Author Topic: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use  (Read 25972 times)


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Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« on: June 10, 2014, 06:46:58 PM »
Hello all,

I created a Fincher ground glass crop marks for Magic Lantern for you to use. First here's a download link:

For those of you not familiar with the Fincher crop marks here's some background even though I'm pretty sure most of you know this stuff.

There are many aspect ratios that are used in cinema. Most common ones are:

4:3 - The academic ration. Old square-ish ratio.
16:9 - Most common ratio currently among TV materials and of course web.
1:1,85 - One of the two cinematic ratios. Usually associated with the lower budget non-Hollywood movies and arty stuff. The main reason why it was used is because it's wider than the the 3:4, but used to be cheaper comparing to the anamorphic process when shooting film. Not sure if it's really used today cause it’s almost identical to 16:9.
1:2,40 - The modern widescreen. Long time ago it was 2,35 and now days sometimes it's still referred to as 2,35 though it’s technically a mistake. Previously expensive and associated with hi-budget only as it was used with expensive anamorphic lenses and required much more light, because the lenses had to be stopped down to around f/5.6 in order to get a sharp looking image. That resulted in a much higher production value and was accessible almost exclusively to expensive Hollywood movies.

Today there’s no financial aspects involved when choosing a format so choosing a format is either strict (like when shooting for TV) or totally a matter of creative needs.

One thing you should consider is the TV factor even when you shoot for the big screen as almost no tv channel will broadcast a widescreen picture and they will crop it to 16:9. This can be done either in a simple way - just cropping equally from the left and right sides, or with a pan-scan, meaning choosing crop for every shot and sometimes adjusting the crop dynamically during the shot in order to not loose important objects. The main problem is that you don’t have control over it and your film might end up awfully cropped when broadcasted on tv.

The most common way to deal with it is framing your 2,40 with a 16:9 “safe zone” inside of it - meaning not including important things outside the central 16:9 zone of your frame, so when it’s cropped by the tv channel - everything will still be more or less in place.

Personally I don’t like that idea cause it limits your framing freedom and you’re limited in fully using your widescreen frame. So that's where Fincher glass comes into picture. This is something David Fincher came up with quite recently. In Film cameras where you have optical viewfinder there are replaceable ground glasses with different formats (just for curiosity take a look here, but these are not all available: ). One is called "common top” that means that the 2,40 area is not in the middle of the frame but in the very top leaving extra space below it. Fincher realised that a much better way is taking your 16:9 sensor area and putting the 2,40 area not in the top or middle, but a bit lower than the top. Leaving 1/5 of the extra space at the top and 4/5 below.

Here's how it looks:

That way you can frame your 2,40, just making sure you don’t include any unnecessary stuff in the whole 16:9 image and later you can export 2 versions of your footage - one with the 2,40 crop and the other one - full frame 16:9 and both will look good cause in most cases adding space below your frame won’t kill your composition and to compensate the relatively big addition to the bottom, you add a little bit (1/5) on the top. That proved to work really good!
There’s also a version with 1/4 offset instead of 1/5. The one I made is the 1/5.

The Common Top crop marks I made include the 1:2,4 crop marks inside the 16:9 aspect ratio as well as the classic 4:3 crop marks on the sides. I hope you'll find it useful the way I'm finding it useful.

How to "install":
Just copy the .bmp image inside the cropmks folder. The image is already rle compressed.

How to use:
Set your camera to 16:9 aspect ratio and load the Common top crop marks and frame your movie using the 1:2,4 marks making sure nothing important is located below and above the marks. I'm using these crop marks with 1920x1080 resolution shooting in .mlv raw and it works fine.

Since ML is such a gift to me, I'm trying to give back something and that's why I made these.

A huge thanks goes to my DP friend Mark Ziselson who pointed me in this direction. You really should check his last two features shot in 1:2,4 using this very technique.

These I'm afraid where shot with Alexa though :)

All best,
Goran Ljubuncic


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 08:58:09 PM »
thanks a lot. wonderful idea.


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 09:04:05 PM »
Many thanks!
EOS 5D Mark III | EOS 600D | Canon 24-105mm f4L | Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II | Canon 50mm f1.4 | Samyang 14mm T3.1 | Opteka 8mm f3.5


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 06:22:59 PM »
Thanks for sharing :)
once you go raw you never go back


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2015, 03:28:37 PM »
I am prepping for a Pilot shoot and my research shows that House Of Card shot in 2:1 format, any tips for me shooting with my Canon 5D Mark II and what's you favorite Firmware to date.
Canon 5D Mark II


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2015, 03:59:06 PM »
Great, thank you!   5D Mark III, 6D, 550D


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 01:14:19 AM »
Hey Goran!

Your dropbox link is dead, would you please reupload Fincher cropmarks i'm really interested (and as a fan of Fincher work, it's a must have ;)
I looked at your website, your work is awesome!

Greetings to Israël from France


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2021, 11:19:20 AM »
70D.112 [main cam] | M.202 | S110 [CHDK]


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Re: Fincher ground glass crop marks for your use
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2021, 12:37:50 PM »
Nice. Is there a reason why your red lines are not centered ? like histograms on the UI ?
EOS 5D3 123 crop_rec_4k_mlv_snd_isogain_1x3_presets_2020Dec11.5D3123