern though. Sorry if I came off as if I was flipping out. I agree, we’re here to help and collaborate

    • #165243

      Thanks for all the tips. I’m hoping to make one of the 35mm adapters sometime. I’ve got an old CD player and the clear CD, so I might try a cheap one at first.

      Lighting is the one thing I’ve never really had success at. I really only have access to stage lighting and some old shop lights, but I’m hoping to try some stuff out soon.

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