Star Trek The Undiscovered Country

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Billy Fogerty, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. Billy Fogerty

    Billy Fogerty Stunt Coordinator

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    Was this film shot at 1:85 or 2:35 ? I Can't remember. The anamorphic collectors edition that was just released is in 1:85. I have an older disc of this film,that is not anamorphic, and it looks like 2:35. I can't remember from when I saw it in the theater.
     
  2. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Billy,

    It was shot on Super-35 to allow for variable AR, and matted to 2.35 for the theatrical presentation. When it was released on LD (and the original DVD, I think), it was opened up to 2.00:1, and Nick Meyer wanted it further opened up to 1.78:1 for the special edition (all official refernces still say it is 2.0:1, but since I cannot see any bars on my 16:9 set, I am calling it either 1.78:1 or 1.85:1).

    From the Digital Bits:
     
  3. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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  4. Nathan*W

    Nathan*W Screenwriter

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  5. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw the movie on its original release and the compositions were perfectly fine, so I can't understand why Meyer would want to alter the frame to such a degree for home video (and if he used a 70mm print as a template for the transfer, as indicated earlier, then the disc's AR should have been 2.21:1). I've seen no evidence that cinematographer Hiro Narita also agreed to the alteration - he may have been consulted, maybe not.

    Whatever the case, there's no excuse for it in this day and age, not with the advent of 16:9 TV monitors. All current home video versions are therefore compromised by this short-sighted alteration, as the movie might just as well have been photographed and exhibited at 1.85:1. I cannot agree with that part of the review which says: "The transfer here is exactly the way the film should be presented on DVD."
     
  6. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    The original DVD of this movie was 1.95:1 non-anamorphic, acording to Widescreen Review.
     
  7. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Because it was the original 1992 LaserDisc transfer. The LD transfer was cropped on the left side due to misframing in the transfer process. Super35 uses the soundtrack area of the 35MM negative and this wasn't taken into account. (Same thing happened with the original LD transfer of "The Abyss").

    It's the ONLY Trek film in Super35 and the only one not presented in 2.35 'scope. It looks great but still stands out like a sore thumb. I've seen it theatrically several times and the original framing was terrific. Nothing was gained by opening up to 2.00 to 1. [​IMG]

    David Carson was pressured by Paramount to use Super35 for "Generations" (since it worked "so well" for Trek VI) but he insisted on using anamorphic lenses. Apparently so did Frakes, and Stuart Baird only shoots in 'scope...he prefers 2.35 with the exception being "US Marshalls". Reason being it was the sequel to the 1.85 flat "The Fugitive".
     
  8. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer Stunt Coordinator

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    David Carson was pressured by Paramount to use Super35 for "Generations"...

    No wonder widescreen composition has gone to hell in a handbasket when studios insist on a process which actively interferes with the intended theatrical ratio (despite the insistence by some who say 2.35 composition is possible in Super 35 - so it is, but that's not how most DP's are using it, and that's not the way Paramount would have wanted it for STAR TREK GENERATIONS, either, from the sound of things).

    ...but he insisted on using anamorphic lenses.

    Good for him. Sadly, too many other DP's either kowtow to such pressure, or they openly embrace Super 35 because of its multi-AR applications. And it's those movies - ie. 95% of S35 productions - which end up looking like cropped 1.85. Frankly, and though it kills me to say it, I'd rather 2.35 as a movie format died out than have S35 become the de facto standard for 'widescreen', because no one - and that includes dozens of highly regarded Oscar-winning DP's and directors - seems to know how to use the 2.35 image anymore. Like I said, it isn't widescreen, it's cropped 1.85...

    Cheery, ain't I?... [​IMG]
     
  9. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Well, too late.

    With widescreen 1.78 television and nearly every major release having a 1.33 P&S (Foolscreen) version it seems 2.35 is the new "movie" ratio, period.

    Sequels to 1.85 films are shooting widescreen 2.35 (with Super35) for no good reason. Did "Be Cool" and "Miss Congeniality 2" need to be 2.35? Well, it seems with full-screen and Super35 originals they can. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    These days a movie needs "Ben-Hur" or IMAX like proportions to be special. Why do you think they're hauling 3-D out again? It's just like the early 1950's again, with TV nipping away at the box office.
     
  10. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer Stunt Coordinator

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    Hollywood is currently concerned about a downturn in boxoffice receipts, and they're flailing around in an effort to reverse the process. They don't seem to realize part of the reason is that they've blurred the lines between TV and 'cinema' so much (with S35 a major factor in that process) that movies no longer look any different from what you can see on TV every night. And why should you expend time, energy and money going out of your way to patronize a poorly-run theater with sub-standard sound and a screen that's configured in the wrong aspect ratio, when you can stay at home and watch an episode of your favorite TV show that looks exactly like most of the movies playing at your local cattleplex? Or you can just watch a DVD of the latest 'big' movie that only finished playing theatrically mere weeks before it entered the home video market.

    We have many reasons to be grateful for the rise and rise of home theater, and yet it's contributed to the current appalling state of 'movie' production, exhibition and distribution, and turned filmmakers into little more than TV technicians.

    Ain't I still the cheery one?... [​IMG]
     
  11. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    While both DVD releases have an aspect ratio close to 2.0:1, they are both composed differently. Sometimes you see more of the top of the Super35 image, other times more of the lower part. Did at least one of these DVD releases open up the matting while keeping the original 'vertical' theatrical composition?

    I have various JPEG screen shots from both discs if someone would want to post them on-line. Just drop me a PM.
     
  12. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    I agree. While "blockbuster epics" like Star Wars, Batman, Spider-Man, Harry Potter, LOTR, (just to name a few), certainly benefit from widescreen 2.35, I just don't get it for a basic comedy or drama. I think most movies like that should come in around 1.78 (or close), to make the natural move to widescreen tv's.

    Gary, I agree, I hardly ever go to the theater. I did just see ROTS, before that, I think the last one I saw was Meet The Fockers, when my folks were visiting over the holidays.
     
  13. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Count me among the S35 haters.

    I can't stand these fake 2.35:1 projects which don't look right at all.

    I won't mention a certain recent fantasy trilogy...

    When watching the 2.35:1 cut, you feel like you're peeping through a mailslot at the movie.

    The viewing area only goes from eyebrow to mouth, all for the sake of a lossless FS version.

    When you look at true 2.35:1 compositions, they don't have these problems at all.
     
  14. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Unless of course the films originating on Super 35 are framed for 2.35:1, which any responsible film maker will do, if that is going to be the theatrical aspect ratio. James Cameron has stated he frames for only for the theatrical exhibition (2.35:1 in his case) and doesn't worry about the video framing, beyond making sure the frame is clean for the eventual full screen video release (no mics or lights in the frame).
     
  15. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    I have seen a few 2.35:1 S35 framings which didn't feel overly zoomed in.

    'Casino' would probably be a good example.

    The problem with S35 is that it's too easy to think that you can serve two masters with no downside.
     
  16. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer Stunt Coordinator

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    Unless of course the films originating on Super 35 are framed for 2.35:1, which any responsible film maker will do, if that is going to be the theatrical aspect ratio. James Cameron has stated he frames for only for the theatrical exhibition (2.35:1 in his case) and doesn't worry about the video framing, beyond making sure the frame is clean for the eventual full screen video release (no mics or lights in the frame).

    Tom, as I've said before on these forums, none of Cameron's 2.35:1 films have ever taken advantage of the wide image. They look like virtually every other Super 35 movie - ie. bigger, not wider. However he uses the format, it always ends up looking like what it is: cropped TV. Once you begin to pay any attention to what's outside the 2.35 area - for whatever reason - then you compromise the image. This isn't the same as composing for 1.85 (if it was, then there would have been no reason for the introduction of CinemaScope in 1953 - 1.85 should have been 'it', if you see what I mean). For me, scope photography is very distinct from every other format, and people like Cameron who embrace S35 for their multi-AR applications have no idea how to compose for 'widescreen' at all. Now, that's only one aspect of Cameron's movies (a pretty important one, I'll grant you!), and I'm not using this issue to knock his abilities as a director - I've enjoyed many of his films, but he can't compose for widescreen to save his life!!

    I was watching THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED the other week, a low budget Spanish horror film produced in 1969, filmed in anamorphic Franscope in a Gothic mansion where low lighting is used to create an appropriate mood. Virtually every single shot is beautifully composed with 2.35 imagery in mind. Compare it with something produced today (with rampant close-ups and medium shots), and the difference is so obvious, it's just sick-making. And the excuses people make for choosing S35 over anamorphic!! The way some directors (like Cameron) and DP's complain about the so-called 'drawbacks' of anamorphic, you'd think no one was able to make a halfway decent movie before the introduction of 'Super Techniscope' in 1984! "It's impossible to do this shot or that shot when using anamorphic lenses!", they'll say. And then you'll see a pre-1980 scope movie on TV or DVD where the DP managed to capture the very same type of shot that today's DP's are too bloody lazy to create without using Super 35...

    Ah, well. I say these things more in sadness than anger, and I've made my views plain enough in other threads. I've been compiling a list of 'scope' movies for many years now, but if S35 really does become the de facto standard in Hollywood (and the world - it's begun to infect every other filmmaking nation, too), then I'll dump the whole damn project. There's still room for optimism: Panavision has developed new anamorphic lenses for 3-perf S35, but god knows when filmmakers will begin using them, or even if they'll use them properly (most anamorphic movies cram important details into a TV-friendly portion of the screen). Time will tell.
     
  17. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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    What is this anger towards Super 35? Nobody here is pissed about the Digital Revolution? HD as a viable acquisition format for major motion pictures. Film being phased out for a Goddamn camcorder. My feelings are hurt that my hero/favorite artist David Lynch is through with film. I’ve read rumors Spielberg maybe going to the darkside soon.

    And you people have the audacity to complain about lousy ass (2.35) isn’t special anymore! End of rant.
     
  18. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Honestly, I don't really know much about that...

    But if the aspect ratio is fixed, maybe it would be an improvement over S35.
     
  19. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Screenwriter

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    Is it just me, or was Batman Begins shot with anamorphic lenses? Light sources in the out-of-focus background looked like vertical ovals, which is usually a sure sign of scope photography.

    -Lyle J.P.
     
  20. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer Stunt Coordinator

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    Nobody here is pissed about the Digital Revolution? HD as a viable acquisition format for major motion pictures. Film being phased out for a Goddamn camcorder.

    Oh, I'm with you on that one, Marcus!! Despite the assertions of several high-profile individuals whose names I won't mention here (COUGH! COUGH! Robert Rodriguez! James Cameron! MORE COUGHING!!), digital is nowhere near ready to take the place of 35mm film, unless your name is George Lucas and you can afford to spend trillions of dollars making it look even halfway decent (or you could spend a trillion dollars making it look like a million...). It's just another way for Hollywood to blur the lines between 'film' and 'TV'. Incidentally, Lucas is another one who used to to know the difference between 2.35 and cropped 1.85, and now he's using technology that is about as far down the ladder of photographic 'innovations' as you can possibly get.

    But if the aspect ratio is fixed, maybe it would be an improvement over S35.

    In 99% of cases to date, the native AR of digital/HD formats is 1.78, from which the 2.35 image is extracted, no different from 3-perf Super 35, except for the divergence in visual quality (don't believe anyone who tells you the 'digital intermediate' process makes S35 and digital formats look 'as good as' regular 35mm and anamorphic - I've seen more than my share of films which went through a DI, and they all look soft and grainy in a way that anamorphic rarely does). However, Lars von Trier shot DANCER IN THE DARK on digital video with anamorphic lenses, and the newfangled Viper Filmstream camera (from Sony? - I don't recall off the top of my head) creates a 2.35 image by squeezing the pixels in such a way as to cram the wide image into the native 1.78 frame (more technically-minded folk can probably explain it much better than my ham-fisted efforts, but you get the idea!). Michael Mann used the Viper on COLLATERAL, mixed with 'regular' digital video footage and 35mm material (cropped to 2.35 and composited within the final anamorphic release print).

    Is it just me, or was Batman Begins shot with anamorphic lenses? Light sources in the out-of-focus background looked like vertical ovals, which is usually a sure sign of scope photography.

    Yep, 'twas photographed in anamorphic Panavision. Director Christopher Nolan appears to prefer the format - he shot MEMENTO the same way, though I wasn't impressed with the lack of 'widescreen' framing on that one, either.
     

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