"Stephen King's The Shining" is widescreen; first-glance impressions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jamie Cole, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    In a move that may anger some, WB has released the mini-series in widescreen. I don't have the VCD with me today or I would do a direct comparison (I will do so tonight), but at first glance it appears framing is very pleasing without the "fake widescreen" heads-cut-off look. For some reason, It looks like -- if anything -- the bottom of the picture may have been compromised for the new framing, but director Mick Garris could very well have shot this with HDTV in mind.

    IMDB offers no answer on this, and I haven't been able to listen to the entire commentary yet. Garris may mention something there.

    I've seen episode one so far. As for the transfer, the colors look nice and bright. There is some shimmering in shots of the hotel (the siding especially) but little else to distract. Sound is nothing special in Dolby Surround, with most of the activity coming from music. But there are some noticeable sound effects here and there in the rears.

    Packaging is similar to the WB two-disc sets (Amadeus, Cuckoo's Nest, etc.) but without the slipcase, which makes it a little flimsy. Also, there is no artwork on disc one... it's a flipper with episode one on side A and episode two on side B. Disc Two is one-sided with full-color artwork. Never seen that before... it's a little strange.

    I'll be doing a side-by-side comparison of the picture tonight to see which has more information. And I can't wait to hear the commentary from King and Garris.

    One quick note on availability: Best Buy seems to be having a problem getting this DVD. I went to both in Birmingham today and neither had it, and their web site has a two-week waiting period for shipment. I ended up getting mine at Coconuts on sale for a buck more than Best Buy's web site price.
     
  2. stephen la

    stephen la Stunt Coordinator

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    I picked it up today at circ city and was upset when I read it was widescreen..
    I havent watched.. can you post pics of the differences of the vcd vs the dvd..
    warner also did this with batman return of joker, cept thats how it was intended to be all along.. which I dont buy...

    Stephen King's "IT" was also made into a fake widescren for dvd and it had less footage than the vhs version..

    why do they do this?
     
  3. Carl Walker

    Carl Walker Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I know why Best Buy doesn't have it in stock. The guy in my local Best Buy looked it up in the computer and it is listed with a street date of 1/21. Morons...

    I bought it at Circuit City.
     
  4. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Stephen King Fansite Lilja's Library has an interview with Garris, and he has this to say about the Shining DVD:
    "I tried for years to get the DVD out. I shot a lot of behind the scenes digital video, all throughout the production. I'm a big DVD fan, and the Warner Bros. Home Video people just kind of ignored me. But we put together what I hope will be a great disc (though without the behind-the-scenes footage, which was lost). It's even letterboxed and 16:9 enhanced, with commentary from me and King and lots of the actors and technicians as well. I think it was worth the wait."
    Sounds like the WS transfer is director approved.
    Chris
     
  5. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris,

    You may be right, but I'm sorry to report I have a hard time believing some of the shots were meant to be the way they are on the DVD. In one scene in episode one "Tony" is floating off the ground near a road sign and his head is cut off about midway thru the lense of his glasses. This is also a visual effects scene, though, and it could be that those weren't designed with 16:9 in mind and were created at 1.33:1 for TV.

    Most of the film looks fine, but some scenes are very awkward. For the record, "It" looked great to me in widescreen, and I had watched my laserdisc matted because I had heard a while back that the director shot "protected" 1.33:1 but had European theatrical exhibition in mind.

    I'm yet to do the VCD comparison, but I will.
     
  6. Michael Napier

    Michael Napier Stunt Coordinator

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    For some reason I cannot find this title in my area. I have not checked with Circuit City yet, though. I can't even find it on the Best Buy website.

    Does anyone know if Best Buy is ever going to carry this?
     
  7. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

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    I just checked the VHS I made when the show was first aired and you definitely see the top of "Tony's" head with no cropping in the shot you mentioned. However I noticed that most of the scenes on the tape seem to have a fair amount head space in the frame as if the director was protecting for WS.
     
  8. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

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    BTW how long is the DVD? The original mini-series was 6 hours long but the running time on the disc at amazon.com is just over 2 hours. Is this a typo or did the show get butchered like Salem's Lot?

    Also if it hasn't been edited and is the complete mini-series, does the DVD contain any additonal footage? The director Mick Garris said when it was originally released that he had footage that had to be cut for time and content.
    Including a cameo by King himself (as a ghost) that he wanted to include in any video releases.
     
  9. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Finally shipped, so I'll see it in a couple of days.
     
  10. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Mark,

    if it says 2 hours then the running time on Amazon is wrong, after all this is a 2 disc set. The back cover states 273 min. (note that 6 hours included commercials!).

     
  11. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    According to the press release that I received a couple of days ago, the Region 2 version will be 4:3!
    (Incidentally, we're getting shafted with our Rose Red release: Warner Home Video has dropped the R1 version's commentary track...)
     
  12. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I don't mind the 16/9 on The Shining at all, and liked it on IT. Frankly I wish they'd done the same for Rose Red.

    Most widescreen sets let you scroll the picture up and down in straight Zoom mode. When I Zoom the 4/3 Rose Red, then scroll the picture down so most of the cropping occurs at the bottom of the screen the framing looks just about perfect, almost as if it was originally shot so the bottom part of the 4/3 image was dispensable if a 16/9 image was wanted. I really don't like to use gray bar mode for 5 or 6 hours at a time if I can avoid it. Of course I would not do this for Citizen Kane, but I don't think Stephen King would mind if I did it on Rose Red.
     
  13. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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  14. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    I am very happy with THE SHINING. I've always preferred this version to the Kubrick one (flame wall up), with the exception of the child actor who plays Danny. Actually, he's not had, but his nearly-cleft mouth (not his fault) is constantly distracting. The adult actors are very fine indeed, and the story infinitely more respectful of the source material. The commentary is exhaustive.
     
  15. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    Going up a few posts, and slightly off topic......what is missing off of the "IT" DVD? I haven't watched it yet, but that really irks me if they cut content...

    Mike
     
  16. Eugene Esterly

    Eugene Esterly Supporting Actor

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  17. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  18. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Hi,
    I got my copy of the "Shining" DVD today and did a direct comparison between the Full Frame VHS versus the WS DVD. Here's what I found:
    The show was definitely shot wide, so you get more info on the sides compared to the 4:3 version without anything being lost on the top and bottom, except for all the CGI shots! Apparently those were only finished in 4:3 which is why those shots (including the "hovering Tony" shot mentioned above by Jamie) are cropped at the top and bottom.
    So it's not as bad as the IT DVD, and since Mick Garris apparently approved it like this, I'm okay with it. When I sit down to watch the whole thing I will keep an eye open to any possible continuity goofs in the wide shots though.
    Chris
     
  19. Arnie G

    Arnie G Supporting Actor

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    There is a goof I noticed created by the new wide transfer. When Dick and the caretaker are leaving the hotel & they all go out on the porch to say goodbye, you can see a reflection of the boom mike in the window clear as day. It probably would be hidden on the full screen version.
     
  20. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    Christian,

    Glad you got a chance to do this... someone had "borrowed" (read: never returned) my VCD and I never got a chance to do an A/B comparison.

    So it's as I suspected... I wonder why, if the show was shot wide, the effects team didn't handle their shots that way? That seems odd to me.

    And as for "IT," I'd like to hear from Tommy Lee Wallace about his intentions for European theatrical runs. It looks great to me in widescreen.
     

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