Smallville Season 1 DVD Framing Problems

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Bill Williams, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    I wanted to share a technical problem that I just encountered on Warner's recent DVD release of Smallville: The Complete First Season.

    This past Saturday I was watching the episode "Kinetic" (on Disc 4), and at the 0:13:38 mark there is an obvious framing problem on the disc. It is the exterior shot of the Fordman Department Store. There is an obvious black bar at the left side of the screen which lasts for the entire duration of the shot, until 0:13:42. I checked it several times in Title 1 (the consecutive play of all four episodes on the disc) and in Title 3 (the individual episode), and this same framing problem is present both times in the episode.

    It looks to be a framing problem with the shot, since there is a slight, though obvious, movement of the camera during the shot. This is not good, since the image should fill up the screen (minus the obvious widescreening). The last time I noticed this severe an edge framing problem was years ago with the first VHS release of Return of the Jedi, during the shot with Luke and Vader on the catwalk. It was very obvious then that the shot was framed incorrectly, as there was an obvious black bar at the right of the screen.

    Has anyone else who's gotten the set noticed this framing problem? I contacted Warner Home Entertainment to see if it would be corrected and a new Disc 4 pressed for the set. I'm thinking that there should be a re-pressing of the disc, since the picture is obviously framed incorrectly.
     
  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Technically speaking, the whole season is misframed. This show (or atleast the episode in question) was composed for the 4x3 ratio on a 16x9 camera. When they opened up the mattes, there was probably a boom mike or some such thing in the way which they needed to cover up. Unless you want them to reformat to 4x3, it's not going to get fixed. (And I'd be behind you if you did.)
     
  3. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I noticed it as well, but honestly it doesn't bother me all that much. It's a two second establishing shot, probably shot by second unit, which doesn't affect the story.

    It's one of the worst episodes of the season, bro, unless, bro, you like to play drinking games, bro. [​IMG]
     
  4. Grant H

    Grant H Cinematographer

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    I didn't notice it viewing the episode in question, but the same problem pops up in "Tempest", the last S1 episode when Lionel Luthor speaks to the plant workers (beginning of episode). There's a huge black bar on the left edge of the screen next to Lex in one shot. I was thinking it could have been misframed because it seems it would have made sense for Lionel to be at the center of the shot, but it's also possiblethere was production equipment on the left edge that had to be covered up.

    Honesty, I don't see many times in Smallville though that action seems confined to a 4:3 area, so I'm glad we got it 16:9. Two problems in 21 episodes isn't bad.
     
  5. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    As long as Warner realizes that they fumbled the ball and offers to go back and fix the episodes in question, that would suit me fine.
     

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