View Full Version : Shooting my doc in "squeeze" 16:9 mode.

Sean Michael
03-27-2005, 06:32 PM
My DVX100a arrived yesterday. :beer:

Forgive me if this is a stupid question. I've searched the archives but haven't found a conclusion.

Next weekend, I intend to start shooting on my first film, a documentary.

I love the cinematic impressions of 16:9, and have tinkered with the DVX "squeeze mode." Am I safe shooting my doc in this mode, or should I shoot in 4:3 (masking the viewer for letterbox) since the DVX is 4:3 native?

I want to have a 16:9 version of this film. Just curious about the best method to achieve it.

03-27-2005, 09:35 PM
Try a search on "anamorphic".

Doesn't Barry's book cover 16:9 modes???

Sean Michael
03-27-2005, 10:18 PM
Thanks, I will do that search. It seems the jury is out on the anamorphic lens, with many concluding it isn't worth the expense.

I've got a copy of Barry's book on the way; it should arrive this week. Can't wait to get my hands on it. :thumbsup:

03-29-2005, 01:36 PM
I've shot 55 hours of footage for my doc. with my dvx100A in squeeze mode, and I'm loving the results! Good luck!

Sean Michael
03-29-2005, 11:26 PM
Thanks Tiger, that's great to hear... I've been experimenting with squeeze mode and have also been pleased with the results. I start shooting the doc this weekend (and 16:9 it is!)...

Sean Michael
03-31-2005, 08:15 AM
One more question.... If I want to eventually transfer the documentary to film, is squeeze mode a problem?

I realize that squeeze mode compromises some resolution. I also notice that many docs are shot in 4:3 mode.

Personally, I prefer the 16:9 cinematic look. If the completed doc warrants it, I will transfer to film for festivals, etc. I just don't want to shoot in a mode that would eliminate this avenue.

04-01-2005, 08:24 PM

You should be fine shooting squeeze mode if you want to transfer to film. Now I'm just beginning the editing process, and I am a first time producer, but when I began production on my doc, I asked around and all my dp and shooter friends suggested I shoot squeeze. Up to this point, I feel like it's worked well for me.

Good luck!

Sean Michael
04-01-2005, 08:30 PM
Thanks. You've confirmed my hopes. From now on, I'll strive to focus more on story / content and less on the technical aspects.

I've got batteries, DVRigPro, and DVX loaded and ready to go. We start shooting tomorrow AM--in squeeze mode! :)

04-14-2005, 01:49 AM
I think squeeze mode should be fine. We're shooting with an SDX900 and DVX100a in combination, but the DVX is being shot by the director (who isn't so good with focus). We have the anamorphic adapter, but his inability to focus and stop down the iris to increase depth of field resulted in a switch to squeeze mode.

The resulting footage has been holding up surprisingly well.

04-21-2005, 01:56 AM
Hi, I'm just getting started on a documentary as well, and I'm having the same decision making dilemma -- I read Barry's book, and it says DON'T use the squeeze mode if transferring to film. How about letterbox -- will that be ok to transfer to film? I'm confused!

Sean Michael
04-21-2005, 02:08 PM
Since my original post I've done more shooting in all modes. After shooting a few hours in squeeze, I finally settled on 4:3.

Here's my reasoning (yours may vary):

I'm not going to pursue the anamorphic lens, with its focusing issues, etc. Although I love the cinematic feel off 16:9, the DVX is a 4:3 native camera. After comparing the 16:9 footage against the 4:3 on a 60-inch HDTV, I preferred the higher resolution of the 4:3.

I prefer viewing the native 4:3 display on the LCD screen (rather than the squeezed display).

Many (if not most) documentaries are shot in 4:3. Check out Spellbound, an Academy Award nominee in 2003. There's nothing technically impressive about that film (no 24p, even), but it tells a memorable story.

Most of my (probable) audience will be viewing the content on a 4:3 screen.

As someone said, only about 10% of the audience will actually notice a movie's aspect ratio, and even they won't care if it's telling a good story.

The DVX does a brilliant job emulating film thanks to 24p. I'm going to play to the camera's strengths, focusing on story and audio.

Frankly, if I were dead set on 16:9, I'd consider getting an XL2. But personally, I'd rather shoot in 4:3 on the Panny than 16:9 on the Canon. I just feel more comfortable using the DVX. :thumbsup:

04-27-2005, 05:24 PM
I just finished a short doc from India and shot 4:3 and then letterboxed it in post. It looked good. I think you made the right decision...

05-10-2005, 12:54 PM
When you do that Fatdaddy do you just leave alittle room at the top and bottom that will be blacked out?

Duct Tape Films
05-10-2005, 01:36 PM
I've got the anamorphic lens, and besides being a little fiddly, it's great, and the images are far better than cropped or squeezed. There are some issues with the anamorphic lens, such as making sure you're not vignetting, aligning the lens right, and it would certainly not be the right choice for a nature videographer. Outside of that, I would recommend it. In fact, my suggestion would be either go 4:3 or get the anamorphic....

05-15-2005, 11:29 AM
Hold on now, be wary of judging differences on an hdtv, the dvx is not an hd camera, and if you're going to distribute on dvd, than 90% of your audience will be seeing it on a computer screen or a normal tv... check many sources before deciding on which look suits you best...

Duct Tape: Would you really reccomend the anamorph for a one-man-show given all of the extra variables it introduces to mess up, is it really that much better in a final print to film, if you lose footage worrying about focus, placement, stopping down etc...?