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Understanding aspect ratio

From: DSLR Video Tips

Video: Understanding aspect ratio

Richard: So just like most industries, video has its own jargon, and one of the terms you'll hear thrown around a lot is aspect ratio. What is this? Robbie: Well, it's a term that people make seem them like it's more complicated than it really is, it's just width by height. Richard: Okay, so comparison of how wide an image is versus how tall? Robbie: Exactly. Richard: So if I go to the movie theater, and I'm watching on the really wide cinema screen, we'll often say that's 2.35:1, meaning that's about you know little more than two times wider than it is tall. Robbie: Right. Richard: Okay, and then if we go home, and we watch on our HDTV set at home, it tends to be? Robbie: Well, 16:9 aspect ratio, but you see, aspect ratios often displayed or are measured rather in ratios like 16:9 or decimals like 1.78 would be 16:9.

Understanding aspect ratio

Richard: So just like most industries, video has its own jargon, and one of the terms you'll hear thrown around a lot is aspect ratio. What is this? Robbie: Well, it's a term that people make seem them like it's more complicated than it really is, it's just width by height. Richard: Okay, so comparison of how wide an image is versus how tall? Robbie: Exactly. Richard: So if I go to the movie theater, and I'm watching on the really wide cinema screen, we'll often say that's 2.35:1, meaning that's about you know little more than two times wider than it is tall. Robbie: Right. Richard: Okay, and then if we go home, and we watch on our HDTV set at home, it tends to be? Robbie: Well, 16:9 aspect ratio, but you see, aspect ratios often displayed or are measured rather in ratios like 16:9 or decimals like 1.78 would be 16:9.

Richard: Okay. Robbie: Because you are just dividing 16:9. Richard: Okay, and 4:3 would be 1.33? Robbie: That's right. Richard: Okay, so these numbers are pretty common and what's important to realize is that what the camera shoots is often different, and what you're delivering can vary. You know, you might shoot one video, and it's going to go to regular TV and to an iPad or to a broadcast television on a 4:3 set, so you have to be mindful of different aspect ratios. Robbie: Well, you bring up a couple of interesting points there. First off all with these DSLRs, when you're shooting still photos, most of the time we're shooting at a--I want to say 4:3-ish aspect ratio, it's not always exactly 4:3-- Richard: It's like 5:7. Robbie: Right.

You know, but it's sort of in that square kind of aspect ratio, that's one point. The other thing is these cameras can actually shoot 4:3 video if you want them to, but you have to be in the standard def mode of the video section on the cameras, to be able to shoot true 4:3, when you're in the HD modes, you're shooting 16:9. Richard: Okay, and so I think two things are there that are important. One, when you change the aspect ratio of the camera for different shooting mode, it's going to likely put up some gray bars, it's partially transparent that show you shaded areas. Robbie: Yeah.

Richard: Only inside that area is actually being written by the video files, so the whole Live View panel lights up, but the shaded area is not being recorded. Robbie: That's right. Richard: So make sure you compose the shots, and then if you are shooting for multiple screen delivery, you might be shooting HD at 16:9, but let's say we're intending to deliver to the iPad, well, that's more of 4:3 aspect ratio. Robbie: And believe or not Rich, there are still some people out there who have 4x3 aspect ratio televisions. Richard: Oh yeah. I know lots of folks, I have got relatives like, but it still works, why would I replace it? Robbie: Exactly! So you know oftentimes, instead of actually truly shooting 4:3, because we'll be shooting at a lower resolution, we can shoot HD either 720 or 1080, but then protect for 4:3 safety, and this can be done in a couple of different ways.

The most low-tech way is just to use some tape or china marker or something like that on your 16:9 monitoring device, yes, you can do it back here or on an actual film monitor, and just mask off that 4:3 area. A lot of higher-end monitors, external monitors, that is will allow you to actually put on an on-screen overlay on the monitor to protect for that 4:3 area. Now what's even cool about that Rich is that it will also show you 4:3 Action Safe and Title Safe Zones which are important when you're protecting for 4:3.

Richard: And that's nice because that will allow you to better compose the shots so that action safe guide which we'll continue to explore throughout some of our movies here just helps you understand like bleed in print, you don't want to get too close to the edges. Now besides monitors or manually doing it, if you get an electronic viewfinder, it's really common there as well. Robbie: Yep. Richard: You just turn them on these guides. So I think the key to realize here is that we're pretty much in an HD world, which is 16:9, at least for acquisition. Robbie: Right! Richard: But when it comes to playback, it's all over the place.

You've got 4:3 screens, the PowerPoint presentations, iPads, a lot of mobile phones, BlackBerries. We've got 16:9 for other devices. Even the iPhone, for example, is not a true 16:9, it is like 14:9. Robbie: Right. Richard: And so you might not see everything on the screen that you shot. So it becomes important that you pay attention to your delivery specs, and that might mean masking out your viewfinder or using an overlay feature on your monitor, so you know that what you're shooting is going show up properly on that intended playback device.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for DSLR Video Tips
DSLR Video Tips

350 video lessons · 98409 viewers

Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman
Author

 
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  1. 1m 23s
    1. DSLR Video Tips Trailer
      1m 23s
  2. 2m 30s
    1. Goodbye
      2m 30s
  3. 2m 23s
    1. Welcome
      2m 23s
  4. 3m 36s
    1. Frame size recommendations
      3m 36s
  5. 15m 6s
    1. Exploring frame rate choices
      6m 16s
    2. Frame rate recommendations
      4m 42s
    3. Mixing frame rates
      4m 8s
  6. 9m 19s
    1. Understanding color loss
      5m 6s
    2. Understanding detail loss
      4m 13s
  7. 12m 8s
    1. Comparing sensor sizes
      3m 43s
    2. Why choose a cropped sensor
      4m 40s
    3. Why choose a full sensor
      3m 45s
  8. 9m 9s
    1. Understanding how DSLR viewfinders react when recording video
      2m 11s
    2. Understanding live view
      6m 58s
  9. 8m 39s
    1. Understanding aspect ratio
      4m 14s
    2. Why shoot 16:9
      4m 25s
  10. 8m 6s
    1. Composition matters
      3m 24s
    2. Exploring the action-safe area
      4m 42s
  11. 23m 7s
    1. Understanding card speeds
      8m 59s
    2. Shooting video
      6m 42s
    3. Shooting time lapse
      7m 26s
  12. 11m 27s
    1. What is rolling shutter?
      5m 50s
    2. Avoiding rolling shutter
      5m 37s
  13. 8m 11s
    1. Moiré explained
      3m 10s
    2. Avoiding Moiré
      5m 1s
  14. 7m 36s
    1. The dangers of tiny screens
      1m 22s
    2. How to set focus before recording
      6m 14s
  15. 9m 32s
    1. Using your HDMI port
      5m 17s
    2. Adapting HDMI to SDI
      4m 15s
  16. 20m 6s
    1. You call this a mic?
      4m 7s
    2. The impact of Auto Gain Control
      4m 34s
    3. The dangers of not monitoring audio
      7m 27s
    4. Using an attached mic
      3m 58s
  17. 4m 44s
    1. Shutter speed explained
      4m 44s
  18. 19m 49s
    1. The Exposure Triangle for low light
      3m 40s
    2. Adjusting aperture
      5m 46s
    3. Adjusting ISO
      5m 24s
    4. Adjusting shutter speed
      4m 59s
  19. 12m 26s
    1. Avoiding lens flare
      2m 8s
    2. Using a lens hood
      2m 46s
    3. Using a matte box
      4m 15s
    4. Exploring other strategies for avoiding lens flares
      3m 17s
  20. 17m 20s
    1. What causes shake?
      3m 23s
    2. Using a stable platform
      9m 27s
    3. Fixing shake in post
      4m 30s
  21. 16m 24s
    1. What are prime lenses?
      3m 21s
    2. Exploring low-light performance
      3m 2s
    3. Working with shallow depth of field
      4m 31s
    4. Examining cost issues
      5m 30s
  22. 11m 39s
    1. What is a matte box?
      4m 2s
    2. Discussing the benefit of filters
      4m 19s
    3. Reducing lense flare
      3m 18s
  23. 14m 19s
    1. What is an EVF?
      2m 51s
    2. Checking focus
      3m 56s
    3. Checking exposure
      3m 28s
    4. Viewing camera settings
      4m 4s
  24. 12m 5s
    1. What is a loupe?
      2m 38s
    2. Proper focus with a loupe
      4m 18s
    3. Proper exposure with a loupe
      5m 9s
  25. 10m 33s
    1. What is a monopod?
      2m 39s
    2. Exploring stabilized shooting
      4m 28s
    3. Exploring overhead shooting
      3m 26s
  26. 13m 48s
    1. Why use a dedicated audio recorder?
      2m 42s
    2. What inputs do I need?
      5m 7s
    3. File formats to choose from
      5m 59s
  27. 17m 6s
    1. Setting levels
      6m 10s
    2. Monitoring sound
      6m 51s
    3. Slating takes
      4m 5s
  28. 6m 22s
    1. Apps you can use to record sync sound
      2m 55s
    2. Adapter cables
      3m 27s
  29. 10m 1s
    1. Why does my exposure change with a zoom lens?
      1m 21s
    2. F-Stop reviewed
      2m 58s
    3. Strategies for dealing with the problem
      5m 42s
  30. 13m 37s
    1. How can I check my focus?
      1m 27s
    2. Zooming in
      3m 14s
    3. Using a target
      3m 44s
    4. Using AutoFocus at the start
      5m 12s
  31. 17m 19s
    1. How many batteries do I need?
      1m 27s
    2. Power or no power
      4m 6s
    3. Other batteries to consider
      6m 35s
    4. Strategies for lengthening battery life
      5m 11s
  32. 27m 29s
    1. What adapters should I carry?
      1m 21s
    2. Adapting audio
      7m 13s
    3. Adapting video
      8m 54s
    4. Power options
      4m 9s
    5. Connecting gear
      5m 52s
  33. 16m 4s
    1. What type of microphone should I use for run-and-gun shooting?
      2m 16s
    2. Built-in microphones
      3m 36s
    3. Shotgun microphones
      4m 27s
    4. Microphone preamps
      5m 45s
  34. 13m 38s
    1. What type of microphone should I use for an interview?
      2m 2s
    2. Lavaliere mic
      6m 35s
    3. Boom mic
      5m 1s
  35. 16m 45s
    1. Why do I need a fluid head?
      3m 6s
    2. Standard photo head drawbacks
      4m 1s
    3. Why use a fluid head?
      6m 9s
    4. Converting a photo tripod
      3m 29s
  36. 13m 34s
    1. Why should I use a slate?
      2m 0s
    2. Using a digital slate
      5m 13s
    3. Using a physical slate
      3m 32s
    4. Alternate metadata
      2m 49s
  37. 10m 42s
    1. DSLR recording time limits
      4m 14s
    2. Legal limits
      6m 28s
  38. 22m 37s
    1. Is the Canon 6D right for me?
      2m 36s
    2. Beneficial features of the Canon 6D
      3m 41s
    3. Drawbacks of the Canon 6D
      4m 21s
    4. Menu options of the Canon 6D
      11m 59s
  39. 21m 17s
    1. The Nikon D600
      2m 38s
    2. Beneficial features of the Nikon D600
      6m 4s
    3. Drawbacks of the Nikon D600
      3m 45s
    4. Menu options of the Nikon D600
      8m 50s
  40. 8m 39s
    1. Can I attach lights to the camera?
      4m 57s
    2. Moving lights off-center
      3m 42s
  41. 18m 4s
    1. How do I get my camera into tight spaces?
      1m 58s
    2. Using GorillaPods
      3m 52s
    3. Using additional Grip Items
      4m 30s
    4. Using a DINO
      3m 50s
    5. Using a Lens Skirt
      3m 54s
  42. 17m 42s
    1. How can I get smooth tracking shots?
      1m 42s
    2. Walking the camera
      7m 55s
    3. Using sliders and dollies
      8m 5s
  43. 23m 1s
    1. How can I fix shaky shooting?
      4m 37s
    2. Fixing shaky shooting in Final Cut Pro X
      8m 54s
    3. Fixing shaky shooting in Premiere Pro
      9m 30s
  44. 15m 18s
    1. How should I manage my cards in the field?
      2m 16s
    2. Using card wallets
      5m 33s
    3. Mirroring your data
      7m 29s
  45. 23m 56s
    1. How do I transfer my footage?
      12m 15s
    2. Monitoring your footage
      11m 41s
  46. 26m 28s
    1. How do I rack focus?
      1m 47s
    2. Using a Prime Lens
      8m 22s
    3. Using a Zoom Lens
      9m 13s
    4. Using a follow focus
      7m 6s
  47. 23m 8s
    1. How do I clean my camera?
      2m 55s
    2. Keeping the lens clean
      7m 48s
    3. Cleaning the sensor
      8m 14s
    4. Performing a wet sensor cleaning
      4m 11s
  48. 23m 58s
    1. How do I get slow motion footage?
      1m 50s
    2. Setting up slow motion in camera settings
      4m 57s
    3. Slow motion in Final Cut Pro X
      6m 17s
    4. Slow motion in Premiere Pro
      3m 57s
    5. Slow motion in After Effects
      6m 57s
  49. 14m 53s
    1. How do I import into Final Cut Pro X?
      59s
    2. Transferring from a card into Final Cut Pro X
      5m 3s
    3. Importing footage into Final Cut Pro X
      8m 51s
  50. 12m 10s
    1. How do I import into Premiere Pro?
      1m 19s
    2. Transferring from a card into Premiere Pro
      3m 55s
    3. Importing footage into Premiere Pro
      6m 56s
  51. 19m 13s
    1. How do I sync sound in post?
      1m 20s
    2. Syncing sound with Final Cut Pro X
      4m 40s
    3. Syncing sound with Premiere Pro
      5m 57s
    4. Syncing sound with Plural Eyes
      7m 16s
  52. 12m 50s
    1. Lighting with available light
      2m 23s
    2. Calculating the sun's position
      2m 7s
    3. Reflectors
      1m 42s
    4. Shiny boards
      1m 31s
    5. Evaluating the results
      5m 7s
  53. 16m 2s
    1. Lighting with alternate sources
      3m 3s
    2. Battery operated LED lights
      2m 15s
    3. Using an inverter
      2m 28s
    4. Using a generator
      1m 19s
    5. Flashlights & GL-1
      1m 28s
    6. Evaluating the results
      5m 29s
  54. 26m 3s
    1. Shooting in small places
      1m 44s
    2. Using portable lights
      8m 0s
    3. Compact lighting
      1m 8s
    4. Lens choices
      1m 31s
    5. Mounting the camera
      2m 11s
    6. Remote operation
      4m 24s
    7. Evaluating the results
      7m 5s
  55. 11m 37s
    1. Follow focus overview
      2m 25s
    2. What is a follow focus?
      2m 38s
    3. Setting the marks
      1m 56s
    4. Operating follow focus
      1m 4s
    5. Evaluating the results
      3m 34s
  56. 13m 57s
    1. Achieving critical focus
      2m 36s
    2. Punching in on LiveView
      2m 5s
    3. Using a loupe
      2m 14s
    4. Using auto focus before the shot
      2m 20s
    5. Using a monitor
      2m 30s
    6. Change the aperture
      2m 12s
  57. 23m 0s
    1. Exposure
      2m 21s
    2. The impact of sensor size
      2m 25s
    3. ND filter
      2m 51s
    4. Variable ND filter
      3m 4s
    5. Matte box
      3m 39s
    6. Evaluating the results
      8m 40s
  58. 10m 29s
    1. Backlit subjects in production
      2m 20s
    2. Shooting "in the middle"
      2m 23s
    3. Overpowering the backlight
      1m 30s
    4. Evaluating the result
      4m 16s
  59. 31m 22s
    1. Backlit subjects in post-production
      1m 54s
    2. Look at scopes
      5m 20s
    3. Enhancing the shots
      4m 51s
    4. Enhancing with Speedgrade
      9m 31s
    5. Enhancing with plugins
      9m 46s
  60. 7m 3s
    1. Audio for interviews
      2m 1s
    2. Placing the mic
      1m 29s
    3. Interview techniques
      1m 36s
    4. Interviewee placement
      1m 57s
  61. 11m 57s
    1. Shooting a product shot
      1m 30s
    2. Building the backdrop
      1m 25s
    3. Compact lighting
      2m 59s
    4. Cleaning the object
      1m 16s
    5. Using a macro lens
      2m 25s
    6. Using a turntable
      2m 22s
  62. 9m 8s
    1. Using a field monitor
      1m 44s
    2. Connecting the monitor
      1m 19s
    3. Using peaking and using focus in red
      1m 36s
    4. Using color assist
      2m 34s
    5. Looping the monitor
      1m 55s
  63. 13m 25s
    1. Scopes
      3m 37s
    2. Reading the histogram
      2m 11s
    3. Reading a waveform monitor
      2m 38s
    4. Reading a vectorscope
      4m 59s
  64. 30m 59s
    1. What is a GoPro?
      2m 35s
    2. The GoPro bodies
      3m 53s
    3. Essential GoPro gear
      9m 0s
    4. Powering the GoPro
      6m 13s
    5. Accessing GoPro menus
      3m 34s
    6. Essential menu commands
      5m 44s
  65. 9m 2s
    1. Exposure
      1m 1s
    2. The exposure triangle
      2m 40s
    3. Evaluating the settings
      5m 21s
  66. 15m 48s
    1. What is aperture?
      3m 29s
    2. A DP's perspective on aperture
      45s
    3. Adjusting aperture
      2m 14s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      9m 20s
  67. 14m 4s
    1. What is shutter speed?
      3m 58s
    2. A DP's perspective on shutter speed
      1m 37s
    3. Adjusting shutter speed
      2m 54s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      5m 35s
  68. 18m 12s
    1. What is ISO?
      5m 12s
    2. A DP's perspective on ISO
      1m 52s
    3. Adjusting ISO
      2m 49s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      8m 19s
  69. 7m 41s
    1. Controlling exposure beyond camera settings
      2m 44s
    2. Adding light
      2m 54s
    3. Adding filtration
      2m 3s
  70. 19m 27s
    1. Getting the camera higher
      2m 26s
    2. Using a monopod to extend your reach
      2m 46s
    3. What is a jib?
      3m 33s
    4. Operating a jib
      6m 21s
    5. Evaluating the shots
      4m 21s
  71. 18m 14s
    1. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
      4m 38s
    2. What to look out for
      5m 3s
    3. Pocket Cinema Camera workflow
      3m 51s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      4m 42s
  72. 17m 15s
    1. Shooting with a GoPro mount
      5m 14s
    2. Connecting a GoPro remote
      2m 46s
    3. Viewing with a remote app
      3m 48s
    4. Recording with a remote app
      3m 11s
    5. Evaluating the shots
      2m 16s
  73. 14m 15s
    1. Using a click track
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a click track
      5m 10s
    3. Playing a click track in the field
      36s
    4. Recording with a click track
      53s
    5. Syncing in post
      6m 8s
  74. 7m 5s
    1. Preparing for a shoot with multiple DSLR cameras
      2m 10s
    2. Scouting the location
      1m 16s
    3. Lighting for multiple cameras
      48s
    4. A DP's perspective on multicamera lighting
      1m 56s
    5. Matching cameras
      55s
  75. 5m 21s
    1. Doing a shoot with multiple DSLR cameras
      2m 21s
    2. Positioning the cameras
      1m 2s
    3. Syncing the cameras
      1m 2s
    4. Directing the shoot
      56s
  76. 16m 59s
    1. Achieving a film look
      2m 36s
    2. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part one
      7m 20s
    3. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part two
      7m 3s
  77. 28m 47s
    1. Black Magic Cinema Camera
      3m 44s
    2. Things to Look Out For
      9m 41s
    3. Recording with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera
      2m 15s
    4. Focusing
      3m 17s
    5. Evaluating the Shots
      5m 12s
    6. RAW Workflow
      4m 38s
  78. 15m 50s
    1. Achieving a film look
      2m 28s
    2. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part 1
      8m 45s
    3. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part 2
      4m 37s
  79. 18m 58s
    1. Shooting time lapses with a GoPro
      2m 25s
    2. Setting up the GoPro
      4m 30s
    3. Accessing the footage
      4m 52s
    4. Processing the footage
      7m 11s
  80. 21m 21s
    1. Why assemble a time lapse?
      1m 59s
    2. Assembling a time lapse in Photoshop
      6m 36s
    3. Assembling a time lapse in Premiere Pro
      7m 43s
    4. Assembling a time lapse in After Effects
      5m 3s
  81. 22m 40s
    1. Processing multiple-camera footage
      1m 42s
    2. Organizing the media for Adobe Premiere Pro
      5m 36s
    3. Syncing in Adobe Premiere Pro
      6m 20s
    4. Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro
      9m 2s
  82. 15m 1s
    1. Processing multiple-camera footage
      1m 8s
    2. Organizing and syncing media for Final Cut Pro X
      5m 13s
    3. Editing in Final Cut Pro X
      8m 40s
  83. 21m 56s
    1. How do I get a GoPro in the air?
      2m 1s
    2. Attaching a GoPro to a quadcopter
      2m 23s
    3. Calibrating the quadcopter
      2m 13s
    4. Flying with the GoPro on the quadcopter
      3m 48s
    5. Evaluating the quadcopter footage
      5m 49s
    6. Getting more control with the quadcopter
      5m 42s
  84. 15m 58s
    1. Sliding the camera
      3m 1s
    2. Tabletop dolly
      3m 8s
    3. What is a slider?
      3m 55s
    4. Using a slider
      3m 32s
    5. Slider versatility
      2m 22s
  85. 13m 14s
    1. Shooting with an iPhone 5S
      2m 58s
    2. Shooting slow motion
      3m 11s
    3. Accessing footage
      3m 17s
    4. Assembling footage
      3m 48s
  86. 16m 9s
    1. Benefits of mirrorless cameras
      2m 48s
    2. Mirrorless workflow
      2m 41s
    3. Things to look out for
      6m 10s
    4. Evaluating the footage
      4m 30s
  87. 26m 6s
    1. What is Log?
      2m 40s
    2. Why should you shoot Log?
      6m 7s
    3. Using a LUT with Dynamic Link
      8m 11s
    4. Creating a LUT in Adobe Speedgrade
      9m 8s
  88. 30m 34s
    1. Matching cameras
      1m 58s
    2. Variables
      4m 22s
    3. Calibration
      8m 42s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      3m 5s
    5. Matching Log footage
      6m 30s
    6. Matching ProRes
      5m 57s
  89. 11m 39s
    1. Achieving a film look
      3m 7s
    2. Using Resolve presets
      4m 29s
    3. Color grading from scratch
      4m 3s
  90. 19m 1s
    1. Achieving a filmic look
      3m 58s
    2. Using Speedgrade presets
      7m 34s
    3. Color grading from scratch
      7m 29s
  91. 11m 48s
    1. Remotely controlling a camera
      1m 34s
    2. Attaching a CamRanger
      2m 38s
    3. Creating a network
      4m 50s
    4. Controlling with an iPad
      2m 46s
  92. 10m 49s
    1. Taking a look at shaky footage
      1m 45s
    2. Fixing shaky footage in Final Cut Pro X
      3m 18s
    3. Fixing shaky footage in Adobe Premiere Pro
      5m 46s
  93. 14m 46s
    1. A quick overview of site surveys
      1m 25s
    2. Anticipating the weather
      3m 11s
    3. Taking panoramic site photos with Occipital 360
      3m 46s
    4. Collecting location information with PanaScout
      2m 48s
    5. Portable and mobile pro audio to go
      3m 36s
  94. 24m 54s
    1. Taking a look at third-party plugins
      3m 21s
    2. Exploring Tiffen Dfx Filter plugins
      6m 59s
    3. Boosting creativity with Tiffen Dfx Looks
      4m 3s
    4. Exploring the Magic Bullet Suite
      5m 45s
    5. Taking your footage further with Magic Bullet Looks
      4m 46s
  95. 9m 1s
    1. Scouting the lighting situation out on location
      1m 10s
    2. Using Lighttrac to determine sun or moon position
      2m 12s
    3. Using Sun Seeker to track sun or moon position
      3m 2s
    4. Determining the position of the sun or moon with Focalware
      2m 37s

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