TV shows and TV movies gone W I D E

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by HDvision, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

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    Hi agree with Bob on that, if anyone get the idea I don't advocate OAR for films, you're wrong. I was one of the first people in the press, over 25 years ago, to go on that crusade.

    However TV is a different animal. Same rules don't apply. And in the interest of longevity of the shows, I'm for going wide, and many in the industry begin to think so too, hence the rise in old TV shows and movies released wide.

    However, if the original producer of a show says it was made for 4/3, (Buffy, SHIELD), I totally respect that decision. (note that both versions, 4/3 and 16/9 exists on DVDs of these shows, despite the producer preference)
     
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  2. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

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    I'm all for Cameron doing what he does, ie changing the aspect ratio as long as the theatrical aspect also exists on Blu or DVD. Avatar is a bit different since both aspect ratio existed in theaters. Cameron choose the one that made the most sense for current TVs.

    I believe he should release the 3D conversion of T2, if it ever happens, in 1.77:1. That would match neatly with the first movie ;) -- As long as the 2D is still the theatrical aspect ratio, like he did for Titanic.
     
  3. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

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    Actually a lot is gained on the sides. A 4/3 transfert of any Batman episode, should show as a crop within the negative, just like Bob's example do. See post #19 on this thread to see how it works in most cases.
     
  4. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Buffy was shown in widescreen in the UK from season four onwards. If Joss Whedon only wanted them shown in 4x3, why did he not only shoot them wide (3 perf 35?), but did all the post in wide, just doing a 4x3 centre cut-out for American TV showings?

    I do like movies to be in the correct ratio, but I'm less bothered about TV, as long as it works, Batman looks fine in 1:75, as does Lost In Space in 16:9
     
  5. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    You'd have to ask Joss Whedon or Fox but there's no question that the show is only meant to be seen at 4:3.

    I'll play devil's advocate and say that many movies will look fine if you cropped them from 2.35 to 1.78- does that mean that you should crop them as well?

    I guess people think that TV isn't as 'important' as a movie but the creative team on a TV show wasn't any less concerned about framing and composition than someone working on a movie. Whether they wanted 4:3 or 16:9 or were happy with both, it wasn't just an "Eh, whatever" decision.
     
  6. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Sorry, it's just what I think - & I don't even feel bad about it. How comes a show that is only meant to be seen at 4x3 gets made & broadcast in 16:9?

    If you could compare what you saw on the telly in the 60's to what is on the actual 35mm frame you'd be shocked at how much picture was lost in broadcast. I suppose to be true to what we saw in the sixties, they'd have to zoom in & lose that amount of picture again!
     
  7. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

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    This is totally different. Old TV shows masters were already severely cropped (see post 19).

    The way it goes currently in most TV shows remastered for 4/3, in most cases, is that the whole frame is revealed. That totally ruins the compositions, and it's just as wrong as issuing a post 1953 movie shot for widescreen in 4/3, with too much headroom and bottom empty space.

    However, because it's 4/3, no one is bothered at all, everyone assume the presentation is right. Nope. It's totally wrong.

    So there's only two ways to presents the shows : either in 4/3 following smpte guides (ie the action safe, meaning a severe crop of the negative), or, just follow the action safe top and bottom, let the sides in -- and presto, you have a remaster that will give the show longevity way beyond anything cropped in 4/3.

    The shows were shot to work both ways, any ways. They were not shot for a fixed canvas, thus there is no purity to their format. They were like the Alien, metamorphs. Hence why many of them are going wide.
     
  8. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    No, it isn't. Billy said that he was OK with the cropping on shows like Batman and Lost In Space because the results ended up "look[ing] fine". If that's the only criteria for cropping then all that matters is the end result and so you can crop any image to any size as long as the final image looks OK. Clearly, no one actually thinks that but I see little difference because altering the AR is always going to be altering the AR.
     
  9. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    I enjoy this debate but it just baffles me why there is such a stubbornly dogmatic advocacy that the OAR in a television show was something sacred and immutable as if ordained by the Pope or some Commandment that "thou shalt not alter the 4:3 frame,', when, if you've ever spent time with these DPs on the set, it was anything but. That's why I can't wait for some to weigh in here.OAR (for television, at least) was always a compromise based on the safe limits of the most common television screens. And many television screens in the sixties (including my family's) had deeply rounded edges, which cut off the image even more. Is THAT sacred? Do you want to be that purist? The OAR on most old television shows is not some ultimate artistic intent. Sure, a pro DP composes the picture with the most important objects in the center, but most of these guys were weaned on a wider frame for film and, often, that's where they were aspiring to be and where there head was often at.I am reminded of the classic Annie Hall scene where Woody Allen is debating someone about McLuhan's intent with another filmgoer and, suddenly McLuhan steps forward and tells the other filmgoer, "I heard you, you know nothing of my work." If the DP I lived next to in Santa Monica for many years came forward, he'd gladly testify against some sacred TV OAR. But I suppose that would never stop the debate, which would then continue show by show. Just as well.
     
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  10. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    This is where I disagree. And, unfortunately, our disagreement just keeps going around and around in circles.

    Just because there is more information than what was needed for the older broadcast standard doesn't mean that that what aired was "severely cropped."

    What aired was what the DP composed within the safe area as that was what was most likely to appear on-screen. The advantage of 35mm film allowed for the some extra information all around the safe area to allow for the overscan that was prevalent in the CRT sets of the day.

    The DP composed the shots--knowing that he/she was working within that 4:3 window--to provide the best possible image for the enjoyment of the audience and to best convey the nature of what was being broadcast. Outside of the speculation that some creative teams might have been composing across two work spaces in anticipation of a possible foreign theatrical presentation (and there has been no documentation here of which shows did that, if any), there is no reason to believe that much of anything outside that 4:3 safe area was ever intended to be seen.

    As you are correct that it is improper to open the whole frame to all that is contained within the 35mm frame--destroying the intended composition, it is for the same reason that it is improper to keep the top/bottom of the safe area but disregard the left/right of the safe area just to appease your desire to fill your 16:9 screen. How arbitrary. Why keep the top/bottom of the safe area sacred yet eschew the intent of the left/right boundaries of the safe area?

    And as to your premise that repurposing the original composition to 16:9 will "give the show longevity way beyond anything cropped in 4:3"...I disagree wholeheartedly. Is there some study to back this up? Or are we just dealing with your own personal opinion about this? The HTF has always supported home video releases that best (most closely) represent the original products created--whether movies or TV shows. I think most people interested in old TV shows care more about the content (writing, acting, direction, etc.) than whether or not the screen of their current set is filled on all sides.

    To those who see advocacy of OAR for TV shows as stubborn, why should it be anything else?
     
  11. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    I think everyone on here has pretty much said the key here is for these DPs to weigh in. I'm all for OAR in TV shows but will listen to other arguments from the film makers themselves if they have cause to state their intention was something other than OAR broadcast.Thing is, I'm still waiting...
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    First off, I have no problem acknowledging that we're discussing a TV show and if I were listing problems in the world, the AR of TV shows wouldn't make the list. However, we're on a board that is about discussing movies and TV so I see no problem in being passionate about the topic here.

    So then, as I said earlier, DOPs just say "Eh, whatever" when it comes to the photography of a TV show? Do the DOPs on movies not care either? If that's the case, all the people that I've seen here through out the years constantly arguing whether a movie should be seen at 1.33 or 1.66 or 1.75 or 1.85 need to be informed that even the guy that framed the image probably doesn't care.
     
  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I was kinda thinking that if the DP of a TV show wasn't composing to the 4:3 safe area because they would rather be working on films, they probably wouldn't be working on that TV show much longer!
     
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  14. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

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    I think Bob comments sum it all up. Regarding composing for 4/3, let's be realistic, 4/3 was gone for at least a decade and a half when most of the cult shows were shots. There's no way anyone, except maybe a second unit 72 years old DP, would shot for 4/3 anymore. These were mini films, not some News at Ten.
     
  15. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    And round we go again.... :)
     
  16. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    I seem to recall Kubrick had a preference for 4:3 for some of his films. Guess he liked the news a lot !!!
     
  17. smithbrad

    smithbrad Screenwriter

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    Hey Mike, I might be misreading this but did we get our left/right's mixed with our top/bottom's.

    In any case, to make sure I understand your position to be correct it is improper to open the whole frame. So that any releases that we have received that are OAR but have extra content in all directions are just as incorrect as removing the extra content above and below while leaving the sides to fill a 16x9 screen. So that means what we saw originally, or protected area only. Did I get that right?

    I wonder how many releases have actually been opened up to show content outside the protected area, but were never commented on because they maintained the correct aspect ratio?
     
  18. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I'm not saying I'm right about older programs being re-mastered in 16:9, I'm just saying if it looks right then I'm fine with it. I'm sure that with most titles, the studios make more money licensing them to TV stations worldwide, than they do with Blu-ray sales, & TV stations want HD, preferably in 16:9.
     
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  19. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    See now that argument I can understand :)
     
  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I'm assuming that you're talking about shows from the 1990's like The X-Files, Buffy, etc. At that time, they definitely knew that 4:3 would be gone soon but they also knew that the show would only be seen 4:3 when it aired. I can't imagine that they would compose their shots for 16:9 when it absolutely would not be seen that way for years to come. Looking at 16:9 versions of those shows completely backs up the idea they composed for 4:3. Not to mention that since Buffy was never really popular in its initial run and The X-Files took a few years to get going, there was a fair chance that their work might have been forgotten and never seen in 16:9.
     

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