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Comparison of Flat, Anamorphic, Super 35, and Six-perf. 35 systems
"Flat" refers to non-anamorphic films shot with a standard 35mm gate. 1.85 and 1.66 tend to be its most common ratios.


Flat

Pros
1.More compact visuals
2.Sometimes better for films with many interior compositions
3.Better depth of field than anamorphic
4.More vertical format; better for taller composition
5.Simplest system technically and most standardized; therefore has the most equipment at its disposal
6.Equipment is less expensive and thus better for stunt cameras
7.Easier to "protect" for video

Cons
1.Inefficient use of negative space; anamorphic uses 59% more than 1.85, for example.
2.More visible set ceilings (or lack thereof)
3.Grainier opticals
4.Greater magnification than anamorphic and more noticeable projector movement
5.Incompatible with 70mm blow-up

Anamorphic

Pros
1.Larger negative area lowers grain, improves opticals, and increases sharpness
2.More interesting compositions possible
3.Preferred by big action, event, or epic films
4.Closest to normal human field of vision
5.Less vertical set design needed
6.Highest resolution format; still far ahead of HDTV
7.Most compatible with 70mm blowup

Cons
1.Format most hurt by pan-and-scan conversion for television
2.Close-ups on a single person leave wide areas of the frame open
3.More action to block out within a wider frame; more extras and/or set design may be needed
4.Too expensive to use with a stunt camera

Super 35

Pros
1.Better depth of field than anamorphic
2.Final ratio can be changed between anamorphic and flat later in post-production, if the frame has been adequately protected
3.Smaller lenses than anamorphic allow the camera to go to tighter places with less weight

Cons
1.When used for 2.35 ratio, has the smallest negative area of any 35mm format, which makes for more grain and magnification
2.Grainier image
3.Requires an extra intermediate step of printing in the lab
4.Prints cannot be struck from the original negative
5.Full aperture can make dailies difficult to properly project
6.Grain from the smaller negative must be countered with either slower film stock or overexposure of faster stock
7.Pan-and-scan from a small negative magnifies grain
8.The need to shoot a film for varying aspect ratios (2.35, 1.85 or 1.33) can and often does compromise shot composition

Six-Perf. 35mm

Pros
1.Allows more brightness and detail to reach the screen than conventional 35mm prints, much greater detail in camera image.
2.Permits better brightness when divided into above and below split frames for 3D, or if used non-stereo with anamorphic lens.
3.Very easy conversion of projector, and can be set up for "quick-change" in theaters.
4.Will look much better, brighter, than 2K digital at 1/10 of the conversion cost. Full 1.60 better than even anamorphic 35.
5.Will permit running of 35mm IMAX reduction prints in small theaters in remote locations.
6.Allows most existing cameras to be modified to shoot in the format, or projectors to be easily modified.
7.Can act as a "value added" marketing attraction, due to promotion of trade name. like 70mm did in the past.
8.There is no waste when fitting image onto and existing 1:1.85 theater screen, just more brightness,gamma range, & detail.
9.Digital conversion will be a hard sell in the poorer parts of world. This will allow 3D and "faked 70mm" everywhere soon.
10.Easy to shoot in digital, then make a "DI" (digital intermdiate) to release on "near 4K quality".

Cons
1.Print costs about 50% more.