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What tv on dvd sets are "fake" widescreen?


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#41 of 97 Nicholas Martin

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Posted March 14 2008 - 06:22 AM

I maintain that anyone who still believes Buffy was originally shot wide or '4:3 protected for 16:9' and has seen the UK DVDs or the endless supply of UK DVD screencap examples is obviously one of two things - blind or ignorant.

Why? The simple fact that it's just too hard to swallow the idea that the DP of the show could shoot with such obvious errors if it's supposed to be 'protected' for widescreen ratios. That would be too sloppy and an insult to the talents of the DP who wouldn't make such glaring mistakes if it was ever meant to be viewed that way any time down the line.

Most, if not all current prime time shows are shot for both 4:3 and 16:9 viewing and have no issues such as set people in the frame edges, production equipment, in-camera effects being ruined by the reveal, or the ridiculous extreme of revealing the edge of the film itself making the image look like it has either a one-sided border or a 'periscope' look.

It just boggles the mind that people still think it was ever meant to be seen that way.

#42 of 97 Lord Dalek

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Posted March 14 2008 - 06:40 AM

Well Buffy is a unique case in that its the exact reverse. Its a show shot in 16:9 but composed for 1.33:1 and Whedon himself has said it was never meant to be seen in widescreen format.

I think its also the same situation with the post 1996 pre-2006 seasons of Law and Order.

#43 of 97 Nicholas Martin

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Posted March 14 2008 - 11:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Dalek
Well Buffy is a unique case in that its the exact reverse. Its a show shot in 16:9 but composed for 1.33:1 and Whedon himself has said it was never meant to be seen in widescreen format.

Obviously you completely ignored everything I wrote.
It was NOT shot in 16:9 at all!

#44 of 97 Lord Dalek

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Posted March 14 2008 - 01:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
Obviously you completely ignored everything I wrote.
It was NOT shot in 16:9 at all!

That only applies to the first three seasons. They started shooting the show in 3-perf Super 35 in season 4 as a preparatory measure for HD.

Regardless this has nothing to do with the topic since the Buffy dvds are in full frame anyway.

#45 of 97 HDvision

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Posted April 13 2008 - 08:18 PM

An interesting thread.

The problem with TV shows on DVD is, there are no rules. Some shows might be impossible to reframe in either 1.66 or 1.77, others might fit perfectly. To make the decision, one have to sit in the transfert room with the tech, look at the negative, and see if the 1.33 original airings were cropped, or not. They often are, as the neg is usually 1.37 (ie they are zoomboxed).

Now, I love to watch the Columbo originals from the seventies on TV from time to time, and one day I zoomed in the image. I was surprised to see the whole episode worked perfectly. And even, then, I'm sure the transferts are already cropping a bit of the edges. I'm sure if it was to be remastered in widescreen, we would have more of the edges, and less of a top and bottom crop. Here's a VHS grab where I delineated the widescreen just to show it works and no important info is missing.

Posted Image

You also can found online one guy who reframed Spielberg's Duel to 2.35, and it works perfectly (Spielberg framed for widescreen, even if the shot area was 1.37).

Now, we have the problem of "fake" widescreen for TV shows, where people used the 1.33 (already cropped / zoomed in and missing a large bit on the edges) master and matte it. It's wrong. I'm sure many TV series can be future proofed in either 1.66 or 1.77 depending on the format they were shot in, but one have to go back to the neg, and reframe using the whole shot area from left to right to make it right.

#46 of 97 Nebiroth

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Posted April 13 2008 - 10:40 PM

Well the new boxset releases of Dragonball Z certainly are. This is one show that was absolutely for sure created for 4:3 broadcast.

The new releases make much noise about showing "extra image not before seen in a widescreen transfer", but the show was never meant to be that way. And that extra stuff at the side is at the expense of stuff at the top and bottom, which the creators intended the viewer to see.

The boxset releases are great, in that they've been cleaned up, and are much more practical and far less costly than the ruinously expensive single discs (now OOP anyway).

Except that Funimation screwed the episodes up.

#47 of 97 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 14 2008 - 07:20 AM

As far back as The Fall Guy in 1981 they were protecting for 16x9. I read in TV guide at the time that Fall Guy was being shot with 1.85:1 in mind for future use in HDTV. Ironically, when The Fall Guy was put out on DVD it was full screen 1.33. The same can be said of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which shot protected for 1.85:1 for use in theatrical releases in Europe.

Also matting the top and bottoms off of the image is not "fake" wide screen. Almost every film shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, IE Back to the Future, Saving Private Ryan etc, are shot full screen 1.33:1 with 1.85:1 markings in the viewfinder of the camera. Later when projected a 1.85:1 aperture plate it put into the projector to block the top and bottoms of the frame. Sometimes a hard matte is put into the camera but that is fairly rare.

Even today most 1.85:1 films are NOT shot in the Super 35 format. Super 35 doesn't make much sense for 1.85 because of the loss in picture quality when making "flat" release prints rather than anamorphic release prints. Super 35 is reserved almost exclusively for 2.35:1 films that will have an anamorphic release print.

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#48 of 97 Rick P

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Posted April 14 2008 - 12:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Dalek
Regardless this has nothing to do with the topic since the Buffy dvds are in full frame anyway.

Except for the UK and OZ releases... anamorphic 16:9, Dark Angel also.

#49 of 97 Yee-Ming

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Posted April 14 2008 - 06:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Talmadge
Babylon 5 was filmed in the widescreen format, but J.M. Straczynski along with Joss Whedon often fought with network executives on the way they handled their television shows. It wouldn't be until after the Sci Fi Channel acquired the broadcast rights to Babylon 5 that Stracynzki decided that it would be a good time to release the series in the format it was originally filmed in and it was this version that would be released to DVD.

There's nothing fake about it. By 'formatting' it to the television sets, you wouldn't notice the difference, but when you compare a full frame version of a television series or a movie after a widescreen version of the same, and if you saw the full frame version first, you're definitely going to notice a difference.

I know JMS keeps saying that Babylon 5 was shot for widescreen, but the simple fact is that watching S1 in particular, it simply wasn't. Too many cropped foreheads and chins, even before we consider the 3 scenes (IIRC it's 3, but offhand I can only remember 2) in S1 that are fudged, where a 4:3 shot is squeezed into the 16:9 widescreen frame to preserve the fancy special effects that otherwise would have been cropped out. To be fair IIRC JMS also says that directors may have ignored instructions to shoot 16:9 protected. But that rather proves the point that it was in fact shot 4:3,and therefore ultimately intended to be shown 4:3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
I maintain that anyone who still believes Buffy was originally shot wide or '4:3 protected for 16:9' and has seen the UK DVDs or the endless supply of UK DVD screencap examples is obviously one of two things - blind or ignorant.

Why? The simple fact that it's just too hard to swallow the idea that the DP of the show could shoot with such obvious errors if it's supposed to be 'protected' for widescreen ratios. That would be too sloppy and an insult to the talents of the DP who wouldn't make such glaring mistakes if it was ever meant to be viewed that way any time down the line.

The comment as to what the DPs were doing applies to Babylon 5 as well: I doubt foreheads and chins are routinely cut-off in framing a close-up dialog scene.

I didn't watch Buffy, though I did watch Angel, which was shown here 4:3, and I do recall one instance in S5 where in a wide shot of the gang on a couch, someone (I think it was Fred) was lying down with head on the armrest -- but because this was beyond the extreme right of the frame, her head was 'cut off' and when she spoke it was in effect a disembodied voice speaking, or rather a headless body. Most odd. So conversely latter seasons of Angel (if not the whole series) were almost certainly shot for 16:9, just that we got screwed here.

#50 of 97 HenryDuBrow

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Posted April 14 2008 - 07:28 PM

How about shows shot on videotape, surely they can't be cropped to 16:9?

#51 of 97 AndyMcKinney

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Posted April 15 2008 - 12:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryDuBrow
How about shows shot on videotape, surely they can't be cropped to 16:9?

Almost all British television is shot on tape, and since about 1998 or so, most of those shows are presented in widescreen.

Many British shows that look like they were produced on film (Doctor Who '05, Torchwood, Coupling, Footballers Wives, etc.) were shot on tape and a filter was applied in post-production to make it look like it was shot on film.

And, yes, for DVD it would be quite easy to crop a videotaped show. Matter of fact, it's already been done: earliest example I can think of is the Red Dwarf Series 1-3 Remastered episodes, which were both cropped and filtered to look like film, and this was for VHS about 10 years ago!

#52 of 97 AndyMcKinney

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Posted April 15 2008 - 12:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
As far back as The Fall Guy in 1981 they were protecting for 16x9. I read in TV guide at the time that Fall Guy was being shot with 1.85:1 in mind for future use in HDTV. Ironically, when The Fall Guy was put out on DVD it was full screen 1.33. The same can be said of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which shot protected for 1.85:1 for use in theatrical releases in Europe.

I certainly don't remember anyone talking about HDTV back in 1981, let alone any sort of widescreen format for future TV shows. I have serious doubts about shows that old being shot "protected" for widescreen, unless the director thought there might be a foreign theatrical in the making (like Kenneth Johnson did with the initial V miniseries).

And, although several Man from U.N.C.L.E. episodes were compiled into "movie" versions, have you (or anyone else) done a side-by-side comparison to confirm that they were shot "wide"? I find that very hard to believe without any proof. TV shows, as a norm, were not shot wide back then. Matter of fact, the first instance I remember hearing about was when Kenneth Johnson was horrified at how badly cropped one of his TV shows was when it was decided to distribute it as a foreign theatrical (might've been Incredible Hulk). Because of this, he started shooting things he thought might get a foreign theatrical "protected", so that the same thing wouldn't happen again.

I also remember John Dykstra being upset with the cropping of the image on Battlestar Galactica when it was given a theatrical, because it wasn't shot to be presented in widescreen.

#53 of 97 george kaplan

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Posted April 15 2008 - 04:34 AM

Also matting the top and bottoms off of the image is not "fake" wide screen. Almost every film shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, IE Back to the Future, Saving Private Ryan etc, are shot full screen 1.33:1 with 1.85:1 markings in the viewfinder of the camera. Later when projected a 1.85:1 aperture plate it put into the projector to block the top and bottoms of the frame. Sometimes a hard matte is put into the camera but that is fairly rare.
The term "fake" widescreen isn't referring to the matting technique per se, but rather taking an old tv show such as Kung Fu, which undeniably has an original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (or 1.37:1), and matting the top and bottom to create a widescreen picture. Perhaps "incorrect, inappropriate and evil as hell" widescreen would be better than "fake" widescreen, but I think in the context of old tv shows, it's clear what is meant by "fake" widescreen.
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#54 of 97 TravisR

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Posted April 15 2008 - 06:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yee-Ming
So conversely latter seasons of Angel (if not the whole series) were almost certainly shot for 16:9, just that we got screwed here.
On R1 DVD, Angel is in its correct aspect ratio of 1.78 for S2 to S5 and 1.33 for S1.

#55 of 97 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 15 2008 - 09:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMcKinney
I certainly don't remember anyone talking about HDTV back in 1981, let alone any sort of widescreen format for future TV shows. I have serious doubts about shows that old being shot "protected" for widescreen, unless the director thought there might be a foreign theatrical in the making (like Kenneth Johnson did with the initial V miniseries).

And, although several Man from U.N.C.L.E. episodes were compiled into "movie" versions, have you (or anyone else) done a side-by-side comparison to confirm that they were shot "wide"? I find that very hard to believe without any proof. TV shows, as a norm, were not shot wide back then. Matter of fact, the first instance I remember hearing about was when Kenneth Johnson was horrified at how badly cropped one of his TV shows was when it was decided to distribute it as a foreign theatrical (might've been Incredible Hulk). Because of this, he started shooting things he thought might get a foreign theatrical "protected", so that the same thing wouldn't happen again.

I also remember John Dykstra being upset with the cropping of the image on Battlestar Galactica when it was given a theatrical, because it wasn't shot to be presented in widescreen.

I remember specifically the TV Guide bit about The Fall Guy in 1981 because it was one of the earliest things I had read about HDTV in something that wasn't either popular mechanics or some kind of trade magazine. They were demonstrating an analog HDTV system in Japan as early as 1979 and in the early 80s there was much talk that by the end of the decade HDTV would replace NTSC.

Also I have compared Man From U.N.C.L.E. episodes with the edited theatrical releases. I don't know about episodes that weren't the two parters, but the ones that they knew were going over seas for theatrical distribution were clearly protected for 1.85:1. There is LOTS of head room and there are very few tight close ups. The two part episodes starting at the end of Season 1 were always designed to be released theatrically in Europe and they were huge boxoffice hits. Each Season did at least 2 two part episodes for this reason.

I saw Battlestar Galactica in the theater on a 55 foot screen. It was clearly NOT composed for 1.85:1. It felt very tight.

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#56 of 97 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 15 2008 - 09:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by george kaplan
Also matting the top and bottoms off of the image is not "fake" wide screen. Almost every film shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, IE Back to the Future, Saving Private Ryan etc, are shot full screen 1.33:1 with 1.85:1 markings in the viewfinder of the camera. Later when projected a 1.85:1 aperture plate it put into the projector to block the top and bottoms of the frame. Sometimes a hard matte is put into the camera but that is fairly rare.
The term "fake" widescreen isn't referring to the matting technique per se, but rather taking an old tv show such as Kung Fu, which undeniably has an original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (or 1.37:1), and matting the top and bottom to create a widescreen picture. Perhaps "incorrect, inappropriate and evil as hell" widescreen would be better than "fake" widescreen, but I think in the context of old tv shows, it's clear what is meant by "fake" widescreen.


Oh sure I agree the vast majority of TV shows shot over the years were clearly not intended to be matted to 1.85:1 or even 16x9. And to force them into that format, particularly when TV shows had a tendency to use eyebrow to chin close ups, is kind of silly.

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#57 of 97 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 15 2008 - 09:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMcKinney
Almost all British television is shot on tape, and since about 1998 or so, most of those shows are presented in widescreen.

Many British shows that look like they were produced on film (Doctor Who '05, Torchwood, Coupling, Footballers Wives, etc.) were shot on tape and a filter was applied in post-production to make it look like it was shot on film.

And, yes, for DVD it would be quite easy to crop a videotaped show. Matter of fact, it's already been done: earliest example I can think of is the Red Dwarf Series 1-3 Remastered episodes, which were both cropped and filtered to look like film, and this was for VHS about 10 years ago!


Shows like Dr. Who and Hitchhikers Guide from the 70s and 80s were actually typically shot on video tape for the studio shooting, and on 16mm film for the location shooting, which is one reason they don't have a consistent look from scene to scene.

Filtering for a film look has limited value. What we think of as the "film look" mostly comes from the 24 frame per second cadence of film.

I actually got to see a short film shot in a process called Showscan. Showscan is 70mm film running at 60 frames per second. I couldn't get over how much that frame rate made it look like video tape in spite of the fact that it was a large format film.

I would be very hesitant to crop a show shot on videotape as it already has very low resolution and that would only make matters worse.

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#58 of 97 AndyMcKinney

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Posted April 15 2008 - 09:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
Shows like Dr. Who and Hitchhikers Guide from the 70s and 80s were actually typically shot on video tape for the studio shooting, and on 16mm film for the location shooting, which is one reason they don't have a consistent look from scene to scene.

If you recheck my post, you will see I was referring to Doctor Who 2005, which is entirely shot on tape, but filtered to appear as though it's shot on film.

Quote:
Filtering for a film look has limited value. What we think of as the "film look" mostly comes from the 24 frame per second cadence of film.

It's very prevalent, though. Probably in the main for economics and ease of editing.

The trick to getting better results, it seems, is to make sure that when shooting that the sets, etc. are lit as though it's to be on film. The "filmised" version of Red Dwarf Remastered Seasons 1-3 and (according to a friend) Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere were lit for tape and then filmised after the fact, giving them a bit of a crap look.

Aren't Lucas' second-two Star Wars prequels shot on HD video? If so, then they are certainly filtered to look like film in post production. I recall reading that Lucas wanted to shoot on video because he didn't want to have to wait for film to be processed to review the rushes. He wanted to be able to review the shots asap.

#59 of 97 Lord Dalek

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Posted April 15 2008 - 10:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMcKinney

Aren't Lucas' second-two Star Wars prequels shot on HD video? If so, then they are certainly filtered to look like film in post production. I recall reading that Lucas wanted to shoot on video because he didn't want to have to wait for film to be processed to review the rushes. He wanted to be able to review the shots asap.
IIRC Sony Cine-altas have an option to record info at 24 FPS in camera. They aren't filtered.

#60 of 97 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 15 2008 - 04:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMcKinney
If you recheck my post, you will see I was referring to Doctor Who 2005, which is entirely shot on tape, but filtered to appear as though it's shot on film.



It's very prevalent, though. Probably in the main for economics and ease of editing.

The trick to getting better results, it seems, is to make sure that when shooting that the sets, etc. are lit as though it's to be on film. The "filmised" version of Red Dwarf Remastered Seasons 1-3 and (according to a friend) Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere were lit for tape and then filmised after the fact, giving them a bit of a crap look.

Aren't Lucas' second-two Star Wars prequels shot on HD video? If so, then they are certainly filtered to look like film in post production. I recall reading that Lucas wanted to shoot on video because he didn't want to have to wait for film to be processed to review the rushes. He wanted to be able to review the shots asap.

Yes the 2005 Dr. Who was shot on video (HD I believe) but they shoot at 24p or 24 frames per second to get the film look. (standard video is shot 60i)

Star Wars Episodes 2 and 3 were both shot with the Sony CineAlta camaras at 24p per second. Hence the film look. Of course those films and a show like Dr. Who do extensive color correction just as any film would and this helps eleminate the "video look". The final season of Enterprise was also shot in HD 24p and quite a few feature films have been shot in HD. In fact my favorite film of last year, Zodiac was shot HD 24P.

Lighting for a film is very different than lighting for a "live" video shoot. For film more often than not you are only shooting with one camera. So the lighting can be very specific for that camera. With a "live" video shoot you often times have 3 or more cameras shooting at the same time, so the lighting has to be very flat and not very cinematic.

I've been shooting digital video both SD and HD for almost 5 years now, but everything I shoot is 24p. I really hate the look of 60i video. Looks like the evening news to me.

Doug
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