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Ken Burns' The Civil War (original box set and re-release) (1 Viewer)

BernieV

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According to the Paramount Home Video spec, the new edition (#097368858244) is a widescreen release. The previous edition (#B000068UY9) has a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. I'm not sure that letterboxing is a big advantage for this title. Since the subject matter consists largely of still photos, widescreen format reduces resolution. I know some people want everything letterboxed, and if Burns filmed it that way, perhaps he intended to give the documentary a theatrical release at some point. The new edition is $15 cheaper than the previous one at Amazon and is available September 28th.

I had been thinking about ordering this set, but I may just go for the academy ratio edition to maximize resolution on my non-widescreen TV.
 

Ravi K

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Is the WS version cropped from the 4:3 version or does it reveal information on the sides?
 

ScottR

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The 5.1 audio was out of sync during parts of the final episode on the original. I wonder if replacements were offered?
 

BernieV

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The description for the new release readsVideo remastering may make the loss of resolution acceptable. Also, if there were audio problems with the current release, the new edition may correct them.

Paramount doesn't mention the aspect ratio or whether it's a crop of the original format. It seems likely the program would be recorded using widescreen cameras, especially if it was filmed rather than taped. I suppose it's possible to do some sort of zoom and pan of a still photograph to make use of widescreen, but pictures from that era - particularly portraits - were not composed with a 16:9 presentation in mind. I think I will wait until someone posts a review of the new set before deciding which version to order.
 

Randy A Salas

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That description is the same as the original release's description, Bernie. It's been used to promote the set ever since it first became available on DVD a few years ago (from Warner). The remastering refers to improvements over the original broadcast, not the new DVD over the old DVD. It was a selling point for PBS stations that hawked it.

All of these Paramount/PBS releases have been straight repackagings of the Warner/PBS releases, right down to the content, the wording on the box and artwork. Only the UPC is different.

The Civil War appears to be no different. Despite the (apparently erroneous) widescreen reference on the Paramount consumer home-video site, the content should be identical. If Paramount had redone the video or anything else, the packaging would tout it. It doesn't. It's identical to the old release.

You can compare the packaging of the old and new sets at DVD Empire. Compare the info on the back, and you'll see that the wording is identical.
 

Paul McElligott

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I wonder if that means that they haven't fixed the out-sync audio on the last episode...
 

Randy A Salas

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PBS, which is the actual label, changed distributors from Warner to Paramount. As I noted earlier, all of the PBS titles are simply being reissued by the latter with no changes whatsoever, except the UPC. It's just a distribution deal.
 

Ravi K

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How is there 5.1 sound on this? I remember it being mostly talking heads. Unless Shelby Foote's voice is coming from all around the room :)
 

Paul McElligott

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There are a lot of cannon and gunshot sound effects when they are recounting the battles.
 

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