negative ratio vs. intended ratio?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Terry H, Apr 5, 2003.

  1. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    Talk about Giant got me curious about George Stephens and his movie Shane. When Shane was released I was assured (not here) that 1.33:1 was the correct and intended ratio. That was also what IMDB indicated although I would have sworn I recalled it in widescreen. Now it appears IMDB has modified their information and they say 1.37:1 is the negative ratio but 1.66:1 is the intended ratio. Am I splitting hairs or is the Shane DVD in the wrong ratio? Maybe I an misunderstand the terms? Thanks for any information.
     
  2. Scott Varney

    Scott Varney Agent

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    Though I'm not 100% sure, I would suspect that Shane was intended to be shown at 1.33. The film was released in 1953, the same year scope films were introduced, and I don't think matting of spherical films had become common place by then. I could be wrong though.

    Speaking of being wrong, I believe that the IMDB post a lot of info that is submitted by their users; so, it is possible that info on the site could be wrong.
     
  3. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    Like Scott says, don't worry too much about what IMDb lists for intended ratios. For the Disney animated films from the '60s, they list funky intended ratios for them, even though they were all animated for 1.33:1.

    If you see information from an official, authoritative source, that's different. Unfortunately, for these older movies, it's hard to find an official, authoritative source on the AR.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Negative ratio is what is actually on the film's camera negative.

    For example, Giant's negative is approx. 1.37:1 on-film. For theatrical presentation, the image was masked on the top and bottom (much like a picture frame) to 1.66:1.

    The image has to be loosely framed for practical reasons since framing can vary from projector to projector.

    Shane is one of those films which became a widescreen film after it was shot. The whole thing was filmed for Academy Ratio, but Paramount decided to let it be matted to 1.66:1 in theaters. A lot of studios did the same thing to cash in on CinemaScope. (Like Invasion of the Body Snatchers in SuperScope...despite it being filmed for Academy!)
     
  5. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    Shane was never intended to be shown in anything other than the Academy ratio. The matting was done after the fact and had Stevens known I'm sure he would have framed the film differently.

    Critic Pauline Kael on the subject: "The cinematography by Loyal Griggs won the Academy Award; this must have struck him as a black joke, because Paramount, in order to take advantage of the new fashion for the wide screen, had mutilated the compositions by cutting off the top and bottom"

    The Shane DVD is appropriately full screen.
     
  6. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956, Don Siegel) was filmed in Academy, but was then altered to SuperScope's 2.00:1? That's the correct ratio for S-Scope, right? Man, I never knew that; I thought it was a S-Scope production from the outset! I have heard that the current DVD edition is an abortion - is it? A real f-up, yes?

    Corman's, The Day The World Ended is out in Britain soon. It is a S-Scope show... yes?! [​IMG] Should the DVD be 2.00:1 or what?!

    Cheers. [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  7. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    This is a real bucket of worms. If Shane and Giant were both shot at 1.37:1 but both were initially shown in theaters at 1.66:1 then logically both films have the same OAR. Seems the pending release of Giant at 1.66:1 anamorphic is not OAR at all...

    Maybe I don't understand the meaning of OAR. I thought OAR was defined by how the film was first shown in theaters - not by the AR of the negative but Patrick seems to be saying the oppposite.

    I understand what Thomas is saying about Stevens composing differently if he knew it would be matted. So is that the defining point? He knew it would be matted for Giant so 1.66:1 is the proper OAR whereas in Shane it is not? Does director's intent really factor into OAR? Should it? I keep using this term but I don't think there is an "official" definition anywhere. If there is, I'm sure someone will correct me. [​IMG] Thanks.
     
  8. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Giant was released late enough where it's likely George Stevens could have it framed for 1.66:1. Now, if it was a 1953 film like Shane, it wouldn't have a chance.

    For matted widescreen films like Giant, the negative simply has more picture information that is needed. The 1.66:1 matting creates the correct 1.66:1 composition from the 1.37:1 image. This is how most "flat" films are matted.

    The main reason why filmmakers didn't do much until recently is because a lot could care less about the TV presentation. Most are concerned with how it looks on the big screen. To our advantage, more and more filmmakers are making sure their films look the way they want on video.
     

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