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DVD File's Review Makes it seem its no big Deal that it's MAR (1 Viewer)

Dave Scarpa

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I don't understand this site's layed back approach to studio's releasing films MAR'd. They did the same thing with SNOW DOGS, hey P&S no big deal it's a pretty decent transfer anyhow. They take the same atitude with MIDNIGHT CLEAR. Hey they say you're getting more info on the top and bottom anyhow. Well this title will look like crap on my Widescreen set's Stretch mode or with Borders on both side, Hell I'd rather have a non anamorphic WS presentation. It does'nt matter since I won't be buying it, but c'mon DVD FILE MAR is not alright !
 

DaViD Boulet

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Agreed. Read the review here:
http://www.dvdfile.com/software/revi...ightclear.html
With Snow Dogs they seemed to be more critical but this review almost sounds like an endorsement.
What's going on? I've emailed them ([email protected]) time and time again about things like this and I NEVER get a response. If others out there feel strongly that the site is starting to loose its purist HT values and it bothers you please write a polite but clear email to dvdfile.com. It's a great site and it's a shame that they seem to take little or no interest in helping this cause.
They completely ignored my requests that they post the Disney phone/email info on their site informing consumers to contact Disney to express concerns about P/S only discs. Now they seem to be extending this same strange grace to Columbia as well.
Is it really *that* important to get pre-release DVDs to review from these studios that it's worth compromising the very basic of HT principles like OAR???
 

Rich Malloy

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I, too, am disappointed about "A Midnight Clear", but there's a very big difference between an open-matte presentation of this film (or any film shot flat) and a panned-and-scanned presentation of a 'scope film. But DVD File clearly notes this as problematic, laments it, but doesn't suggest it's ruination on-par with something like a P&S version of "Ben Hur".

Though I don't believe this is the case here, I would certainly understand if Keith Gordon preferred an open-matte transfer a la Stanley Kubrick. In some instances, the "shot-for-the-box" (aka "shot-to-protect") version is closer to the director's intentions and the matted 1.85:1 version is more like a "formatted to fit your theater screen" since nearly every multiplex practices common projection and would simply soft-matte it to 1.85:1 anyway.

These things are not always so simple, and I think DVD FILE is taking the more sophisticated approach by noting and criticizing the fact that this was not how the film was presented in theaters, but not engaging in more virulent and vitriolic condemnation.
 

John Berggren

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I think that DVDFile is getting away from being an OAR supporter, and just being a DVD site. I can't imagine the reasoning behind this. More advertising dollars from Disney perhaps?

I find it unfortunate. I still use DVDFile for my DVD announcements, but I'm growing tired of their complacency with MAR.
 

Randy A Salas

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Since the director played such a big part in the production of the A Midnight Clear DVD, one would have to think that its open-matte presentation is of his choosing. Er, right?
 

DaViD Boulet

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Rich,
good points. But still these points remain:
1. the sides *are* cropped (in addition to the added vertical info), albeit less severely than a P/S of an anamorphic 2.35:1 scope film. And as with all "open matte" presentations, special effects sequences will be true P/S. You can't just "zoom" this on your 16x9 TV and restore a theatrical presentation.
2. this is not a director's preference like with Kubrick who apparently did view the theatrical framing as a compromise and the 1.33:1 framming as his true vision. This is a case of a studio modifying the aspect ratio for walmart shoppers.
3. Say goodbye to 33% of your resolution of the OAR presentation vs a 16x9 discs. You could "zoom" this disc on a 16x9 display, but you've lost resolution and remember, you still have those sides cropped.
4. Why oh Why can't Columbia provide *both* viewing options when they feel that walmart shoppers would prefer 4x3? The problem here isn't about *including* an open-matte/P/S option, but rather about *exluding* an 16x9 WS OAR option.
Bottom line. It's wrong. This isn't about DVD file needing to crusade like some passionate avenger for OAR. DVDfile seemes to give only a cursory mention to the lack of OAR but all things being equal seems to recommend this disc.
The danger here isn't a single case of DVD file being "sophisticated" about open-matte presentations (Open Matte presentations have been discussed on this forum at nausium...and the consensus is that HT enthusiasts still want the director's theatrical vision). The danger here is the beginning of a trend; that a site that was once advocating for the HT community's interests is now seeming to adapt to the growing audience of viewers who want their 4x3 TVs filled with picture and don't regard a film's original aspect ratio as an element of artistic integrity that should not be compromised by a studio's marketing department.
 

MartinTeller

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2. this is not a director's preference like with Kubrick who apparently did view the theatrical framing as a compromise and the 1.33:1 framming as his true vision. This is a case of a studio modifying the aspect ratio for walmart shoppers.
You sound pretty sure about that. Can you please direct me to the source of this information? An interview with the director or something?
 

Malcolm R

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The Kubrick framing issue is common knowledge. Many, many threads have exhaustively covered it. Search function is available.
If studios and some websites are now trumpeting that "open matte" is not all that bad, whey don't they go all the way and open the whole widescreen image? Then we'd still get the full WS version (which I'm assuming could be machine cropped at top/bottom for 16:9 monitors) and J6P would still have a full screen.
Then for everyone who likes to say, "Hey, you get more picture with open matte!" there would be even more of a good thing. :rolleyes
 

Rich Malloy

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...fans of the film will likely cry foul over the lack of a widescreen edition being available and the dull audio mix. This film has been keep alive by the faithful, and they're likely going to be the only market for this DVD. Too bad, because they deserve better.
"They deserve better."

I agree completely.
 

Dave Scarpa

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My take although I have no inside info is that columbia probably asked Gordon to Record a commentary and that was the end of it, they then decided not to spend the money to create an anamorphic master, and they plopped the commentary on the disk, I'd be interested to hear from anyone that get's the disk if Gordon alludes to the Aspect ratio in the commentary. And even if he decides to release this Open Matte I still disagree with it. I want the presentation as it was in theaters, and if that's matted to 1.85 then so be it. Columbia has in the past put both versions on a single disk and there is no reason not to.
 

Ted Todorov

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However, it was shot "open matte," thus there is more information presented on the top and bottom of the frame than was seen in theaters, and a bit of cropping on the sides.
Can someone explain to me why something shot "open matte" would then need to be cropped on the sides? Me thinks this is just more frantic rewriting of history and effort to paint over Pan & Scan. Personally I WILL NOT BUY A 1.85:1 OAR FILM IN 4:3 NO MATTER WHAT EXCUSE THEY COME UP WITH! If anyone really believes that Keith Gordon wanted his film shown in 1.33:1 I have a bridge for them to buy.

Also, please forgive my art film viewing ways, but I keep seeing films projected in 1.37:1 (Academy). Either old ones, or Dogme 95 ones or foreign/indie films shot in Academy ratio for whatever reason, in a wide range of movie theaters, none of which matte to 1.85:1 I think that movie theaters are capable of supporting and do support any AR between 1.37:1 to 2.40:1, at least where I live. If they show it in 1.85:1 it is because it was intended that way.

Ted
 

DaViD Boulet

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As far as Director approved P/S, I think the given should be to assume that most directors would want the artistry of the framing of their films preserved on DVD all things being equal. If evidence is provided to the contrary in this case, I'll remove that point from my list. But in the absence of evidence either way I don't feel that one needs to prove a director wanted OAR to cite the alteration in image framing as a compromise of the artistry of the image composition.

Granted DVD file does admonish the overall presentation for film fans in the closing remarks. Oddly, I don't remember reading this when I first read the review...and I read the closing remarks twice to be sure bcs I didn't want to get the intent wrongly. Must have been blind!

All told, the closing remarks of this review do put back the "perspective" with which I'm comfortable.

-dave
 

DaViD Boulet

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Also, please forgive my art film viewing ways, but I keep seeing films projected in 1.37:1 (Academy). Either old ones, or Dogme 95 ones or foreign/indie films shot in Academy ratio for whatever reason, in a wide range of movie theaters, none of which matte to 1.85:1 I think that movie theaters are capable of supporting and do support any AR between 1.37:1 to 2.40:1, at least where I live. If they show it in 1.85:1 it is because it was intended that way.
Ted, I've always said the same thing. Saw Gone With the Wind, Wizard of Oz, and Blair Witch in modern theaters in 1.37:1. If a director ***REALLY*** views this as his inteded aspect ratio for a film...the choice is there.
Even in the case of Kubrick he would choose to go 1.85:1 for the theater and say things like "at home...on small screens..." 1.37:1 was better. Sounds like a small-screen vs large-screen issue there...not an "intended OAR" issue (why I feel that his movies should be made availabe both ways...as owners of front-projection systems have "large" screens).
In any case. Yep. Directors can do 1.37:1 in the theater. If they go widescreen for the "big" screen, that's the way I want it on my "big" screen too. Let the 27" 4x3 TV viewers who want their TV filled have their P/S picture if they want it. Give me OAR.
-dave
 

Justin Lane

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As far as Director approved P/S, I think the given should be to assume that most directors would want the artistry of the framing of their films preserved on DVD all things being equal. If evidence is provided to the contrary in this case, I'll remove that point from my list.
I think it is safe to asume the complete opposite, and the quest for OAR presentation is held in higher regard here then with many director's themselves. The only safe thing to say is that the directors want to continue to make films and money.

Why do you think only a select number of director's have actually voiced their displeasure about P&S and have made attempts to stop the practice? It seems like they view film as a form of mass media and a profession and not art itself.

J
 

DaViD Boulet

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I think it is safe to asume the complete opposite, and the quest for OAR presentation is held in higher regard here then with many director's themselves. The only safe thing to say is that the directors want to continue to make films and money.
That's why I said "All things being equal...".
A Studio telling a director to be happy with P/S only DVD or no DVD at all bcs they don't want to do 2 transfers is not "all things being equal". Given the choice, I think it's fair to assume that most directors would prefer OAR of their films on DVD.
Most directors are not involved or even consulted about these decisions. Many times they don't know much more than you or I until the disc arrives. Remember Willy Wonka? the director actually *thought* the DVD *was* widescreen until he learned from fans that Warner had changed their plans...and he even does commentary on the disc! It was the director that personally stepped in and saved Goonies when *at the last minute* he learned that it was slated for P/S only. Had he learned about this only a few weeks later once the disc was produced, we might not have the 16x9 DVD we have. I can assure you that Brian Henson had not been consulted when Disney decided to P/S Muppet Treasure Island.
all things being equal, most directors would prefer to see their films be made available on DVD in a format that preserves the original aspect ratio. Many of them would also like P/S provided as an viewing option if it's possible.
 

Lyle_JP

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Theatres projecting 35mm are supposed to comply with SMPTE 195, which only allows projection at 1.37:1, 1.66:1, 1.85:1, and 2.39:1.
Truth be told, 99% of movie theaters out there only have plates and lenses for 1.85:1 (flat) and 2.40:1 (scope). Out of the 11 theaters I worked at as a projectionist, only the UC Theater in Berkeley (now closed) was set up to run all four aspect ratios you mention.

-Lyle J.P.
 

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