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35mm film vs 35mm full frame...confused


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Well depends on how you view things. Compared to 35mm full frame used for photography, the gh2 has a crop factor of 2x. But since we are in the world of filmmaking, the standard is super 35mm which is smaller than full frame 35mm, s35 has a crop factor of 1.5x, thus this is my "full frame" Hence I consider this my 1x, and full frame to be less than 1x.If you are trying to match a 5d then you do the 2x crop if you are trying to match, s35 or aps-c, then you do a 1.25x crop.

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That's a rather accurate albeit confusing explanation. OP, you're probably wondering why there are different sizes of 35mm, right?


Basically, the film stock was 35mm in both situations, however a photography camera loaded the film horizontally, with the frames advanced with a top-loaded lever or wheel, whereas a film camera loaded the film vertically through the shutter. There are various reasons why it made more sense to do this, but they aren't important. The point is, the FOV seen by a movie camera shooting super-35mm film stock was different from a photograph. Because it was loaded sideways, the aspect ratio was different and the frame was reduced by a 1.5x crop. In the photography world, this is roughly the view of an APS-C crop camera (1.6x).


This is why we have a royal mess of reference numbers these days. In the film and movie industry, traditionally people used to compare everything to s35mm film cameras because that is the standard. When a cinematographer is choosing a lens for a s16 shot or a 2/3" digital camera, they are thinking in terms of sideways-loaded 35mm cinema camera FOV. But in photography, that 35mm FOV is already considered a crop, as their reference point is much wider.

This confusion really took over during the DSLR revolution. People were buying SLR lenses for crop cameras that were rated in full frame 35mm photography equivalents. When buying a micro4/3 25mm lens, the literature says it is a 50mm full-frame equivalent. Instead of trying to always make a distinction between photography and movies, I think most of us have just resigned and accepted comparing it to photography when we describe crops and FOV.

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But since we are in the world of filmmaking, the standard is super 35mm which is smaller than full frame 35mm, s35 has a crop factor of 1.5x, thus this is my "full frame"


That just depends on what 'your' standard is. Many (new) filmmakers never used or had anything to do with S35. If your understanding of 'fullframe' is an analogue 35mm negative, then just go with that.


In short:

If you want to match your GH3 with 35mm fullframe (photography negative) you should do 2x
If you want to match it with Super 35 (fullframe movie standard), then the cropfactor is ~1,3x (2x : 1.5x)


In other words:
A 12-35mm lens on the GH3 compares to 24-70mm on a fullframe camera (like the 5D Mark III).
A 12-35mm lens on the GH3 compares to ~16-47mm on a S35 camera.

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To further add confusion, there are three more parameters influencing the proper FOV for framing:
1. For storytelling, a noticeably wide angle distortion makes a scene look like a comic (Men In Black, many scenes in A Clockwork Orange, Guy Ritchie stuff). Therefore, very rarely will you see short focal lengthes in serious films or i.e. horror films. Cinema DOPs tend to use lenses above the 50mm full frame equivalent. Or they have an astonishingly small set that they want to appear much bigger. Then they use the wide lenses so that they appear as normal lenses. Good idea, one could think, but that requires care, experience and high quality lenses.
2. Full frame, as was said, has an AR of 2:3 (or 3:2, horizontally), but photography is a AR-independant art, it was and still is normal and expected to CROP the frame. We should stop to use the term 'crop factor', because we should also frame with multiple ARs in mind. The wider we go (WS, scope and beyond) the more we need to crop (I mean the framing). Longer lenses crop more.
3. If you don't use a wide angle lens in the Evil Dead way or in the reality soap way, you must stay aware that you will not capture a lot of textural detail (surfaces, fabrics), but distinguishable motif detail and that poor resolution will show, be it through inferior lens quality or sth. else. There was an old article on aliasing of the 5DMII, showing close ups of faces, where you thought you could see every skin cell individually. But then came the famous brick walls. A brick in the image was a hundred times bigger than a pore, but the camera didn't get it.

What I'm trying to say: For artistic reasons, for narrative reasons, for practical reasons, you shall love crops. If you read threads about lenses and crop factors it looks as if people think they're the devil.

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I agree with Axel 50mm Full Frame and above is used in most films these days as a standard.

DOPs like Roger Deakins tend to use a 32mm lens on the Alexa alot of the time , a large part of SKYFALL is shot on a 32mm lens

that is approx 50mm  on a Full Frame Camera,







looking at all these clapperboards on the link above it looks like 4 main lenses where used alot!







this is an interesting read


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Filmmakers like David Fincher will often go with two main lenses.  One for close-ups and a wide for almost everything else.  This depends largely on the type of coverage the director goes for as well as their framing style.  If they like longer takes and don't like to chop everything up with lots of coverage they're going to use fewer lenses and skew towards wider focal lengths.


The now-in-theaters American Hustle, for instance, was shot mostly on a 24mm.

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then you have perforations to consider...  4 perf 35mm with anamorphic is about the same image area as full frame 36x24 still photography sensor in 16:9 mode.


Unsqueezed, I'm assuming you're meaning.  Width wise it actually represents an even larger image area than the 5D's 135 format sized sensor,  clocking in at 42mm x 17.5mm for modern 2X anamorphic photography, 42.6mm x 17.8mm for films between 1970 and 1993 and 42.6mm x 18.2mm for anamorphic films prior to this.

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Its not full frame its Super 35mm

'I agree with Axel 50mm Full Frame and above is used in most films these days as a standard.

DOPs like Roger Deakins tend to use a 32mm lens on the Alexa alot of the time , a large part of SKYFALL is shot on a 32mm lens that is approx 50mm  on a Full Frame Camera,'  




yes I made that quite clear , he's using an Alexa !

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An Alexa doesn't do 35mm full frame?



No, there's no reason for a cine camera to do that since there's very little precedent for 8-perf motion pictures.  It was a very short lived format which got a revival for visual effects plate photography.  Economically and physically, it's just not terribly practical (lots more footage that has to run horizontally rather than vertically).   You're better off shooting 65mm if you want large format, realistically.


Super-35mm is a 24.89mm wide image area so electronic cine cameras will gravitate towards approximating that size or smaller so that motion picture DPs retain continuity with their lens preferences from film work.  


Arri and RED went a little larger with 27.8mm and 27.64mm sensors, respectively.


RED went a little larger with a 27.65mm sensors (Epic & Scarlett).  I quoted a bogus figure from the most handy table I had on various digital cameras and it had an incorrect figure for the Alexa, which is actually 23.76mm wide.

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35mm 8 perf is Vista Vision like Burnet Rhoades says it is not really used much for movies , Lucasfilm re activated alot of old Vista Vision cameras they bought cheap in the mid 70s so they could shoot the model blue screen fx shots for Star Wars ,

but Vista Vision as a shooting format did not last long , I think Vertigo was shot Vista Vision by Hitchcock

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Nobody said Alexa did full frame.  Nobody put the "full frame" label on a Super 35mm film.  You have been confused this whole time it seems though I should also point out that you should not put the Super 35mm label on a digital film shot on Alexa.  It would be acceptable to apply the Super 35mm label to a particular sensor, regarding its size.  It is not acceptable to apply the label Super 35mm to any motion picture shot on Alexa (or any other digital camera).


VistaVision is the common brand of "full frame" 35mm for motion pictures and the only reason it was even brought into this discussion was due to what seemed like odd confusion in your contribution to the thread.  If you're talking motion pictures and "full frame" you're talking about VistaVision because that's what there is.  This should clear things up for you:


First, you misread Andy's post regarding the photography of Skyfall.  Andy was agreeing with Axl's erroneous theory that there's a preference and/or standardization in motion picture photography on an FOV equivalency to a 50mm lens shot on a "full frame" camera.   Andy was not saying Skyfall was shot "full frame" (which would mean shot VistaVision (or on a 1D or a 5D)).  He stated that the 32mm lens favored on that production was close to the FOV of a 50mm on a "full frame" camera.  Go back and re-read it.


He then re-iterated to you that he wasn't saying the film was shot "full frame" but on Alexa.


You then asked whether the Alexa shoots "full frame".  You then got multiple replies that it did not including info relevant to the OP's thrust for this thread, confusion over 35mm film and "full frame" 35mm as it relates to motion pictures.  For all intents and purposes, VistaVision is how "full frame" relates to 35mm motion pictures, end of story.  A brief anomaly and mildly interesting historical footnote.


You then stated the redundant, obvious fact to Andy that the Alexa doesn't do VistaVision.   At this point I was just giving you the benefit of the doubt in offering that you were trolling us.  Sorry to seem mean.  I really hope you get it now.

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