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Aspect Ratio Documentation (1 Viewer)

Douglas Monce

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Jack Theakston said:
I've never heard that, and in fact, I thought the whole point of the film was that the Beatles could get out of their UA contract.
Most of the artwork in the film doesn't even reach the edge of a 1.37 frame, so I doubt running it that way is correct.
Yes.
I thought I remembered hearing that Submarine started as a TV project, but I maybe confusing it with another film.
Doug
 

Matt Hough

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Originally Posted by Bob Furmanek /t/319469/aspect-ratio-research#post_3909434
Bob, were you a projectionist in the 1950's? If not, you may not realize that many films on their initial release did have the intended aspect ratio printed on the shipping band. If not, trade journals such as Variety, Boxoffice and Exhibitor listed the correct aspect ratio for theaters.
You'll notice the specific ratios in this 1954 Exhibitor listing for Warner Bros. titles:
e5bf652c_WarnersRatiosMOTIONPICTUREEXHIBITOR_071454.jpeg

In the 1960's, some titles (such as A HARD DAYS NIGHT) had the correct AR printed on the original leader.
The only flat films meant for various ratios were VistaVision titles. Recommended for 1.85, the other ratios were so that each individual theater would get the largest image possible utilizing the full width and height of their screen.
Bob

TCM broadcast So Big this morning at 1.33:1. I could see almost instantly how much more natural it would have looked at 1.66:1.
 

Bob Furmanek

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SO BIG was filmed Feb. 16 to April 1 and WB did not go widescreen until May 7. It would have been composed for 1.37.
Bob
 

Bob Furmanek

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I'm pleased to announce that Jack Theakston and I are collaborating on an article which will clear up the myths and help to set the record straight on one of the most mis-understood periods of cinematography and technological development.
After years of research pouring through studio correspondence, daily industry trade journals and production records, we will present a complete history of the widescreen revolution of 1953 and 1954. Every domestic feature (and some shorts and serials) in production from 2/24/53 through 4/1/55 composed for widescreen will be documented with the correct and studio intended aspect ratio.
This will be important information as many of these films have not been seen in widescreen since their original theatrical release.
I have one question and would like to get your opinions. Should the titles and relevant information be listed chronologically, alphabetically or by studio?
Bob
 

Matt Hough

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Can't wait for this!

I think I'd probably find the information about the films more helpful if they were grouped by studio (and then arranged the titles within the studio listings chronologically). But that's just me.
 

Brian Kidd

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I think I may have found the source of the YELLOW SUBMARINE "made for TV" info. This website contains the following quote:
Why would they go to the trouble of restoring the whole thing from the ground up and then release it with 20% of their, (not to mention the original artists’ and animators’), work not ending up on the screen? OK, it says all over the DVD packaging that it’s a re-release of the original theatrical version, and it is. More or less. What it doesn’t say is that the original theatre release was also a 20% smaller picture than was originally intended for public consumption. The reason? It was originally shot for TV in the TV aspect ratio which, like it or not, is proportionally a bigger picture than cinema widescreen. So, when the decision came to launch the film on movie screens instead, the filmmakers had three options: They could ‘stretch’ the picture from the sides, and squash it from the top and bottom, to fit the screen. The problem here is that everything would look ‘short and fat’. They could screen the movie in it’s 4.3 format, leaving black bars at either side. Here the audience wouldn’t get the movie experience. It would feel like watching a regular TV if the picture didn’t fill the entire screen. They could ‘zoom in’ on the original picture until it filled the required aspect ratio and discard the redundant detail at the top and bottom of the picture. It’s a tough one to call but the industry standard in this rare situation was option three, so the film went on public release with the top and bottom 10% of the picture missing. It doesn't say anywhere that the 1999 VHS release is the 4:3 fullscreen version either, but it is!
I can't find any mention elsewhere of the film ever being originally animated for TV. In fact, every other source I've read, including the fascinating book "Inside the Yellow Submarine" by Robert Hieronimus always mention the project as a theatrical endeavor. The confusion by the above webmaster may stem from the fact that producer Al Brodax was responsible for the Beatles animated TV series. The preponderance of the evidence points to YELLOW SUBMARINE always having been produced for theatrical exhibition and, therefore, its intended AR not being 1.33:1.
I am certainly no expert in such matters and would welcome any information that clarifies the situation.
 

Bob Furmanek

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Sigh, another Internet "expert." I'd like the person making this claim to provide documentation from primary source materials that state it was intended for television.
Bob
 

GregK

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Hi Brian,
MGM/UA was correct with the 1.66:1 framing. It seems the author of the site you linked to got hung up on a common widescreen advertising gaffe done by MGM/UA at that time- which was sometimes repeated by other studios.
Their 1999 promotional blurb indicates the widescreen version shows more of the image, while showing the full screen version as cropped. With non-anamorphic 35mm, most of the time that scenario is reversed for widescreen. But as we know, this cropping is planned for in the original production and continues through to projection. Hence the cropped widescreen version is OAR.
These original 35mm frame shots may also be of interest:
http://www.film-tech.com/ubb/f12/t000451.html
 

Douglas Monce

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I agree chronological by studio would be informative, as to how each studio approached the problem.
Doug
 

Bob Furmanek

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Someone asked about INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS in another thread. I'm copying my reply here so as to keep the important aspect ratio info in one place:
Allied Artists officially announced 1.85 as their house ratio on July 6, 1953, although some AA features had already been composed for that ratio in June. With a few exceptions of 1.75 or 2.55 for individual titles, all of their productions from that point forward were composed for that ratio. IOTBS began filming on March 23, 1955, Siegel would have been composing for the studio ratio. It would appear the decision was not made to adapt the film to 2.1 SuperScope until May, one month after the film had wrapped production.
 

Mark-P

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I watched the DVD of Calamity Jane today, and unless there is side information which has been cropped out, which is very unlikely, the movie was definitely framed for 1.37:1. The projectionist guide above stating 1.75:1 has to be incorrect. Cropping to 1.75:1 would completely destroy the composition of this movie.
Here's a screencapture from the opening credits - No way this could be cropped to 1.75:1
c445413f_Screenshot2012-04-24at3.31.38PM.jpeg
 

Mark-P

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Doubtful. The changeover markers were clearly visible. If the image had been zoomed, the changeover markers would have been cropped out.
eric scott richard said:
Maybe the top and bottom were already cropped for that full screen transfer, by zooming?
 

Bob Furmanek

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CALAMITY JANE began filming in late 1952 and is definitely composed for 1.37.
Again, it's vital that dates of production are researched to make an accurate determination. These issues will all be addressed in our forthcoming article.
Bob
 

Bob Furmanek

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Warner Bros. shut down all production in April and May of 1953 to work on developing their new All-Media camera rig. All films shot prior to that time had been photographed for 1.37:1. However, quite a few were in the can in the Summer of 1953 and that's why you see 1.66:1 and 1.75:1 being recommended in that Exhibitor listing. The studio looked at every film in each ratio to determine the one that worked best although the titles and compositions were certainly compromised in widescreen. (Columbia was the only studio to modify opening credits to favor their 1.85:1 house ratio.)
On May 7, WB officially announced the studio was 100% widescreen and would be composing all future productions for either 1.75 or 1.85. The new All-Media camera rig was first shown to exhibitors on May 19:
297369bd_BOXOFFICE_052353.jpeg

The studio resumed production on location in Camargo, Mexico for HONDO on June 11. The first new film to shoot on the Burbank lot on July 16 with the new rig was THE BOUNTY HUNTER in 3-D, Warner color and 1.75:1.
Bob
 

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