Filling up our screens

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jan Strnad, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    We Americans seem to have a need to fill our open spaces.
    Look at the typical American house, crammed to the gills with Stuff. No wall is devoid of ornament, and most walls groan under a layer of photos, wall clocks, mirrors, framed certificates, movie posters, tapestries, shelves for more Stuff, paintings and prints, calendars, wreaths, and on and on.
    My own wife cannot abide an empty wall. A blank wall, to her, is like a blank canvas to an artist-it begs to be filled.
    Think of when you were a child. You had coloring books, right? Tell me...did you ever leave an outlined shape empty? I'll bet you didn't. I'll bet that a page wasn't considered "finished" until you'd colored in everything.
    Look at the way our society treats open land. We praise it, we take pictures of it...and then we build on it! Why not? Hey, it's just empty space. Why not stick on a house or a gated community or a Wal-Mart?
    So we go to a movie theater, and there's that big ol' white screen, and what do we want? We want it filled. Okay, maybe the theater manager has to move in black panels to make the screen smaller so that the movie will go all the way to the edges. Or maybe the distributor has to cut off the top and bottom of the picture to make it fill a wide screen. We happily accept whatever must be done to eliminate that "wasted space," even if it means making the screen smaller or losing parts of the picture.
    Now we're at home, watching a 4:3 TV screen. A letterboxed movie comes on and...horrors!...part of the TV is being "wasted" with black bars! More empty space! We're Americans, dammit, and we hate empty space!
    So we do whatever we must to fill that space. Maybe we zoom the picture or watch the P&S version of the film, though it means losing some of the picture. Maybe we cut cardboard mattes for our TV sets to make the screen smaller. Either way, we want our screens filled.
    Enter 16:9 TVs. Now many movies fit the screen better, i.e. fill it up more. But standard TV and 1.33:1 movies leave black bars on the side. So we stretch the picture or put our cardboard mattes on the sides of the screen so that once again, our screens are filled!
    Okay, this is the Home Theater Forum, a pro-OAR forum, a forum catering to serious film enthusiasts. We are more tolerant of black bars, whether on the top and bottom or on the sides. But we are not totally immune from the desire to fill our screens. Look at the raves for making your own mattes or at the number of widescreen owners who accept stretched pictures on less-critical material (I am one of the latter).
    Which brings me to this conclusion: Whether we're talking about HTF enthusiasts or J6P, we all have a significant inclination to fill our screens. As we set out to "convert the masses" to widescreen appreciation, we'd be wise to keep in mind that the difference between Them and Us is perhaps not so great as we may sometimes think.
    Jan
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Anyone else find it funny that the first response to a post talking about the American need to fill space was by a Canadian? [​IMG]
    I happen to like blank space. My mother is constantly buying me stuff to "go on my walls" as I have mostly blank walls and she feels that something must be hung on them immediately. :wink: However, with regard to DVD's, I believe I have properly informed her on the necessity of widescreen.
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Well, the mattes are about controlling stray light more than filling space
     
  5. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I fill the width of my TV all the time! [​IMG]
    (Well...sometimes the height with City Lights. [​IMG] )
     
  7. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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  8. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    I do this. I've got too much money invested in my RPTV not too, and I guess I can see where this might be considered hypocritcal. However, if I'm going to watch a DVD, I will watch it in the OAR, if we're talking about your average TV broadcast, I will "stretch" it. 95% of TV is crap anyway. [​IMG]
     
  9. DeepakJR

    DeepakJR Second Unit

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    That is why i dont consider myself an american[​IMG] .
    Puro Mexico!!! As a half Mexican, half Hindu, i have not one drop of american blood. Maybe thats why i cringe at the sight of P&S movies...
    l8rz,
    Deepak Jr.
     
  10. Chris M

    Chris M Second Unit

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    Well, I'm the same as Rain (and I'm Canadian too.. go figure). But I watch all movies in their OAR... no P&S, no zooming, no stretching, no matting... just the way it's supposed to look.

    I would make mats for my TV.. just haven't gotten around to it yet, not because I want the picture filled.. but because of the effect it has on the picture and making the blacks blacker.. also.. the grey bars are annoying in 4:3 mode, so it'll help... especially while watching in dark.

    Chris.
     
  11. Michael St. Clair

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    All OAR here, all the time (unlike some snobs who criticize anybody who buys a 4:3 HDTV, while instead they stretch and crop most/all of their 4:3 material).
    If you stretch 4:3 material because you think it is crap, I have to ask why you bought an incredible TV to watch any crap. If it is crap, I don't watch it.
    But hey, to some people 'Meatballs III' is better than 'The Prisoner'. Why? Because it is film, of course. [​IMG]
     
  12. Brad HP

    Brad HP Agent

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    I'll agree with Jan. When available I only watch a movie in its OAR. However, I upgraded from a 46 inch Sony 4:3 set to a 55 inch Mitsubishi 16:9 set a couple of years ago. The primary reasons were that I wanted to have a sharper, vibrant, progressive picture and I wanted to enjoy the OAR with a larger image. Thus, I am also guilty (at least partially) of wanting more of my screen filled with a beautiful picture in OAR. I also bought a Panasonic RP-91 DVD player to scale my non-animorphic DVD's. The reason for the RP-91 is to have a larger image in OAR on my set. Nothing to be ashamed of. I understand that a lot of people find the image size to be their primary concern when watching their TV's (I realize they don't happen to be in the majority here, but nonetheless that doesn't necessarily make them ignorant). They don't put as much emphasis on whether they are missing some of the picture. It is all about priorities and choice. Everyone is allowed their own opinion.
     
  13. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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  14. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  15. Michael St. Clair

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    We do? Not me!
     
  16. TonyE

    TonyE Stunt Coordinator

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    I actually plan on not getting an RPTV anytime after i graduate, for a little while that is. I watch DVD TV shows, watch sports, classic movies on DVD, and play video games. I watch network TV, but only for a couple of shows and events. Because of this, i am afraid of burn in, so for now i will stick to a direct view and sit close to the TV. Now, when those DLP RPTVs get better and drop in price, i'm all over it!

    Again most of you watch WS DVDs about 80%-90% of the time, I on the other hand watch 50%/50% 4:3/WS and this ISN'T becuase i watch alot of broadcast television either....
     
  17. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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  18. Sean Aaron

    Sean Aaron Second Unit

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    I use "Natural Wide" mode with 1.33 stuff on my 80cm CRT because I don't like the way the sides curve inwards when presented in "normal" mode -- Natural Wide on my set doesn't seem to distort the image (no excessive cropping or stretching) and I find it nicer to look at. I don't like windowboxing either, so 1.66 usually gets zoomed (the Shining looks just fine this way), as does non-anamorphic 1.85. I don't have a problem with letterboxed images of greater than 1.85:1, so I just use "full."

    With regard to the issue of "Joe Six-Pack," and OAR in general, I think the issue would be resolved if the 4:3 tvs that persist in the US (for whatever reason) had settings similar to 16:9 sets in ROW: namely the ability to change the view mode. My 80cm Sanyo tube has several modes like zoom and Natural Wide which I think would make the issue less painful and help educate "the masses" about OAR. If joe zooms his lbx dvd and sees that he's missing out on info from the sides or manually has to pan back and forth to see the whole image it might dawn on him that "filling the screen" is depriving him of something.

    The main thing I want is choice. I want OAR on the disc (or something reasonably close), but I also like having hardware that allows me to see the image as I see fit. If I want OAR I have the option; if I want to fill my screen, I have the option. I don't see what's wrong with choice.
     
  19. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    A provocative thread, Jan.
     
  20. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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