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Them! is NOT unmatted, DVDFile...


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31 replies to this topic

#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted August 07 2002 - 03:48 PM

Quote:
Finally, at the risk of offending original aspect ratio proponents (I'm one of you... really), for any of you who own 16:9 displays, it's safe to soft-matte the film to 1.78:1, filling the width of your screen linearly. The film will remain well composed with no instances of heads being unceremoniously lopped off.

This is wildly incorrect. Them! was intended for 1.33:1 exhibition with no matting involved.

Doing so results in a very poor composition and an incorrect aspect ratio.

#2 of 32 OFFLINE   PeterB

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Posted August 07 2002 - 06:21 PM

Howdy

Personally, I don't soft matte films intended for 1.33 to 16x9. But, some folks with widescreen sets like to, and everyone has their opinion, including Dan. To each his own?
Peter M. Bracke

#3 of 32 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted August 07 2002 - 06:46 PM

So, is this the type of advice Joe Six-Pack will need when he gets a widescreen set and becomes Joe 16x9-Pack? Posted Image
Man, an hour wasted on this sig! Thanks, Toshiba! :P

#4 of 32 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted August 07 2002 - 07:16 PM

The review appears to have been edited to now read:

Quote:
Finally, at the risk of offending original aspect ratio proponents (I'm one of you... really), for any of you who own 16:9 displays, although the film was not composed for such, I found it acceptable to soft-matte the film to 1.78:1, filling the width of your screen linearly. The film remained well composed for me with no instances of heads being unceremoniously lopped off.

DJ

#5 of 32 OFFLINE   Kyle McKnight

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Posted August 07 2002 - 07:26 PM

That's nice Damin, I hope they made mention of their edit to the original review or that's just another piece of respect DVD File has lost.
Kyle McKnight

#6 of 32 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted August 07 2002 - 07:30 PM

Quote:
Personally, I don't soft matte films intended for 1.33 to 16x9. But, some folks with widescreen sets like to, and everyone has their opinion, including Dan. To each his own?


And some folks with 4x3 sets like to modify films to fit their screens, too. It doesn't quite seem like pertinent information for a DVD review, though, does it? "I used my hardware to modify the film's AR and destroy its composition." Gee, thanks for the info; is the film also good while your receiver's on mute and you're sitting upside down and eating a Big Mac? To each his own, to be sure, but don't expect your reviewers to be insulated from criticism when they express a positive value judgment over a modified AR and put it in the video section of a review, as if it belongs there.

DJ

#7 of 32 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted August 07 2002 - 07:31 PM

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That's nice Damin, I hope they made mention of their edit to the original review or that's just another piece of respect DVD File has lost.


I don't see any such notation.

DJ

#8 of 32 OFFLINE   Julian Lalor

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Posted August 07 2002 - 08:18 PM

It's odd that a site which has argued strongly for OAR releases is so relaxed about the butchering of movies to fit a widescreen display device. I consider altering the aspect ratios (or stretching to fit a 16:9 screen) of intended 1.33:1 films as appalling as unmatting or pan and scanning widescreen films.

#9 of 32 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted August 07 2002 - 11:16 PM

Them! was composed within the Academy Aperture aspect ratio of 1.37:1. When it was shown in its initial theatrical run, it was projected at 1.37:1. Subsequent re-releases of said film were projected at 1.85:1. It looked bad. 1.78:1 anamorphic for DVD? Anamorphic 1.66:1 windowbox might work.

Hey, what are Universal doing with Duel. Fuck's sake. Pissing in the wind, I guess. The cover art says/said
"W I D E S C R E E N"... but guys, that show was a TVM - 1.33:1! Hmmm...

Aspect ratio discussions - dont'cha just love 'em!? Posted Image


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#10 of 32 OFFLINE   Dan Ramer

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:23 AM

Hey guys,

Please don't take my comment out of context. I am not nor have I ever been an advocate of butchering a film's original aspect ratio. But I recognize that a significant number of you own 16:9 displays, so isn't it helpful to know that you might have choices among uneven phosphor wear (if you don't like gray bars), non-linear stretching, or soft matting when you select a screen mode for a 1.37:1 aspect ratio film? I simply pointed out that objects and people did not appear to have been cut by the matting, so it's up to the viewer to make the choice.

When I review a DVD that contains both anamorphic widescreen and full screen versions, I always try to offer comments concerning the nature of the pan and scan. Very often the film was shot in Super 35, so more information is visible above and below the widescreen portion of the frame, and a limited amount of the image is cut from the sides. When I point that out, is that advocating watching the film in full screen? I don't think so; it's simply additional information I feel might be helpful to our readers.

Patrick, I specifically stated in my review that the film's original aspect ratio is 1.37:1 so I'm well aware of the intended display proportions. Whether the film remains pleasingly composed or not if soft-matted is subjective. Were the Kubrick films that were shown theatrically at 1.85:1 but released to home video and DVD at 1.33:1 "wildly incorrect" in motion picture theaters? I've watched The Shining both ways, and I prefer 1.78:1.

Admittedly, there is a difference. Kubrick had to compose for American motion picture screens despite his preference for a taller image. Them! was clearly composed for 1.37:1; it may be a coincidence that the film seems to fit within a 1.78:1 soft matte. Don't shoot the messenger.

Dan

#11 of 32 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted August 08 2002 - 04:25 AM

Quote:
Whether the film remains pleasingly composed or not if soft-matted is subjective.


I can see it now at DVDFile: The Top 10 Most Pleasingly Composed Pan & Scan DVDs.

The pleasing nature of the composition might be subjective, but the film is still being presented incorrectly when modified.

DJ

#12 of 32 OFFLINE   Dave Kalloch

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Posted August 08 2002 - 04:30 AM

Hey Dan, looks like ya just got FLAMED!Posted Image Ouch!

#13 of 32 OFFLINE   Paul McElligott

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Posted August 08 2002 - 04:58 AM

Okay just a couple of points tangently on-topic:

Duel may have been a TV movie but it was also A) shot on film and B) released theatrically in Europe. It was probably shot in 1.85 but composed with 1.37 in mind.

Dan, Dan, Dan... Criticizing a 50's-era sci-fi movie for its cheesy special effects? That's like criticizing porn for too much nudity. It's true but kind of beside the point.

The ants in Them! were just fine by me, in 1.37 or 1.78. Posted Image It was the sound effect that they used that really made them work for me, anyway.
R.I.P. DVDSpot

#14 of 32 OFFLINE   PeterB

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Posted August 08 2002 - 06:46 AM

Howdy

Peter B again. As editor, obviously I don't write every review, and sometimes I read stuff and think "Should I cut that out?" But at the end of the day, i think our job is to review the picture, sound, and supplements, not tell people how to watch their movies. (You bought it, you do what you want with it, even use it as a coaster.)

While I usually don't "matte" films to 16x9 on my set, I cannot admit that I haven't before and enjoyed it. Some films that are shown 1.66:1 non-anamorphic I do crop, and even some 4:3 DVDs (not when I review them, but when I watch them for my own enjoyment.) For example, I was watching Salem's Lot the other night, which is show 4:3 and was shot that way, but shown 1:66:1 theatrically in Europe. Because director Tobe Hooper shot that with some "safe area" in mind even though it was not intended for 1.78;1, I do watch it cropped and did indeed find it more "pleasing."

And admittedly, i did know when I posted dan's Them review that it would piss many off, but I believe this is a controversy that's only going to grow as more buy 16x9 sets. And studios are started to do it as well...new Line recomposed some of the early John Waters films with his consent, so what happens when directors themselves start allowing recomposed 16x9 versions of their films to be released? So go ahead and flame Dan and disagree with him, fair enough, but this is a topic that I, as editor, felt was worth letting be discussed.

BTW, the review wasn't edited for content, just clarity to make it clear that it was Dan's preference, not a statement that 1.78;1 was the film's "correct" aspect ratio, which was never the point of the original text of the review.
Peter M. Bracke

#15 of 32 OFFLINE   Dan Ramer

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Posted August 08 2002 - 07:11 AM

Damin, your response certainly contributed to a calm exchange on the subject. The quote you culled from my message was in the context of the well-discussed issue of having to settle for non-anamorphic full screen transfers of Kubrick's films, which could have been soft-matted to 1.78:1 (or in some cases, window-paned to 1.66:1) and presented in anamorphic video with significantly improved spatial resolution. Kubrick has been reported to prefer the taller aspect ratio. They were shown theatrically soft-matted. What is "right?"

Paul, since The War of the Worlds, Forbidden Planet, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and The Thing From Another World (just to name a few '50s sci-fi titles) offer more credible special effects, I didn't think anyone would mind if I poked a little fun at those big ant puppets. Posted Image

Dave, show me a reviewer who isn't flamed and I'll show you a reviewer who has no opinions. My favorite flame is "Mighty Joe Young sucks and so do you."

Pete, thanks for pointing out that my observation was informational and not blasphemy, but I didn't even say that I prefer to watch the film 1.78:1. I simply said that based on the composition, watching it that way was safe.

Dan

#16 of 32 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted August 08 2002 - 07:33 AM

I didn't mean anything bad by the post, I just wanted to point it out.

IMO, encouraging alterations to the aspect ratio can mislead and also lead to worse stuff. Many people don't realize that pre-1953 films are 99.9% 1.33:1 (with a handful of 1.20:1 Movietone films and a few 65mm. Also, This is Cinerama in 1952...) and think they're getting the wrong picture.

It's like saying Help! looks fine at 1.78:1...it may look ok, but the filmmakers prefer the presentation at 1.33:1.

#17 of 32 OFFLINE   Peter Kline

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Posted August 08 2002 - 07:39 AM

Although there is a splash of color during the title sequence, the film was not delivered to theatres on color stock as Dan infers. Only the opening had the color stock edited in for the first run. This film was a "programmer", meant to go along with a first run feature... yes in the good old days you saw two films, a newsreel a cartoon and trailers. It's scared the hell out of me as a kid. We weren't as "sophisticated" as to spec. effex in those days as we are now.

#18 of 32 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 08 2002 - 07:43 AM

I have a 16x9 set.

I don't see anything wrong with cropping a film to 1.78:1 that was intended to be viewed that way.

I crop 1.66:1 4x3 encoded titles only out of the lesser of 2 evils...they should have been encoded in 16x9 with side-boxing but they weren't and my set doesn't have a dedicated 1.66:1 "zoom" mode.

I never, however, would crop a film that was *intended* to be viewed 1.33 or 1.37:1 to 1.78:1.

-dave
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#19 of 32 OFFLINE   Dave Kalloch

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Posted August 08 2002 - 07:46 AM

Quote:
Dave, show me a reviewer who isn't flamed and I'll show you a reviewer who has no opinions. My favorite flame is "Mighty Joe Young sucks and so do you."


Dan, hope my comment didn't offend, it wasn't my intent. Things can get pretty comical in some of these threads.Posted Image

#20 of 32 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted August 08 2002 - 08:06 AM

Let the editor and reviewer of this disc stand by their material at DVD File. One comment in this thread borders on a flame, so bear in mind flaming is not tolerated at HTF.

Matting has been discussed here ad nauseum, so let's keep this entire matter in perspective. Meanwhile, enjoy Them! in all its 1.33:1 glory.


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