Super Speedway - 4x3 vs 16x9 (screen shots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Maynard, Oct 28, 2001.

  1. Chris Maynard

    Chris Maynard Supporting Actor

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    I thought I would take a bit of time and look at what changes had to be made in order to make one of my favorite IMAX movies Joe-Six-Packed for the widescreen set owners. [​IMG]
    I own a 16x9 and have for over 3 years. I must admit that my first viewing of the Mach II version was in 16x9 mode and not the 4x3 original aspect ratio. After all I have watched the production at least a dozen times so I thought I drop a bit of my beliefs temporarily for the sake of science.
    During the entire time I couldn’t help but think that things weren't just right. It became obvious that at times there was plenty of screen information missing from the top and bottom of the film.
    Sometimes I wasn't sure and others I was positive. I decided to then do some screen captures until my DVD Rom drive died. I replaced it today and it appears that it is just as I thought. Some scenes are cropped and others are just zoomed differently, either tighter or looser.
    Now this is NOT an OAR debate nor will I allow it to become one.
    This is purely for the sake of discussion on the framing and even maybe why one is better or worse artistically than the other.
    Here are some grabs...
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    Do you think it was the Director's intent to have this guy's mug looking at the camera? [​IMG]
     
  2. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    It works for me...especially since my 16x9 set no longer has to arbitrarily zoom the 4x3 version.
    - Steve
     
  3. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    Based only on the screenshots above, I would have to say that it looks like they did a pretty good job of framing the image to 16:9.
    My 16:9 set automatically locks into stretch mode when it receives a progressive signal, so the non-anamorphic disc was distorted on my setup.
    I have the MACH II edition on order. I am sure I will be satisfied. Most of the information that is lost in the above screenshots appears to be minimal to me.
     
  4. Michael St. Clair

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    The first shot looks absolutely terrible in 16:9. The whole sense of space and scale is lost.
    I prefer the second shot in 4:3. The remainder of these shots I could go either way, the composition of the 4:3 is not so strong as to be destroyed by the non-OAR framing. Except for the final shot, where the composition is not destroyed but the fourth wall is broken; it is with good reason that that frame was zoomed in the original composition!
    There are other shots that I remember from the movie that I know would be as compromised by 16:9 cropping as the first shot here. One such shot had the rear tires of the car at the bottom of the frame and the track extending to a vanishing point at one of the upper corners. There is no way to crop that shot and maintain the excellent sense of composition of the original.
    While it is obvious that 16:9 is not the director's intent here, I would choose the taller composition if I didn't even know the source were shot in IMAX.
    Chris, thanks a lot for making these shots!
    Oh, and the Australia race is on at 1PM EST today on ESPN.
    [Edited last by Michael St. Clair on October 28, 2001 at 10:23 AM]
     
  5. William Ward

    William Ward Supporting Actor

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    Anyone want to help me put the worms back in the can before the open matte defenders get here???? Personally I have the original and never thought about getting the altered version. My JVC Progressive Scan player can scale it with letterboxing on the side and still use the Prog scan.
    ------------------
    William
    Go Bucs!!
    MyDVDs
     
  6. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    I also enjoy watching anamorphic material squished to fit my 4x3 television. It gets rid of those nasty black bands. Of course, I find that the people look tall and skinny, but if I sit real close to the television and stare up at it from below, they appear to be the correct shape. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.
    [​IMG]
    Watch what you like, but make the OAR available. Okay?
    - Steve
     
  7. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Based on your screen shots,it looks like that while you loose some of the content on the top and bottom ,you gain some on the sides as well,wich makes an acceptable compromise to me,for the 16x9 version.
    Thanks for the shots,Chris!
    ------------------
    "You Hungarians always disagree"
     
  8. Michael St. Clair

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    Ahh, but composition isn't about what is framed with more (or even equal) imagery, but which has the right imagery, and only the right imagery, and in the right place. [​IMG]
     
  9. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    You gain some image on the top and bottom of the full-frame Willy Wonka too, is that a good compromise?? *shutting up now* [​IMG]
     
  10. Chris Maynard

    Chris Maynard Supporting Actor

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    Putting myself in place of the Director I have to agree with Michael's point that some shots are completely destroyed by re-framing the movie.
    That being said I think other shots look better. The following of the race car around the track (chase view and front view) appeared to benefit from the composition change.
     
  11. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Has anyone seen Super Speedway at an Omnimax theater?
    It's like IMAX, but it's an 80-foot domed screen.
    Curved edges.
    IMAX movies are projected theatrically to fit two different types of screens. I don't see why there should be any controversy when it is done for home video as well.
    Besides, seeing this on anything less than an 80-foot screen (domed or rectangular) is a compromise. I'm just glad that both formats are available at home, although I would truly prefer seeing this in an IMAX theater.
    - Steve
     
  12. Bjoern Roy

    Bjoern Roy Second Unit

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    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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  14. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  15. Ivan Luk

    Ivan Luk Agent

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    Some of the sponsers should be pissed (DKNY)! [​IMG]
    In any case, I think they both work for different reasons although I generally don't like open matte and/or pan and scam transfers. It also strikes me that too much of the IMAX experience is missing anyways, unless you so happen to have an eight story high screen at home. [​IMG]
     
  16. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    Great thread, thanks for posting the screen shots.
    FWIW I have the 4:3 version, and I do have a 16x9 display.
    There does appear to both more information at the top and/or bottom of the 4:3 frame, and a little more on the sides of the 16:9 image.
    In my opinion:
    Shot 1 looks better in 4:3, the horizon makes a complete curve in the very wide angle shot and an increased feeling of height.
    Shot 2 looks better in 4:3 The roll bar above Mario's head makes the shot.
    Shot 3 is a toss-up although I might lean towards the 16:9.
    Shot 4 looks better in 4:3 the 4:3 shot works better by being "taller" in the direction of the pit lane.
    Shot 5 looks better in 16:9 The guy on the right isn't sliced in two, makes a better grouping than in the 4:3
    Again all IMHO.
    ------------------
    -- Will Work for Five Million Dollars
     
  17. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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  18. Michael St. Clair

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    com·po·si·tion (k m p -z sh n)
    n.
    1. The combining of distinct parts or elements to form a whole.
    2. The manner in which such parts are combined or related.
     
  19. Ross Waite

    Ross Waite Stunt Coordinator

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    At face value, I'd have to say I prefer the widescreen images overall. I also agree with the comments reagarding the better 4:3 compositions on the first couple of images. Which kind of brings me to my point...
    Super Speedway was/is an IMAX film. I loved it when I saw it "theatrically". However, since I believe we tend to see the world in an aspect ratio closer to 16:9, is the widescreen DVD adaptation what we are likely to "experience" while watching this in an IMAX setting? In other words, is it possible that the information lost with the widescreen transfer represents parts of the picture our brain would not process anyway? IF this was the case (lots of room for debate), could that mean that the 16:9 transfer still represents what they originally intended?
    This is just "food for thought". Please don't missunderstand...I am a staunch supporter of OAR. I just wonder if we need to consider the uniqueness of the IMAX original material.
    Just my $0.02 worth...
    -Ross
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