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I am planning on shooting a short film with my DSLR (Nikon D5300). I want the film to be in 2.39:1 (1920x800), but my camera is recording in 16:9 (1920x1080).

I wondered if there is any way to preview the final aspect ratio on the camera's LCD screen so that I better see what will be in the frame (since the cropping will be done in post-production and I don't want unhappy surprises like being to close to my actor and then half of their head gets chopped off). I thought about building some sort of box thing with the corresponding bars on top and bottom of the frame that I can put on the screen, but this would be rather bulky.

Are there any solutions to preview the aspect ratio on the camera's LCD screen?

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Apply a screen protector to the LCD and use a permanent marker to draw the aspect ratio you want to frame for. Relatively inexpensive, easy to add, and completely safe for your screen. You may want to just draw a fairly thin line to mark the safe area; it can sometimes be useful to see the full frame.

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I assume you already checked the manual and there's no firmware option.

Well, the easiest way is to hide the excess areas with black electrical tape that you put directly on the screen after measuring the frame height. If needed the tape can be pulled partly off and put back on.

The pricy alternative is a suitable external monitor, called "field monitor".

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  • Literally masking the display with tape is a good suggestion, but you might want to use something other than electrical tape. Electrical tape tends to leave adhesive residue when removed. Definitely don't use duct tape. While it probably comes off cleaner, the adhesive on gaffer's tape is a bit too aggressive for me to put on my own LCD. Maybe a paper tape of some kind? – Michael Liebman Jun 5 at 20:45
  • Good point. Tapes vary, sometimes residues will only remain if the tape has been sticking for many hours, sometimes it's there immediately. Paper tape might be safer indeed. Sticky residues can be cleaned with isopropanol if the LCD screen is waterproof. – Matt Jun 5 at 22:05

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