Danger UXB (R2) Aspect Ratio

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Christopher D, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. Christopher D

    Christopher D Second Unit

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    This is a guilty pleasure for me and I was very glad to see this box set come out in R2 as the transfer on the last set seemed to be little better than the VHS transfer.

    I was surprised to see that the episodes are in 16x9 anamorphic. Anamorphic is good, but these appear to be stretched rather than OAR, which I believe is 1.33:1. Comparing to the earlier set, there actually somehow appears to be a tiny sliver of information *missing* from the left end of the screen.

    Anyone know for sure what was done here? It's bugging me.
     
  2. Rob Pritchard

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    Ahem! The aspect ratio for UXB is wrong, wrong, wrong. As befits a UK 16mm film series from the late 70's the correct AR is, of course, 4:3 or 1.33:1.

    What's happened here is that the owners of UXB - Freemantle Media - have done new telecine transfers in both 4:3 and 16:9 format. However, with the 16:9 transfer you are effectively trying to turn a square image into a rectangular one. This has the unfortunate effect of chopping off the top and bottom of the picture thus mucking up compositions albeit revealing fractionally more picture information on the sides.

    Freemantle tried it a few years ago with a couple of DVD releases of 'The Sweeney' but thankfully a quality indie by the name of Network Video licensed the title from Freemantle and has since issued the first series in its correct 4:3 AR.

    I can't blame Freemantle for doing this and I know exactly what their intentions are - by producing 16:9 versions of 4:3 material they're hoping to make archive titles more acceptable to digital broadcasters - but it's deeply worrying that Anchor Bay allowed this. They should have insisted on the 4:3 versions. I like 'Danger UXB' a helluva lot but there's no way I'm going to waste money on this.

    This practice of turning 4:3 material into 16:9 is something which everyone should do their best to discourage. As 16:9 sets grow in popularity in the States you can bet there are going to be more and more distributors who will try similar tricks to tart up their material. Come to think of it, didn't I read something on here about the Kung Fu television series being cropped to 16:9 for DVD release? I hope that's not true.
     
  3. Christopher D

    Christopher D Second Unit

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    Thanks for the insight -- I think this is one of the first examples I am aware of where there is a MAR widescreen, although goodness knows there certainly have been a number of hypothetical warnings about it in the various FF/WS/"Joe Sixpack" threads. I do have to say that on *very* cursory glance it appeared to me that the picture was stretched rather than cropped, but it was hard to tell exactly what had been done.

    A real shame, because the transfer was otherwise much crisper than the old set, which I will be hanging on to.
     
  4. Rob Pritchard

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    There may still be a chance of a remastered 4:3 version of Danger UXB via an R4 release. I stress that I don't have any inside info on this but I have noticed that a number of 70's titles produced by Thames - such as 'Man about the House' and 'Minder'- have recently been released in Australia. Since 'UXB' was made by Thames and also shown on Australian television it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that it'll be picked up for release by somebody...

    BTW Chris, what's with describing 'Danger UXB' as 'a guilty pleasure'? It was a well-made, popular show so there's no reason to feel guilty about liking it. [​IMG]
     

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