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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Concerning Boom Mikes

   
Author Topic: Concerning Boom Mikes
Reshpeckobiggle
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From what I understand, when you see a boom mike (or four) in a film it is almost always the projectionist's fault. The movie is filmed with a few borders, one for each ratio (for instance, its standard ratio and a 1.33 for pan and scan, which is thankfully become less and less prevalent). The camerman, editor, and director all understand that only what lies within the borders is to be seen by the audience. However, a lazy or incompetent projectionist at your local theater may not frame the film correctly, and then such things as boom mikes and scaffolding are seen.
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Cactus Jack
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Yeah, that happened to me during US Marshals. You could see boom mikes, the shade over the top of the camera, all kinds of stuff.

And when I went to see Ferngully, there were bits when they'd change reels where you could see that a character whose head was above the frame wasn't drawn completely.

Made me wonder what else sits just out of frame on the celluoid in other movies.

There's an idea for Lucas. He could release Star Wars: The What-Sits-Just-Outside-The-Frame edition DVDs, with the whole pic off the film.

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ManWithNoName
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I said the same thing first... [Cry]
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Reshpeckobiggle
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So I wonder if this information would change ho Card feels about that Antonio Banderas movie.
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vonk
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didn't he say he and his whole family loved the movie? how did you want him to feel?
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Synesthesia
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I saw some weird version of LA Confidential with a ton of mics in it.
It cracked me and my friends up. But it might have just been because they showed it for free in my college.
So it might not have been a proper version

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jd2cly60
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okay, film negative records to an area that is 4:3, almost all films record to that (70mm is different as is 3perf, but we'll get to that later). If it's shot with anamorphic lens like Star Wars or Braveheart, the lens squeezes a wide field of view into the 4:3 area and another lens unsqueezes it in the projection booth, so there are never any booms recorded to the negative area.

However it's really hard to get any depth of field on an anamorphic lens making it more expensive to light and more expensive and time consuming (if you have a cheap crew) to shoot.

The other option is to shoot for 1.85:1, which is approximately the ratio of a widescreen tv. The widescreen image is recorded on film, and there are mattes or marks on the camera eye piece and directors monitor so the cinematographer et al can see the composition, however the actual lens still records a 4:3 image. If it's a non effects sequence that full 4:3 image will be printed onto the release prints. The projectionist puts a matte in front of the projector that shapes the final image to the right ratio. if they mess up the matte or misthread the projector you'll see boom mikes, which a good projectionist should correct. but in a multiplex they have one-two projectionists runing all 14 of the films simultaneously, so they'll likely never see it unless you mention it. If it's an effects sequence it'll be hard matted onto the release print, meaning the film company only paid for the effects to be applied to the area that people will see so effects are only generated for that portion of the 4:3 frame and black bars are printed onto the release print for those sequences.

Now some people shoot what is called three-perf, which means they adjust the camera shutter mechanism and film speed to record each 1.85 frame on top of one another, leaving no wasted space This means they save 25% on film stock, but they have to do calculations to adjust all the standard numbers you'd know for a typical 35mm shoot, so it throws veterens eye-ball estimates off and it also costs about 25,000 set up fee and a 25,000 strike fee at the printing facility to correct three-perf back to four perf for release prints, which will basically eat all the film stock savings of an independent film shooting 3 perf.

The other advantage of shooting in four perf 4:3 is that on a large budget film that will do a digital intermediate (color corrected digitally rather than photochemically) it also gives the editor room to recompose ever so slightly to better match shots. large budget films are also more likely to shoot super 35 which means cropping a 2.35:1 image out of the 4:3 frame and using a portion of the 4:3 frame for the pan and scan release, terminator two and the first two Harry Potters (at least) shot like this. So there is less tolerance for boom mikes anywhere near the frame, but something like Shall We Dance, they probably figured if it was out of the camera-safe zone of the 1.85:1 frame then they didn't need to worry about it and they could stay on schedule by not having a grip running to get three more full appleboxes to get the boom guy to stand on, or have the gaff relight everything so they can take the lenser off the top of the camera (it's preventing a sharp flare, usually).

And a script super or an AD can't give a 'BOOM!' cry if the monitor is hard matted to 1.85:1 or they're using a hi-def monitor that is natively 1.78:1, sorry OSC, it's not the supers or ADs fault, it's the fault of the lousy projectionist making a common mistake at your local multiplex.

Adam

[ May 15, 2006, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: jd2cly60 ]

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Reshpeckobiggle
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There is a such thing as lay-speak. I'm not sure if it's hyphenated, though. In any event, I'm not sure of your point, unless it's to point out how much smarter you are than me.
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Dagonee
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Are you complaining about the lovely technical explanation jd2cly60 shared with us? Why would you do that?

His point was clearly to share some insight with other posters.

This poster, for one, is grateful for that insight.

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Jay
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Wow…. And here I was wondering what discussion about Orson Scott Card we could possibly have that involved Boom Mikes
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theamazeeaz
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It was a correction on this review:

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2006-04-16.shtml

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theamazeeaz
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I liked Adam's explanation. No, I didn't understand every word, but I understood the majority of it, and I'm a 19 year old girl who certainly isn't in the movie business. I also love Hatrack because you inevitably get people who are actually experts in the field we are talking about- they add to the conversation, not make other people look bad.

About four years ago, I recall seeing a rather obsessed Harry Potter page that showed that the fullscreen versions actually had more at the top and bottom of the pictures in some cases- is this what you are describing?

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pooka
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I mostly understood it, from my photography classes.

But I guess something that puzzles me is that OSC was involved in at least one filming project, that being the "Bordertown" that is featured in another thread. It seems improbable that he would have been as woefully ignorant as me on this point.

P.S. Has anyone else seen the movie and not seen several intrusions of the boom?

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theamazeeaz
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Haven't seen it. I guess we'll know who is right if you see boom mikes on DVD.
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