To understand cinemascope or cinematic black bars, we first understand what is aspect ratio is? Aspect ratio is the ratio of height and width of the movie screen. In the old day’s filmmaker use to shoot videos or films in the aspect ratio of 4:3 which is not much wider, if we remember our old televisions then we can understand the aspect ratio of 4:3, it seems to be a square box. But if we look at modern Televisions then we can see that it is much wider than the old one because modern televisions come with the aspect ratio of 16:9 which is a standard one. Same things happened with the movie cameras also. Modern cameras have a sensor with the aspect ratio of 16:9, because of that all modern cameras shoot video with the aspect ratio of 16:9 but, if we look current movies then we can notice that it doesn’t come with the aspect ratio of 16:9.
Nowadays movies come with the aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is much wider than 16:9. Widescreen gives us the feel of wideness, largeness and small aspect ratio like 4:3 give us the feeling of compactness, smallness. Because of that, modern movies come with a wide aspect ratio, but it is not compulsory. There are certain movies were moviemaker user certain aspect ratio according to the scene to project the emotion of that scene.
Now here comes a question that if the camera sensor comes with the ratio of 16:9 or 4:3 then how do filmmakers achieve the aspect ratio of 2.35:1? The answer is by using anamorphic lenses. Anamorphic lenses are also called cine-lenses. There are very expensive and give you a 2.35:1 aspect ratio footage with a complete cinematic feel. We categories lenses in two group according to the aperture that is Spherical and Anamorphic. Spherical lenses are those having a spherical aperture and anamorphic with an oval shape aperture.
How do Anamorphic lenses work?
Anamorphic lenses compress the captured footage (Almost two stops) and project it to the camera sensor which seems to be like this.
Then at post-production by decompressing the footage we get a wider aspect ratio footage. Compare to the spherical lenses with same focal length anamorphic lenses capture more detail horizontally. In anamorphic lenses, we can see some other differences from spherical lenses like lens fair, oval bokeh effect etc. Now, come to the point that to get the wider cinematic feel or 2.35:1 aspect ratio what we have to do? Is buying expensive anamorphic lenses is the only solution. The answer is no. There is a very cheap way to do that is use back bars on the top and bottom of your footage in post-production that is called Cinemascope.
How to add Cinemascope or Black bars?
To add a cinemascope or back bar follow the given steps in Adobe premiere pro. In other editing software might be the setting will be different but the process will be the same.
First, take an adjustment layer and drag and drop on the top of your video footage. Stretch the adjustment layer, up to which you want the back bars.
Go to the effect’s menu and search for crop effect then drag and drop that effect on the adjustment layer.
Go to the Effects panel, click on crop effect then change the value of top and bottom to 11. Look at the below picture.
Finally, you will get a cinemascope or black bar. By changing the top and bottom value in crop effect you can use different aspect ratio.
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By Rajib Sinha
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