Cropping, why?

Eric Gripp

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Apr 22, 2005
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I have read several in-depth reviews of classic films in the last few days. And I keep running into the same thing: cropping. The Wizard of Oz 3 disc set, Rocky Collectors Edition, Dracula 75th Anniversary etc... All are missing picture information at the top, the bottom, the left, and the right. I find this to be completely unacceptable, but I don't really see anything dedicated to the problem on these boards. I would really like to hear a good argument as to why the studio feels the need to do this. I wish ALL academy flat aspect ratio films (1.37 to 1) were windowboxed like the new Criterion 3 disc set of Seven Samurai.
 

Will_B

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There's no need to windowbox anything now that monitors don't have overscan. I mean LCD monitors and projectors. CRTs still do but they're passing away.

Wait a minute, I may be misunderstanding -- are you saying that 1.37:1 films are being cropped to 1.33:1? That's nuts.
 

Eric Gripp

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No I'm not saying that Will, they are keeping the same aspect ratio basically, just zooming in on the picture slightly on all four sides. We're losing picture information at every edge of the frame. Not sure why.
 

Jack Theakston

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What are you basing this on? There is always a margin for error in cropping, even in a theatrical setting, but there was nothing about the images on the DVDs that you cite that would lead one to believe that they were significantly cropped.

Is it possible that your own set is overscanning the films?
 

Will_B

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I theorized in a similar thread several months ago that a possible reason for such sloppy transfers* may be that whoever is scanning in the film doesn't want to risk going over the edge and having to run the reel again. So they just say "f' it" and zoom in way more than they should.

But I have no idea if that is how film is actually scanned -- for all I know, they scan in everything including the sprocket holes and then crop to what they need.


*Mind you, I have no experience with the films mentioned at the start. Generally such problems, when they occur, ARE discussed here on HTF in excruciating detail, and people also go to the region comparison page over at DVD Beaver to see which company decided to play it safe and zoom in too much.

Eric - the Wizard of Oz comparison is at the following URL:
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/wizard.htm

And here's the Dracula 75th Anniversary edition comparison. Looks like some reels are a bit more zoomed in that on the earlier edition...
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDRev...acula_1931.htm
...and here's an article about how they messed up the transfer:
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articl...a_misfires.htm
 

Lord Dalek

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^You know that article pretty much proves how questionable an authority this guy claims to be. Gary's caps of the new transfer don't appear to be zoomed in at all.
 

Travis Brashear

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Jack, if you look at the 25th Anniversary Edition of ROCKY vs. the Anthology and Collector's Edition discs, it is strikingly clear that this faulty cropping has been done. It isn't a TV problem, it's a DVD mastering one.
 

Will_B

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Sure they do, check out these two:



New transfer is the smaller frame, the other transfer is the one behind it with more shown on the left and top. That's just one example; as the article notes many different reels were used and each is cropped differently.
 

Ethan Riley

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I don't know why, but as a rule newer reissues of films that were previously released on dvd seemed to be zoomed in a little more. I recall threads about this on Dumbo and the Wizard of Oz, with screencaps. I don't believe that they actually tried to change the aspect ratios, but they did zoom in more than in the older releases. I don't know if there's some specific thread on this, but there are threads that come up whenever new dvds are released.
 

Jack Theakston

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I took a look at ROCKY and must admit, that is simply a sloppy telecine job. The whole left edge is noticably cropped.

DRACULA, however, has its own story, and it goes back to the film elements, not the transfer.
 

Adam_S

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that's a neglible difference on the black and white cap shown above. You'd lose more than that in your average theatrical presentation.
 

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