I debated for a couple of days whether to start a new thread for this or add to one of the existing ones that talk about aspects of my questions in a more fragmented fashion. Ultimately I decided on a new thread. I hope that's okay.
My humble background is entirely with small time video production using mostly 59.94i SD cameras, although I own a DVX-100 that shoots 23.98p SD and owned a used Varicam for a short while that shot 720p at 59.94. I have never delivered for broadcast, only for SD DVD.
I took delivery of my Epic a little over a week ago and will be embarking soon on my very first feature film. It's a documentary about my spiritual journey (including an account of the most profound event of my life, a sudden and completely unexpected encounter with the spirit of Jesus Christ in an Atlanta hotel room in 1994). The film will be highly impressionistic visually and more thematic than linear in narrative, unfolding in a series of "vignettes" that are mostly sculpted by poetry and poetic prose read in voice-over. I anticipate that 60% of the visuals will be from stuff I shoot with the Epic (and probably a third of that shot at high frame rates for slow motion), another 10% time lapse from my Canon 5D Mark II, about 20% NLE pan/zooms on stills for historical aspects of the story, and another 10% using a few 59.94i home video clips and archival news footage (most of the latter probably shot 4:3 SD at 59.94i, although some small percentage may be available in HD at 59.94i.) The news footage is not trivial to the story. It needn't look "pretty" (and there's no fear of that juxtaposed to Epic footage!), but I'd like to preserve the quality of it as much as possible.
I am 'leaping by faith" into this project with no real knowledge other than the overwhelming intuition that it is tied strongly to my life purpose and mission, and I therefore trust there will be an audience somewhere for it. My strongest hunch is that some festivals may show interest, maybe a small art house release or Sundance or IFC Channel TV broadcast beyond that. But I certainly expect it to be released on DVD and perhaps even digital download, even if I wind up doing both the latter myself.
I don't know how you deliver a finished film to an art house theater or film festival (I'm assuming that both use all digital projection by now working only from digital media of some kind, but even that is inference on my part). And I also don't know their preferences or requirements for frame rate and aspect ratio. I see no compelling reason in terms of aesthetics for choosing a project frame rate other than 23.98 (with the exception of integrating the 59.94i news archives). My understanding is that 1.85 and 2.4 are the standard theatrical aspects, and I strongly prefer 1.85 between those two. For DVD release and any TV broadcast, I'd definitely want a 16:9 finished aspect, and I'd even consider that for festival/theatrical release if it's something those venues would accept.
So with all this background, I'm posting for advice and opinions on the frame rate and aspect ratio I should shoot and frame for and also what makes the most sense in terms of available shooting modes on the Epic. Ideally, I'd love it if the entire sensor were a 1.85 aspect, extracting the most potential from wide angle lenses, etc., from which I could then crop just a bit from the sides for a 16:9 DVD master. But file size and available frame rates are also something I want to keep in mind, and should I want to shoot REALLY high frame rates for certain effects, I'd want the footage to mix well with the higher res footage without much noticeable softening or noise pattern magnification, etc. Here are my tentative decisions, which I welcome constructive criticism of:
- shoot with Epic in 5K 2:1 mode @ 23.98p
- master at 23.98p and crop in post to 1.85 (4736 x 2560) for any theatrical/festival release (although I have no idea how the 59.94i archival news footage will look down converted to 23.98 and mixed with the native stuff)
- master at 29.97p or 59.94i for DVD/broadcast cropping to 16:9 (4557 x 2560), and this should preserve the native news video as shot
Any flaws in my thinking?