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Star Trek VI transfer AR (UPDATE: Martin Blythe responds! see msg. 103)


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#41 of 155 OFFLINE   Aaron Garman

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Posted January 17 2004 - 06:54 PM

I think much of it has to do with the way a movie shown FLAT (1.85:1) theatrically looks. Sure, it looks decent, but SCOPE (2.35:1) has far better resolution, uses the light of the lamp better, and overall is clearer than FLAT features. I know some folks mentioned this back in the Once Upon a Time in Mexico thread and this makes quite a bit a sense. I've had the LD of Star Trek VI for awhile and the framing seems very good to me. I'll have to check out the new DVD and see, but I think maybe the director wanted it this way and with DVD, he can now do it. And believe me, I've never seen a SCOPE feature theatrically that didn't look great, but I've seen many a FLAT feature look like total muck!

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#42 of 155 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted January 17 2004 - 07:40 PM

Quote:
That's my point. Why not just go for 1.85:1 if he really didn't want 2.35 (or 2.39).[/b]

Maybe because he wanted 2:1? Given the standards involved, perhaps he was more pleased with showing the film with some cropping on the top and bottom via 2.39:1 than with too much on the top and bottom via 1.85:1. Scope projection may also have been a requirement for the franchise from Paramount. Further, as Aaron Garman explains above, scope projection is better in many ways than flat projection. It also makes better use of the screen real estate at most theatres, as 2.39:1 usually uses the maximum screen area. Perhaps Mr. Meyer wanted the benefits of theatrical scope projection while planning on tweaking to achieve his final desired look for the film via video later on.


Quote:
After all, it's shown in theaters first. That would be everyone's first impression - including mine.


That's not necessarily everyone's first impression. I wonder how many people have seen the film for the first time at 2:1 as opposed to how many saw it 2.39:1. If the 2:1 crowd hasn't already overtaken the 2.39:1 crowd in size, it eventually will. Perhaps Mr. Meyer was more concerned with the long-term presentation of his film as opposed to some short-sighted dogmatic adherence to theatrical projection standards. Either way, Mr. Meyer has no responsibility to live up to your, or anyone else's, first impression.

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#43 of 155 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted January 17 2004 - 07:46 PM

Hmmm. Weirdness on the new McCoy insert.

Well, I guess we'll all find out for sure on the 27th. I sure hope I was wrong. The (tiny) screencaps of the viewscreen shots reassure somewhat.

I still think it should have been framed at 2.35. I wonder how the new SE of "Top Gun" will be framed now.

A note to HTF reviewers: the previous LD transfer had WAYYY to much contrast, ruining the lighting of the FX shots. I remember theatrically the first appearance of the Klingon cruiser. It approached nearly in total darkness, save for the running lights, and then revealed in the upsweep it does at the end of the shot. This was totally lost on the LD. The same thing happened on the previous transfers of Star Trek II and especially Star Trek III. The remastered anamorphic DVDs fixed this, with the proper "lighting".

#44 of 155 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted January 17 2004 - 07:49 PM

Damin:

I want to hear Meyer himself say he prefers the 2:1 ratio. I would also like to hear his reason for shooting it in Super35 in the first place. David Carson, prior to shooting "Star Trek: Generations", was pressured by Paramount to use Super35. He refused and shot anamorphic Panavison 'scope instead. I have a difficult time believing that Meyer is happy his is the only film in the series to not be framed in the 'scope ratio on video. Why would he mention it on the commentary then?

#45 of 155 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted January 17 2004 - 08:03 PM

Quote:
I have a difficult time believing that Meyer is happy his is the only film in the series to not be framed in the 'scope ratio on video.


And I have a difficult time believing that, especially given Meyer's involvement in the SE, Paramount randomly decided to only reframe this film. If they had no problem presenting every other film at the full scope AR on DVD, why bother reducing the mattes on this one? Just for fun? It makes little sense that the studio would make this decision. Given the many other filmmakers who have made similar choices, however, it makes perfect sense that the Meyer would.

Quote:
Why would he mention it on the commentary then?

I have no idea how or why mentions it on the commentary. Do you? Scott Kimball says it was mentioned, but does not give the exact quote or its context. Mr. Meyer may simply have been referring to the fact that he knew it was to be a scope projection during its theatrical release. Quentin Tarantino has referred to Reservoir Dogs as a scope film in the past for this reason, leading to some people claiming forcefully that it was shot with scope lenses (it was a S35 production). Further, I find it doubtful that Mr. Meyer was watching a 4x3 transfer of the film during the recording of the commentary, though it is possible. Assuming he was watching a 2:1 widescreen version, however, why would he not mention that that isn't his preferred AR, if that was the case?

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#46 of 155 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted January 17 2004 - 09:09 PM

Quote:
a re-edit of the Valeris confrontation on the bridge (including the closeup mentioned of McCoy, another of Kirk, and flashes of conspirators during the mind meld sequence.

Very interesting.

I think this now completes the puzzle, and here's how it fits, IMO:

Meyer prefers the 2:1 ratio for STVI with some slight side cropping. However, this presented a problem in one particular scene - the Valeris confrontation, because McCoy was so far on one side of the screen that he gets chopped off. How does one solve this problem and still keep their preferred 2:1 ratio? By slighly re-editing the scene and using a different shot of McCoy.

It all makes sense. There's just no way Paramount would go through the trouble to get Meyer's involvement in order to once again make some editorial changes, and then make a transfer he didn't approve of.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#47 of 155 OFFLINE   Jason Borchers

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Posted January 17 2004 - 09:18 PM

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#48 of 155 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted January 17 2004 - 09:22 PM

Or Meyer could simply approve the newer compositions of the visual effects shots, which is his decision to make as long as the studio and producers are okay with it. I know it may irk some people, but the visual effects crew's work is always subject to veto by the director.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#49 of 155 OFFLINE   TedD

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Posted January 18 2004 - 12:25 AM

Quote:
Also, 2:1 has been tried before when SuperScope was around in the 1950's. It gave projectionists a headache because they had to reset the projector substantially


Nope:

SuperScope 2:1 anamorphic prints were simply normal 2.35 Scope prints with the image windowboxed on the sides. The only decision required of the projectionist was whether to open the side maskings and the curtain to the full 2.35 width or not.

There were no changes required on the projector at all. 2:1 aperture plates were also available in addition to the normal 1.85 and 2.35 aperture plates and were no more difficult to change than a normal 1.85 to 2.35 change.

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#50 of 155 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted January 18 2004 - 01:26 AM

Well ... I was really looking forward to a 2.35:1 release of this movie on DVD. Not just because that's the way it was presented theatrically; but also because it was stated on most DVD News sites as late as two weeks ago that the DVD would contain a 2.35:1 transfer.

Why get our hopes up that we would finally get to see this great Star Trek movie just the way it was presented in the theater? Is it too much to ask that the publicity people at Paramount know what they are promoting when they write press releases for upcoming catalog titles?

I'm almost to the point where I may just keep my prior (non-anamorphic, non-OAR, non-theatrical) release of this movie and not even bother with the new edition. The only improvement of the presentation appears to be anamorphic enhancement. While this is significant, it still winds up being a non-OAR and non-theatrical presentation of the material. I was really looking forward to finally viewing this movie in my home just the way it was presented in the theater. If they had to do this, why couldn't they have also given us a theatrical cut of the movie as well???

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#51 of 155 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted January 18 2004 - 01:54 AM

I may have misled when I offered up that Meyer spoke of Cinemascope in his commentary.

He does not, directly, reference the AR of this film at all. His remark appears when Kirk and McCoy are sleeping in the cave on Rure Penthe.

"George Stevens once said that the Cinemascope screen was ideal for photographing a man lying down."

That's it. There is nothing else to put it in context.

All we know is that the film was shot in Super 35. Unfortunately, that doesn't narrow things down, since that covers 1.85:1 - 2.35:1.

I have to believe that, if Meyer made a comment about Scope (even without context around it), that he was certainly not watching a fullscreen version for the commentary. If he went so far as to comment as he did, would he not have mentioned any unintended changes in the AR he was viewing?

I'm happy with the print, as is, since apparently Nicholas Meyer is happy with it, too.

Going with the evidence, this was likely intended to have an AR of 2:1, but theaters masked it on projection. I have no proof, but it makes sense.

-Scott

#52 of 155 OFFLINE   Randy A Salas

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Posted January 18 2004 - 02:48 AM

Quote:
The (tiny) screencaps of the viewscreen shots reassure somewhat.


If you're referring to the ones I posted, the tiny size was intentional. Ron has stated many times that he doesn't like large images posted on this site because it can't take the strain, so I was leery of posting them at all--even after ensuring that they were as small I could usably make them. I considered posting links, but people were talking so strongly about things they hadn't even seen that I ultimately decided that visual proof needed to be part of my reply.

If people want higher-res versions of those screen caps, I can post them on my web site. But I think they make the point as is.
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#53 of 155 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted January 18 2004 - 03:17 AM

Quote:
And I have a difficult time believing that, especially given Meyer's involvement in the SE, Paramount randomly decided to only reframe this film. If they had no problem presenting every other film at the full scope AR on DVD, why bother reducing the mattes on this one? Just for fun? It makes little sense that the studio would make this decision.


Back in 1992, it made some sense - studios still feared letterboxing and sometimes preferred these "compromise" ratios. It never seemed logical to me - the "black bar haters" would be as dissatisfied with 2:1 as with 2.35:1, and the OAR lovers wouldn't be happy either - but I think that was the rationale. Don't forget that the 1991 LD of Star Trek IV - the series' most popular flick - was also MAR.

In 2004, however, there's much less fear of OAR, so it's not sensible that Paramount would crop the material against the director's wishes. It seems much more likely that Meyer prefers the altered AR...

Quote:
"George Stevens once said that the Cinemascope screen was ideal for photographing a man lying down."


From what I know, Stevens was no fan of Cinemascope, so I'd assume this was a barb aimed at the format. Haven't gotten to this part of the commentary yet so I don't know the context, but it's intriguing that Meyer's only remark about AR is one that seems to insult 2.35:1...
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#54 of 155 OFFLINE   Will*B

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Posted January 18 2004 - 04:50 AM

"George Stevens once said that the Cinemascope screen was ideal for photographing a man lying down."


Reminds me of the scene in Le Mépris where Fritz Lang tells Michel Piccoli that Cinemascope is only good for snakes and funerals.

Lang obviously forgot about it being good for Star Trek VI.
 

 


#55 of 155 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted January 18 2004 - 04:54 AM

Quote:
SuperScope 2:1 anamorphic prints were simply normal 2.35 Scope prints with the image windowboxed on the sides. The only decision required of the projectionist was whether to open the side maskings and the curtain to the full 2.35 width or not.

No, the image was perfectly centered on film, with all of the black border on the right side.

http://www.widescree...een/wingss2.htm

"The big goof turned out to be the 2:1 image printed in the center of the film. Since the advent of sound on film, the image was offset by the area taken up by the soundtrack. Every theatre in the world had its projectors aligned for that offset. Even CinemaScope maintained the same centerline as the standard academy frame. But exhibitors had two choices with RKO Superscope, either show the picture off center on their screen or readjust their projectors, a difficult choice since trailers, newsreels, and all other films on the program adhered to the conventional image centerline."

#56 of 155 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted January 18 2004 - 09:56 AM

I am picking mine up tomorrow so I will post my thoughts as well.
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#57 of 155 OFFLINE   Tim_P_76

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Posted January 18 2004 - 10:51 AM

But I think they make the point as is


Thanks Randy for the good pics. I think your pics render this thread dead as well as the DVD reviews. I am eagerly waiting for the DVD. After Meyer being heavily involved in this DVD why would Paramount change something behind his back? Hmm?
The decision for the AR has to be a part of some big whole, like it was thought about when the time came for the transfer. Is it there to hide unimportant or important info in the left/right side of the frame detrimental to possibly changing the plot, i.e. like the mention of Valeris at the "meeting" in the film's beginning. I'm throwing this out as to be a "tool" to the filmmaker. Otherwise I don't see what is missing and I am in no way bothered by "coverage" shots used for replacement.
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#58 of 155 OFFLINE   Nick Beecham

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Posted January 18 2004 - 08:04 PM

Patrick

Sorry for going off-topic but please could you remind me what film the exchange between Griselda and Hawkins comes from?

Thanks
Nick

#59 of 155 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted January 18 2004 - 11:59 PM

Nick: The Court Jester

#60 of 155 OFFLINE   Nick Beecham

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Posted January 19 2004 - 12:23 AM

Posted Image

Scott: Many thanks
Nick


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