Feb 22, 2010

Taking your 16:9 footage and making it Anamorphic.

Clicking the links will open screenshots ;)

Those of you who live and breath films will know that Anamorphic aspect ratios are pretty much a standard in todays Hollywood film market. What you probably don't know is: How to make your own films look just that little bit more cinematic. You could go out and buy an Anamorphic lens for your camera, which is hard enough to do if you don't own a high end camera; or you can do it digitally with your NLE (Non-Linear-Editor)... which is how, in many cases, Hollywood does it. Maybe not with the same tools, but... they do it cheap ;)

What I will show you today is pretty much the same way Hollywood does it, but cheaper.

Now, this won't work for all situations... considering most people don't consider framing when they're filming, but there is a few things you can do to help you out. First off, take some masking tape, and put two strips on the top, and bottom of your Camera's LCD screen. This pretty much simulates where your framing will need to be. For added effect (and it will work SO MUCH BETTER), use a wide angle lens... even for close ups. This will help you fit more into the frame, and will give you as close-to-Anamorphic as you can get without buying the lens. Remember, when framing up with your LCD screen, that where the tape is covering, will be be what you are cutting out later in editing.

After Shooting, and on to editing.

I'm going to show you how to simulate this anamorphic effect in Sony Vegas 8 pro, but I'm pretty sure you can use the same method in Premiere Pro. To my knowledge, Final Cut Pro has a preset built into the program that allows you to actually do this effect automatically.
Bear in mind that my method isn't quiet accurate (but it does the job) and that you will probably want to experiment to get it just right.

Import your footage. Before you begin to crop and split your footage, make sure you DO AS I SAY. If you don't, you will spend a lot of time going through all your little snippets doing this one bloody thing. If you don't want to do it this way, you can always edit, render your file, and then re-import the rendered file... and do it this way. Quicker, easier... simpler. Your footage can be in 16:9 or 4:3 format... but bear in mind that A LOT of your footage will be cut out. Heres my footage imported into SV8

Once you've rendered out/imported a clip into the time line, right click that clip, and select 'Video Event Pan/Crop'. Type in the following details, and disable the 'Lock Aspect Ratio' button to the side of the dialog box.

You may need to tinker with the framing depending on your source file (in my case, I'm editing the stock .m2t file that I imported from my HighDef cam... in your case, SD DV may need tweaking) Also keep in mind that my timeline is set at a PAL DV preset (I chose 4:3, for DVD tranfer) and not HD. This method WILL work when rendering out in 720p or 1080p, but will look a tiny bit different.
Rather than type in every single number on every single clip, just click the box with the preset title 'Unknown', type in 'Anamorphic' and hit the save (floppy disk icon) next to the box. You can then simply cycle through the presets later on and select the custom preset. Once you've finished editing, render out and play in your preferred video player.

With my own clip, I added a bit of colour grading to give it some more cinematic effect.

Just experiment, you'll get it ;) HAVE FUN!

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