Rehearsal & Gear Test

Just a quick update today. The last few weeks have been very productive and all the pieces are starting to fall into place. This culminated in our first big workshop / rehearsal / gear test on Friday night.

We spent the evening completely going over one scene with sound, lighting, two cameras, and even some costumes. We covered all conceivable angles, from establishing wide shots to extreme close-ups and my next task is to play around with the footage in the edit to work out how we want to cover the scene for the real thing. Jaque and I have already spent a lot of time talking about how we want the film to look and how the film's visual development should support the thematic development. This process of mocking up scenes and then trying things out and edit is really the final stage of defining how we want to execute the film's visuals, both aesthetically and practically.

I was pretty preoccupied operating B camera on Friday night, so unfortunately I didn't get a chance to take any behind-the-scenes pictures. Here are a few stills from the footage though:

Many thanks to Nick, Spencer, Jaque, Maia, and Dan for all your hard work on a Friday night!

Understanding Aspect Ratios

In my opinion, the technical side of filmmaking is often more complicated than it needs to be. This is because of the way filmmaking has developed over time. A lot of the methodology and terminology we still use today is based on the way things were done years and years ago. Take for example: the way the 16:9 aspect ratio was developed, the fact that your sound guy will probably still say “speed” to indicate that the sound is recording, and don’t even get me started on the different framerates we’ve been left with thanks to the differences between PAL & NTSC.

Aspect ratios are one of those things can seem a bit overwhelming when you’re getting started. I used to refer to some of the wider aspect ratios as “extra-widescreen” (and I actually still do sometimes, just for fun). I remember when we made Fraught back in 2006. I desperately wanted to present the film in an aspect ratio of 16:9 or wider but we didn’t have access to a camera that could shoot that natively. So we settled for 4:3. Now, I know of a bunch of things we could have done to fix that (especially since it’s a rotoscoped animated film).

With this post, I’ve done my best to explain what aspect ratios and resolutions are in relation to film and video. The rest of the post then explains the most common aspect ratios and lists some common resolutions for each.