Here at the HTF, we've extensively discussed OAR. As many of you know, I am pretty devout about "NO OAR = NO SALE!".
Kung Fu S1 will not be OAR. When I first posted that this was coming to DVD - back in June! - I explained that this made-for-broadcast-TV show from long before the HDTV era is being reformatted for 16x9 widescreen. I tried to put a positive-sounding spin on it at the time, even though that's not the way I felt:
|We found out that one of the reasons this was chosen for DVD release is because the show is already being remastered for high-definition by another division, and a DVD set was the logical way to take advantage of the new transfer. As a result, fans of the show with widescreen televisions will be able to take advantage of a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen image on this DVD release (Warner will have to shave a bit off the top and bottom of the image to make it fit).|
When I posted my news today, I made sure that OAR advocates would be aware that this release is not OAR. I was also faced with the problem that many of our readers won't be familiar with the entire OAR/MAR controversy, so I put in a great deal of wording that explained the situation.
THAT explanation is what I want some HTF input about. I'll point out that Hundreds of people have already read that news item, but I would still appreciate feedback from this group about whether or not I got this info correct:
|Aspect ratios are a tricky business, and one that's come more and more into public awareness in the DVD era. In short, you need to know that the vast majority of items that were lensed for TV viewing prior to the mid-90's are shot in a square, as are almost all films shot prior to the mid-50's. In order to fit those items into a rectangle, like a 16x9 widescreen set, and still take up the entire screen without stretching or zooming, then the picture must have the top and bottom strips shaved off, losing valuable picture. There are very few instances of this situation yet, though. It appears that Kung Fu - The 1st Season will be among those examples.|
A more common example of aspect ratio adjustment is when a motion picture - such as Star Wars, for example - is filmed with intention to be shown on a rectangular cinema screen, but then has strips of the picture eliminated on the left and the right sides to make the show fit on a "standard" square television. This process is commonly known as pan-and-scan, and you can read more about that loss of picture (and its remedies) at The Widescreen Advocate website. This is a different form of cropping than will be seen with Kung Fu, but related...it's just on the sides, where Kung Fu's will be on the upper and lower sections.
We won't delve too much more deeply into the great Aspect Ratio debate here; we just wanted to bring it up for those who get concerned about these things. Yet we wanted to explain enough of it for anyone who just doesn't understand why this matters to others. Newer filming techniques, such as "Super35" as an example, allow directors to attempt to compose their shots for both aspect ratios (full frame and widescreen) at the same time. Unfortunately, even the idea of composing for multiple aspect ratios can cause its own controversy in the process.
I hope that Josh Clinard has stopped by to read this. Frankly, Josh, I had to wrestle with whether or not to link to you in all of this. Because your site is the "Widescreen Advocate", and not the "OAR Advocate". It occurs to me that me linking to you causes my readers to ask themselves this question:
"I thought Lambert was saying that Kung Fu being in widescreen was bad...so why is he linking us to a site that says widescreen is better?"
I think, Josh, that at some point you may have to adjust things so that it addresses items made for 4x3, but cropped top-and-bottom on DVD to fit on 16x9 televisions. I can think of a few besides Kung Fu. Among them are V: The Final Battle, Super Speedway (made for IMAX), and both volumes of Queen's Greatest Video Hits (I may have the Queen titles off by a bit, buy y'all know which ones I mean). There are certainly other exmaples, but I can't think of them right now.
For those of you wondering if I will purchase this, no I won't. However, my wife is a GIANT fan of Kung Fu, and tells me that she'll be buying this regardless. So, fume though I might, yes this box set WILL be in my house.
I would like everyone's opinion on this. As thread-starter, I also reserve the right to ask for this thread to be closed if it gets out of hand...so let's play nice and keep the debate (if any) friendly.