"Apocalypse Now Redux" Framing

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Colin Jacobson, Nov 11, 2001.

  1. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    498
    The subject of the 2.0:1 transfer accorded both the original Apocalypse Now DVD (and other home video incarnations) and the new Redux disc has been well-covered. However, I discovered something interesting as I watched Redux: though it still sports the 2.0:1 proportions, it's definitely framed DIFFERENTLY than the original disc.
    In my review of the 1999 DVD, I'd noted that during the "Charlie don't surf" scene, the soldier Kilgore addressed was almost lost from the left side of the frame; he nearly got cropped out of existence. However, that's NOT the case for Redux. The frame's still a little cramped, but this soldier's much more visible. On the other hand, we almost entirely lose another solider on the RIGHT side of the frame; he was very apparent on the old DVD, but he's basically gone in Redux.
    I haven't done such direct comparisons for the rest of the film. I thought the old composition was cramped but acceptable, and I feel the same way about Redux. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see the differences in framing.
    Redux probably offers the better composition of the two, but the new cut of the film seems very weak to me. I thought none of the new scenes added anything, and MANY of them actively harmed the movie. On the other hand, the movie looks and sounds better than ever. The picture is comparable to that of the old DVD, but it seems a bit cleaner, and the sound is excellent. Nonetheless, I'm sticking with the old cut - it's flawed but much more satisfying than Redux.
    (Full review to go online tomorrow, BTW...)
    ------------------
    Colin Jacobson
    DVD Movie Guide
    www.dvdmg.com
     
  2. Anton Ruzic

    Anton Ruzic Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Did Storaro pan 'n' scan the 2.35:1 master for the Redux DVD?
    Anton
     
  3. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    498
     
  4. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 1999
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    231
    Real Name:
    Neil S. Bulk
     
  5. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    65
     
  6. cafink

    cafink Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    3,043
    Likes Received:
    36
    Real Name:
    Carl Fink
     
  7. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 1998
    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    0
  8. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    65
    Carl:
    What, exactly are you questioning? The original aspect ratio of the film, or Storaro's penchant for cropping on video?
    I'll just cover both issues.
    First, an interview with Storaro (one of several) in American Cinematographer several years ago. In it, the issue of letterboxing on video, and specifically the framing for Apocalypse Now on laserdisc, were addressed.
    As for the film itself, it only stands to reason that one shoots anamorphic 35mm for a reason. For the record, Coppola shot Apocalypse Now with Technovision cameras and anamorphic lenses. Any filmmaker knows a scope film will be projected at something between 2.2 and 2.4:1 in theaters. He also knows that 70mm blowups are going to have an image area of 2.2:1.
    Storaro has specifically stated he preferred altering the 2.35:1 scope frame to about 2:1 as a compromise between pan & scan and the limited resolution of video. I don't consider that his call to make. He and Coppola chose 2.35:1 for this film and it should be shown that way, or at least closer to it than it is. There is noticeable image loss on the sides of the frame, even on my TV with less than 5% total overscan. On the average set with 10% to even as much as 20% oversan, the image loss is much worse. You wind up with a 1.85:1 image of a 2.35:1 film. Not unlike what HBO is doing with 2.35:1 films on their hi-def channel. It is not right there, and it is not right here. It doesn't matter who made the decision, it was wrong.
     
  9. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2000
    Messages:
    1,009
    Likes Received:
    198
    Regarding Storano's view on letterboxing, there was an
    *excellent* article in the August issue of MIX magazine
    on Apocalypse Now's original 5.1 mix, and the re-mixing
    done to accomidate the new extras and tweaks that went
    into "Redux".
    While the nine page AN article was primarily about the
    audio, they did touch on the letterboxing to 2:1 from the
    2.40:1 image, as chosen by Vitorio Storano. To quote from
    the article:
    This controversial decision was intended to be a
    compromise between proper wide-screen framing and
    the relatively limited resolution of NTSC video.

    Right after is this interesting tidbit that I assume
    has to do with a newly inserted scene in "Redux":
    (The cropping did come back to haunt them in one
    scene where a character outside of the visible
    frame was speaking unbeknownst to the crew during
    the sound edit and mix. One cheated line and print-
    master fix later, all was well.)

    It seems that Storano is not only figuring the 2:1
    aspect ratio for home video, but also making edits to
    ensure a long shelf life in this format. So will Storano
    ever change his mind when it's time to release a 1080i
    or 1080p HD version? Will HDTV have enough resolution
    for Storano and Coppola for a 2.40:1 letterboxed version?
    (It is *their* baby after all, even if we don't agree [​IMG] )
    Hmm, Hmmm, Hmmm......
     
  10. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tango is one more film weakened by Storaro with his choice of 2.0 instead of 2:35. The credits at the beginning of the film on my set are even cut off at the sides. Anyone who saw this film in the theater and then sees the DVD will easily see that the reframed image is diminished on the DVD.
    The filmmaker is not always right--look at Kubrick with many of his films. They live in the old days of home video and have not adapted to the era of anamorphic DVD shown on a quality TV. In many cases, home video now has a better presentation than at your local cinema that shows films out of focus using cheap projectors and screens that absorb the image as much as they reflect it. Some of the newest cineplexes with 60' or 70' screens showing 35mm prints are no more watchable than VHS tape.
    Then again, the best DVDs still have a ways to go to match a quality print shown with a quality projection system. Unfortunately, quality projection is getting rarer.
     
  11. Jerry Gracia

    Jerry Gracia Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 1998
    Messages:
    534
    Likes Received:
    0
    Carl...
    quote: How do you know that "Apocalypse Now" wasn't just shot the same as a soft-matte film,[/quote]
    I guess you missed the very first sentence in Robert's post...
    quote: Storaro and Coppola made their decision when they chose anamorphic 35mm to shoot this film.[/quote]
    The film was shot in anamorphic format, not flat.
    quote: You say that 2.35:1 (or 2.20:1 or 2.40:1 or whatever) is the intended ratio, but you don't offer any evidence of that other than the theatrical exhibition.[/quote]
    ...again, refer back to Robert's first sentence. Anamorphic lenses squeeze a 2.35 (approx) image onto a 1.37 film frame. That's the evidence in itself.
    ------------------
    LuvLBX
    [Edited last by Jerry Gracia on November 11, 2001 at 07:40 PM]
     
  12. Tom Oh

    Tom Oh Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 1999
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for clearing things up. I just saw Redux in theater last night and was going to post about the aspect ratio on DVD. As much as I love HT, giant screen is prerequisite for viewing this film. I plan to pick up Redux on DVD but am disappointed by the aspect ratio.
    ------------------
     
  13. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2001
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Real Name:
    Gerardo Paron
     
  14. Sutjahjo Ngaserin

    Sutjahjo Ngaserin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    >>>The filmmaker is not always right--look at Kubrick with many of his films
     
  15. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 1999
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    231
    Real Name:
    Neil S. Bulk
     
  16. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have never seen "Apocalypse now" and was debating whether to purchase the original version or the "redux". After reading Colins posts, I have decided to go with the original. I also figure that the original will go OOP not long after the "redux" is released. My question is this: Should I buy the 1999 dvd or the laserdisc? Which is more true to the original release? Opinions on which to get, anyone?
     
  17. cafink

    cafink Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    3,043
    Likes Received:
    36
    Real Name:
    Carl Fink
     
  18. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,762
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Real Name:
    Damin J. Toell
    i agree that we should let HT fans choose the presentation of a film rather than the director and DP. they made the film, sure, but who cares what they want? i also plan on choosing the AR of films yet to be made. i sure hope they listen to my choices. why should the people making these things have any say? it's all about pleasing the fans, not the artists.
    DJ
     
  19. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2001
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    919
    Location:
    West Hollywood, CA
    Real Name:
    T R Wilkinson
    Carl - you can tell that it was intended for 2.35 because Storaro hadn't yet gone off on his 2:1 insanity at the time of the filming of Apocalypse.
    The other point is that the 2:1 is not so much an ARTISTIC choice as an attempt to overcome what he feels are the limits of NTSC resolution. Now his later work he is now actively composing for 2:1 (another film is Alfonso Arau's Picking Up The Pieces with Woody Allen) and that I have no problem with
    but damnit - I want to see ALL of Tucker!!!!!
    I mean for christ sakes - look at the end credits of Tucker on Laser or DVD - you can see them panning and scanning to get the pictures framed right. It makes me ill to watch it
    I so hate Storaro for doing this to Tucker, honestly I never liked AN and havent bothered to see AN:R but Tucker is a favorite, and its such a tease to *almost* get the full image
    but not quite.
    It's like when Ghostbusters 2 was released on video with TINY black bars, when it was a scope film....
     
  20. Sutjahjo Ngaserin

    Sutjahjo Ngaserin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    >>>I agree that we should let HT fans choose the presentation of a film rather than the director and DP
     

Share This Page