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RE: Film safe action/title

Martin asked (quite clearly, I thought) . . .

>I you were the guy doing titles to be recorded out to film.  Where would you
>go to find out how far from the edges your text would have to be to ensure
>nothing is cutoff during projection?  Are there a set of standards that
>address this or is it more of an empirical thing arrived at over the years?

Start with the projector aperture size. This is defined by
SMPTE/ISO/ANSI/ETC standard (see below), and it's what viewfinder
markings relate to.  It's a STANDARD. What you see on the screen is
governed by the projector mask, the screen size, and the lens. All
simple engineering measurements with no excuse for variation, and
accordingly the tolerances allowed in the standard are fractions of a
percent. Everything within this area should be projected without
cut-off.  (There tends to be a grey area between 1.66 and 1.85 height
with some theatres aiming for a compromise - but width is pretty

Now the standards for camera apertures are marginally larger (5%) than
for projectors. This is to guarantee that the camera mask is never
projected, and allows for slight build-up of dirt on the camera gate
edge, for printing alignment inaccuracies etc. 

Now, to put the TV Safe areas in their place in all this . . . 

"Safe Title", "Safe Action" and "TV Essential" are terms that became
necessary in TV, because domestic monitors are manufactured with a
considerable and variable underscan. This is to allow for mass
production tolerances, and to ensure that the viewer is never distracted
by anything other than picture information.  (It doesn't have to be the
full picture - see discussions on framing for letterbox and pan/scan -
but it has to be the full screen.).  As a result, essential elements of
the image or text are restricted a further 10% or so within the scanned
area (which itself is, by standard, marginally smaller than the film
projected area).  

Incidentally it is a common error that scratches, blemishes, unwanted
crew members etc that appear outside "TV essential" will not be seen by
the domestic viewer. They MAY be or may not be, but you can't rely on
it. Only the converse is true: anything _inside_ TV essential _will_ be
seen by all viewers.  This uncertainty is not the case for film

Now, the numbers - all in inches 'cos that's what I know them in:-

35mm camera   .863 x .631
35mm 1.33 proj  .825 x .602
35mm 1.66 proj  .825 x .497
35mm 1.85 proj  .825 x .446
35mm 'scope     .838 x .700
35mmTVtransmit   .792 x .594
35mm TV action .713 x .535
35mm TV title     .634 x .475

16mm camera  .404 x .295
16mm proj       .380 x .286
16mmTVprojected .368 x 276
16mm TV action.331 x .248
16mm TV title   .294 x .221

  Dominic Case
  Atlab Australia


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