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A Few Words About A few words about...™ House of Cards -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Shades of the Tushinsky brothers!

Viewing Sony's release of Netflix's House of Cards, I kept going back to the aspect ratio, as viewed in projection.

I was trying to figure out...

"Why?"

The only thing that I could come up with, was that possibly Netflix wanted the appearance of Panavision on smaller viewing environments, while not going whole hog with what a number classic filmmakers referred to as an aspect ratio fit for photographing boa constrictors.

So our aspect ratio comes out at a nice even 2:1.

Shot with a Red Epic in 5k, and taken to a DI, the resultant Blu-ray is a perfect down-rez of what I presume was the filmmakers' intent.

Color is never what one might consider to be "normal," whatever that it.  There is always a slight tint of yellow or green or mustard -- of the colors that I recall from my various visits to DC.

Shadow detail is, presumably as designed, occasionally limited, with blacks and shadows closing.

Flesh tones, again presumably as designed, are never normal.

Grain?

What grain?

As a project, I'm finding House of Cards an interesting, very dark visit to our nations capital, with the best (and usually worst) attributes of politics in play.

It's basically a revenge drama, filled with political gamesmanship and intrigue.  Been through only two episodes.  Can't wait to find the time to continue.

As an aside, one must get used to Mr. Spacey's occasional breaking of the fourth wall -- something apparently also a part of the original UK series c. 1990-95.  The first words uttered in that fashion immediately took me to "Did you see her steal that fifty pound note?"

Recommended.

RAH

 

Richard Gallagher

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I am working on a full review and I concur with your comments about the shadow detail and the colors. I like Spacey's asides, which in a few words convey his thinking and help to clarify what is happening. I don't believe that I have ever seen anything in the 2.00:1 aspect ratio before!

It is a very intriguing show.
 

Robert Harris

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Richard Gallagher said:
I am working on a full review and I concur with your comments about the shadow detail and the colors. I like Spacey's asides, which in a few words convey his thinking and help to clarify what is happening. I don't believe that I have ever seen anything in the 2.00:1 aspect ratio before!

It is a very intriguing show.
Can't wait to read your further, and far more detailed, comments.

RAH
 

Patrick McCart

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This is an excellent show and I'm looking forward to the second season. It's dark - not just visually, but rather unforgiving of its characters. I don't think anyone comes out very clean.
 

MLamarre

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The first two episodes were directed by David Fincher. I found the visual style fits right in with the majority of his filmography, The Social Network especially.
 

JoshZ

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Richard Gallagher said:
I don't believe that I have ever seen anything in the 2.00:1 aspect ratio before!
As Christian mentioned, 2.0:1 is the ratio that Vittorio Storaro chose for his "Univisium" nonsense, when he cropped older scope movies like Apocalpyse Now (on LD and DVD) and The Last Emperor (on Blu-ray, sadly). Storaro claims that he composed the Frank Herbert's Dune miniseries for this ratio, but it was broadcast in 1.78:1.

I've also seen 2.0:1 used when filmmakers have "opened up" the mattes from Super 35 productions. The Laserdisc editions of Top Gun, Star Trek VI and the first Austin Powers were like this. (All were later restored to 2.40:1 for Blu-ray).
 

Yorkshire

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JoshZ said:
As Christian mentioned, 2.0:1 is the ratio that Vittorio Storaro chose for his "Univisium" nonsense, when he cropped older scope movies like Apocalpyse Now (on LD and DVD) and The Last Emperor (on Blu-ray, sadly). Storaro claims that he composed the Frank Herbert's Dune miniseries for this ratio, but it was broadcast in 1.78:1.

I've also seen 2.0:1 used when filmmakers have "opened up" the mattes from Super 35 productions. The Laserdisc editions of Top Gun, Star Trek VI and the first Austin Powers were like this. (All were later restored to 2.40:1 for Blu-ray).
Josh, I think it's important to distinguish Storaro's proposed Univisium system and his cropping of 'scope films.

I don't believe in cropping films from their OAR, but I do think 2.00:1 is a useful ratio in itself for new productions.

I seem to remember hearing that much sfx work for Super35 films is done in 2.00:1.

BTW, as a point of interest, slightly different but the rather excellent Danish series Borgen was shot on the Red One in the relatively rare (and slightly wider) 2.20:1 ratio. Well worth hunting down if you like political drama.

I've not seen this new House of Cards yet. In my eyes Spacey can do little wrong, but I have a huge soft spot for the original BBC trilogy (also recently released on Blu-ray Disc - presumably shot on film at the time), and I've been uneasy about a remake.

RAH's comments reassure me, but would have done more so if he'd seen the originals. There's plenty of wall breaking in the original, too. Is it masterful? You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Steve W
 

Robert Harris

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A couple of additional thoughts, as I'm nearing the end of the Season One. What I failed to realize going in, was precisely how Shakespearean House of Cards is in structure and story-line. As Bill Desowitz notes in his blog here:

http://billdesowitz.com/immersed-in-blu-ray-house-of-cards/

it leans heavily on Richard III.

And the asides, which break the fourth wall, become very comfortable a few episodes in.

RAH
 

Paul Rossen

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Top notch drama. Spacey and the rest of the cast are tremendous. I'm up to the 10th chapter and can't wait to find out what happens...Didn't even notice the AR.
 

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