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Grammar of the Shot, 2nd Edition by Christopher J. Bowen, Roy Thompson

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Safe Action Line and Domestic Cutoff

Although technologies are changing rapidly, the traditional 4:3 “tube”-based television set is still popular in the homes of many people. As a receiver and display monitor for picture information, it has done a valiant job, but it suffers from a peculiarity known as domestic cutoff. The TV set actually “cuts off” or does not display the outer edges of the original video or filmed image at the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the screen. This area of lost picture information is roughly 10% in from the edge of the source material. Since camera operators know that this cutoff will eventually happen, they frame their shots within what is called the safe action zone.

Many cameras, but not all, will have a ...

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