Aspect Ratio Documentation

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Bob Furmanek, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    MARTY will be seen on Blu-ray for the first time since the original theatrical release with Delbert Mann's intended 1.85:1 compositions.

    I'm happy to report that we provided the documentation to insure mastering in the correct ratio.
     
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  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Great job, Bob!
     
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  3. Bob Furmanek

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    Thank you, Robert.

    It's an important film and it will be great to finally see it as the director intended. Kudos to Frank Tarzi and Kino-Lorber for trusting documentation from primary source materials!

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  4. Gary16

    Gary16 Supporting Actor

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    Yes! That's great news. When is it due for release?
     
  5. Bob Furmanek

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    According to MisterLime in the Kino thread, it will out in July or August.

    When asked, we will continue to provide documentation on the correct aspect ratio for these early widescreen films.
     
  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    So, I have to wear socks when I watch?
     
  7. Bob Furmanek

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    I was just asked by a journalist about our track record for OAR research and studio mastering.

    Off the top of my head, here are the titles where our original documentation made a difference:

    DIAL M FOR MURDER
    CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
    ON THE WATERFRONT
    SHANE
    SABRINA
    THE KILLERS
    A HARD DAYS NIGHT
    MARTY

    Here's where our primary source materials for widescreen were ignored:

    ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE KOPS
    ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY
    JOHNNY GUITAR
    CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
    RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11

    Am I forgetting any titles?
     
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  8. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Lord of the Flies, maybe? (Not sure if you provided documentation for that one or not. A bit of a unique situation with the insight from a crewmember leading Criterion to go 1.33)
     
  9. Bob Furmanek

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    No, I didn't provide anything to Criterion on that one.
     
  10. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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    Regarding Lord of the Flies, I forgot to post this very intriguing interview answer from the director from the Summer 1963 issue of Sight & Sound, who had been asked how he feels about improvisational shooting vs. more traditional controlled shooting:

    [​IMG]

    When you take that answer with the fact that a great deal of the film looks like your typical run of the mill widescreen composition, but that regardless Brook, the DP and Gerald Fiel went with 1.33:1 for the Laserdisc, and later Fiel alone went with 1.37:1 for the Blu-ray, I think it's clear what happened in this particularly unique case.

    As Brook says, two thirds were shot traditionally (i.e., controlled and made sure to look best at 1.66:1-1.85:1), whilst the rest was shot improvisationally, a "newsreel" style (crucially, by Fiel himself). I guess they all felt that a lot of this footage looked poor in widescreen and felt open matte was best where possible (i.e, on home video). It's the only explanation that considers everything. I've felt happy to watch the Blu-ray in 1.37:1 since reading the interview.
     
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  11. Bob Furmanek

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    Unfortunately, all three widescreen FRANCIS films are full-frame on the new DVD release.

    Sigh...

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  12. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  13. Gary16

    Gary16 Supporting Actor

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    Too bad I already bought it but I could return it since I haven't opened it. Decisions. Decisions.
     
  14. Bob Furmanek

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    They're probably older transfers, especially NAVY because I'm told it barely works when masked to 1.85 on the display. I bet it's been manipulated and zoomed in.

    Any film composed for 2:1 should not look tight at 1.85!

    So far as returning it, do you really think they're going to do another master on these films? They had one chance to do it right and you see the results.

    VERY frustrating.
     
  15. Gary16

    Gary16 Supporting Actor

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    I would really not send it back. Just always hoping they'll get the message eventually. So I guess Univetsal can now say "abbott and Costello and Francis" never made any widescreen movies.
     
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  16. Bob Furmanek

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    Here's a fascinating article found by Jack Theakston. It's from the February 1955 issue of INTERNATIONAL PROJECTIONIST, the leading industry trade journal for professional film operators. It illustrates the turmoil and efforts to establish a standard for widescreen presentation.

    That same month, on February 10, 1955, in an effort to "stabilize shooting methods in British studios," the Camera Technical Committee of the British Film Producers Association began recommending 1.75:1 as the optimum ratio for British productions. Cinematographers will be instructed to compose shots loosely in order to work from 1.66:1 up to 1.85:1, with 1.75:1 being considered ideal.

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  17. JoHud

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    The transfer of that and the other two aren't that old, definitely appears DVD-era and look better that a lot of their TCM loan-outs. About on par with the A&C transfers. But t does seem zoomed one way or another.
    Yeah, this is the best we'll get for a long while. It took them 10 years just to get the last thee out on DVD.
     
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  18. Gary16

    Gary16 Supporting Actor

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    I have the first Francis on the original MCA Discovision CAV laserdisc. I'll have to compare it to see if the DVD transfer is that old.
     
  19. Bob Furmanek

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    From April 1947 to January 1963, Robert A. Mitchell contributed monthly articles to International Projectionist. These were highly detailed, technical papers covering all aspects of motion picture projection and technology.

    On his passing in March 1965, he was described as "an acknowledged authority in his field."

    His 1957 book "Manual of Practical Projection" is essential reading, containing the best of his technical articles up to that time.

    Despite our research and documentation, some people still cling to the belief that academy ratio films were being exhibited hand in hand with widescreen films in the mid-1950's.

    Case in point: Gary Tooze (DVD Beaver) stated the following in his April 26 review of THE MOLE PEOPLE on Blu-ray:
    That's not true. When THE MOLE PEOPLE was released in December 1956, the vast majority of theatres were converted to widescreen.

    Robert A. Mitchell's comments in a June 1956 article concerning the status of 1.37:1 as a presentation format should set the record straight.

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  20. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Yes, that's definitely a myth. The only time any such ambiguity existed was at the very dawn of widescreen conversion in mid-1953. But saying the same about features from 1956-1957? No way. Monolith Monsters and The Mole People don't look right in 1.33:1. They were clearly framed for widescreen. Even cropping the DVDs confirmed it.

    Though for some reason, The Deadly Mantis looked too cramped when the DVD was cropped to widescreen. I suspect that particular transfer or source print is zoomed.
     

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