How come Jurassic Park (1993) was shot in 1.85:1?

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I was reading this article that explains why:

https://filmschoolrejects.com/aspect...ark-franchise/

They say in the article that one of the reasons is because it makes it easier for the VFX artists cause they do not have to deal with the distortion of 2.39:1. But what does that mean? How is 2.39:1 a distorted image exactly?



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1.85:1, which Jurassic Park used, is the standard Widescreen Ratio.


2.39:1 is half way between 2.35:1 2.40:1 (21:9) (which is another common Widescreen Ratio alongside 1.85:1), and the 2.414:1 Ratio (which is known as Silver Ratio)... 2.39:1 isn't "distorted" exactly, it's just not an industry standard that which means it doesn't fit perfectly in terms of height and width with any in-use professional cinema screen or TV screen.



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I took the line reference making things easier for the VFX artists to mean that they simply had more compositional room to pull off digital effects. Later in the article they reference being able to show shadows that ground both actor and VFX creatures in the same reality, while the wider screen shots were tighter cropped and didn't allow for similar shadows--- as an example of how VFX artists can help use visual cues to reinforce our suspension of disbelief. I mean, it's easier to accept something as real when everything casts the same shadow than when they don't.

So if the artists have less space for such things, then they have to be more creative and frugal with what they CAN do when limited.

I doubt "distortion" was the concern as you can define your camera simulations and render resolutions. My guess, maybe they have to be aware of T.V. aspect ratios to make sure the effects translate enough should the movie be cropped, down the road, depending on what T.V. settings it may eventually be viewed on. Like, design primarily for the theatrical screen, but be aware of a more cropped screen if a viewer hates letterbox bars. Or whatever. Else your creature's head might get cropped a bit.



Oh okay, but I still don't understand why the wider the aspect ratios, the more complicated the shadows become. I still don't get what one has to do with the other. Are you saying it was cause the shadows were cut off?

But if that's the case, why not create the shadows in full and then put them in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, where they will be cut off? Why not just create them in full first, if that makes it easier, before cropping, rather than trying to work within a crop that is made already?



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Oh okay, but I still don't understand why the wider the aspect ratios, the more complicated the shadows become. I still don't get what one has to do with the other. Are you saying it was cause the shadows were cut off?

But if that's the case, why not create the shadows in full and then put them in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, where they will be cut off? Why not just create them in full first, if that makes it easier, before cropping, rather than trying to work within a crop that is made already?
No. I think you are looking at this from a slightly off perspective. It's not that any one aspect ratio complicates "shadows" from a technical perspective, it's more that shadows were offered as an example of how one aspect ratio could affect compositions in general.

Say you want to draw something on paper. You have one sheet of paper that's maybe 5x10 and another that's 3x10. You turn both to landscape (horizontal, where the sheets are wider than they are tall), and you begin to draw. Surely you can imagine it would be more difficult to get more of your drawing into the shorter, 3x10 sheet than the taller 5x10, no? Or, to get everything you want onto the shorter sheet of paper, you might have to scale everything down to such a degree that everything is too small to have impact.

In the shadow examples provided in the article, that's all it seemed to be. Just one format was vertically shorter than another, thereby reducing how much "canvas" the artists had to work with. In one instance, they had more vertical space to use and the shot was a bit wider including the full bodies of both cast and CGI characters. The ground was showing in that shot, so the VFX artists could add reference shadows to help the audience perceive both the humans and CGI creatures standing on the same plane of earth. In the other example, there was not as much vertical space (and the shot was much tighter of a crop to begin with), so the artists had much less vertical space to work with to make the audience believe both the cast and CGI creatures shared the same real space.

Again, it's not at all the point that shadows were distorted or affected as a special CGI effect because of some chosen aspect ratio. Shadows were only meant as a "for instance." Honestly, the whole statement about making the VFX artists job more or less difficult seems completely arbitrary to me. Maybe it was just added as fluff to increase the article's word count? The take away from all this is that aspect ratio (or canvas size, if it helps to look at this from a drawing-on-paper perspective), affects composition. Composition then affects what one can or cannot place into the shots.

That's my take on it all, at least!
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Oh okay cool, thanks Is it more expensive to shoot at 2.35:1 when it comes to film? I ask cause I notice how the more expensive James Bond movies seem to be shot at 2.35:1 compared to the 1.85:1 which I think were less money to make possibly. Or how the first Terminator movie is shot in 1.85:1 and the second, more costly one is shot in 2.35:1 it seems.



Okay thanks. The framing of the dinosaurs makes a lot more sense than the cgi reason that was given in the article.



Beyond the framing perhaps using anamorphic lenses would have made it tougher to get the CGI right? one aspect of the latter is afterall not just looking "realistic" but looking like it belongs in the film including distortion.



Oh okay, it's just I don't understand how the choice of glass on the lens, makes CGI more difficult. For example, I think King Kong 2005, was shot with anamorphic lenses and the CGI is just as good as Jurassic Park, isn't it?



Oh okay, it's just I don't understand how the choice of glass on the lens, makes CGI more difficult. For example, I think King Kong 2005, was shot with anamorphic lenses and the CGI is just as good as Jurassic Park, isn't it?



Yeah but there's a difference between doing CGI in 2005 and 1993.


1993 their scientists were doing things that nobody had ever done before.
Sadly they were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop and think if they should



Oh, what was the difference, anamorphic wise?



Oh, what was the difference, anamorphic wise?

There's no difference between 2005 and 1993 in terms of aspect used... but there's a difference between 2005 and 1993 when they were using CGI.


What I was on about in my last post on the difference between King Kong and Jurassic, is they were doing stuff nobody had ever done.


CGI was in its infancy.
They'd done chrome and plastic in Terminator 2, and water in The Abyss, and some glass CGI effects in Young Sherlock Holmes, and that owl at the start of Labyrinth, and the morphing scene in Willow... and that was about it.
But Jurassic Park was in a totally different league of special effects. A totally unprecedented piece of work, and they had to do it with technology that at the time, didn't exist yet.
ILM had to basically build the rendering programs from scratch, and just pray that the computers they were using were powerful enough.



They basically had a skyscraper, each floor filled with PC towers, just to render 1 frame of CG imagery, in this case an actual living creature... and it would take them a whole day to render that 1 frame.
Day after day after day, just to render a handful of frames with CGI dinosaurs.


These days, and even going back to King Kong in 2005, you can render entire worlds in seconds, using nothing but a mobile phone.



Yep I see what you mean there. I thought that that if they had shot anamorphic, it would mean less rendering, cause wouldn't there be less pixels in anamorphic, in terms of height, and therefore, less of a rendering process then?