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Hammer Baskervilles MGM 7th May - but non-anamorphic?!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PhilipG, Jan 24, 2002.

  1. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    DVD Drive-In ( http://www.dvddrive-in.com/ ) is reporting that MGM are finally releasing the fantastic 1959 Hammer version of The Hound of the Baskervilles on 7th May for $14.99, featuring a new video interview with Christopher Lee.
    That's the good news. [​IMG]
    The bad news is that the release is described as being "letterboxed at 1.66:1", which is the usual vernacular for being non-anamorphic 1.66:1. So MGM, apparently, haven't learned from Some Like It Hot (which I still haven't bought). Argghhh! [​IMG]
    STUDIOS: PLEASE USE WINDOWBOXED ANAMORPHIC ENCODING ON ALL ASPECT RATIOS GREATER THAN 1.54:1!
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Philip, apparently MGM's polcy on 1.66:1 films is to release them letterboxed and NOT windowboxed. It's been like that for some time and is not likely to change in the near future.
     
  3. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Yes, and it's about time we educated them of the error of their ways.
    a) It's mathematical fact that anamorphic 1.66:1 (slightly windowboxed) gives better overall resolution than non-anamorphic 1.66:1.
    b) The windowboxing is usually not visible due to TV overscan.
    c) Non-anamorphic 1.66:1 is particularly bad for W/S TV owners: in order not to crop the image at the top and bottom, you are forced to watch in 4:3 mode (unless you have a 14x9 mode, which is slightly better), resulting in thick black bars on all sides.
    Frankly there's no good excuse to make 1.66:1 non-anamorphic.
     
  4. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    In another thread it was mentioned that Joe Dante is framing the upcoming Howling SE at 1.85:1 so that MGM will anamorphically enhance it even though he prefers that it be seen at 1.66:1. I don't image The Hound of the Baskervilles has anyone around to champion it like that and even if it did since when is overcropping a good solution?
     
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I would much rather have the director's preferred aspect ratio non-anamorphic than crop it to 1.78:1 so that it can be enhanced. BTW, MGM has already released The Howling bare bones as 16:9 anamorphic.

    Of course, windowboxed anamorphic makes neither of the above compromises necessary. I don't get why Warner and MGM refuse to do this at all. Just about every other major studio has done it.

    Regards,
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Agreed.

    MGM and Warner are total duds in this department. Heck you never hear of *any* joe shmo complaining about the "windoboxing" on his Disney Tarzan (16x9) DVD.

    But you sure as heck here *us* complaining about the low-res 4x3 lbxed 1.66:1 transfers from MGM and Warner!

    Apprently they've got their delusions and they're sticking to them. What can we do?

    And the formula is so simple:

    More resolution = better.

    -dave
     
  7. LarryH

    LarryH Supporting Actor

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    Unfortunately the only thing we can do is not to buy those non-anamorphic 1.66 DVD's, which is what I have done in all cases except for those few movies I just have to have (I'm so weak). As you point out, displaying these on a 16x9 set is a real annoyance.
     
  8. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Some Like It Hot looks great for a non-anamorphic transfer, actually. I noticed just one scene with some artifacting, but it seemed to be safety film decomposition.

    I think the main reason why most of MGM's 1.66:1 transfers aren't anamorphic is because they're usually laserdisc re-hashes.

    I don't get why WB's DVD's of Barry Lyndon, Lolita, and A Clockwork Orange are not anamorphic since they were transfered newly to DVD...unless there's a few scenes that show the entire frame.
     
  10. LarryH

    LarryH Supporting Actor

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  11. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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    The goal of the scaling players is to reproduce the OAR image in its proper proportions on 16x9 screens, an immense help for owners of 16x9 TVs that lock into FULL mode. 1.66:1 titles still exhibit black bars (that you might not see to due overscan), but that goes with the OAR territory.

    RD
     
  12. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Agreed that the normal 4x3 lbx -> 16x9 routine (in the panny 91) isn't ideal since it crops to 1.78:1.

    This is why I *routinely* tell projector, 16x9 TV and DVD player manufactuers (on online-chats etc) that I want a dedicated 1.66:1 zoom feature so I'm not stuck with 4x3 or 1.78:1...

     
  13. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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