Can 16:9 HD go backwards into theaters?

I’m trying to build a framework to fit the [=Video"]lifetime footage]([facet_string_mediaType) of a world-champion athlete into a film. The footage is absolutely stunning but he only utilizes it for short online videos. The raw footage all exists in stunning 1080p, so it could fit into a blu-ray movie, but could such a thing be released in theaters as a blockbuster film? I’ve been studying film types and aspect ratios; Cinemascope, IMAX, etc. etc., and it’s all a complete mess. Nothing’s standardized. If it’s possible, would it broadcast all the pixels, or would some have to be cut off like for Cinemascope?

It’s possible some of the footage was made on film or higher than 1080p resolution. I’m still trying to get those answers. One of his latest videos has black bars at the top and bottom, so maybe this was done widescreen, but I’d really like to use all of his footage in the film’s construction…thx

It is what it is. There’s be no way to just take the middle bar, because the cimema veritae style often has the subject filling the screen .

If its wide screen it can fill the screen out to the sides, if its square, it goes in the middle only. ( Or add some filler down the side. )

There are a lot of cinema widescreen formats that get manipulated for home playback, and you’d just be doing the reverse process. You could either letterbox it, pan and scan it, stretch it, or selectively morph/stretch the edges while keeping the subject or center of the frame relatively the same.

1080p isn’t all that stunning by cinema standards to begin with (that’s not a lot of pixels when you’re blowing up the image to a cinema screen size) so there’s already going to be quality loss. It might even play into a desirable effect if you make the movie version documentary style, filming the narrative portions with a real cinema camera and then switching to the inferior 1080p stuff for the action shots – an unknowing audience might just think they’re from GoPros or somesuch.

Actually, now that I look at the footage, it’s too good to be pass off as live GoPro. If you shoot the whole movie in 16:9, can’t the theaters just move the curtains in further like they do for non-widescreen movies?

CinemaScope doesn’t cut off anything if it’s projected properly. This means the right projector lens and aperture plate in the projector, and ideally the right masking on the screen. Or for home video, being willing to tolerate the letterboxing and having the DVD player and TV configured to not compress or stretch the image to “fit your screen” as the pan-and-scam butchers describe it when they hack up a widescreen film to “fit” an old 4:3 TV.

16:9 video is a 1.78:1 film aspect ratio, and a “regular” movie today is 1.85:1, so they’re very close. Video is just a bit narrower. A lazy projectionist might not even bother to adjust the masking and nobody would probably notice.

As mentioned above, HD video will be decent on a theater screen. At that size, it will look roughly like how standard-def video looks compared to HD. If you’ve got good film footage, it may be possible to do a passable up conversion of the video to 4K to match, then decide if you want to release the production as 4K video or on 35mm film.

Or, as Reply suggests, use the video footage against the film in a cinema verite style.

I thought 1.85:1 was a dying standard. Everything I’ve read says modern films are 2.35:1 to 2.4:1 (Cinemascope). Even the latest TV/PC screens are almost exactly this ratio (called “21:9” but technically 2.37:1, way too wide if you ask me).

Any of these videos actually might have been filmed in higher formats then converted down. I don’t suppose you could take a guess at this? Like what’s a common way sports and ads are filmed today? In 1080p? Or is the professional standard usually higher? thx

I don’t suppose you could guess from the content (being official Red Bull material) if this stuff was likely to be filmed higher than it’s released at?
Here’s a video 4 years old.
Here’s one of a recent set that won him best International Series at the Streamys (the YouTube equivalent of the Oscars).
Thanks for your help, you guys are great. I’ve been inquiring but I don’t think they’re taking me seriously yet. It’s a catch-22 because it’s hard to create a presentation without information, and it’s hard to get information without such.

My guess (and that’s all it is) is that it was filmed with pro equipment (or near it), not just typical a consumer 1080p camcorder or such because:

  • There are different lenses being used, with some shots being wide-angle and others being closer
  • There is very little chromatic aberration
  • It looks like some sort of steadycam (or very steady hands) are being used
  • There’s a part where the lens is zoomed out three times in discrete chunks, not a smooth motion, and it looks like somebody is manually adjusting the lens
  • The depth of field changes between shots, suggesting different lenses or at least some sort of manual modification of the aperture
  • It was filmed for Red Bull, who can afford a real setup, not somebody’s personal demo reel

So depending on when it was shot, it’s possible that there may be higher than 1080p footage. I don’t know how to tell if the original was captured on film or digital, but if film, you can likely get it redigitized at a higher resolution. If digital, hopefully Red Bull would’ve had the foresight to film it better than that in case they ever wanted to broadcast it on theater commercials or whatnot.

If you can’t get in touch with the YouTube channel, maybe try to track down one of the other films/shorts that have him in it and talk to one of their cinematographers. IMDB lists two for a stint he did with MTV, for example.

Thank you so much, that’s what I’ve been looking for.

How is this board so learned and responsive at the same time? It almost doesn’t seem possible with the completely broad nature of the questions… Anyway, thanks guys.

“As mentioned above, HD video will be decent on a theater screen. At that size, it will look roughly like how standard-def video looks compared to HD.”

Are you sure about that? Now that most theaters have switched over to digital projection, it is usually only 2K projection. Perhaps the showcase “extreme screens” might have 4K projectors, but most screens are only 2K, which is 1080P. Theatrical 2K is only 2048 × 1080, compared to HDTV 1920 x 1080. Any difference you see in footage will be from camera quality and lighting.