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Josh Steinberg

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But what's the theatrical presentation of "Dune?" You said even in IMAX it had two different aspect ratios.

The important part is that it has variable ratios - that some parts of the film appear to be larger and of a different shape than others. The exact ratio is less important to me than the experience of watching a film that grows bigger in big scenes. That’s ultimately what the filmmakers were striving for in those venues.

I would have been very happy with the 2.40:1/1.90:1 presentation shown at the majority of IMAX theaters. I would have also been happy with a 2.40:1/1.44:1 presentation that was shown at select IMAX screens. I would have also been happy with a 2.40:1/1.78:1 version that preserves the image shifts while also eliminating letterboxing entirely on the IMAX sequences, as Christopher Nolan chooses for his home video presentations.

Like I said, I’m happy that those who prefer standard 2.40:1 can get that. But that’s not the only presentation of the film that exists. That, to me, is the modern equivalent of a 35mm reduction of 70mm origination. It’s fine for what it is but is not the only way the film was meant to be seen.
 

JoshZ

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And, with respect, I am not going to change it. I understand all of your counterpoints but they don’t really affect my opinion.

Fair enough. I wasn't trying to change your mind. I just wanted to provide some context on possible reasons (failing an official statement on the matter) the decision was made not to include the IMAX version on home media.

I don’t really understand the merits of spending years making a film, putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the endeavor, making specific choices to use specific types of cameras and capture mediums and frame sizes, choices that can add significantly to that budget, solely so that presentation can be viewed for just a couple weeks and then disappear forever.

Keep in mind that for some of these movies (not Dune specifically), the decision to prepare an alternate IMAX presentation is not made by the filmmakers, but by contract negotiations between the studio and the IMAX Corporation. IMAX pays the studio for the right to market an exclusive version only available in IMAX theaters. Several Marvel movies fall into this category. They weren't shot with IMAX cameras or equipment. The IMAX version is simply open-matte from the (often 2K) digital camera sensor.

That's probably not the case with Dune, which was actually shot with IMAX cameras in some sequences. So I do believe Villeneuve put some intention behind its IMAX presentation.

Then again, so was Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (the Dubai scenes in IMAX 15/70), yet Brad Bird was very clear that he does not like the Variable Aspect Ratio on screens smaller than IMAX, and that 2.35:1 is his preferred composition. For him, the main benefit of shooting those scenes on IMAX stock was the sharpness and clarity of the image, not the aspect ratio.
 

OliverK

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It would be cool to have both options. I loved it when two versions of the (very bad) second Transformers movie were available and back then I thought it would catch on to have both versions available. It didn't.

Same with the so called smilebox presentations that I never really liked and that only now I can compensate for with my video processor. One should not need a video processor to get an undistorted image.
 
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JoshZ

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Same with the so called smilebox presentations that I never really liked and that only now I can neutralize with my video processor that can reverse the smilebox distortion but I should not need a video processor to get an undistorted image.

There's really no way to watch a Cinerama movie on a flat screen without distortion. If you flatten down the smilebox, you're just distorting the image another way.

I recall comparing both Blu-ray transfers for How the West Was Won. There's a shot of a canoe traveling from screen left to right. In smilebox, it moves in roughly a straight line, but in the "flat" transfer the image seems bowed and the canoe travels in an arc.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Keep in mind that for some of these movies (not Dune specifically), the decision to prepare an alternate IMAX presentation is not made by the filmmakers, but by contract negotiations between the studio and the IMAX Corporation.

I understand that.

But I also hold a view that when it comes to these massive tentpoles, the director (or cinematographer) is not the only author of the picture. They’re collaborative efforts and they’re works for hire. The filmmakers understand when they’re being hired that they’re required to provide certain deliverables, and an IMAX version may be one of them. If the director isn’t passionate about it, that’s their right, but it doesn’t make that version any less real than the other one.

No amount of me complaining is going to make Warner change their mind and I know that and I don’t want to belabor the point.

I’m simply saying that I am disappointed that the version I saw in theaters and fell in love with is not being made available for me to see ever again.
 

OliverK

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There's really no way to watch a Cinerama movie on a flat screen without distortion. If you flatten down the smilebox, you're just distorting the image another way.

I recall comparing both Blu-ray transfers for How the West Was Won. There's a shot of a canoe traveling from screen left to right. In smilebox, it moves in roughly a straight line, but in the "flat" transfer the image seems bowed and the canoe travels in an arc.
Actually I was watching How the West Was Won on a curved screen but not THAT curved.

While I agree that the geometry distortion is an issue I'd prefer to have some compared to cutting off a substantial part of the picture on a scope screen.

The flat version also has the added downside of showing all of the Able and Charlie panels. Somebody probably thought that a 2.89:1 aspect ratio sounds cool.
 

Josh Steinberg

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No. IMAX and non-IMAX.

He’s quoting me but he’s not wrong. There were two different IMAX versions.

The IMAX auditoriums with 1.44:1 aspect ratio screens (the ones originally built for 15/70 film exhibition that were upgraded to laser projection) had a 1.44:1 version - it was shot with cameras capable of that ratio.

The IMAX auditoriums that were not built for 15/70 exhibition received a 1.90:1 version - that was created by the filmmakers and has the 1.44:1 footage slightly cropped to achieve a 1.90:1 ratio.

Which was kinda my point - the idea with the IMAX variable framing isn’t so much a specific aspect ratio as it is the visceral experience of watching the image becoming physically larger by revealing more on the top and bottom in some scenes.
 

Robert Harris

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He’s quoting me but he’s not wrong. There were two different IMAX versions.

The IMAX auditoriums with 1.44:1 aspect ratio screens (the ones originally built for 15/70 film exhibition that were upgraded to laser projection) had a 1.44:1 version - it was shot with cameras capable of that ratio.

The IMAX auditoriums that were not built for 15/70 exhibition received a 1.90:1 version - that was created by the filmmakers and has the 1.44:1 footage slightly cropped to achieve a 1.90:1 ratio.

Which was kinda my point - the idea with the IMAX variable framing isn’t so much a specific aspect ratio as it is the visceral experience of watching the image becoming physically larger by revealing more on the top and bottom in some scenes.
Understood. But it seems that it simply runs open matte, but unlike many widescreen films, protected by design. Almost seems to read as “art be damned. We need bigger!”
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think it’s just a different way of composing and viewing films than the traditional standard. I don’t think it’s any less artistic than using only a single ratio. It just takes into account that there are additional ways to immerse the viewer in the film. I think of it as perhaps being akin to surround sound formats, where the primary dialogue may come from the front center, but the other speakers can be utilized to provide a different experience than listening to a film in mono would be.

But the difference between surround sound and IMAX is that if the theater or home viewer isn’t equipped for surround, all of the sound gets folded into whatever speakers are available. But if the IMAX framing isn’t preserved, that material is just discarded and there’s no way for the viewer to get it back.

That visceral experience of having the screen change shape may not be noticeable or important for many or most viewers, but it is for me. I find aspect ratio shifts to be absolutely thrilling.
 

JoshZ

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I’m simply saying that I am disappointed that the version I saw in theaters and fell in love with is not being made available for me to see ever again.

Never say never. Star Trek into Darkness and Batman v. Superman got remastered as VAR after the initial Blu-rays were 2.35:1 only. All of the Marvel VAR or open-matte films that were released on disc as 2.35:1 are now available on Disney+ in both versions.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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Never say never. Star Trek into Darkness got remastered as VAR after the initial Blu-ray was 2.35:1 only. All of the Marvel VAR or open-matte films that were released on disc as 2.35:1 are now available on Disney+ in both versions.

I’m reasonably confident that we’re getting one bite out of the apple when it comes to the 3D disc - they’re unlikely to redo that. Paramount didn’t for Star Trek Into Darkness, which is frustrating because it’s a favorite film and will never again be able to see it as I did in theaters nearly a dozen times. And Disney isn’t redoing the 3D discs that didn’t include IMAX framing, and declined to include it on their latest 3D disc (Shang Chi).
 

JoshZ

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I’m reasonably confident that we’re getting one bite out of the apple when it comes to the 3D disc - they’re unlikely to redo that. Paramount didn’t for Star Trek Into Darkness, which is frustrating because it’s a favorite film and will never again be able to see it as I did in theaters nearly a dozen times. And Disney isn’t redoing the 3D discs that didn’t include IMAX framing, and declined to include it on their latest 3D disc (Shang Chi).

If you want 3D as well, yeah you're probably out of luck. Those are one-shot deals at this point.

But Dune was shot using IMAX's new digital cameras, and the original data is still available for the studio to use for a future reissue (probably UHD) if they choose.

Dune wasn't shot in 3D; it was a post conversion. Was the IMAX 3D release VAR, or just IMAX 2D? Did they actually convert the entire IMAX frame to 3D, or just the 2.35:1 portion? I didn't see it in that format and don't have an answer for that.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Dune wasn't shot in 3D; it was a post conversion. Was the IMAX 3D release VAR, or just IMAX 2D? Did they actually convert the entire IMAX frame to 3D, or just the 2.35:1 portion? I didn't see it in that format and don't have an answer for that.

The entirety of the film was converted to 3D. Domestic audiences were not allowed to see it in this format due to Warner’s IMAX 3D policy but it screened in that format internationally.
 

RickardL

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But what's the theatrical presentation of "Dune?" You said even in IMAX it had two different aspect ratios.
"For IMAX exhibition, we had the 1.43 version. That’s the true massive IMAX screen which intercuts between 1.43 and 2.39. We then have the more common IMAX, which is 1.9 to 2.39. We have to oversee it on both the laser and Xenon projection in those two formats. There is also 3D of those formats in Xenon and laser. For IMAX alone we are creating eight versions. There is also a Dolby Vision theatrical version in both 2D and 3D, standard theatrical 2D and 3D, and then the various home video formats including HDR."
 

Josh Dial

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I'm general agreement with the other Josh's posts.

I'll add that, for me, it largely comes down to director/cinematographer intent. However they intend me to watch the film at home is the way I would like to watch it. If that means in fixed aspect ratio that differs from one of the two ways (ignoring 3D for argument's sake) the movie was exhibited theatrically, then so be it.

However, the moment the "brass" gets involved and overrides the artists' intent is where I get grumpy.

So, for Dune, if Denis Villeneuve and Greig Fraser want me to watch the movie at home in a fixed aspect ratio, then I'll happily do so. But if the decision was made by someone other than those two (and especially if it was lazily made to save money), then that is unfortunate.

Ultimately it's a simple question: is this how the artists intended me to watch at home? If the answer is "yes" then great; otherwise: not great (and Josh is sad).
 

JoshZ

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Ultimately it's a simple question: is this how the artists intended me to watch at home? If the answer is "yes" then great; otherwise: not great (and Josh is sad).

You'll occasionally find a filmmaker who will sound off when they're unhappy with the way their movie was released on home video, but I suspect in a lot of cases they fear biting the hand the feeds them and opt to keep their mouth shut. So unless you hear affirmative confirmation that the video release is correct ("Yes, this is exactly the way I want it!"), in most other cases we may never know who made the decision or why.
 

noel aguirre

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Some of the Marvel blu-rays did it right - opening the matte up for the IMAX sections as seen in the theater like Guardians of the Galaxies.
I've ordered the 3D version but had to see it theatrically in regular 2D (a friend's request) and hoping it improves the film for me as I wasn't particularly impressed and thought it lacked in production design compared to Lynch's version. However I've heard the IMAX version is spectacular but figured it would not be released on home video so 3D it is for me.
 

Michel_Hafner

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Dune was shot on Arri Alexa LF with a 4.5K Bayer sensor. So there is barely 4K detail there. Then filmed out and rescanned with a final image with probably 3K detail to achieve a film texture and add film artifacts to the image. It looks rather soft for a 4K production. Why no 65mm film? The cameras were too big and heavy for what was intended and the remote desert locations.
Maybe some day we get a version before the analogue processing which is less soft. The 3D version is derived from the purely digital 4K files and gives an idea of what could have been.
 

JoshZ

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Maybe some day we get a version before the analogue processing which is less soft. The 3D version is derived from the purely digital 4K files and gives an idea of what could have been.

Are you sure about that? I would assume that the workflow went: Photography -> Film Out -> Rescan to DI -> Post-Production (including editing and VFX) -> 3D Conversion last.

Or are you saying that the entire movie was completed digital-to-digital, then output to film, and then scanned back to digital?
 

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