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Refusal to buy non-anamorphic titles

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jon Robertson, Nov 17, 2001.

  1. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    I have noticed from time to time people stating their refusal to buy non-anamorphic DVDs, even if that is the only thing wrong with them, either stating they're waiting for a better version (even though there often isn't a wisp of a rumour such a release might take place) or deciding they will not "fund" such "lack-lustre" releases.
    A non-anamorphic disc doesn't instantly stamp the images contained with "poor" and "unwatchable" - there are dozens of dreadful anamorphic transfers, and plenty of gorgeous non-anamorphic ones, and of course the same is vice-versa.
    The same is true of boycotting such releases, hoping the studios will think "well, let's try again with an anamorphic transfer, then it'll sell like crazy". I suspect the reality is "Well, people hate that movie!"
    But the idea of ruling out the possibility of purchasing a non-anamorphic disc for that one reason has always perplexed me, and I suppose a few others also. I don't wish for anyone to come on here and defend themselves, and I would certainly hope this thread isn't seen as some sort of invitation to do so, but I feel it is a rather peculiar way of purchasing discs nonetheless.
    What does irritate, however, is when a non-anamorphic disc (The Abyss and other early Fox releases) has entirely anamorphic menus! Talk about rubbing salt into the wound!
     
  2. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    One day all of us will be watching 16:9 monitors [as some already are]. Some of us are trying to avoid repurchasing titles again. Some recognize that an anamorphic title has to come from a D-1 source tape [or better]. Too many [in my opinion, and it still happens] early DVD releases where sourced from the VHS master [D-2].

    It's also a resolution issue. And that's why you see the 'demand' for full-frame [ala Citizen Kane, and I'll be yelling about King Kong] anamorphic DVD's.

    The Abyss was released with an anamorphic transfer. It's just the transfer was ABYSSmel! The person in charge of the transfer had the letterboxing left in!?! Don't know what she was thinking, look for this title to be released [no solid information on that, I 'think' it will be years, 2003 or longer, away].

    My 'fave' non vs. anamorphic release is Bugs Life. Truly a beautiful picture in a non transfer [direct from the digital files didn't hurt]. When I saw in Widescreen Review that they were disappoint that is was not a anamorphic transfer and therefore lack detail, I thought that was scrofulous. How did they know it lacked details? Well the CE was missed marked at my local Tower [under $15.00], so I picked it up. And the anamorphic did have more detail, and this from my 4:3.

    So people are just trying to look out for themselves and the future.

    ------------------

    Movies are the Greatest Artform! Enjoy.
     
  3. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I don't buy non-anamorphic dvd's UNLESS they have very good
    non-anamorphic transfer's like 'Armageddon Criterion', 'The Abyss SE', and 'Titanic'.
    But as for titles like the current 'Scarface', and 'Days of Thunder' dvd's, YUCK!!! They wouldn't be caught dead in my player.
    Jerry, if you happen to read this, I know you have both of these titles, so no offense, just my 2 cents worth. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ------------------
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    [Edited last by John Williamson on November 17, 2001 at 02:00 PM]
     
  4. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    There's no question that anamorphic transfers are far preferable on films with an aspect ratio over 1.54:1 (I think), but denying yourself the pleasure of the film itself, despite the inferior quality (with 'inferior' used in the loosest possible way) when there is nothing to suggest an anamorphic re-release on the horizon seems like reefer madness!
     
  5. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Rent.
    ------------------
    Movies are the Greatest Artform! Enjoy.
     
  6. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    John - I agree, those are fine examples of good and bad non-anamorphic transfers. But a new anamorphic transfer would not guarantee improved results - an example is MGM's remaster of The Silence of the Lambs, who's colour-timing, contrast, brightness, density etc, is all wrong in comparison with the DP-approved Criterion transfer.
    But luckily, in the UK, there's a very good anamorphic disc of Scarface out!
     
  7. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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  8. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Jon, your right about that, but luckily MOST of the time it's a safe bet.
    ------------------
    To the men and women of the N.Y. police and fire department
    God bless you.
    To the victims and their families
    God keep you.
    To the dirtbags who caused all this
    God help you!!!
     
  9. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    Vertigo is another example of an excellent nonanamorphic transfer. It is as good as Rear Window's transfer, which is anamorphic.
     
  10. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Richard, is that comparing the two films on a 16:9 or 4:3 monitor?
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  11. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    "One day all of us will be watching 16:9 monitors [as some already are]. "
    It is true that some people have 16:9 monitors but that one day where "all of us" will have them is a long time away - years. Since I won't be getting a widescreen tv for a few years or so, I don't mind buying a non-anamorphic title here and there. I can always sell it when the day comes and get the anamorphic release. It really depends on how much I like the movie.
     
  12. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    This used to be a really hot topic here a couple of years ago. Now that DVD has gained such market acceptance, and now that so many persons either have 16:9 displays or 4:3 displays with 16:9 modes, there is no excuse to produce a non-anamorphic transfer of a widescreen film--and that includes 1.66:1 films (Warner, you listening? Two words: Barry Lyndon.)
    As for the Vertigo transfer--yes, nice letterboxed-only image there. Oh, but that it were anamorphic. ...
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    [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Jack Briggs on November 17, 2001 at 03:34 PM]
     
  13. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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  14. Roby Adams

    Roby Adams Stunt Coordinator

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    quote: But, all things being equal, on a 16X9 monitor, there's just no comparison.[/quote]
    Oh so true. I have a 16x9 set and have trouble watching non-anamorphic discs.
    I know that there are people who ask "Why should I care? I might never have a 16x9 TV?" That may or may not be true, but even if you don't the main reason to request them is to keep the studios on their toes.
    When they make a new transfer why SHOULDN'T they make it anamorphic?
    Make them go back and revisit the negative, clean it up, and then do an HD transfer for the future. Film lovers will alway benefit from that. Then once that happens the director might become involved. Suddenly, the filmakers and actors have a renewed interest in the film and may want to contribute.
    My thought is, if you let the studios do what they wanted we would all be watching pay-per view or DIVX. DVD (or home video in general) is and should be a consumer driven market.
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    200 and 40 dollars worth'a puddin'
    My DVDs
    --'What', then 'ever', immediately followed by 'dude'--
    [Edited last by Roby Adams on November 17, 2001 at 03:28 PM]
     
  15. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

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    While I don't have a widescreen tv, I do buy only anamorphic DVD from the stores. With the exception of a few titles that will probably will not be getting the treatment for a long time to come(Brazil, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.).
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    [​IMG]
     
  16. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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  17. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    I have viewed Vertigo and Rear Window on a 4:3 Sony Wega with anamorphic squeeze.
    As for Barry Lyndon, the AR for the DVD is about 1.5:1, so it would not benefit from anmorphic enhancement. Also it's the way Kubrick wanted it.
     
  18. Rolando

    Rolando Screenwriter

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    Jon, Do you have a 16:9 TV over 45 inches? When you do re-read your post.
    A crappy transfer letterboxed non-anamorphic is WORSE than that same crappy transfer made letterboxed and anamorphic.
    Don't take my word, go see it at a store ask anyone with a big screen 16:9 TV. Unwatchable...
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    Rolando Avendano
     
  19. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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    I do not understand the refusal to purchase non-anamorphically enhanced DVDs either. I understand concerns associated with it, but find in many cases that reality and missed opportunities negate the issue. I'll take otherwise excellent releases of such titles as Andrei Rublev and John Carpenter's The Thing over most of the plethora of anamorphically enhanced product.
    Ed, I believe most recent transfers are to HD-D5 masters.
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    My DVD Library
    Runaway production? No thanks. Where I've filmed, benefiting local economies: AL, CA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MN, MO, MT, NV, OH, OR, TX, WA, WY.
     
  20. Roby Adams

    Roby Adams Stunt Coordinator

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    quote: The cost of striking of a new composite low-contrast 35mm print, let alone a new interpositive, for every film, then making a HD master would crucify a DVD studio.[/quote]
    True and not true. For a DVD release it may be too expensive for some smaller titles. But the advantages of cleaning up a negative or doing a HD transfer go far beyond DVD. They are for archival purposes, for the future.
    For a studio to say "We didn't have the money." is ridiculous. If you don't do something you'll have nothing to release in a few years. A film sitting on a shelf does nothing.
    I'm also not really talking about the kind of major restorations like we've see with "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Rear Window". I'm talking about basic clean up. If major work is needed like redoing to color or serious physical restoration then that is a different story.
    PLus, with the digital restoration techniques available today cleaning up a film a little bit is a lot more cost effective than it used to be.
    What cheeses me especially is taking an old transfer made in the 80's or early 90's for laserdisc and dumping it to DVD with no extra thought or work. Look at Pulp Fiction. (I know an SE is on the way. I just can't understand why Miramax would take their biggest title ever and release it like they did.)
    If I can get an anamorphic transfer with a new 5.1 remix and commentary on "Cannonball Run" then something is wrong with studios that can't get on the bandwagon. [​IMG]
     

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