Is Horror of Dracula overmatted?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ScottR, Oct 26, 2002.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I have read several reviews of this disc that say the framing is a little tight on the top and bottom...isn't it supposed to be closer to 1.66:1 or is the framing on the dvd correct?
     
  2. Brett C

    Brett C Second Unit

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    The DVD is overmatted rather horribly! It should of been at a ratio of 166:1..
     
  3. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    I think it looks fine. For sure, some shots are a bit tight, but it's no way as bad as people make out. Warner would never have windowboxed at 1.66:1 anamorphic. The only other option they would have considered was 1.66:1 non-anamorphic. Instead they chose to matte at 1.78:1 and encode in anamorphic. Seems a reasonable compromise to me. The transfer on Horror Of Dracula is superb - easily the best it has ever looked.
    What's the headroom like on the 1.33:1 VHS/Laserdiscs?
    The 1.66:1 transfers debate rages on! [​IMG]
    Gordy
     
  4. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    It would have looked better at 1.66 - MGM's HOUND of the BASKERVILLES is beautiful and the framing is just right (should have been anamorphic, though it does look very good regardless); the 1.78 transfer on the HORROR OF DRACULA DVD should have been framed downward just a little bit to give a touch more headroom. Warner needs to get on the ball and do anamorphic 1.66 like Columbia (REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN is just right).

    The headroom is ok on the 1.33 laser/tape, but a bunch of shots are pan-and-scanned since they are hard-matted to 1.66 on the negative (mostly exteriors and opticals). I just saw this in 35mm last night on a giant screen (see the Movies section for "Loew's Jersey October" and read my post for more info) and will probably never watch the DVD again - the theatrical presentation was near-flawless.
     
  5. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    MGM's DVD edition of The Hound Of The Baskervilles is indeed a fine transfer. Non-anamorphic, but still great picture quality for a 1959 show.
    I haven't seen Columbia's Revenge Of Frankenstein DVD. Is it 1.66:1 anamorphic windowbox?
    I was aware that the exteriors and opticals were hard-amtted to 1.66 on Horror Of Dracula. I just wondered what the open-matte shots were like, sorry I wasn't clear on that. I use to own the Warner VHS (British PAL edition) but I sold it. I recall that the opening credits looked about 1.66:1 and some scenes were obviously pannned and scanned, even though it wa only from 1.66. It's a great horror film. Cushing & Lee were quite a team. Terence Fisher is underappreciated as a filmmaker. James Bernard's score for Horror Of Dracula is superb and his many other Hammer scores are highly collectable. All round, it's great stuff!
    I love Hammer. Can't wait to see Paramount's Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter DVD that is due out in early 2003! [​IMG]
    Thanks again, Pete.
    Gordy
     
  6. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    HORROR OF DRACULA is badly cropped at the top of the screen, with many shots having heads cut off. In comparison witht he full frame VHS, however, just as much is added to the sides. Overall, the full frame version looks best. Warner should have included both on the DVD.
     
  7. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    I much prefer the new widescreen cut. This is the way it looked in the theaters. The slightly tight headroom is how it would have looked projected for Wide screens. I think the problem is that we are so used to the open matte version from all previous video and T.V. releases that it looks too tight to some because we have gotten used to seeing extra headroom that wasn't framed by the director for the original intended release. I think this is the case with all the recent Hammer Widescreen releases. I think the ocassional loss of headroom is really minor and much prefer having the extra shots of the sets on the sides. One of the highlights of Hammer movies has always been the sets that looked to be much more expensive than they really were and the Widescreen framing makes them look that much better.
     
  8. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    The DVD does NOT represent the way the film looked in theatres! Maybe some US venues matted it that much, but in the UK it was shown at 1:66 to 1. I saw a 35mm screening at the Barbican a few years ago and it was 1:66 to 1, and no ones head was cut off!
     
  9. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Steve
    I think you are exaggerating a bit with "Heads cut Off". I have watched the DVD and while in a few scenes a scalp is cut off it is nothing near Heads being cut off. Nothing from the eyebrows down is ever cut. Like I said before I think this is a non-issue and nothing to not recommend the
    beautiful looking DVDs on. I have been waiting for 16 years for a copy of Horror of Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein that looked this good and I wouldn't let a little missing hair stop me.
     
  10. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    The film is perhaps too tightly framed at its proper 1.66:1 ratio (even the 1.33:1 pan and scan appears tight on the top as well as cropped on the sides). Further cropping it to 1.78:1 or wider exacerbates the problem. There are indeed shots where heads are cut-off to the eyeline on the 1.78:1 version and heaven forbid if you have a little overscan with your 16:9 set. Someone in an earlier thread was going to confirm to what ratio the film was hard-matted on release prints, but I never saw the follow-up.

    Regards,
     
  11. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Ken,

    Horror of Dracula (on the 35mm IB Technicolor prints) is a combination of full-frame AND 1.66 hard-matted segments. It should be shown in a 1.66 aspect ratio. The current 1.78 DVD would have been better if they had just pulled the framing down a bit to add a touch more headroom. That's what was done at the theatrical screening I attended this past weekend in New Jersey (on an approx 1.75 screen).

    Pete
     
  12. StevenA

    StevenA Second Unit

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    Anybody know how the Region 2 (UK) release is framed?
    Strangely, according to Amazon.co.uk, the film is titled Horror of Dracula on DVD in the UK, even though it was originally released as Dracula there as far as I know.
    I wonder if that means the same US transfer is being used in both regions?
     
  13. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Amen, Peter.
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  15. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Ken,

    I've run the film from 35mm in 1.66 and it's not too tight on the top (or bottom) when the framing is centered exactly - no clipped hairs or chins aside from when it's intended. Without doing a direct comparison between a full-frame version and the 1.66 theatrical version I can only make a guess, but maybe when they made the old full-frame video, they zoomed in to the 1.66 area and left it there so they didn't have to bother with panning and scanning anything. That would account for the tight topline on the full-frame version (I saw one 16mm print that was like that, another one was exactly like the 35mm prints where some shots had the 1.66 matting).
     
  16. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Peter, although I agree with most of what you say, if you frame down anymore on the present transfer to show the tops of heads the vertical composition will be thrown off. As an example,when shooting a very tight headshot in 1.85:1 you will automatically have to sacrifice the top of the head, using the area between the nose and the upper lip as the center line of reference, known as the Warner Bros. haircut. If you vary higher or lower from this point the vertical composition will be wrong. Many home video transfers are plagued with this problem. I agree also that "HOD" should be 1.66. I had the opportunity recently to look at a 35mm Technicolor print and shots like the diary and the letter from Dracula inserts are full frame, the rest of it is a little taller than 1.66. I can't remember the exact measurement which a collector quoted on the Hammer forum sometime ago.
     
  17. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I watched this twice tonight on a 4x3 50" screen and no heads were even close to being cropped. It did seem that the heads were at the top of the frame, but I'm not sure if that was intended or not....any updates?
     
  18. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    I recently used the DVD to set the vertical overscan on my set, and the headroom is just enough. Chapter 3 shows Harker standing up and his head touches the top of the frame.
    It could have been worse; at 1.85:1 it really would have been too much. Nevertheless, 1.66:1 anamorphic would indeed have been better, but whatch gonna do?! [​IMG]
    Looking forward to Paramount's edition of Cpt. Kronos! [​IMG]
    Gordy
     
  19. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Further clarifying my previous comment, where I am coming from is the idea that if your film is framed so tightly that even small variations in projection will cause the compositions to look cramped, then it is probably framed "too tight". There is no "safe area".

    Regards,
     
  20. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    You're right Ken; you need a nice 'safe area' in open-matte 1.66-1.85, but... Horror Of Dracula probably didn't have one, or had very little - 1.66:1 was the intended maximum ratio. Warner seems to have just scraped through with it. It's tight. But as I said; pull back the vertical overscan, and it looks good - well, to me, anyway! [​IMG]
    But then Giant gets a 1.66:1 non-anamorphic transfer. But on 14:9 mode on my set, high-quality 1.66:1 non-anamorphic transfers look great, ie. A Clockwork Orange (Remastered And Restored Edition).
    But I acknowledge that non-anamorphic 1.66:1 transfers anger a lot of people here, and I can see their point.
    Gordy
     

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