How to feel about non-OAR DVDs when full frame is prefered by director?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Charles J P, Dec 29, 2002.

  1. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I know this forum is pro OAR and so am I, but I received the Stanley Kubrick collection (re-mastered version) for X-mas and I noted that the DVDs are labeled as such:
    Lolita: "Presented in a 'matted' widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition."
    OK, this makes sense. Standard widescreen format statement.
    Dr. Strangelove: "Original camera aspect ratio approximately 1.33:1."
    OK, it doesn't say OTAR, so does this mean that it was presented in widescreen, but Kubrick wanted it to be full frame? Or was it presented in different ARs so its impossible to say OTAR? I'm OK with the format of this disk since it appears to be what Kubrick intended.
    2001: A Space Odyssey: "Presented in a 'letterbox' widescreen format preserving the 'scope' aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs"
    Same as Lolita. This is widescreen and appears to be the OTAR as well.
    Clockwork Orange: "Presented in a 'matted' widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition."
    OK, OTAR
    Barry Lyndon: "Presented in a 'matted' widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of its original camera negative."
    Again, its widescreen, but doesn't specify OTAR. Why not?
    The Shinning: "This feature is presented in the full aspect ratio of the original camera negative, as Stanley Kubrick intended."
    Again, it doesn't say OTAR so was this originally shown in widescreen? In the end, "as Stanley Kubrick intended" is good enough for me on this one.
    Full Metal Jacket: "This film has been modified as follows from its original version: It has been formatted to fit your screen."
    OK, this one probably bugs me the most. It doesn't say anything about OTAR or Kubricks intent. And, the word formatted, almost sounds like pan & scan rather than just full-frame/open matte. What is the deal on this one?
    Eyes Wide Shut: "This feature is presented in the full aspect ratio of the original camera negative, as Stanley Kubrick intended."
    Same as The Shining, it doesn't say OTAR so was this originally shown in widescreen? Also, I'm a bit disappointed that the unrated version isn't available.
     
  2. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    If this is what the director wants, that's fine....but I still say he is wrong if the original, theatrical version is modified on DVD. Apocalypse Now is a good example of this.
     
  3. Dean Kousoulas

    Dean Kousoulas Second Unit

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    I would respect the director's decision.

    Dean
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The filmmakers are never wrong about stuff like this.

    If Kubrick wants his last 3 films presented without matting on television, that's great. If he wanted them matted to 1.78:1, that's just as fine.

    Apoc. Now is 2:1 on DVD...guess what, the CINEMATOGRAPHER approved the framing. How can you argue with the man who is respsonsible for the filmed image? Is he wrong for preferring framing YOU don't. Vittoro Storro (sic) knows a lot more about the film he photographed than any of us who just know how to calibrate our home theater systems.

    Hey...if he even preferred 1.33:1 for the film on TV, I'd have to agree with the cinematographer. It would make me want to see the film in a real theater more!
     
  5. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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  6. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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    What about James Cameron and his extensive use of Super35, to allow for home video 1.33:1 reframing?
    I personally haven't seen any of his films in 1.33:1 for quite some time, but I think Cameron went on record that he prefers the modified ratio versions of his films. I believe it was in a letter in the Special Edition laserdisc of Aliens, or The Abyss..
     
  7. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    I still wish I could get a OAR version of William Friedkin's "Sorcerer," though...
     
  8. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Scott,
    that statement from James Cameron has been taken out of context so often as of late it's almost painful. When he made that statement the best HV format was LD and Cameron made that statement because of the realativly low resolution of LD, the fullscreen presentation had more picture resolution and that's why he preferred the fullscreen version on LD.

    Now that we have DVD, a higher resolution format, he can present his films the way he ORIGINALLY intended (widescreen) because it's presented at a high enough resolution as not to corrupt the detail in the image that much.

    So it had nothing to do with him preferring 1.33:1 over his theatrical presentaions for artistic reasons, but rather the limitations of home video resolution of the time.
     
  9. Eric_R_C

    Eric_R_C Second Unit

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    Except that Cameron turns around and releases The Abyss in non-anamorphic widescreen, which essentially makes his statement null and void.

    Oh well...
     
  10. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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  11. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I can't explain that one either Eric, but my best guess would be that even a non anamorphic dvd still has a high enough resolution to warrant his OAR seal of approval. Besides, even though this disc is non anamorphic, it still looks damn good, one of the better one's around IMO next to Armageddon Criterion.
     
  12. Paul Linfesty

    Paul Linfesty Stunt Coordinator

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    However, Storraro stated at the time of shooting that he composed his images to approximately 2:1 (which would mean that any image falling outside this range would be essentially unnecessary information (similiar to shooting 1.37 while composing for 1.85). I think a lot more theatres back then cropped their scope screens to 2:1 than do today. Also, he knew going in the film was planned for a 70mm blow-up release. So, if AN was blown up to a full frame of 2.21 to 1, then losing even more information when mag stripes reduced the image even more (plus the normal SMPTE cropping off the tops and bottoms, you'd be losing just about as much image in the theater shopwing the 70mm print, anyway.

    So don't sweat it, you're seeing what the original composition was.
     
  13. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    This came from the Zoetrope, according to someone who posted this a while back (since this topic has been debated before: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...apocalypse+now
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...048#post171780
     
  14. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    The trouble with Kubrick's films and the OAR is that he was such a persnicketing and eccentric guy (he'd sometimes change his mind on a dime). He died before anamorphic DVD really took off and he didn't always seem to grasp what high definition video (D-VHS and now upcoming blue laser discs) could do since those ideas were just ramping up before his death. His stated opposition sometimes hinged around his belief that video didn't have enough resolution (something he stated around the hay-day of laserdiscs).

    I think it's a mistake to say he ABSOLUTELY only wanted open matte on his non-scope films, and may be a cop out response on the part of WB. Another bone to pick is the cut version of Eyes Wide Shut. WB can and does release videos that are unrated (even though, at the time of EWS's release to DVD, they stated they didn't and wouldn't) and Blockbuster does rent unrated videos too (I've seen some that look like soft core porn too right on the shelves. There goes that argument!!).

    In fact, the high definition transfers done for the remastered re-release were all supervised and archived at the theatrical OAR's by Kubrick's estate and the DVD's were a modified version of those HD masters.

    For those of us who'd like to see all his films in their theatrical aspect ratio (and intended cuts-- EWS hint, hint), I think WB and Sony should ablidge us and release anamorphic enhanced OAR versions so both camps can be happy.

    Dan
     
  15. Vic_T

    Vic_T Stunt Coordinator

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  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    In the case of Kubrick, it seems he was obsessed believing that home-viewers would be watching on 19" 4x3 NTSC TVs. His "preferred" home-video aspect ratios reflect this...not necessarily a preference for those aspect ratios per se.

    In any case, in this day and age, why not offer both options to the consumer? a 16x9 WS OAR version reflecting the theatrical composition, and second "modified" yet approved aspect ratio reflecting the director's home-video intended.

    It's hard to imagine how if a director so much prefers the "square" shape of a 1.33:1 aspect ratio that he would present his films in 2.35:1 in the theater (Cameron). Also, for the purist director, there *is* the option to present films pillarboxed to display in 1.33:1 during theatrical projection (saw Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind this way). Anyone who would make the argument about the loss of resolution by such hard-matting forcing the directors to go 1.85:1 should try and help me understand why we don't have 1.85:1 HD masters for home-video (you loose the same amount of resolution going 4x3 on HD as you do by projecting theatrically). When The Shining comes out in HD, do Kubrick's wishes still demand that it not be 1.85:1? Why isn't his theatrical presentation good enough for the *home THEATER* enthusiast?

     
  17. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

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    Look...can't you just take what you are given on these titles? If the filmmakers intend you to see a film a certain way, SEE IT THAT WAY.
     
  18. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

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  19. Eric_R_C

    Eric_R_C Second Unit

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    Jeffrey, did you read what Dan Hitchman said?
     
  20. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    do I detect a hint of widescreen bias here? don't get me wrong, I support OAR and hate pan-and-scam. but the argument goes the other way as well, where an old(er) TV show was first shown 4:3, why are the DVDs coming out with matted 16:9?

    case in point, Babylon 5. now you'll all argue that JMS always had widescreen in mind and shots were framed that way. but since the original broadcast ratio (OBR) was 4:3, what if I want OBR? same argument everyone is now saying that the OAR of Full Metal Jacket/Abyss/Eyes Wide Shut etc was 1.85:1, regardless of Kubrick/Cameron's intent that home video be seen 4:3 open matte.

    and before you go into the technical argument that DVDs and 16:9 TVs are now available to show 1.85:1 in good resolution, not everyone, me included, has a 16:9 TV -- mine is still plain old 4:3, and I want OBR Bab 5 to watch on my plain old 4:3 TV.
     

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