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SHOOTING FROM THE LIP

by
in Filmmaking
on Jun 8, 2007

Over on the main page check out Jamie Stuart’s Q&A with legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.

Here’s an excerpt:

Filmmaker: Apocalypse Now. Theatrically, it was amazing to see it in its Scope aspect ratio, in 2001. I know that at this point you’re preferential to 2:1, but some people were upset to see it on DVD cropped from the 35mm 2.35.

Storaro: Well, I always connected with one painting that Leonardo did, The Last Supper. The Last Supper is 2:1. At the time of shooting Apocalypse Now, I was not aware. I don’t really remember when I became conscious of the 2:1. Definitely when I started to originally transfer Apocalypse Now (to video). In my opinion, it wasn’t working in 2.35 — at that time, we were forced to do a pan-and-scan. That was the worst. So we had to find a common ground between film and television. The aspect ratio for 65mm is 1:2.21, and the new video aspect ratio is 1.78. If you remove 0.21 from the 65mm, and then you have high definition which is supposed to be the future film/television format, you’ll find the perfect balance between the two is 2:1. So any transfer I do is at 2:1. I remember with Bertolucci when we did The Last Emperor and we watched it on the television screen, we didn’t like it at 2.35. We found it was much better at 2:1. Now, I only shoot 2:1. I refuse to not shoot 2:1. And I only transfer with this, even the old films, because I know it’s the only solution for the future. It’s the only meeting point that we have. The DALSA at 4k gives me some encouragement to continue in this way.

Now, there’s this rumor they’re going to retransfer Apocalypse Now at 1:2.35 — I will not do it. I will not do it. Because on a television it doesn’t work.

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