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Titanic 3D Blu-ray Review



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#1 of 93 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted September 06 2012 - 01:21 PM

With almost half of its running time dedicated to exciting action and flawless special effects, it is sometimes easy to forget that this grand scale smash hit is a love story at heart. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet star as two young travelers who, despite the chasm of social status between them, fall deeply in love during the fateful maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. The innocence of the love story between the two stars anchors the grand spectacle of the rest of the film, delivering audiences a remarkable film with one of the weepiest endings in memory.





Titanic 3D


Studio: Paramount Pictures
Year: 1997/2012
US Rating: Rated PG-13 for disaster related peril and violence, nudity, sensuality and brief language
Film Length: 194 Minutes
Video: MPEG-4 AVC 1080P High Definition


Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (3D) 2.35:1 (2D)

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles


Release Date: September 10, 2012

Review Date: September 6, 2012


“Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby... and only one came back. One. Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six... out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait... wait to die... wait to live... wait for an absolution... that would never come.”


The Film

4.5/ 5


Brock Lovett is searching for the famed ‘Heart of the Ocean’ diamond lost with the sinking of the Titanic. His exploration of the wreckage uncovers a preserved sketch of a beautiful young woman wearing the famed diamond. Thousands of miles away, an elderly lady sees the news report covering the discovery of the sketch and is reminded of a time years ago filled with love and tragedy. The lady was aboard the Titanic when it struck the iceberg, and she survived the tragic sinking. Her name is Rose DeWitt – and she travels to visit the explorer Brock Lovett and tell of her time aboard the ship when she was under the thumb of her unpleasant fiancé Caledon Hockley yet filled with the magic of her time with stowaway, Jack Dawson.  We are transported back to 1912 and the eve of Titanic’s maiden voyage.  


12,600 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean lays the deteriorating remains of the Titanic. Dubbed the ‘Ship of Dreams’, she lay unfound for three quarters of a century as a tomb undisturbed save for the life that exists so far down at the sea bed. Titanic was a grand ship worthy of admiration and praise for its engineering genius and stately refinements. At a cost of over $7.5 million (over $400 million in today’s dollars), she stood above the surface of the ocean proudly.


1,343 passengers and 885 crew were aboard her when, following 6 warnings of Icebergs, Titanic struck the floating ice that would serve as her epitaph. The ‘Unsinkable’ ship was so called due to the design of 16 compartments that were watertight. In the event of a breach, the separation of the compartments would ensure that she stayed afloat. But Titanic sideswiped the iceberg, tearing the hill allowing six of the compartments to rapidly fill with water. It would take 2 hours and 40 minutes until the ship was fully submerged. Only 30% of those aboard would survive.


As a telling of the story of Titanic, James Cameron’s film is an enormous achievement. The true story of the ill-fated ship is visited and infused with the fictional tale of Jack and Rose, producing an aching love-story that touched millions of fans around the world and reignited a fascination with the infamous ‘unsinkable’ ship's tragic first voyage. Cameron is a gifted filmmaker with a precise eye, a penchant for spectacle and technical marvel, and – it has become clear – an innate sense for what will run rampant through moviegoers imaginations. The filmmaker’s weakness though has been in dialogue, and for many, the simplicity in the structure of the stories he tells. For his Avatar film, some of those criticisms are fair, but for Titanic, with a meticulous approach to telling the tale and the careful arrangement of plot, character and event (though many characters do not play as deep as others), the end result is a film upon which much praise is deservedly lauded. Garnering 14 Academy Award Nominations, winning 11, the film became a critical success and a cultural phenomenon.


The beauty of Cameron’s shot composition, working with the talented eye of cinematography by Russell Carpenter, is matched by the technical mastery employed to create the RMS Titanic down to the most exquisite detail. Cameron’s Titanic is an epic in the truest sense of the word – a massive undertaking, breathtaking visuals, a cast of thousands and providing of an emotional and thrilling experience that precious few films achieve.


Cameron cleverly began the film in the present as Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) explores the wreckage which allowed the director to remind the audience of the majesty of the ship and the tragedy of the disaster. The film is very well cast with Kate Winset and Leonardo DiCaprio portraying the fleeting lovers Rose and Jack and they do so with both innocence and energy. Both have shown themselves to be among the finest actors working today.


The visual effects are of such quality that they more than hold up after these 15 years. In fact, Cameron has an inherent ability to craft films that stand the test of time. His Terminator 2 remains an explosively entertaining film after 20 years, Aliens as thrilling as it was 26 years after its release, and The Abyss as technically masterful after 23 years. In fact, the opening of Titanic is reminiscent of The Abyss as deep sea exploration vessels scour the sea floor with hazy truncheons of light beaming brightly, and roving subs extending the exploration with remote capabilities. Cameron’s passions as an innovator, inventor and explorer are clear assets here.


James Horner creates one of his most thrilling scores. Following their strained collaboration on Aliens, Horner and Cameron did not work together on Cameron’s subsequent films, but time apparently heals all wounds – and with the composer’s extraordinary scores for Apollo 13 and Braveheart garnering Oscar nominations – his selection as composer on the most expensive movie ever made was wise. Becoming the bestselling soundtrack of all time due in large part to the song featuring Celine Dion, Horner’s composition combined traditional orchestra, Irish folk hints and synth elements in intriguing ways. Add the haunting vocals of Sissel and what results is masterful.


Cameron’s attention to detail is admirable though it borders on the obsessive. A replica of Titanic was built for the film. At 775 ft. long and floated in a tank holding 17 million gallons of water, the scale was impressive (the real Titanic was 882 ft. long). But it is the details that many will have missed that call for admiration. Cameron contracted with the companies that had originally built the lifeboat davits and carpet for the production of exact replicas. He instructed all women actors – including extras with or without lines – to wear corsets as would have been the norm for the ladies aboard. Everyone was provided lessons in etiquette so they would sound and act appropriately. Set decorations – down to the cutlery – were precisely recreated giving Titanic an extraordinary level of authenticity. This dedication to detail does not come cheap. Along with the massive sets and extensive visual effects, the attention to such authentic features gave rise to the most epic of budgets. Titanic would cost just over $200 million dollars to make. Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures co-financed the film to limit their exposure in the case of a box-office failure, and many had predicted a dire end to the film even before it premiered. The opening weekend proved worrisome. Raking in a modest $28.6 million, the film would have to exceed all expectations and probability in the coming weeks to stave off a staggering box-office blunder. Titanic was destined to defy the odds. It's gross during the second weekend was higher than the first, and would go on to gross between $25 and $35 million for the next ten weekends – then hold remarkably steady beyond that, accumulating a record-breaking box-office cume and become the highest grossing film of all time (until bested by Cameron’s own Avatar). It is a remarkable story.



The Video

5/5

3D Factor

4.5/5


This four-disc Blu-ray 3D combo pack comes with the 3D version spread across two Blu-ray discs, a third with the 2D version of the film and a fourth containing a wealth of special feature material. The 3D version has been reframed to 1.78:1 to better reflect the IMAX presentation it enjoyed during its 3D re-release (the 2D version on disc 3 is presented in 2.35:1). Released in theaters back in 1997 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, that reframing may give some cinephiles pause, but fear not. As Cameron explains in his interview with Yahoo! Movies, the frame has been opened up rather than cropped. Extensive work was done to paint out visible booms, cameras and other elements not intended to be seen in the original composition. An excerpt from that interview is below:


 “On the re-release, we released Titanic also in IMAX, the digital IMAX format, in 2D and in 3D, and we did that in 1.78:1 aspect ratio - this is kind of geeking out for neophiles now. But the film was originally released in a CinemaScope ratio - 2.35:1 ratio. So in the new release, the DVD and the standard Blu-ray and the 2D Blu-ray is 2.35, and the 3D Blu-ray is in 17:8 (sic) or 16:9, which means that it'll fill the HD monitor. And that's not cropped, that's actually added material. And in the process of remastering the film, we had to go back and do a lot of paint work to remove dollies and microphones and things like that, that were in view just outside of the scope area.This is more of the videophile geek fest, but the film was originally shot with Super 35 format, which meant that there was always more frame available than what we released. So we've gone back to that and we've cleaned it up and so it actually plays beautifully in 3D in the 16:9 format, I think, so it's a slightly different experience.”


The resulting image is breathtaking. The level of detail in each shot is wonderfully vivid, black levels deep and rich, color balance superbly tuned and colors exquisite. The first half of the film has a warmer palette, but once the ship begins to sink, the blue and darker hues take center stage, offering greater contrast. Skin tones are natural throughout until the final chapters when the freezing temperatures drain color from cheeks and portend the end of life.


Blu-ray offers the chance to see Titanic as never before and the 3D version of the film – a conversion – is an impressive surprise. Methodically performing conversion scene by scene and overseen by James Cameron personally, the auter’s passions and skills in 3D technology have presided over one of the very best 3D films available. An amazing sense of depth pervades scenes throughout the gargantuan running time, especially those on the docks of Southampton as passengers load themselves and their belongings aboard the ship. Even in tighter spaces the depths is excellent. Inside the submersible with Brock Lovett, foreground objects provide dimensional context. The latter half of the film, with the brilliant visual effects as the Titanic begins to sink, eventually breaking in two before the second half of the massive vessel descends into the murk, are where the 3D absolutely shines. Shooting in native 3D is the best way to enjoy a 3D movie, but at times you could swear this film was shot natively itself.


The Sound

5/5


English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is top-notch. A superb level of clarity and audio precision permeates the audio-sphere. Crowd noises, the whoosh of the ship sailing through the choppy Atlantic Ocean and the rumble of the steam-powered engine are perfectly rendered throughout the front and surrounds. The dynamic sound design ( by Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Gary Summers, and Mark Ulan) which earned an Academy Award – as well as for Best Sound Effects Editing, is delivered wonderfully on this HD release. Audio during the collision with the iceberg and the subsequent failing of the ships redundant watertight compartments is piercingly precise and with fully-flexed directional effects, an awesome immersive experience.


The bass level is perfectly balanced with the remaining sound elements – though you will find your subwoofer exercised nicely when the scene calls for it. Horner’s score, reproduced delightfully, completes the aural wonder of this presentation . Having enjoyed his score over the years on CD, hearing this DTS-MA rendering is a genuine treat.


The Extras

5/5


The extent of the special features included over the discs is certain to delight fans of the film and those interested in the story of filmmaking. Concentrating the extras over the last two of the four discs means that viewers will be unable to watch the 3D version with any of the commentaries, but that is a small price to pay for maximizing the bit-rate on this version of the film. Owners of the original DVD and the Collector’s Edition DVD set will find everything included here.


DISC 1 - Blu-ray 3D
Blu-ray 3D Feature Film - part one


DISC 2 - Blu-ray 3D
Blu-ray 3D Feature Film - part two

DISC 3 - Blu-ray
Blu-ray Feature Film
Director Commentary by James Cameron (2005)
Cast and Crew Commentary (2005)
Historical Commentary by Don Lynch and Ken Marschall (2005)



DISC 4 - Blu-ray

DOCUMENTARIES (159:55)
Reflections on Titanic      - Part 1
     - Part 2
     - Part 3
     - Part 4
Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron

DELETED SCENES (With Commentary by James Cameron (2005)) (56:29)
James Cameron Introduction (2005)
"I'll Be the First"
Rose Feels Trapped
Brock's Dilemma/Rose Visits Third Class
Rose's Dreams
"Come Josephine…"
Extended Sneaking to First Class
Extended Escape from Lovejoy
A Kiss in the Boiler Room
Wireless Room/The Californian
"How 'Bout a Little Ice?" Flirting With Ice
The First "S.O.S."
Ismay Panics
Molly Brown's Rowing School
Irish Hospitality
Ida Strauss Won't Leave
Farewell to Helga
Boat Six Won't Return
Release the Hounds
A Husband's Letter
Jack and Lovejoy Fight
Guggenheim and Astor
"I'm Not Going"
Cora's Fate
Extended Jack and Rose in the Water
"Out of the Question"
"How Dare You!"
Chinese Man Rescue
Extended Carpathia Sequence
Alternate Ending

PRODUCTION
- Behind the Scenes (101:59)

     - Deep Dive
     - Upside Down Wreck Miniature
     - Escondido Underwater Set
     - Two Roses
     - Sinking Simulation
     - 1912 Morph Transition VFX
     - Southampton Flop
     - View From the Pub VFX
     - Leaving Port VFX
     - Melting Pot
     - The Millionaire's Suite
     - The Engine Room
     - Titanic At Sea
     - Digital People
     - The Million Dollar Shot
     - The Big Exterior Ship Set
     - Rose Suicide
     - Big Ship Set VFX
     - Tux Story
     - The Grand Staircase
     - Costume Design
     - First Class Dining Room
     - The Dinner Shoot
     - Third Class Party
     - A Woman's Place
     - The Etiquette Kid
     - The Boiler Room
     - Flooding Hold Miniature
     - Iceberg/Deck VFX
     - Boiler Room Flooding
     - First Class Lounge Miniature
     - Shooting in Steerage
     - Kate's Action Costume
     - Crane as Helicopter
     - Lifeboats 13 and 15
     - Flooded First Class Dining Room
     - Stage Two Sinking Set
     - Faking a Tilt
     - The Sinking Riser
     - Ship Extensions
     - Falling Funnel
     - Grand Staircase Flooding
     - Miniature Hall Flooding
     - Jumping Stunts
     - The Tilting Poop Deck Set
     - Deck Sliders
     - Digital Stunt People
     - Sinking Videomatic
     - Ship Split Miniature
     - Vertical Poop Deck Stunts
     - The Toilet Paper Shot
     - Final Plunge VFX
     - Underwater Greenscreen
     - Interior Tank Shoot
     - Breath Shots
     - Exterior Tank Shoot
     - Ice Makeup
     - Open Lifeboats and the Carpathia
     - Carpathia Medal
     - The Final Shot
     - Making the Music Video
- Construction Timelapse (With Commentary by Ed Marsh)
- Deep Dive Presentation - Narrated by James Cameron
- $200,000,001:  A Ship's Odyssey (the Titanic Crew Video)

Videomatics (10:00)
Videomatics Introduction
Sinking Sequence
Deep Dive

Visual Effects (8:00)
VFX Shot Breakdown:  "Engine Room"
VFX How-To for "I'm Flying"
VFX How-To for "First Class Lounge"
Titanic Sinking Simulation

ARCHIVES (21:57)
- Music Video "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion
- Trailers

     - Teaser Trailer:  Concept Artwork
     - Theatrical Trailer 2
     - Theatrical Trailer 3
     - International Trailer
     - 2012 Release Trailer
     - 2012 Release Trailer 3D
TV Spots
     - Destiny
     - Opposite Worlds
     - Know the Legend
     - Nothing You Expect
     - Heart Will Go On
     - See It Again
     - Honored

Still Galleries
  - Titanic Scriptment by James Cameron
  - Storyboard Sequences
      - MIR Sequence
      - Southampton Departure
      - Ode to Titanic
      - Pre-Collision Scenes
      - Iceberg Collision
      - Loading Lifeboats/Panic
      - Final Sinking Sequence
      - Aftermath and Rescue
      - Final Shot
 - Production Artwork
      - Production Paintings by Tom Lay
      - Wreck Sketches by James Cameron
      - Russell Carpenter's Polaroid Trail
      - Ken Marschall's Painting Gallery
      - 1996 - 1997 Production Gallery
      - Doug Kirkland Gallery
      - Billy Zane Photography
      - Concept Posters and One Sheets

Titanic Parodies (10:12)
- MTV's "1998 Movie Awards" Skit
- Saturday Night Live Skit (Air Date:  January 9, 1999)
- Titanic in 30 Seconds


Theatrical Trailer



Final Thoughts


I grew up just a few miles from where the Titanic began its doomed voyage. Its history has always been a part of my life. I eagerly attended a screening of Titanic on opening day as James Cameron has been my most beloved director since I first saw Aliens (and it became my all-time most treasured film). I was floored by the experience of Titanic and went back to see it again that same weekend. An epic in every sense of the word and an astonishing achievement, the impact of Titanic on moviegoers and filmmakers is hard to overstate. James Cameron should rightly consider this film his crowning achievement – though as Avatar has shown, one shouldn’t make the mistake of saying he’ll never top himself.


Should you buy Titanic on Blu-ray? Absolutely! Is the 3D version worth owning? Unequivocally yes.  Titanic 3D is one of this year’s most impressive releases and comes highly recommended.


Overall (Not an average)

4.5/5


Neil Middlemiss

Kernersville, NC




"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
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#2 of 93 Guest__*

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Posted September 06 2012 - 01:38 PM

Thank you for such a wonderfully written review!

#3 of 93 Adam Gregorich

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Posted September 06 2012 - 02:16 PM

Thanks for the review Neil.  Glad to know that the 3D conversion worked so well.  I guess that's what happens when you spend a year on it instead of six weeks (Clash of the Titans)



#4 of 93 Charles Smith

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Posted September 06 2012 - 03:07 PM

I just fainted, looking down that list of features.  (I've never owned the film in any format.)  I think I'll need to schedule a whole week to watch it all.



#5 of 93 Dave Vaughn

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Posted September 06 2012 - 04:04 PM

Great review Neil. I totally agree with your assessment of the A/V quality of the discs. Paramount/Cameron hit the ball out of the park on this one. Fans of the film will be extremely impressed.
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#6 of 93 Jason_V

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Posted September 06 2012 - 04:13 PM

Originally Posted by Chas in CT 

I think I'll need to schedule a whole week to watch it all.


You'll need more than that: 3 commentaries x 3 hours (roughly) each = 9 hours; 160 minutes (2 hours 40 minutes) in docs; 56 minutes x 2 (deleted scenes twice--with and without commentary); 1 hour 42 minutes in behind the scenes; at least another 50 minutes in trailers and music videos; still gallery...


After that amount of info on a tragedy, you might need some anti-depressant!


In all seriousness, I was really considering canceling my pre-order in an effort to cut costs this fall.  I'm not sure I can do that now.  This just sounds incredible.  I don't have a 3D set up, but did see the movie in 3D this spring.  I know it's a movie and fictional, but knowing these events actually happened to real people adds a lot of weight to the story.  My reaction wasn't as severe as United 93, but...I did get something in my eye.


(Something also got into my eye during Beauty and the Beast 3D, too...)



#7 of 93 Reed Grele

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Posted September 06 2012 - 04:15 PM

How was the 3D version side break handled?

#8 of 93 Bob Furmanek

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Posted September 06 2012 - 04:22 PM

Final score: Jack 84, Rose 75

Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

As there has been some colorful debate about the meaning of "Director-approved" transfers and how it relates to how widespread 1.66 was in the UK, I will make the following point. The dominant aspect ratio at British Studios between 1955-1970 WAS 1.75. This is based on research going through trade listings of hundreds of British films, as well as studio archives and other primary sources. 1.85 was the second most listed aspect ratio, with 1.65/1.66 a distant third.

 

Tom Crossplot - July 2013


#9 of 93 Moe Dickstein

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Posted September 06 2012 - 04:55 PM

Final score: Jack 84, Rose 75

I presume this is an Easter Egg ;)
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#10 of 93 Carlo Medina

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Posted September 07 2012 - 03:39 AM

Final score: Jack 84, Rose 75

Thank you for the link. Nearly sent you the bill for a new Macbook Pro because I almost spit up coffee on it while watching the video! :laugh:

#11 of 93 HDvision

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Posted September 07 2012 - 04:43 AM

The count is wrong Rose says her name again in front if the statue of Liberty = 76 :D

#12 of 93 Guest__*

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Posted September 07 2012 - 05:01 AM

Did anyone see the screencaps circulating on the web of the 3D version of the blu-ray where some of Kate Winslet's hair was digitally deleted, and some more added? I guess it's because the stray hairs wouldn't work in the conversion process. I've never seen anything like that!

#13 of 93 HDvision

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Posted September 07 2012 - 06:58 AM

3D is two images.


When the 3D alignment is made for conversion, the part that are shifted become blank on the original image, so the empty place has to be digitally filled.


I haven't checked on that particular shot, but I wouldn't bother about forumers making a fuss about something being missing on one image out of two images (that form the complete image), unless they post the missing shot.


I hope I'm not too confusing. It's like someone post one channel of a Beatles stereo early LP mix, and complain either the vox or the music has been removed.



#14 of 93 Guest__*

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Posted September 07 2012 - 07:18 AM

So, are you saying the missing info. is there when the two sections are completed, or does that area remain empty in the 3D version unless it is digitally filled with an image?



#15 of 93 Robert George

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Posted September 07 2012 - 07:52 AM

Neil, can you verify if the 3D disc will play on a non-3D display with a single 16:9 image?



#16 of 93 Moe Dickstein

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Posted September 07 2012 - 07:59 AM

Neil, can you verify if the 3D disc will play on a non-3D display with a single 16:9 image?

I can't understand why anyone here would want to watch this film in 1.78 in 2D.
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#17 of 93 Rick Thompson

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Posted September 07 2012 - 08:27 AM

I can't understand why anyone here would want to watch this film in 1.78 in 2D.

Perhaps because that's how it was shot and released. Making a 2-D film into computerized 3-D is no different than colorizing, say, Casablanca. I'm not interested in CinemaGimmickscope.

#18 of 93 Doctorossi

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Posted September 07 2012 - 08:34 AM

Perhaps because that's how it was shot and released.

It was released in 2D at 2.39:1.

#19 of 93 Robert George

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Posted September 07 2012 - 08:35 AM

Originally Posted by Moe Dickstein 


I can't understand why anyone here would want to watch this film in 1.78 in 2D.


I thought this had been explained fairly clearly by others.  The answer is simple.  1.78:1 is more impressive on a 16:9 screen than 2.35:1 is.


Most, certainly I, do not support cropping 'Scope shows to 1.78:1 just to fit a HDTV screen, but the case of Titanic is not so "black & white".  Most of the film was shot S35 and matted to 2.35.  Cameron supervised the 3D conversion and knowing how Cameron works on video, I'm certain every shot in this film was framed to his satisfaction, with the S35 material losing little is any image off the sides and opening up some of the top and bottom of the frame.  Even the CG shots, which were rendered in something wider than 1.78:1 (I have read 2:1) will not have as severe cropping as if this were a 4:3 transfer.


So, as several others have been asking since people first started saying they had an early copy of this, can anyone verify if the 3D disc will play in 2D?



#20 of 93 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted September 07 2012 - 09:06 AM

3D disc will not play in non-3D player:

Originally Posted by Robert George 

So, as several others have been asking since people first started saying they had an early copy of this, can anyone verify if the 3D disc will play in 2D?




Sorry about the glare.


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