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Aspect Ratio Documentation


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#5021 of 5034 RolandL

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Posted Yesterday, 10:13 AM

 

Yes a good article with just a few errors.

 

"A couple years later, CinemaScope reduced the ratio slightly to 2.35:1 in order to fit an additional audio track onto the film prints for stereophonic sound."

 

That was to add a mono track. The four track stereo sound was already on the film when it was 2.55.

 

"Other rival formats included VistaVision (designed for flexible projection at either 1.66:1, 1.85:1 or 2.0:1), ToddAO 65mm (2.20:1) and three-strip Cinerama (approximately 2.89:1, projected onto a giant 146º curved screen)."

 

Cinerama was 2.59.


Roland Lataille
Cinerama web site

 


#5022 of 5034 LeoA

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Posted Yesterday, 11:25 AM

It's aspect ratio related, but why are some older Academy ratio films, cartoon shorts, and such sometimes presented in a window within a 4:3 picture (I'm not talking about pillarboxing to maintain the OAR on a 16:9 screen)?

 

I was most recently reminded about this when my local PBS station aired an episode of the Jack Benny Program the other day. While that one was 4:3 which is slightly different than the Academy film ratio, it was shown the same way with a border around the entire picture. 



#5023 of 5034 EddieLarkin

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Posted Yesterday, 11:27 AM

Very little should have been cropped, if the theater was careful and projecting to specs. The 1.37:1 aperture was proposed and adopted as standard in 1932.

 

Here's an article from two years earlier which illustrates the issues faced with projection when sound was introduced.

 

Very interesting article. It seems to suggest that Fox and Paramount had already taken steps to ensure sound films were being shot so that they could be shown in the traditional 1.33:1, rather than 1.19:1, and further to that the Academy were recommending that all studios adopt such steps. And this is as early as February 1930. My impression was until 1.37:1 was standardised in 1932, all sound on film pictures were composed 1.19:1. 



#5024 of 5034 EddieLarkin

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Posted Yesterday, 01:32 PM

RAH states in his recent WB post that WB's Hammer properties are a high priority for them next year. Assuming that Dracula, The Mummy and The Curse of Frankenstein are the most likely candidates, and knowing that WB are more likely than most to consider and follow the documentation, it'd be nice if we could see these mastered in their correct 1.75:1/1.85:1 ratio (I wonder if the members who have access to Kine Weekly issues could advise how they were listed?). The Curse of Frankenstein would obviously be the most interesting, considering how awful the Lionsgate disc looks (AR aside).

 

That is, assuming any of these are coming from new transfers.



#5025 of 5034 Brandon Conway

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Posted Yesterday, 01:54 PM

It's aspect ratio related, but why are some older Academy ratio films, cartoon shorts, and such sometimes presented in a window within a 4:3 picture (I'm not talking about pillarboxing to maintain the OAR on a 16:9 screen)?

I was most recently reminded about this when my local PBS station aired an episode of the Jack Benny Program the other day. While that one was 4:3 which is slightly different than the Academy film ratio, it was shown the same way with a border around the entire picture.

The short answer is that these were 4x3 monitor overscan safe standards that are still being followed despite being out of date for modern 16x9 monitors with little-to-no overscan.

"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


#5026 of 5034 HDvision

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Posted Yesterday, 02:05 PM

Not sure it's still being followed. More like you're watching masters made last century.



#5027 of 5034 Bob Furmanek

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Posted Yesterday, 02:08 PM

RAH states in his recent WB post that WB's Hammer properties are a high priority for them next year. Assuming that Dracula, The Mummy and The Curse of Frankenstein are the most likely candidates, and knowing that WB are more likely than most to consider and follow the documentation, it'd be nice if we could see these mastered in their correct 1.75:1/1.85:1 ratio (I wonder if the members who have access to Kine Weekly issues could advise how they were listed?). The Curse of Frankenstein would obviously be the most interesting, considering how awful the Lionsgate disc looks (AR aside).

 

That is, assuming any of these are coming from new transfers.

 

That would be fantastic!

 

However, it appears that Kine Weekly - the prominent UK trade journal from the period - does not list specific ratios for the Bray productions. They are simply marked "standard widescreen."

 

If that is the case, I suspect they were following the British Film Producers Association standard implemented in 1955 which was a common-top composition for 1.75:1.


Bob Furmanek

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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


#5028 of 5034 Bob Furmanek

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Posted Yesterday, 02:10 PM

Very interesting article. It seems to suggest that Fox and Paramount had already taken steps to ensure sound films were being shot so that they could be shown in the traditional 1.33:1, rather than 1.19:1, and further to that the Academy were recommending that all studios adopt such steps. And this is as early as February 1930. My impression was until 1.37:1 was standardised in 1932, all sound on film pictures were composed 1.19:1. 

 

There's a great deal of new information to be harvested from these ancient journals!


Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

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


#5029 of 5034 Brandon Conway

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Posted Yesterday, 02:19 PM

three-strip Cinerama (approximately 2.89:1, projected onto a giant 146º curved screen)."

 

Cinerama was 2.59.

 

I bet they said that because the non-smilebox "flat" version of How the West Was Won on Blu-ray is 2.89 when the curvature is mathematically altered.


Edited by Brandon Conway, Yesterday, 02:20 PM.

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"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


#5030 of 5034 LeoA

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Posted Yesterday, 02:26 PM

The short answer is that these were 4x3 monitor overscan safe standards that are still being followed despite being out of date for modern 16x9 monitors with little-to-no overscan.

 

But it still happens on the rare occasion even on a channel like PBS broadcasting in 4:3 in standard definition on my Sony Trinitron that has a good bit of overscan. This particular episode had a good inch border at least around the entire picture on my 25" Trinitron, way beyond protecting for even the worst offending tv. 

 

Usually is a B&W movie, B&W tv show, or an cartoon short from the before 1950 or so when it happens. Been noticing it on occasion since I was a little kid several decades ago. 



#5031 of 5034 Bob Furmanek

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Posted Yesterday, 04:31 PM

You've got to hand it to the British.

 

During all the confusion over multiple ratios in the early years of transition, they were first to standardize at the aspect ratio of 1.75:1 in 1955.

 

I just found out that Elf actually made a variable aperture gate for the 16mm Eiki projector!

 

Has anybody ever come across one of these?

 

elf_eiki_gate_959.jpg


Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

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


#5032 of 5034 Bob Furmanek

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Posted Yesterday, 04:48 PM

The true meaning of ongoing research.

 

I've just learned that the Bell and Howell 16mm Filmosound model 641 and 642, introduced in 1961, also had an adjustable aperture plate.

 

Bell and Howell Filmosound widescreen 641 and 642.JPG


Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

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


#5033 of 5034 antoniobiz1

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Posted Yesterday, 10:46 PM

Bob, very interesting pictures.

 

Apparently, there is no mention of common top masking, so maybe center cropping was far more common (unless, of course, projectionists were expected to obtain common top masking by "racking" the picture).

 

Either way, there is no mention of it.



#5034 of 5034 Mike Frezon

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Posted Today, 09:19 AM

It's aspect ratio related, but why are some older Academy ratio films, cartoon shorts, and such sometimes presented in a window within a 4:3 picture (I'm not talking about pillarboxing to maintain the OAR on a 16:9 screen)?

 

I was most recently reminded about this when my local PBS station aired an episode of the Jack Benny Program the other day. While that one was 4:3 which is slightly different than the Academy film ratio, it was shown the same way with a border around the entire picture. 

 

I am the farthest thing from an expert in terms of aspect ratio...but whenever I see something like this happen on broadcast television I always take it with a grain of salt because of all the variables involved along the chain that take the original source and deposit it in your home.

 

There is the source product>>the originating playback device>>the processing units which push the signal out their door>.the receipt of that signal at the cable company/dish company>>the processing of that signal by the satellite/dish company>.the way they send the signal (SD/HD, for example) over their system>>the settings on your cable box>>the way your cable box is wired to your display>>the settings on your display>>etc.

 

And there is any number of other variables that can work their way into the chain which can impact the way the original product appears on your set and result in it being stretched/squashed or even possibly correct.  :biggrin:


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