First Look: AspectCorrect(TM)
COW Library : Cinematography : Walter Biscardi : First Look: AspectCorrect(TM)
We’ve all done this at least once in our careers. You’re shooting with a standard camera but you know you’re going to letterbox later so you tape two pieces of paper to “crop” the field monitor. Or you’re trying to make sure an element in the shot is in safe title, so you use a grease pencil and approximate where safe title will be. You do what you have to do when you’re out in the field, but of course you’re never quite sure if it’s accurate until you get back into the edit suite. In this article, Creativecow leader Walter Biscardi takes a first look at a handy 'widget' developed by Cinematographer and fellow COW leader, Clay Walker called AspectCorrect™ and determines that "...This is just one of those cool little things that should make camera operators lives easier."
4:3 TV Safe with 16:9 Cling
We’ve all done this at least once in our careers. You’re shooting with a standard camera but you know you’re going to letterbox later so you tape two pieces of paper to “crop” the field monitor. Or you’re trying to make sure an element in the shot is in safe title, so you use a grease pencil and approximate where safe title will be. You do what you have to do when you’re out in the field, but of course you’re never quite sure if it’s accurate until you get back into the edit suite.
Cinematographer, and fellow Cow Leader, Clay Walker, came up with a clever little “widget” to solve this problem once and for all. You can put away the gaff tape and the grease pencils, say hello to “AspectCorrect™.”
16:9 Letterboxing Cling (Black)
An Overlay for Cameras and Monitors .
The “AspectCorrect™” is an transparent overlay “cling” that adheres to the flip-out LCD on most video cameras as well as production CRTs & LCDs. It provides useful framing information from 4:3 TV safe info to 16:9 info while not recording a faux letterbox on a 4:3 frame. A current project really got Clay thinking about an accurate field guide once and for all.
“It came about mostly because I have been working on a documentary on musician Freddy Cole for several years and realized that I had been working with a prototype of this cling for sometime,” said Walker. “Although I never thought I would make into an actual product to put into the marketplace.”
The use of the Panasonic DVX-100A for the documentary made it the obvious choice to test the AspectCorrect™ concept. Like most SD cameras, the DVX-100 offers no TV safe information in the flipout LCD so you’re really flying blind if you just use the LCD as your display. And of course there are times because of location or travel restrictions you can’t always have a field monitor with you on the shoot. Of course, even having a CRT in the field is not accurate on its own.
“Toggling between overscan / underscan isn’t an exact science. As an editor & motion graphics designer, I really want to know exactly where the framing information is when I am shooting,” notes Walker.
16:9 Letterboxing Cling (Clear )
Accurate field guides
After many tests, trials and tribulations, I have to say, Clay has come up with a very accurate and simple to use field guide. Clay notes that it taken a lot of trial and error to get the product to where it is today.
“I have gone through endless measuring and testing & redesigning of the AspectCorrect™. Basically, I want this to be as accurate as possible because it has to be. That being said, it is a reference guide and I do recommend shooters confirming that their configuration is calibrated correctly,”
Clay may be a little overly ambitious but he plans to make a cling for anything & everything on the market. His main focus to begin with was the DVX-100 & the Sony BVM-9L2 monitor but he has branched out to quite a variety of clings as the requests have come in. Basically, if you have a need for product like this, just tell Clay what kind of camera / monitor you’re using and he’ll come up with a cling for you. In fact, his willingness to create custom clings has lead to some interesting contacts.
“I have to say I have really enjoyed the response to this and communication with a lot of people I might not have met otherwise… I have a couple of very renown independent filmmakers who have requested the AC and I am very interested to receive their feedback on the AC,” said Walker.
4:3 TV Safe Cling
An evolving product .
The AspectCorrect was not created as solely an SD to HD reference guide. As long as we use a monitor to compose and look to for critical framing information, there will always be the need for this product. Clay plans to change and evolve the product as the industry and formats evolve.
If you’re a videographer and really want to make sure your framing is accurate, I would suggest you check out this product. It’s one of those clever little ideas that will make your lives so much easier and at $10 a pair, the AspectCorrect™ is probably one of the most economical investments you’ll make.
Hey, Clay is a Cow Leader and has come up with a really clever idea to make a videographer’s life easier. 5 Cows for taking the initiative to solve a problem that’s been around since the dawn of the portable video camera!
Click here for more information: www.aspectcorrect.com
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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