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Framing and lack of headroom in Excalibur


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59 replies to this topic

#1 of 60 Cameron Seaman

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Posted June 06 2002 - 03:37 PM

I finally watched Excalibur on DVD, and while the transfer is good, the framing of some scenes seems a bit odd.

There are several shots where headroom is almost non-existant. Many times, an actor's eyebrows are at the very top of the frame.

Now, while I don't want to question whether this is the "correct" framing for this film, going on what is generally considered proper framing and headroom, this would seem to be wrong. The back of the case states that it was matted for widescreen; I wonder if it was done incorrectly?

I did a search here on the HTF and found nothing on the subject. Also, I was only 2 years old when this was theatrically released, so I dont remember what it looked like when it was originally projected. Posted Image

#2 of 60 John P Grosskopf

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Posted June 06 2002 - 04:23 PM

I've got the first widescreen LD of Excalibur (not the second AC-3 re-issue) and a direct comparrison of the DVD to the LD shows that picture is cut off on ALL sides on the DVD.

The LD is frames at an AR pretty close to 1.85 to 1, while the DVD framed at an exact 16x9 (as well as anamorphically enhanced.

Though the DVD sports better overall picture quality, the composition is cramped to say the least. On the LD, the frame is not only wider (showing more information toward the sides of the frame) but also sports quite a bit more picture on along the top an bottom of the frame as well. It's almost as if the DVD is zoomed in on compared to the LD.

The new DD mix on the DVD is not the best either, and the PCM stereo LD sound is a bit more pleasing, though still not of great quality.

Overall I prefer the LD, and watch it for the slightly better sound and more pleasing framing.

#3 of 60 Jim Rankin

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Posted June 07 2002 - 12:17 AM

I love this film, I know it's not considered a classic, but I like it just the same. I felt like I was fortunate to see it when it was first released at the ripe age of 14 - my friend and I talked about it for weeks! As for the dvd I feel it's a decent presentation, and I would love to see it re-visited someday but I feel there probably wouldn't be enought demand for that sort of thing.Posted Image Regards, Jim

#4 of 60 Ric Easton

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Posted June 07 2002 - 03:46 AM

Wow... bummer.

I used to have the LD but replaced it with the DVD. I don't think I even watched it yet, just assumed it would be a better presentation.

Ric

#5 of 60 Jack Briggs

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Posted June 07 2002 - 04:08 AM

Jim, I would consider this excellent John Boorman entry a classic. There is no better film treatment of the Arthuran legend.

Don't have the LD, but I did notice the framing to be a bit peculiar when I first screened the DVD. I had seen this film nearly twenty times in commercial cinemas back in the early 1980s. My memory of it was quite good.

Perhaps comments directed at the studio are in order?

#6 of 60 Michael Reuben

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Posted June 07 2002 - 05:00 AM

A lot of people pointed this out when the DVD was first released. I can't recall that anyone ever got any response from Warner. It's too bad, because while the framing on the LD looks much better balanced, the colors on the DVD are brighter and more magical.

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#7 of 60 Christopher_J_F

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Posted June 07 2002 - 09:06 AM

I also own both and prefer the LD transfer overall - the colors are a bit muted however.
(BTY: I realise that this is off topic, but what were they thinking with that new cover? Posted Image The LD art is BEAUTIFUL!)
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#8 of 60 Rob Gillespie

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Posted June 07 2002 - 12:43 PM

I thought the DVD was a bit of a stinker to be honest. Bad framing, hard and strained sound quality, horrid cover (not that important but I may as well throw in another whinge). Not one of Warner's finer moments.
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#9 of 60 John P Grosskopf

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Posted June 07 2002 - 06:31 PM

Quote:
I thought the DVD was a bit of a stinker to be honest. Bad framing, hard and strained sound quality, horrid cover (not that important but I may as well throw in another whinge). Not one of Warner's finer moments.

Unlike a real stinker like Outland, this one really isn't Warner's fault.

The film itself was a pretty low budget production and labour of love on John Boorman's part and a home movie of sorts. Igrayne is played by boorman's daughter Katrine, Arthur's son Mordred as a young boy is his own son Charley, and the Lady of the Lake is played by another daughter Telsche.

Being on a shoestring budget, sound and picture quality suffered during original production. I remember on opening day that even in my favorite theater visual and sonic quality was an issue, but story and style made up for the soft focus picture (which seemed very dream-like) and the limited fidelity of the mono soundtrack.

When it turned out to be a real money-maker in the U.S., a PG rated version was released ala Saturday Night fever, which sported even poorer picture and sound quality.

When finally released to laserdisc in a widescreen format, the sound was remixed for surround, but only the music score was available in stereo, as the original stems were apparantly lost in the shuffle of re-editing the film. This sound mix ties sound effects and dialogue to the cneter channel, while music resides in the left, right, and sourround channel. The dialogue and sound effects carry the limited fidelity of their original recordings, and pale in quality when copmpared to the musical score.

When re-mixed again for DD 5.1, it appears that similar things were done, and the same limits of originl fidelity apply, making the DD mix pretty harsh sounding, though the music still fares very well in comparrison.

#10 of 60 Ric Easton

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Posted June 08 2002 - 03:15 AM

Still there is no excuse for butchering the OAR. I really would like to see this film get redone with a little better treatment.

Ric

#11 of 60 Jeff Pryor

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Posted June 08 2002 - 04:23 AM

This movie is awesome, and desperately begs for a correct SE release.
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#12 of 60 Tim_Prasuhn

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Posted June 08 2002 - 06:07 AM

better framing would be great, but what i'd really love for this is a seamless branching option to view the massively extended original cut that we all know exists. I know Boorman preferes the shorter version, but hey, having both wouldn't hurt.
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#13 of 60 John P Grosskopf

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Posted June 09 2002 - 03:49 AM

Quote:
Still there is no excuse for butchering the OAR.


Yes, Warner IS responsible for this part of the transfer, which I failed to list in the above post. The rest still applies though.

Quote:
I really would like to see this film get redone with a little better treatment.


Definitely, and hopefully, a lot better treatment.

Quote:
...what i'd really love for this is a seamless branching option to view the massively extended original cut that we all know exists. I know Boorman preferes the shorter version, but hey, having both wouldn't hurt.

This is might be all but an impossibility, as source materials are probably in terrible shape given that the theatrical cuts are of pretty poor quality to begin with.
However, stranger things have happened.

#14 of 60 Cameron Seaman

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Posted June 09 2002 - 03:59 AM

I'll be sure to mention this issue if another Warner chat ever comes around...

#15 of 60 Derrik Draven

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Posted June 09 2002 - 06:04 AM

Quote:
Jim, I would consider this excellent John Boorman entry a classic. There is no better film treatment of the Arthuran legend


You mean, you guys didn't think that Richard Gere's "First Knight" didn't blow Excalibur out of the water??!!??

Posted Image *tee hee*

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#16 of 60 Aaron Silverman

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Posted June 09 2002 - 06:56 AM

Excalibur is a classic. . .a CAMP classic! Posted Image

Agreed that the DVD cover is atrocious. The A/V quality could be better, and the framing is definitely awkward, but I'm glad to have at least a decent edition of this mighty fun flick.
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#17 of 60 Dalton

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Posted June 09 2002 - 01:15 PM

This was my favorite fantasy film until LOTR pushed down to second. I would love to see Warner revisit this title as an SE. We should definetly bring it up if Warner does another chat.

#18 of 60 Patrick McCart

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Posted June 09 2002 - 01:43 PM

Excalibur seems like it should be matted to 1.66:1 instead of 1.78:1.

#19 of 60 Mark_Wilson

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Posted June 09 2002 - 02:24 PM

Anyone have a pic of the WS LD cover? I emailed one guy on Ebay with the R version and he said it doesn't say widescreen on it. Another auction had the same picture and it said widescreen in the auction.

#20 of 60 Ric Easton

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Posted June 09 2002 - 02:51 PM

Yeah, earlier I noticed someone was calling his LD widescreen but I don't believe it was. I wrote him... he never answered back

This is the Widescreen... It says so in the upper right corner
Posted Image

I believe this one is the Pan $ Scan Posted Image

I had the widescreen at one time but stupidly gave it away when I got the LD

Ric


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