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OAR is again in danger for HiDef


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#1 of 89 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted January 31 2006 - 09:43 PM

As more and more people buy HDTVs, I'm afraid we'll see once more the tendency to cater to the public's desire to fill their (wide)screens.

We've seen it already with DVD and broadcast, so we can't assume it won't happen with HD DVD or Blu-ray.

Let's try to analyse the different classes of aspect ratio manipulation we can see:

A. Wider-ratioed material

1. Cropping
The sides of the picture are cut. This is the only option with movies shot on real 'scope, with anamorphic lenses.

Example: Felicia's Journey, Belgian edition (Belga).
Posted Image
Capture from the movie

Posted Image
Capture from the featurette

2. Matte removal
The picture is opened up on the top and bottom. This is possible on movies shot on Super35. No information is lost, but the composition is affected.

Example: Creep, American edition (Lionsgate)
Posted Image
Superimposed captures of the American edition and (2.35:1) British edition.
Capture by hermes 10 at dvdtalk


3. Combination
The picture is cropped left and right, and opened top and bottom.

Example: Lord of War, American edition (Lionsgate)
Posted Image
Superimposed captures of the movie (in 1.78:1) and the trailer (in 2.35:1).
Capture by CertifiedTHX at dvdtalk


B. Narrower-ratioed material

Cropping top and bottom

For 1.66:1 to 1.78:1, if anybody has the Warner rerelease of Dead Ringers (which has been matted from 1.66:1 to 1.78:1), please let me know.

For 1.33:1 to 1.78:1, the best example would be Stephen King's It (see captures here).

Opening left and right
Sometimes the movie is shot for 1.33:1, but protected for 1.78:1.
Example: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. See several screencaps here

#2 of 89 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 01 2006 - 01:42 AM

Personally, I don't see this being an issue. The ONLY people who are going to be buying any HD stuff are hardcore home theater fans. The second that a studio puts out a cropped version of a movie, those people will go nuts and the disc won't sell. Since they're going to be the overhwleming majority of their HD consumers, the studios will have to listen to them.

I don't think you have to worry about it until HD becomes the norm which, at the rate it's going, is going to be a long time away.

#3 of 89 OFFLINE   Mark Lucas

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Posted February 01 2006 - 02:09 AM

You're right, Travis.

#4 of 89 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted February 01 2006 - 02:23 AM

I hope you're right. But I'm not so sure. If at HBO they consider cropping is a good idea for broadcast HD, who's to say they won't think the same for discs?

All it takes is an executive with a misguided notion of what to give to the public.

#5 of 89 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted February 01 2006 - 04:05 AM

Juan, again, Travis is on the right course. High-def optical discs will, initially, be adopted by the "hardcore" types (i.e., us). The studios remember the aspect-ratio wars of standard DVD. Why go through that again?

#6 of 89 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted February 01 2006 - 04:46 AM

Quote:
f at HBO they consider cropping is a good idea for broadcast HD, who's to say they won't think the same for discs?
HBO is aimed at a mass audience. HD-DVD will initially be aimed at a much smaller, target audience. The 'they' that is referenced in your sentence, is HBO, who (AFAIK) does not market non-OAR disks (though they certaintly crop thier non-orgional movies).
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#7 of 89 OFFLINE   Glenn Overholt

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Posted February 01 2006 - 09:23 AM

I think it is all a question of money. I'm waiting for a previously issued P&S SD-DVD release to get released again in HD - In P&S.

Hey, if they didn't do the OAR release in SD, why would they issue the OAR in HD? They're going to have to get an OAR master, and go through all of the work to digitize it - something that they could have done today.

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#8 of 89 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted February 01 2006 - 12:58 PM

This has been brought up from time to time (first BIG event I remember on this 'subject' was Kung Fu Season One). However, great job Juan on this thread (in a new forum, to boot).
I wish it were true only HD fanatics will be into HD software in 2006, so...
I have always feared the same battles of DVD, will have to be fought for HD discs.
Time will tell. Just glad this is on the table from the get go!
Now if The Maltase Falcon comes out in HD in 16:9, let the stuff hit the fan.
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#9 of 89 OFFLINE   Mark Lucas

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Posted February 01 2006 - 01:55 PM

I think we don't have anything to worry about. There's not going to be $50 HD players for a long time and Joe Blow and his family are satisfied with current dvd which is hidef enough.

#10 of 89 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted February 03 2006 - 02:16 AM

Well,

early on DVD was aimed that the videophile movie collector who cared about OAR and we *still* got some MAR discs mixed in with the OAR ones.

Posted Image

So I don't think that Juan's concerns should be totally dismissed. Juan...and GREAT digrams and examples!

I'm sure that the issue won't affect most HD discs...but there WILL be "MAR" HD DVD and BD discs for sure so let's be sure we let the studios know that it's not ok...
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#11 of 89 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted February 03 2006 - 02:31 AM

I do think 'scope movies should be shown OAR, always. But I would be in favor of "opening up" the masking of all 1.88:1 to 1.77:1, to always fill the 16:9 screen. It's a tiny little bit of black, and it wouldn't affect the composition at all.

I have a plasma television, very expensive, that has a possible "burn in" problem, so the less black areas with hard edges, the better.

#12 of 89 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted February 03 2006 - 03:22 AM

Remember in the early days of DVD, when most early Columbia Tri-Star releases were considered among the best DVDs, in OAR and even anamorphic widescreen? We know what's happened to them since. Many MAR releases in the last couple of years.

My fear is that many will feel that MAR 16:9 isn't as bad as P&S 4:3 was, because you don't lose as much picture. So they may be even more prone to do it.

#13 of 89 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted February 03 2006 - 03:30 AM

HBO, these days, shows all High-Def programming 16:9. Some of these (like Gladiator) are indeed open matte. But many are just pan and scan versions of 'scope films. Yes, it's a wider pan and scan, and less information is lost. But still...

#14 of 89 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted February 03 2006 - 03:41 AM

I do think 'scope movies should be shown OAR, always. But I would be in favor of "opening up" the masking of all 1.88:1 to 1.77:1, to always fill the 16:9 screen.
A horrible idea in my opinion.

I think ALL films (from 1.16 to 2.76 and anything else) should be shown OAR with the appropriate black bars on top, bottom or side. Period.
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#15 of 89 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted February 03 2006 - 03:57 AM

What about films which were projected at both 1.66 [in Europe and Asia, mostly] and 1.85 [mostly in North America]? 16:9 lies right in between those two ratios. It seems like one could make a certain case for 16:9 as the "natural" ratio in the case of films with a "flexible" OAR, such as VistaVision productions.

#16 of 89 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted February 03 2006 - 04:29 AM

I know that Merchant/Ivory had all their films redone for 16:9, for the Merchant/Ivory collection DVDs (except for Howard's End, which is 2.35:1).

#17 of 89 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted February 03 2006 - 04:35 AM

Hey Dee,

what exactly do you mean when you say "redone for 16x9"?

Do you mean the film-tape transfer was "opened up" for 16x9?
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#18 of 89 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted February 03 2006 - 04:49 AM

Yes. There is a certain leeway in the aspect ratios centering around 16:9 -- 1.6:1, 1.77:1, 1.85:1, and depending on how these are projected (matted in the projector), the aspect ratio is malleable. It's also true of VistaVision movies.

Some movies are hard-matted to 1.85:1, and I wouldn't suggest changing these -- which would mean cutting them off right and left.

But the malleable ones could be given a final ratio of 1.77:1, equal to 16:9. This is what James Ivory did with his movies on DVD.

#19 of 89 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted February 03 2006 - 05:32 AM

Got it.

I'm also of like-mind on this. Don't *crop* hard-matte 1.85 films on the L/R to fill the 1.78:1 screen...but I have no problem with slightly opening the matte for soft-matte 1.85:1 movies to remove the small black bars--image composition, as you say, is in no-way ill-affected.

I had also never considered the burn-in issue with Plasmas but I can see how this could be a concern.

BTW, also interesting would be diretors that use flexible 2.35:1 formats. While I don't condone opening up a 2.35:1 movie by a disc producer or studio...if the *director* wanted a 2.35:1 film opened up (without cropping) to 1.78 for HD that might be interesting. I could see some directors composing their film intending for this to happen...since anamorphic lenses and the like are not projetion complications that need affect the home-theater viewing as they do in the theater. Not encouraging it...but just curious as to how some directors might view HD as a medium to compose for in "dual" fashion.

thoughts?
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#20 of 89 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted February 03 2006 - 05:48 AM

Interesting you should mention this.

Just last night, I recorded Gods and Monsters off of Showtime HD. The movie is shown 4:3 right on the HD channel, with black areas right and left.

So I got out the DVD, and the movie itself was 'scope! 2.35:1. I did a brief comparison, and it does appear that the 'scope version was matted down from a full 4:3 open matte! There's a lot more information in that 4:3 version than anybody ever saw in the theater.

Another interesting comparison could be made with Titanic, since it's being shown on HBO in 16:9 aspect ratio. People call these pan and scan, but that isn't really right, is it? No panning or scanning happens. The mattes are simply opened up top and bottom.