Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests to win things like this Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo

Aspect Ratio and Stanley Kubrick...


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
39 replies to this topic

#1 of 40 Jeff D

Jeff D

    Supporting Actor

  • 610 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 06 1999

Posted May 30 2002 - 06:01 AM

A coworker just told me he accidently got the wrong full metal jacket. This is full frame. I told him Kubrick had everything on video in full frame. I then went to various sites to prove this to him.

When we hit imdb I became confused... It seems Kubrick shot most of his stuff (aside from sparticus) at 1.37:1. Here's my question.... two parts. 1.37:1 sure is close to 1.33:1 and it would seem that full frame is the "correct" choice.

What was done for things like Full Metal Jacket Laser Disc which was 1.85:1? Was it cropped?

#2 of 40 Damin J Toell

Damin J Toell

    Producer

  • 3,761 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 07 2001

Posted May 30 2002 - 06:07 AM

Quote:
What was done for things like Full Metal Jacket Laser Disc which was 1.85:1? Was it cropped?


Although IMDB lists a 1.85:1 LD release from 1991, I don't think such a release ever occurred. I'm fairly certain that FMJ was only released in 4x3.

DJ

#3 of 40 Peter Apruzzese

Peter Apruzzese

    Screenwriter

  • 2,574 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 20 1999
  • Real Name:Peter Apruzzese

Posted May 30 2002 - 06:18 AM

Damin is correct. I have the FMJ LaserDisc and it is full-frame, same as the DVD releases.

If you want more info on Kubrick's aspect ratios, look up interviews with Leon Vitali (Kubrick assistant and supervisor of the latest transfers) at the major DVD sites: dvdfile.com, thedigitalbits.com, etc. He goes into detail about the subject.

Quote:
It seems Kubrick shot most of his stuff (aside from sparticus) at 1.37:1.
He also shot 2001 in SuperPanavison, the DVD is transferred at around 2.10.
"What we're fighting for, in the end...we're fighting for each other." - Col. Joshua Chamberlain in "Gettysburg"

 


#4 of 40 Damin J Toell

Damin J Toell

    Producer

  • 3,761 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 07 2001

Posted May 30 2002 - 06:22 AM

You can find the DVDFile interview that Peter mentions at this link. A highlight (with some bold added by me):

Quote:
Very often, well, if you go back to Dr. Strangelove, for example, he shot that in the camera basically "full frame,." (Roughly 1.37:1) But you will see if you look at the film that very often, there will be mattes (Editor: Black bars on the top and bottom masking off a portion of the image to achieve a wider aspect ratio) in one shot, then in the next shot there will be no mattes. Then the next shot there will be, then the next shot there won't. With A Clockwork Orange, it is basically 1.66:1, and that is how he shot it in the camera, but from time to time you'll see that there is a slight shift in his aperture (thus slightly affecting the aspect ratio.) And that is just how he shot it, and what Stanley had always wanted was a video version of his film as he shot it in the camera, not necessarily how it was projected. That was very important to him. And he did not particularly like 1.85:1.

DJ

#5 of 40 Jeff D

Jeff D

    Supporting Actor

  • 610 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 06 1999

Posted May 30 2002 - 07:27 AM

You would figure if he didn't like 1.85:1 he would have shown his features in 1.33:1 or 1:37:1. I wonder what, if anything, viewers would have said if he did that. It was done with Blair Witch, that my not be a fair test case, people seemed to complain about "shaky" cam and motion sickness.

I was shocked to see the LD was 1.85:1, I wasn't sure it was correct. Thanks for the correction!

I'll check out the article.

Thanks!

#6 of 40 Rich Malloy

Rich Malloy

    Producer

  • 3,999 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 09 2000

Posted May 30 2002 - 07:43 AM

Most people saw "Blair Witch" at one of the Landmark Cinema Theaters, which primarily show independent and arthouse fare and who pride themselves on honoring aspect ratios and the like. But in the multiplexes (where Kubrick's films play), they routinely "soft-matte" 1.37:1 and 1.66:1 films to 1.85:1. This is a practice called "common projection". It seems they could easily just project a 1.37:1 image in the middle of the screen, drawing the curtains in, if possible, or simply leaving blank space on either side... but that would surely offend those who'd feel ripped off that the image doesn't "fill the screen".
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#7 of 40 Sean Patrick

Sean Patrick

    Supporting Actor

  • 743 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 22 1999

Posted May 30 2002 - 08:08 AM

i've been fooling around with my Rp91 lately and got around to testing the "zoom" on the fullframe Kubrick dvd remasters....to my surprise, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, Clockwork Orange, Shining, and Barry Lyndon all looked VERY good zoomed to 1.78:1....i'd say about 80% as good as an anamorphic transfer. I was afraid 1) the composition wouldn't look right, and 2) the noise/grain blown up would amage the image quality. Neither fear turned out to be true, in fact i would say they definitely look framed for widescreen, and they are also quality transfers regardless of the aspect ratio (compression and color)...

#8 of 40 Patrick McCart

Patrick McCart

    Lead Actor

  • 7,453 posts
  • Join Date: May 16 2001
  • Real Name:Patrick McCart
  • LocationBlairsville, GA, USA

Posted May 30 2002 - 09:27 AM

2001 is actually unmatted!

The aspect ratio of the 65mm negative is around 2.13:1. When 70mm prints were made off this negative, the aspect ratio would be made into 2.21:1.

#9 of 40 Jeff D

Jeff D

    Supporting Actor

  • 610 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 06 1999

Posted May 30 2002 - 12:33 PM

The viewing of BWP I saw surprised me, it was about half way through when I was "jazzed" to realize it was 4:3, just like a video camera. Very cool I thought, letter boxes on the SIDES and everything. Can't remember they may have drawn the curtains in. And this at a megaplex, one of the worst, IMHO, in the bay area.

#10 of 40 Rob W

Rob W

    Second Unit

  • 456 posts
  • Join Date: May 23 1999
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationToronto

Posted May 30 2002 - 01:02 PM

Blair Witch prints contained the 4:3 image within the 1:85 area so all theatres could project the correct aspect ratio. ( Most theatres today don't have the lenses and apertures for true 4:3 since it's never used .) The reissue prints of WIZARD OF OZ also employed this method, although genuine full-frame 4:3 prints were also made and offered to theatres who could project it correctly.

#11 of 40 Robert Ringwald

Robert Ringwald

    Screenwriter

  • 2,641 posts
  • Join Date: May 16 2001

Posted May 30 2002 - 01:11 PM

Kubrick decided to shoot almost all of his later movies in 4:3 ratio after seeing how bad 2001 was presented on television...

That would explain why it's is his only movie filmed in that aspect ratio.

#12 of 40 GerardoHP

GerardoHP

    Supporting Actor

  • 696 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 10 2001
  • Real Name:Gerardo Paron
  • LocationLos Angeles, California

Posted May 30 2002 - 02:29 PM

That would explain why it's is his only movie filmed in that aspect ratio.
And SPARTI, er, SPARTACUS.Posted Image
Gerardo

#13 of 40 Jack Briggs

Jack Briggs

    Executive Producer

  • 16,725 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 03 1999

Posted May 30 2002 - 02:56 PM

What Rich Malloy said.

#14 of 40 Jeff D

Jeff D

    Supporting Actor

  • 610 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 06 1999

Posted May 30 2002 - 07:21 PM

Quote:
When we hit imdb I became confused... It seems Kubrick shot most of his stuff (aside from sparticus) at 1.37:1.


I agree with Gerardo, and I'll remember 2001 in my future refrences.

#15 of 40 Seth Paxton

Seth Paxton

    Lead Actor

  • 7,588 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 05 1998

Posted May 30 2002 - 07:39 PM

I feel almost 100% now that Kubrick did indeed have quite a love of the 1.37 ratio, plus the lenses available to him for shooting this aspect.

I'm in a Kubrick class right now and we are of course going through each film, plus some reading and whatnot. I notice that one of his primarily visual styles is to use a zoom to get a much flatter frame, though he also loves to fill his frame with depth cues (the diagonal lines of a line of people, ceiling lines, etc) and also to fill the frame with mise-en-scene at all sorts of varying depth within one shot. I mean depth cues as techniques for implying depth to a two dimensional image like a painting or a photo.

For this flat look, just look at the medium-close ups of Scott or Sellers in the war room in Dr. S or Mason sitting in the tub in Lolita. Once you start to see it in one place you recognize his great love of that technique.

However, for panavision I noticed that he clearly was not getting the same level of flatness that he probably wanted (in my opinion of course). For example there is an oddity in 2001, the rack focus in order to include objects on 2 different planes of depth in one shot. The floating pen is in focus and then he racks it to the stewardess coming in the doorway. In his 1.37 stuff he seems to be able to get everything he wants in the frame without having to rack focus...I think of Paths of Glory when the General enters Colonel Dax's bunker office as an example of a similar entrance with mise-en-scene at very different depths.

Another thing about Kubrick, following the diagonal line depth cues is the framing of all sides that he seems to enjoy as well. Again, even in a wide film like 2001 we have the scene in the moon base conference room. Look at how the ceiling and floor are also used to frame that shot. The room must be flat and wide to accomplish this in fact. (side note, we have been discussing another technique of his which is to shoot with the camera at waist level looking slightly upward. He does this a lot, much like photographers used to do with the cameras you looked down into that hung at the waist - like when he was working for Look magazine)

So when I see The Shining losing the floor and ceiling as Jack walks the hallways in the masked version, I know longer believe "that's how he wanted it". He may have conceded to the politics/financials of theatrical distribution, but I doubt he liked it. I feel the same with the EWS edits, he would do business out of practicality, but all things considered it wouldn't be how he would have it if he had unlimited resources/control.

Any cinematographers that want to jump in and argue against my points, clarify, or whatnot, please don't hesitate.

#16 of 40 Bryan Tuck

Bryan Tuck

    Screenwriter

  • 1,451 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 16 2002

Posted May 31 2002 - 01:32 AM

Sorry to throw a monkeywrench into this, and I may be way off here, but I work at a movie theater, and I could have sworn the print of EWS we showed in 1999 was hard-matted, at least in some shots. Could it have been tilt-and-scan?

Or am I just completely wrong?
"Flying a plane is no different from riding a bicycle; it's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes."

#17 of 40 Peter Apruzzese

Peter Apruzzese

    Screenwriter

  • 2,574 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 20 1999
  • Real Name:Peter Apruzzese

Posted May 31 2002 - 02:12 AM

I ran a couple of 35mm prints of Eyes Wide Shut through my own hands - standard release prints, not "show prints" of any kind - and they were *not* hard-matted. This was from looking at them on the rewinds and then projected on a 1.37 screen.
"What we're fighting for, in the end...we're fighting for each other." - Col. Joshua Chamberlain in "Gettysburg"

 


#18 of 40 John CW

John CW

    Supporting Actor

  • 619 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 07 2000

Posted May 31 2002 - 06:31 AM

So Kubrick simply wanted the image to "fill his screen" when he watched it at home... Now 16:9 (widescreen) TV's are getting more and more common (in his home country at least!) would he have wanted THAT screen to be filled??

I wish Leon Vitali would answer THAT question as now when I watch one of his films I get "edgies". Posted Image

~ John
Alphabetti Spaghetti

Elvis returns from the dead to say: "Objectively looking at the world, you're the only people alive on the earth today. All the people who created tradition, created countries, created rules ... THEM #@&%ERS ARE DEAD. Why don't you start your own world while you got the chance?"

#19 of 40 Rich Malloy

Rich Malloy

    Producer

  • 3,999 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 09 2000

Posted May 31 2002 - 06:36 AM

But Kubrick was "shooting for the box", and that box was a 4x3 one, not a 16x9 one. Had 16x9 been prevalent, he may well have composed his images with that ratio in mind... but he didn't, and there's nothing that can be done about it now.

Except, of course, to simply zoom it on your 16x9 if you prioritize filling your screen over other considerations. A fairly easy fix that won't perturb those who disagree with you (unless you invite them over for a screening... in which case, it's your room, Monsieur Zoom!).
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#20 of 40 Seth Paxton

Seth Paxton

    Lead Actor

  • 7,588 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 05 1998

Posted June 01 2002 - 07:54 AM

No, it wasn't just a "fill the TV screen" thing because it wasn't until 2001 hit home that he was bothered by a P&S butchering of his film.

He was already framing Academy ratio when most everyone else was going wider. Just look at the films surrounding the 2.35 Spartacus - Paths of Glory just before it, Lolita and the mixed aspect ratio (though none in the film are 2.35) Dr. Strangelove.

That's why I also pointed out the amount of FLATNESS he was able to get with Panavision lenses as another possible reason to step away from them. Follow his next 2 films to see - ACO goes back to a 1.66 framing using spherical and then he buys up a bunch of old "worthless" cameras to be modified for the shooting of Barry Lyndon in spherical with high speed lenses.

So he already had gone back to spherical. At that point the only change would be the intended framing of 1.66 or 1.37. If, after 2001 hit TV Kubrick said "screw this, I'm not giving them anything to P&S it would seem like he either intended a dual framing, or a 1.37 framing. But it is also quite possible he went back to the Lolita/Path of Glory look which then couldn't be shown in most theaters without putting the 1.37 centered on a 1.85 frame for projection like Blair Witch.

He is just too consistent about the ceiling/floor framing in his films to have suddenly discounted it with The Shining, FMJ, EWS (especially when it comes through so well at 1.33(7).


Back to Archived Threads 2001-2004



Forum Nav Content I Follow