Aspect Ratio Documentation

Bob Furmanek

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As promised, the test scan of AFRICA SCREAMS from 35mm nitrate. Be sure to watch in 1080p HD!

This footage was scanned in 4K resolution from the composite nitrate 35mm fine grain master positive. There is some baked-in jitter on the raw scan from film shrinkage but that has been stabilized. We have not yet done image grading, dirt clean-up or audio sweetening. I wanted to share this clip ASAP and as you can see, the incredible quality of the original nitrate material speaks for itself!

Please continue to share our campaign. Extra funds that we raise will enable us to do additional restoration work on Africa Screams and pursue other licenses for future Abbott and Costello (and 3-D) restoration projects. www.tinyurl.com/saveabbottandcostello

We'll be announcing some very cool stretch goals within the week. Thank you!

 

Brent Reid

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1.66:1 has become a ubiquitous ratio for classic widescreen films on DCP and home video, despite originally being nowhere near as common as supposed. I thought I'd compile a list of the worst offenders, that were shot for widescreen exhibition but only released fully open matte on certain Blu-rays.

1.33:1 or 1.37:1 open matte:
  • Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954, 1.66:1) Criterion, Alive
  • Marty (1955, 1.85:1) Kino Lorber, Eureka, Wild Side
  • A Kid for Two Farthings (1955, 1.66:1 or 1.75:1) BFI
  • The Man with the Golden Arm (1955, 1.85:1) Concorde Video
  • The Silent World/Le Monde du Silence (1956) Go Entertain, TF1 Studio
  • Elevator to the Gallows/Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958) Curzon Artificial Eye, Arthaus, Gaumont
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959, 1.85:1) Legend Films
  • Odds Against Tomorrow (1959, 1.85:1) BFI
  • Zazie dans le Métro (1960) Criterion, Artificial Eye, Arthaus, Arte Vidéo, Gaumont
  • The Killers (1964) Criterion
  • World Without Sun/Le monde sans soleil (1964) Go Entertain
  • Voyage to the Edge of the World/Voyage au bout du monde (1976) Go Entertain
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1979, 1.85:1) ITV, Beyond Home Entertainment
There are 50-odd different BDs of French director Éric Rohmer's films dating from 1962–2004 with only a few at 1.66:1. The majority are open matte which was his preference, regardless of the fact they weren't screened that way.

Open matte but with alternatives included:
  • On the Waterfront (1954, 1.85:1) Criterion US and UK
  • Touch of Evil (1958, 1.85:1) Eureka/Masters of Cinema, Koch Media
  • The Killers (1964, 1.33:1 and 1.85:1) Arrow
  • The Evil Dead (1981, 1.85:1) Anchor Bay, Sony
Then of course, there's the Eureka/Masters of Cinema limited edition release of Shane (1953), which took the opposite approach...

I know there are lots of Blu-rays of the above films that are correctly – or more correctly – framed, but I'm not focusing on them. Can anyone suggest any other culprits, along with any corrections or missing ARs?
 

Bob Furmanek

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Check out today's update for a complete list of the exciting bonus extras! www.tinyurl.com/saveabbottandcostello

Even though the 1953 reissue (with LOVE HAPPY) was shown cropped to widescreen in some theaters, our restoration will preserve the film in the original Academy ratio as presented theatrically in 1949.

Please remember that you only have until 9:00 PM EST on December 30, 2019 to pledge for this campaign and have your name appear on-screen in the restoration credits. Don't miss this unique opportunity to be a part of this exciting project and help us to preserve and restore this classic Abbott and Costello comedy.
 

Tony Bensley

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Hi Bob!

My OAR question is for THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE (1966) animated feature, which spoofs the '60s spy film genre that was then in vogue.

While my DVD bears the STANDARD VERSION PRESENTED IN A FORMAT PRESERVING THE ASPECT RATIO OF ITS ORIGINAL THEATRICAL EXHIBITION, it is 1.33:1 open matte. I just read yesterday that the iTunes digital version released in 2010 is presented in a matted 1.78:1 aspect ratio. My guess would be the latter aspect would have been the OAR recommended for theatrical exhibition, but I would love some positive clarification for this title, if you could kindly provide this!

CHEERS! :)
 
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UHDvision

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So I stumbled onto this while researching TV aspect ratio...

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/819_lignes?

It seems that the french norm for B&W TV was 819 lines, from 1949 to 1983!

It resulted in about 737 active lines which made that format on par with 720p, before additional channels, and color, dumbed it down to SD.

Now the interesting thing in this, is that the aspect ratio was 1.37:1 not 1.33:1.

I'm not sure if this was the same in other countries. But if it was, that would be info pushing toward old black and white TV shows to be presented in 1.37:1 instead of cropped to 1.33:1.
 
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AnthonyClarke

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That's very interesting stuff. So HD from 1949, albeit in black and white!
I don't think that was the case in Australia, where tv transmissions began in late 1956. We were lucky to get any picture at all, let alone in HD!
A good evening was usually made up of episodes of 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' and 'Father Knows Best', followed a year or so later by 'Leave it to Beaver' and Disneyland'. The only one of those which would have benefited from HD was 'Robin Hood', I think. It was a great series.
 

Bob Furmanek

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Hi Bob!

My OAR question is for THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE (1966) animated feature, which spoofs the '60s spy film genre that was then in vogue.

While my DVD bears the STANDARD VERSION PRESENTED IN A FORMAT PRESERVING THE ASPECT RATIO OF ITS ORIGINAL THEATRICAL EXHIBITION, it is 1.33:1 open matte. I just read yesterday that the iTunes digital version released in 2010 is presented in a matted 1.78:1 aspect ratio. My guess would be the latter aspect would have been the OAR recommended for theatrical exhibition, but I would love some positive clarification for this title, if you could kindly provide this!

CHEERS! :)
Hi Tony,

My apologies for the delay, I had missed your inquiry.

The intended theatrical AR is 1.85:1.

A Man.JPG
 

Tony Bensley

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Hi Tony,

My apologies for the delay, I had missed your inquiry.

The intended theatrical AR is 1.85:1.

View attachment 71169
Thank you very kindly for the clarification, Bob! :emoji_thumbsup:

1.85:1 seems about right for the era. I wonder whether the version of THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE (1966) on my DVD is open matte or cropped?

CHEERS! :)

EDIT: The DVD transfer is 4:3 open matte, according to the liner notes of of the above movie's Wikipedia page:
Of course, the actual DVD liner notes don't confirm the above, with the decidedly less than helpful "STANDARD VERSION PRESENTED IN A FORMAT PRESERVING THE ASPECT RATIO OF ITS ORIGINAL THEATRICAL EXHIBITION." :emoji_rolling_eyes:
 
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Bob Furmanek

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Douglas Sirk's TAZA, SON OF COCHISE is a widescreen stereoscopic masterpiece and belongs in every 3-D Blu-ray collection.

You'll enjoy this new article by 3-D experts Mike Ballew and Hillary Hess: http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/taza-son-of-cochise

 

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