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Aspect Ratio Documentation


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#4261 of 5553 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted June 11 2014 - 11:29 AM

 Sometimes I miss those days, then I remember I was getting paid peanuts.

 

I hear ya, my old friend Dumbo used to complain about the same thing, mind you he worked for the circus.


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#4262 of 5553 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 11 2014 - 11:36 AM

 

The differences between 1.66, 1.75, 1.85 and 2:1 may not seem significant today at home but they represent how the director was framing the shot. The differences were significant in theaters sixty years ago and that's why aperture plates were available in each ratio.

 

Copyright holders now have the opportunity to present these films in widescreen for the first time since the original theatrical release.

 
They should not fall back on long-standing myths. They should do their homework and original research on the production history of their assets and get it right.
 

When concrete documentation exists, they should not let their own personal belief or preferences cloud their judgement. You have that obligation to the creative team which created the work that you now control.

 

This may seem "obsessive" to some but realistically, how many more times will films like DUEL IN THE JUNGLE, JOHNNY GUITAR, RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11, ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY, THE LADYKILLERS or PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE get mastered in HD?

 

Food for thought...

 

Posted ImageAperture-plates-10.53-web.jpg

Posted ImageApertures.gif

 

In fairness to those of us that feel the difference between 1.66 and 1.75 is not that significant in the home theater environment, I don't think a movie filmed in widescreen should be released on BD/DVD/digital download in 1.33/1.37.  I just want to make sure that's clear and I don't begrudge anyone that continues to fight the good fight in regard to every film being released on video in their OAR.


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#4263 of 5553 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted June 11 2014 - 11:52 AM

 

Concentrate on the important issue which is to present wide films wide not complaining that a disc presents it in one of the 3 ratios but not the one you prefer -specially when nobody seems to know which is correct anyway.

 

 

The evidence is being provided in this thread, people do know which is correct, certainly Bob knows so there is no reason why the studio that owns the film shouldn't know, it's just laziness, the studio's aren't doing proper research.


     :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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#4264 of 5553 OFFLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:08 PM

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Studios - in an effort to appease nervous exhibitors - were stressing flexibility. But when these films were sent to theaters, there was only one "preferred" ratio.

 

I feel that's how the films should be mastered today.

 

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#4265 of 5553 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:16 PM

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I have that feeling of deja vu. All over again.

 

EDIT; and now I haven't. Must have been a horrible dream.


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#4266 of 5553 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:18 PM

The evidence is being provided in this thread, people do know which is correct, certainly Bob knows so there is no reason why the studio that owns the film shouldn't know, it's just laziness, the studio's aren't doing proper research.

I think it's more than just laziness.


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#4267 of 5553 OFFLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:31 PM

I'm still waiting for the day when I can watch Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy in the correct AR.  I'm guessing it will never be released that way though.

 

 

Gary "it's hard for me to even imagine watching Bud & Lou in a wide-screen type format - but it would be interesting" O.

 

Their last three films are widescreen. KOPS is 2:1; MUMMY and HENRY are 1.85:1.


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#4268 of 5553 OFFLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:37 PM

Thank you, Moderators!


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#4269 of 5553 OFFLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:40 PM

Rats. I figured it might be, given the headroom in the shots, and the date, but such is life; sometimes one ends up with one's foot in one's mouth. I will leave the pic up and your comment as a monument to failure to check sources. :unsure:  I'm wondering about some of the other Network discs, however, which have later dates than Eight O'Clock Walk  -- are they also 1.33 OAR?

 

If they were filmed after the fall of 1953, they are most likely widescreen.

 

Network does not seem receptive to documentation on the issue. I sent them material on DUEL IN THE JUNGLE - including quotes from the director on filming for widescreen - and there was no reply...


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#4270 of 5553 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:47 PM

I think it's more than just laziness.

 

Lack of financial resources and manpower. ?  

 

I could understand that if it were MGM or a smaller label but they could use a site like this for additional help before making some of their decisions, as Bob says above, some labels don't seem receptive to receiving help on the matter.


     :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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#4271 of 5553 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:49 PM

Lack of financial resources and manpower. ?  

 

I could understand that if it were MGM or a smaller label but they could use a site like this for additional help before making some of their decisions, as Bob says above, some labels don't seem receptive to receiving help on the matter.

More like lack of beancounter support.


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#4272 of 5553 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:51 PM

More like lack of beancounter support.

 

So it's the same issue that's being debated in The Alamo thread.


     :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"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 


#4273 of 5553 OFFLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 11 2014 - 12:54 PM

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That's why I feel it's important to get the aspect ratio correct now.

 

Many of these titles will not get another chance.


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#4274 of 5553 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 11 2014 - 01:03 PM

That's why I feel it's important to get the aspect ratio correct now.

 

Many of these titles will not get another chance.

I agree with you, but it's more important to me that Apache and The Train get widescreen releases on BD than the differences between 1.77 and 1.85.  Anyhow, I've said my piece so carry on the good fight.


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#4275 of 5553 ONLINE   Gary Couzens

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Posted June 11 2014 - 02:25 PM

Received If.... from Eureka, and tucked away in the extensive interviews appears to be confirmation (if any were needed) that 1.75:1 was the British standard OAR up until the 1970s.

It's a very short interview with the focus puller Brian Harris and it's almost a throwaway comment whilst discussing Anderson's use of colour and b&w film. Harris says: "...we were shooting 1.75 - we didn't have 1.85 as a standard then..."

I understand from Eureka that they were locked into using 1.66:1 - as is the Criterion, approved by cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček and assistant editor Ian Rakoff - by Paramount. But even though it's one of the theatrical aspect ratios it could have been seen in, If.... was shot and framed principally at 1.75:1 as were the vast majority of British films of the period.

 

Interesting. I have actually projected a 35mm print of IF... and I showed it at 1.66:1 because I felt that looked right. (We did have a lens and gate for 1.75:1 but didn't use it very much when we invested in 1.66:1 and 1.85:1.) I don't doubt what you're saying, though. I haven't seen the film in anything other than 1.66:1: that film showing at University and the DVD which I watched and reviewed several years ago.

 

The film was shot open-matte, and showing it that way would have revealed some full-frontal male nudity in a shower scene, which wasn't visible in 1.66:1. I know this, because when I checked the print, there was a splice in the middle of that scene. A projectionist took a souvenir, I suspect.

 

You're right; it says 'format: 1.66:1 OAR', and 'If.... was shot in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio'.

 

You'd obviously have to actually watch the supplemental interviews to hear the AR reference (and it is, as said, a passing reference), but I wonder how many reviewers have actually done that?

 

I would have done, if I were reviewing this disc, which I haven't seen. I'm in a combination of restricting my reviewing and taking a break, and that disc was one I couldn't take on. I did review the previous DVD from Paramount, though.

 

 

 

Some filmmakers like Godard shot in whatever format they wanted, including dead ones. That was an artistic choice.

 

He wasn't the only one. Eric Rohmer shot in Academy (apart from his debut feature, THE SIGN OF LEO, which is 1.66:1)  until well into the 1980s, and continued to do so on most of his features shot in 16mm. Jacques Rivette's LA BELLE NOISEUSE was shot in 35mm and is 1.37:1.

 

 


1.66 and 1.75 difference is minimal

 

Not always. I've seen 1.66:1 films shown in 1.75:1 where the cropping is noticeable. The first two times I saw BETTY BLUE (a 1.66:1 film for sure) it was projected in 1.75:1 and it was obvious to me that that wasn't correct.

 

I once had to tell staff at the National Film Theatre that they had shown a film in too wide a ratio: Margarethe von Trotta's L'AFRICANA, shown in the London Film Festival, shown in 1.75:1 and obviously composed for 1.66:1 and noticeably cropped.

 

On the other hand, I once saw a French SF film called L'UNIQUE at the same venue, and at the top and bottom of the screen during the opening credits was wording in French saying "This film is not being shown in the correct ratio of 1.85:1." As you may have guessed, it was being shown in 1.75:1, or possibly 1.66:1 (I don't remember).



#4276 of 5553 OFFLINE   HDvision

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Posted June 11 2014 - 03:00 PM

That's awesome. But then one can't trust the credits either, like the focus puller or the director, they are old and don't know how one watched the movies for the last 30 years which is how the movies are. (joke mode off)


Edited by HDvision, June 12 2014 - 12:43 AM.


#4277 of 5553 OFFLINE   Billy Batson

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Posted June 11 2014 - 11:28 PM

Add to the fact a couple of other things - just as 1.78:1 shows a little more than 1.85:1, then 1.66:1 also shows a little more than 1.75:1, and I'd rather it that way than the other way around.  Also, it would appear that Odeon (the largest cinema group in the UK) were projecting in 1.66:1, so the director/DoP were probably aware it would be mainly shown in that ratio.

 

What all that adds up to, for me, is that whilst it's worth pointing out the very slight difference between 1.75:1 and 1.66:1, it really isn't worth raising one's blood pressure.

 

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Looking at the March 1969 edition of Films & Filming, If... went on general release on the 9th of March on the ABC circuit, not Odeon. If fact I remember all the Paramount's I saw at the time were all shown in ABC cinemas. Ha, I really am captain sadness.



#4278 of 5553 OFFLINE   Yorkshire

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Posted June 12 2014 - 12:05 AM

Looking at the March 1969 edition of Films & Filming, If... went on general release on the 9th of March on the ABC circuit, not Odeon. If fact I remember all the Paramount's I saw at the time were all shown in ABC cinemas. Ha, I really am captain sadness.

 

Ah, excellent bit of information.

 

Of course, the question is whether LA would have known this would be the case.

 

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#4279 of 5553 OFFLINE   Yorkshire

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Posted June 12 2014 - 12:10 AM

I've seen 1.66:1 films shown in 1.75:1 where the cropping is noticeable. The first two times I saw BETTY BLUE (a 1.66:1 film for sure) it was projected in 1.75:1 and it was obvious to me that that wasn't correct.

 

I once had to tell staff at the National Film Theatre that they had shown a film in too wide a ratio: Margarethe von Trotta's L'AFRICANA, shown in the London Film Festival, shown in 1.75:1 and obviously composed for 1.66:1 and noticeably cropped.

 

For me, this is key.

 

It's never excusable to crop what should have been seen, and far less problematic to show a little more than what was composed for, especially in these cases where 1.75:1 films were supposed to be tolerable to 1.66:1 anyway.

 

A film shot in 1.66:1 cropped to 1.75:1 might look cramped, and vital information which audiences were intended to see may even be missed.  But a 1.75:1 film opened slightly to 1.66:1 will not look hideous, or even poor.  It may look just a little loose.

 

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#4280 of 5553 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted June 17 2014 - 11:11 AM

Did trade papers in the 1950s like Boxoffice provide recommended aspect ratios for short subjects as well as features?  I am thinking of shorts like The Three Stooges, Looney Tunes, and other short subjects.






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