A Few Words About A few words about... Full Metal Jacket -- In High Definition

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 10, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Note: The review below pertains to the original release, which many people found lacking. Looking back, I was pleased to see it in HD, and bypassed some of its shortcomings. It has been re-released, now in Blu-ray, in a superior version.

    For many people, history is being made next week, with the arrival of the first Stanley Kubrick film in the new High Definition format.

    Full Metal Jacket (1987) has a totally different look than either Unforgiven or the most recent films on HD.

    While differences in grain structure and resolution are less apparent in regular definition video, in High Definition they take on attributes more like projected film.

    As such, Full Metal Jacket has (quite appropriately) visible film grain.

    This is as intended and as shot.

    What is also new to this version is the clarity of color and tonality discussed in other "Few words" pieces.

    The greens of uniforms, the whites of the Viet-UK skies, and the subtle differentiations in the complextions of the soldiers in the many close-ups, all come together to create a perfect home experience for Mr. Kubrick's work.

    A great and important film done right. I believe Mr. Kubrick would be pleased.

    I can only imagine what Spartacus will look like when Universal pulls the trigger on that one.

    Give me more HD.

    Yet another release highly recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Thank you, Mr. Harris, for reporting on a favorite film of mine. I am increasingly inclined to simply break down and buy into HD DVD now.
     
  3. Steve Blair

    Steve Blair Second Unit

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    Give in, you won't regret it [​IMG] Thanks Robert, buying both this and Unforgiven on tuesday. Warner and Universal are really doing well with hd dvd output as I'm buying 2-4 per week...
     
  4. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Is it framed in widescreen... finally?

    I'd assume as with most "matted" WB releases it would be 1.78:1.

    Dan
     
  5. Michael Boyd

    Michael Boyd Second Unit

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    ^ What I am curious about.
     
  6. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Dan, there is another Full Metal Jacket thread in High Definition that discusses the A.R.; in this case 1.78:1.

    - Walter.
     
  7. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Yes, it's quite addictive. I had my HD initiation some years ago with naturally not so well compressed material. Then came D-Theater. Many, many times I felt like weeping looking at the pictures, going from perfect black (courtesy of CRT projection) via the most gorgeous colors to white. Unreal beauty unleashed by master photographers: Moulin Rouge, American Beauty, Blue Velvet and so on (HD docus in 1080i with the regular HD video look bore me mightily on the other hand). On top material all the usual DVD garbage (such as EE) was gone.
    The average opinion may be that HD is not much better than DVD. Whoever can see what really is on the sources knows better, though. There is no comparison.
     
  8. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    "greens in uniforms"

    ...I have to agree with this (even though I haven't seen the FMJ HD-DVD yet) because it was the colour green that I saw a huge improvement with HD over SD-DVDs.

    I admit I'm very curious to see how a grainy film translates to HD. I expect it to look very different than it does on SD-DVD.

    Thanks for igniting that thought, now I'm a little more eager than ever...

    Mike
     
  9. PaulBigelow

    PaulBigelow Stunt Coordinator

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    FMJ has been in HD on HDNet Moves, 1.78:1 Very nice transfer.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While FMJ displays grain, it cannot be considered "grainy."

    RAH
     
  11. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Mr. Harris,
    Would you know the reason behind the change in aspect ratio from the previous home video release?
    Thank you.

    Any one else that would like to chime in with "news" (facts) of why this title is widescreen, would all so be welcome to by me.
     
  12. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    The late director Stanley Kubrick insisted that "Full Metal Jacket" as well as "The Shining" and "Eyes Wide Shut" be presented in full frame (1.33:1) on DVD. He says he shot them at that ratio and that is the ratio he wants them presented in for video. However, he didn't seem to have a problem with them being projected at 1.85:1 in theaters. And since High Definition is natively widescreen, I'm going to assume that Warner thinks maybe he wouldn't have minded if they are shown that way.
     
  13. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Is anybody else sick and tired of every single thread involving one of these Kubrick movies degenerating into a "FILMED FULL-HEIGHT!" "PROJECTED MATTED!" shouting match over what the proper aspect ratio is, with all kinds of people claiming on the basis of some reference or other to be able to speak for a DEAD MAN? [​IMG]
    They're out there in Full Screen 4:3. They're also, mostly, out there in a matted-widescreen ratio. On High Definition, they're going to be released in Full Screen 16:9, which just happens to also be Wide Screen at about the original projection ratio [some seem to have been projected both at 1.85 and at 1.66]. It's as good a choice as any.
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As a point of reference, many films meant to be projected at 1.85 el al, were shot open matte -- and not printed with a matte -- as a matte necessitated an optical stage during printing. This affected image quality.

    The aspect ratio was created during projection.

    Further, those films shot with mattes in camera, were generally shot with a 1.66 - 1.75 matte, again leaving the 1.85 crop to be performed during projection, thus covering and camera niz or detritus that might have adhered to the edges of the aperture.

    The High Definition aspect ratio of 1.78:1 works perfectly for all of these situations, inclusive of Full Metal Jacket.

    RAH
     
  15. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    That's for the quick reply, Mr. Harris.
     
  16. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    I just ask for patience for the rest of us.
    Thanks.

    Wow
    Christopher, I just reread the last part of your post. Whom are you speaking for? I mean for you, not Kubrick to say "it's as good a choice as any". I don't know how that can be, without speaking for a DEAD MAN. Careful!
    It's tough to post on the web. People take things the wrong way. Just so you know. when I asked the question, I really just wanted to know how this AR came about. Not inflame anything. I'm glad its widescreen, I just don't know enough about the subject to know that it is "right".

    Peace, Love, & HiDef Forever!
     
  17. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    It's not this thread specifically. Try searching the forum for any Kubrick film shot in 35mm, and you will come up with hundreds of pages of endless discussions of people saying "He was a photographer, he composed what he saw through the lens" and other people saying "He was a filmmaker, he compoed for the theater". Half of the people claim to be able to say with certainty that the "director's intended vision" was to have his film seen at a widescreen ratio [although they don't agree which one], the other half claim claim to be able to say with certainty that the "director's intended vision" was to have his film seen at Academy Ratio. Then they start talking about how certain shots seem "tight", or how something-or-other "spoils the composition". I swear, it's enough to put one off watching his films at all, which is a shame because they are rather good. All I know is that A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, a film which he could be sure would never be shown on TV, is hard-matted to at least 1.5:1 in every frame. And when I say that "16:9 Full Frame is as good a choice as any" my logic is simple. For something which was shot full-frame and projected at ratios up to and including 1.85:1, if there is doubt about the "proper" ratio, one can pretty safely say that it lies in the range 1.33:1-1.85:1, which includes 16:9. As Mr. Harris points out, 16:9 is a reasonable ratio for a "soft-matted" film, which were generally projected in a kind of "flexible" manner. Furthermore, about half of the people who think that Mr. Kubric wanted his films presented at 4:3 open matte, suppose that he wanted them presented that way on television to use the whole resolution of the frame for his picture, and 16:9 Full Screen High Definition does just that. Since there is no clear reason to think that the 16:9 ratio is "better" or "worse" in any absolute sense than any other — as opposed to obviously "wrong" ratios like 1:1 square or 2.75:1 Ultra Panavision — by process of elimination it has to be "as good as any".
     
  18. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    There HAVE been numerous threads that argue for or against Mr. Kubrick's alleged "full screen" preference for his films. For the record, I am against. But I am resolved to believe that anytime a new Kubrick DVD is released -- and this time the theatrical aspect ratio is preserved (which parts with Mr. Kubrick's wishes at the time of his death, as far as we know) -- then the discussion will most certainly come up again and this time, especially, with very good reason.

    I am very happy to know that FINALLY the proper aspect ratio has been preserved and when I convert to HD-DVD or Blu-Ray (as soon as second generation players are released that fix their first generation problems), I will most certainly be picking up this Kubrick film, along with 2001 and The Shining.
     
  19. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Christopher,
    Thanks for your polite reply.
    And ,yes, this has been a "Hot Topic" in the past (and will be in the future ;-) ).
    Glad this AR works with HD!!!
     
  20. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    FYI, Kubrick's decisions over aspect ratios for his films owned by WB apparently came about in 1991 when he approved transfers for laserdisc. The stuff mentioned by Leon Vitali about the tech specs has a ton of errors, so who knows.
     

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