Barco Escape

Mike McCarthy   October 5, 2016   1 Comment on Barco Escape

There are a number of proprietary theatrical formats that have been released over the last few years, to get people back into theaters, and away from their 4K BluRay players or whatever at home. IMAX is the most well known longstanding brand in that regard, but has been watered down from its original 70mm immersive format to just a bigger screen. Dolby3D and RealD are part of this movement as well, followed more recently by Dolby Cinema for HDR. There are also options like D-Box, ATMOS and others to add to the theatrical experience. One more option that has begun to appear, without too much notice is Barco Escape.
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Barco Escape is a wraparound experience, with 3 projection screens filling the width of the viewer’s vision, with a total aspect ratio of 7.16:1. The only content that has been available in the format so far has been small segments of Star Trek and Maze Runner. But I have been working on a project all year that is going to be the first full length feature entirely shot and finished for Escape.  The format is challenging to work in, not just because of the frame size and data rates, but because the aspect ratio is so extreme to frame content for.

Cameras don’t shoot this format natively, although Red does have an 8:1 option that is even more extreme, and a 4:1 option that could work if Escape was your only deliverable.  But since there are very few Escape theaters today, you would literally be painting yourself into a corner.  Having more vertical resolution available in your source footage opens up all sorts of workflow possibilities.  Regardless of your source footage size, editing the final output is an unusual experience.
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Within the NLE interface, you can move things around to better utilize space, but when you are going out to a dedicated display of any size, most of your screen is wasted with image matte, narrowing you down to thin strip of picture across the center of the screen.  A 55″ TV only has a 6.5″ tall image at that aspect ratio.
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Even with the new ultra-wide 2.35 displays that have been coming out recently, 66% of the pixels are wasted.  But there are other monitoring options, which I will share in my upcoming posts about my recent project and its workflow.

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