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Aspect Ratio Documentation


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#2601 of 5035 Brenty

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Posted May 19 2013 - 06:07 AM

Ok, back to the primary purpose of this thread! As I've said before, I was, prior to this thread's inception, largely of the view that with regard to open-matte transfers, more is more.

 

However, even though I slowly but surely revised my opinion, it just so happens that until very recently, I still held out, solely in the case of Harryhausen's 1:1.85 films. This was simply because of some of the above quoted interviews from him, saying that he preferred the academy ratio for his own work.

 

Prior to now owning all six RH films currently available on BD, I'd assiduously collected everything of his on DVD. Four films can be seen in open matte: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms can only be had this way anywhere. The original region 1 DVDs of 20 Million Miles to Earth & Jason and the Argonauts are widescreen/fullscreen flippers, whilst The 3 Worlds of Gulliver is fullscreen-only in region 1 & widescreen-only on the UK region 2 disc... phew!

 

Anyhoo, when watching by myself, I've always gone for the fullscreen versions (with original mono, of course), because that's what Ray preferred. After watching them all again thusly just recently though, I'd finally come to exactly the same conclusion that Nick expressed, in post #2588:

 

"And let's not forget that Ray Harryhausen, like with nearly all the films he worked on, was neither the director, producer or cinematographer on Jason and the Argonauts. Even if he arguably "directed" the effects sequences, and admittedly it's those effects sequences that audiences come for, they do not make up the majority of the film. I really don't think it's appropriate to leave the final word up to him."

 

Lastly, I hesitate to say this, for fear of being thought of as a the-screen-must-be-filled-at-all-costs obsessive, but when watching on a screen of constant image height (mine's 1:1.85), as well as all that annoying wasted space top & bottom, the academy ratio for Ray's films just makes everything smaller. That, of course, means smaller, far less impressive monsters - & they are the stars of the films, so it's actually doing them a disservice.

 

I love Ray's work as much as anyone else out there: I grew up with them & consider them a part of my DNA. As demonstrated, I've spent a lot of money & effort collecting them & building the facility to be able to watch them in the best conditions possible. I know them inside out & have seen each of them more times than I can possibly remember.

 

After all this, & only after all this, & not relying on screencaps, Youtube clips or hazy memories of decades of open matte TV broadcasts, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that they all look unquestionably better in their theatrical OAR.

But hey, you know, if seeing them in academy happens to work for you, do it - seriously!


Edited by Brenty, May 19 2013 - 06:14 AM.

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#2602 of 5035 EddieLarkin

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Posted May 19 2013 - 06:55 AM

I'm glad we agree on the Harryhausen AR issue :)

 

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is not open matte, but correct at 1.37:1, being composed that way.



#2603 of 5035 Brenty

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Posted May 19 2013 - 07:31 AM

Really? Thank you for the correction. I must confess: I didn't project that one, but watched it around last Christmas on a 4:3 CRT TV, with its attendant overscan. I thought, taking that into consideration, that it still looked fine & could likely stand to lose a bit more pic info top & bottom... oops!

 

The later three OM DVDs I've projected within the last month or two, comparing various scenes directly to their WS counterparts. While it was nice to get the occasional extra bit of Ray FX on screen, for the most part it was abundantly clear that the extra pic area contained nothing essential whatsoever.

 

I'll certainly haul The Beast out again sooner rather than later & project it, with zero overscan!



#2604 of 5035 FoxyMulder

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Posted May 19 2013 - 07:33 AM

I think Jason and the Argonauts looks superb on blu ray, its ratio is 1.66:1 though, seems to work very well at that ratio, is it wrong. ?


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#2605 of 5035 EddieLarkin

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Posted May 19 2013 - 07:52 AM

Really? Thank you for the correction. I must confess: I didn't project that one, but watched it around last Christmas on a 4:3 CRT TV, with its attendant overscan. I thought, taking that into consideration, that it still looked fine & could likely stand to lose a bit more pic info top & bottom... oops!

 

The later three OM DVDs I've projected within the last month or two, comparing various scenes directly to their WS counterparts. While it was nice to get the occasional extra bit of Ray FX on screen, for the most part it was abundantly clear that the extra pic area contained nothing essential whatsoever.

 

I'll certainly haul The Beast out again sooner rather than later & project it, with zero overscan!

 

Its release date was a good 4 months before Warner Bros. first widescreen film was released (Hondo), so unless Bob knows something I don't, yes it is definitely 1.37:1. I wonder though if it was rejigged for widescreen on its initial run, à la Shane?

 

I think Jason and the Argonauts looks superb on blu ray, its ratio is 1.66:1 though, seems to work very well at that ratio, is it wrong. ?

 

Probably. I doubt anything is cropped, it likely has a bit too much on the top and bottom. If you're bothered at all, engaging overscan should matte it down to about 1.75:1, without losing anything off the sides. 1.85:1 would be correct though.



#2606 of 5035 FoxyMulder

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Posted May 19 2013 - 07:59 AM

Its release date was a good 4 months before Warner Bros. first widescreen film was released (Hondo), so unless Bob knows something I don't, yes it is definitely 1.37:1. I wonder though if it was rejigged for widescreen on its initial run, à la Shane?

 

 

Probably. I doubt anything is cropped, it likely has a bit too much on the top and bottom. If you're bothered at all, engaging overscan should matte it down to about 1.75:1, without losing anything off the sides. 1.85:1 would be correct though.

 

No, not at all bothered, overscan tends to add a touch of softness with HD, at least on my projector.


     :Fun Movie Quotes:

"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

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#2607 of 5035 ahollis

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Posted May 19 2013 - 08:00 AM

I know what I am going to say may be sacrilegious to many and I have the upmost respect for Ray H but he was neither director nor cinematographer on those films. While he might have composed for open matte, what was the director's intention for the film when special effects were not on the screen? Widescreen was the norm when most of these films were made and through DVD and Blu-ray I have seen them in widescreen and find them correct. IMHO.
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#2608 of 5035 ROclockCK

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Posted May 19 2013 - 10:20 AM

I know what I am going to say may be sacrilegious to many and I have the upmost respect for Ray H but he was neither director nor cinematographer on those films. While he might have composed for open matte, what was the director's intention for the film when special effects were not on the screen? Widescreen was the norm when most of these films were made and through DVD and Blu-ray I have seen them in widescreen and find them correct. IMHO.

 

I wouldn't say it's "sacrilegious" as much as just...well...uhm..."wrong" ahollis:P  

 

We have evidence from many sources over the years - primarily Harryhausen's own words via interviews and of course "The Harryhausen Chronicles" - that his relationship with Producer Charles H. Schneer on these pictures was not just your typical FX gun-for-hire, but more of an above-the-line co-Producer collaborator. Dynamation was the true 'star' of these films, and I recall several comments about how closely Ray worked with all of his Directors, DPs, and Second Units to ensure that he was getting what he needed for the foreground/background plates to work with this FX process. And from those same sources, it was clear that Schneer not only supported but encouraged Ray's involvement in those first unit decisions regarding camera placement and framing because he understood how much production value Ray could add at an affordable price...simply via careful attention to the lighting and blocking of first and second unit shots to optimize the plates for Ray's stop motion FX work. Every detail of those pictures was elaborately storyboarded long before the Director, DP, or Cast Members were hired, much less walked onto the set. Probably before even signing their contracts Schneer made sure everyone understood 'the drill' vis-à-vis creative improvisation on a Dynamation picture. Out of necessity, and in all but name only, Ray Harryhausen was their co-Director and co-Cinematographer.

 

So your highlighted comment sounds a bit like the "cart before the horse" ahollis. On a Dynamation picture the needs of Dynamation trumped all other first unit considerations, and accommodating Ray Harryhausen's stop motion FX process figured prominently in the floor decisions about how these films would be staged and shot. Even if Harryhausen didn't personally prefer 1.85:1 widescreen, he certainly made his peace with it, and worked closely with everyone up and down the food chain (and they with him) to ensure that Dynamation didn't suffer because of it. 



#2609 of 5035 ahollis

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Posted May 19 2013 - 11:30 AM



I know what I am going to say may be sacrilegious to many and I have the upmost respect for Ray H but he was neither director nor cinematographer on those films. While he might have composed for open matte, what was the director's intention for the film when special effects were not on the screen? Widescreen was the norm when most of these films were made and through DVD and Blu-ray I have seen them in widescreen and find them correct. IMHO.

Even if Harryhausen didn't personally prefer 1.85:1 widescreen, he certainly made his peace with it, and worked closely with everyone up and down the food chain (and they with him) to ensure that Dynamation didn't suffer because of it.


And that was my point. He worked with it and widescreen was the intended ratio. :-).
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#2610 of 5035 ROclockCK

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Posted May 19 2013 - 11:53 AM

And that was my point. He worked with it and widescreen was the intended ratio. :-).

 

No disagreement there, just how much of a hand Harryhausen truly had in the staging and shooting of these pictures.


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#2611 of 5035 Bob Furmanek

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Posted May 19 2013 - 09:08 PM

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From October 1953: an aperture plate for each ratio.

 

Aperture-plates-10.53-web.jpg


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From Daily Variety, four days before the start of principal photography. This listing would remain

for over two months until the film wrapped production in late November 1954.

 

f75e4e81-ad94-4afd-8b61-5ad8ca634c18_zps


#2612 of 5035 seangood79

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Posted May 20 2013 - 06:09 AM

What, no Cinemascope?

You should always buy undersized plates, so you can file them to ensure they'll fit your screen perfectly.



#2613 of 5035 Bob Furmanek

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Posted May 20 2013 - 07:38 AM

I'm sure La Vezzi made them but don't forget, in October 1953, there had been only one 2.55:1 release.


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From Daily Variety, four days before the start of principal photography. This listing would remain

for over two months until the film wrapped production in late November 1954.

 

f75e4e81-ad94-4afd-8b61-5ad8ca634c18_zps


#2614 of 5035 mikeyhitchfan

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Posted May 20 2013 - 08:25 AM

What aspect ratio is correct for "From Here To Eternity"? It was released in August 1953, right before widescreen became popular. I think it was re-released the following year in widescreen. Anyone think that the U.K. or other blu-ray will have (or should have) multiple ratios like On The Waterfront did?



#2615 of 5035 EddieLarkin

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Posted May 20 2013 - 08:59 AM

Doubtful:

 

http://www.hometheat...r-uk/?p=3953760



#2616 of 5035 revgen

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Posted May 20 2013 - 09:03 AM

According to TCMDB, From Here to Eternity started filming on March 7th, 1953 and finished on May 5th, 1953. According to Bob, Columbia started filming in widescreen on March 31st, 1953.

 

So, From Here to Eternity was filming right in the middle of the widescreen revolution. I think academy is the ratio that should be used, since the filming started before the switchover. The only way I can see this film as a widescreen film is if there are studio documents showing that scenes were reshot to accommodate the new widescreen policy.



#2617 of 5035 ROclockCK

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Posted May 20 2013 - 09:04 AM

I'm sure La Vezzi made them but don't forget, in October 1953, there had been only one 2.55:1 release.

 

Okay Mr. Furmanek, I'll bite. Possible dimbulb question here from a non-projectionist: "Why would a special aperture plate be required at all for an anamorphic film?" The 'squeeze' was via the camera lens, and the 'stretch' was via the projector lens...but throughout this process the film frame itself remained constant full aperture, didn't it? Wouldn't projectionists simply use whatever plates they already had for Academy format films, including any compensation for keystoning?



#2618 of 5035 seangood79

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Posted May 20 2013 - 09:16 AM

Cinemascope used more of the frame than Academy. It was taller, and for 2.55 used the real estate where the optical soundtrack used to live.

smpte35pa.jpg



#2619 of 5035 ahollis

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Posted May 20 2013 - 09:27 AM

I don't know of one projectionist or technician that enjoyed filling aperture plates. That includes myself.
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#2620 of 5035 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted May 20 2013 - 09:41 AM

I don't know of one projectionist or technician that enjoyed filling aperture plates. That includes myself.

 

Ditto!


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