Definition of OAR.....?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Vader, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Hi all,

    I agree with others that have voiced the concern that "OAR" doesn't cover all of the bases, but there is another consideration. There is one film (that I know of) in my library that represents a grey area, and I'm sure there are many more cases out there. The film "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" caused a great deal of confusion as to whether the "Special Edition" DVD was indeed OAR. Theatrically, the film was presented 2.35.1 (to my knowledge, anyway). Subsequent widescreen video transfers onto LaserDisc and the first non-anamorphic DVD were both a skewed 2.00:1 ("skewed" meaning that the picture was shifted upward to make room for the subtitles, and make life hell for us 16:9 TV owners). With the SE release, the DVD is again FRAMED at 2.00:1, but looks to me closer to 1.85:1. The reason for this is that Nick Meyer originally filmed the movie in Super-35, which was then framed for either scope (2.35:1) or 70mm (2.20:1) theatrical presentation in 1991. For the SE DVD (struck from 70mm elements, as I understand), additional visual material was opened at the top & bottom of the frame (mostly at the bottom) per Nick Meyer's direction. Paramount has stated that the AR of the DVD is Meyer's preferred AR for home presentation. As near as I can tell, there is no cropping from the sides (comparison with the LD), and to my eyes, the original shot composition does not suffer in the least. In this case (and ONLY this case for my library) I think MAR should be defined as "any process (P&S, open matte, etc) that distorts a director's INTENDED or APPROVED visual composition or presentation." Any thoughts?

    Derek
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    That would be the opposite of how the term is usually used.

    M.
     
  3. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    My bad..... I fat fingered the last "OAR'.... should have been "MAR".... sorry

    :b :b :b :b :b :b :b :b

    Derek
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    If a filmmaker prefers a film to be shown a certain way in home theaters, that's perfectly fine.

    After all, people like Nicholas Meyer and Francis Ford Coppola MADE the films. We just pay to see them.
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Or how about directors opening up the mattes and releasing DVDs with more video information on the top and bottom, a la "The recruit", than the theatrical presentation?
     
  6. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Patrick,

    As long as the director (as opposed to some clueless suit in the marketing division) approves the transfer, and that it retains his original vision w/out compromising the original framing (boom mikes, stuff that's not meant to be seen, etc), I would categorize that as "OAR" using the above proposed definition... It's real hard to stay hardline OAR with these kinds of variables, to me at least...

    Derek
     
  7. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    It is funny how OAR on things is now up to consideration and most people dont have a problem if it was approved by the director, but once a director changes his films look and editing, etc (STAR WARS anyone?) then immediately its a cry for their deaths how it is not the real film all of a sudden when the new versions are still director approved. I just find the varying attitudes about changes to certain films amusing.

    But back on topic, I do believe that if the director approves the new ratio, like Star Trek VI, then it should be called OAR, as it has the creators seal of approval.
     
  8. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    They're entitled to do it, that does not always make it "perfectly fine" in my book.

    It's a matter of assumption: if they assume we're all watching on small(ish) displays and thus "reformat" the picture to maintain "emotional impact" or whatnot, that's where I have a problem with the reformatting. I'd rather they assumed we all had properly-calibrated big-screen projectors. In other words, if a director would re-release to cinemas in those new aspect ratios then I have no problem with the changed AR. (but I would still like a version with the original theatrical AR preserved!)

    IMHO. [​IMG]
     
  9. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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  10. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Sean, Phillip,

    I wholeheartedly concur!

    Let me clarify my POV somewhat. I believe that Mr Meyer shot ST6 with several presentation aspect ratios in mind from the get-go (hence Super 35). Normally, I rally the villagers and hand out pitchforks and torches when a film is altered via crop & chop, or whatever. I log all of my DVDs on a custom database, and one of the details is the presentation AR. The following is from Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits in his review of the title:

    ---------------------------------------
    There is one issue related to the video, however, that may cause a little confusion. The original DVD's non-anamorphic, letterboxed widescreen video was framed at an aspect ratio of about 2.0:1, meaning that you're seeing a little more on the top and bottom of the frame. How is this possible? According to the IMDB, the film's original theatrical aspect ratio was 2.35:1, but it was shot in Super 35 format. For this DVD release, the new anamorphic transfer is again framed at about 2.0:1, so that when watching on a properly calibrated anamorphic display (of aspect 1.78:1), the image completely fills the screen. There are no slight black bars, as there would be on a true 2.35 formatted transfer. This is obviously deliberate, the result of the director's own preference for the film's home video presentation (no doubt one of the reasons Super 35 was chosen in the first place). So there's no need to get upset and starting complaining to the studio - the transfer here is exactly the way the film should be presented on DVD.
    ---------------------------------------

    And from Scott Kimball right here on the HTF:

    ---------------------------------------
    The Video
    The Undiscovered Country comes to you in anamorphically enhanced widescreen. The aspect ratio appears to be approximately 2.0:1. While previous Star Trek films have been released at 2.35:1, there is no conclusive evidence that I have seen that indicates this should be a 2.35:1 release. The film was shot on Super 35, which doesn’t lead to any firm conclusions on aspect ratio. The framing looks good to me. There is no unusual cropping present, and composition seems balanced. I’m working on the assumption that the aspect ratio of this film is as the director, Nicholas Meyer, intends it to be seen.

    UPDATE
    Word from Paramount indicates that the transfer was supervised and approved by Nicholas Meyer. The 2.0:1 aspect ratio is at his direction. A 70mm print served as a guide for the transfer.
    ---------------------------------------

    This causes havoc in my little black-and-white world of "OAR-only fanaticism". Since the HTF population is largely made up of video and audio philes like me, I thought it would prove interesting to find out if I was missing the point of "OAR" in the HT environment.

    Justin, thanx for the link! That it the most straight-forward example I have seen to explain to several of my "unwashed" friends what they are fighting against. Then there are those who refuse to budge where "missing picture" is concerned. At the very least, we know that when widescreen TVs are all that are available, those same people will be complaining about "black bars" on the sides, and the need to replace their entire crop & chop collection. We ARE above saying "I told you so", right? At least with a straight face...[​IMG]

    Derek
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Is it time for a new acronym? [​IMG]

    OTAR - Original Theatrical Aspect Ratio
     
  12. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    The key is the "O" (as Patrick elludes to) means "Original". If a director uses a different AR for video release...even though he/she has approved it, it can't be considered OAR because it's no longer the "Original" aspect ratio.

    I agree with Patrick about changing the term, but still, the term OAR should stand for the original theatrical ratio without the need for adding the word "theatrical".

    I will also agree that if a director approves of a new AR for video release, then we should invent a new acronym for this and not use OAR.

    how about MAAR? Modified Accepted (or Approved) Aspect Ratio? [​IMG]

    Although, we can then say that Pan & Scan is ALSO an AR that is approved by the director, so it's an endless battle.
     
  13. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    The "theatircal" presentation really doesn't have much to do with it; inept projectionists can be quite common and legendary films have been shown in the wrong ratio for years, ie. Shane (1.66:1 against 1.37:1), Don Siegel's, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (2:1 SuperScope against 1.37:1) and the notorious 1967 re-release of Gone With The Wind shown at in 70mm @ 2.21:1 - madness. The abbreviation should be DIR - Director's Intended Ratio.

    Anyway, OAR is term only used on the internet. It is not an industry standard. If you went into a telecine suite, and used the term "OAR", most people wouldn't know what you were talking about.

    The real confusion surrounds open matte 35mm Academy aperture film, specifically from 1953-1972, when Scandinavian and Eastern European filmmakers started to use 1.66:1 matting more frequently, but even since '72 there have been some confusing situations regarding ratios of films.

    The altering of scope films and Super 35 films is a different matter:

    Vitorio Storaro has altered the framing the anamorphic lense films he and and Francis Ford Coppola made, ie. Apocalypse Now and Tucker: The Man and His Dream and it is his/their right to do so. 1.37:1 is also the correct ratio for One From The Heart, as the DVD is presented.

    But Coppola's insistence that the DVD edition of Wojciech Has' extraordinary 1965 film, The Saragossa Manuscript be shown at 2:1 (although it is closer to 1.85:1) is unacceptable. Coppola funded the restoration and theatrical re-release and therefore had the clout to have the DVD transfered at the cropped ratio. The film was shot in Dyaliscope (anamorphic lense, 35mm, 2.35:1) and should most certainly be that way on DVD. It's a great film, so it is still heartifly recommended - other than the ratio anomaly, the transfer is superb.

    It comes down to this: How exactly did the director (and cinematographer) want this film presented in general? And how does the filmmaker want the film presented now on DVD? If he is still alive then ask him. If he deceased, then ask the cinematographer (like Henning Bendtsen on Criterion's stunning 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer of Dreyer's amazingly photographed, Gertrud [1966] which was long-thought to have been composed for 1.37:1) otherwise, use the originally intended ratio which can be determined through tests and historical research.

    Phew! [​IMG]
     
  14. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

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    Here's a better acronym:


    IIOWTDIOWM: If It's Ok With The Director, It's Ok With Me
     
  15. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Brenton,

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Works for me:wink:
     
  16. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    OAR just needs to be the umbrella term for CORRECT framing that has to be what is indicated by the filmmakers or by research (if the filmmakers are not around to indicate).

    If Roger Donaldson wants The Recruit to be less matted to 1.78:1 on DVD, so be it. That's good as gold. If Paramount puts out an unmatted, full-frame DVD of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), that's good as gold. If Apocalypse Now is cropped from 2.35:1 to 2:1 on DVD, that's good as gold.
     
  17. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    So how about CAR (Correct Aspect Ratio)? [​IMG]
     
  18. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Ok, so OITAR - "Original Intended Theatrical Aspect Ratio".
     
  19. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    GAG (good as gold)?
     
  20. Gunnar Syren

    Gunnar Syren Stunt Coordinator

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    As someone pointed out somewhere else, aspect ratio doesn't really cover the issue. You can zoom in on a picture and cut out info on all sides and still keep the aspect ratio. So to be prefectly correct we should talk about Original Framing, right?
     

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