The Future of Film In Relation to the 16X9 Future of Televisions

Discussion in 'DVD' started by StevenFC, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    This occurred to me the other day as I was watching a movie on my 16x9 display. How much of an influence will the eventual replacement of 4x3 displays with 16x9 displays have on the movie industry?

    None? A great deal?

    I ask this because it seems to me that within the next few years people will not be willing to accept watching a DVD that does not fill their 16x9 screen completely. After all, it's pretty clear that the movie studios have shown a willingness to cater to the tastes of their DVD consumers. Since the two biggest issues are having a full screen and viewing the theatrical ratio, it seems like the next logical step for the studios is to require their movies be shot in either a 16x9 ratio only--or to have one version shot for theatres and one shot for the DVD medium. No matter which road they took, it would eliminate pan-and-scan and would likely make consumers more willing to view their 16x9 displays as more of a movie display as opposed to HDTV. Just as Bubba and Mertle complain because of the black bars on their 4x3 tv, I don't doubt that people will pitch a fit about black bars on their HDTV when they sit down to watch a Scope or Academy Standard movie.

    Does this sound a little silly? Maybe. But let's not forget the influence that Television had on Hollywood back in the 1950s. Hollywood saw their piece of the pie shrinking and didn't like what they saw. Let's face it, what they did was pretty radical. And it was done for one reason only--money. Yes it gave directors more canvas to work with, so perhaps it did have artistic merit. But let's not kid ourselves, your widescreen movie experience exists because of the influence of home entertainment--plain and simple.

    So just as folks were staying home to watch Uncle Milty back in the day, might they not be more likely to stay home in the future to watch high-definition 16x9 programming and HD-DVD? God only knows what it will cost to go to the theatre in 5 or 10 years.

    If this scenario plays out, what will be the response? Surely they don't want to shoot themselves in the foot by providing movies on HD-DVD at the risk of people going to the movies less without some sort of counterbalance. Plus, they can't risk people viewing their 16x9 displays solely as HDTV displays at the peril of home video sales.

    What will be the next innovation to come out of this? Higher resolution theatrical films perhaps? Theatrical films shot in a 16x9 ratio as mentioned before? Maybe even 4x3 films recomposed electronically or some other way for 16x9 displays?

    So what do you think will happen in the future when it comes to the relationship between theatrical film, HDTV, and the home video experience as the consumer dollar is fought over? Will it stay the same or will there be a fundamental change somewhere along the line?
     
  2. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    Once 16x9 becomes mainstream in the home, I think we'll see this: In an attempt to differentiate the theater experience from 'TV', fewer and fewer films will be shot at 1.85:1 and more and more shot at 2.35:1 and wider.

    Of course when those wider films are released to HD-DVD or whatever, they will be cropped down to 16:9 to fill J6Ps 16:9 TV. It will be a never ending fight for OAR.
     
  3. John Whittle

    John Whittle Stunt Coordinator

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    There will really be no effect of 16:9 with movies. Movies today are either 1.85 or 2.4 in the US (those are the SMPTE numbers not the common 2.35 you see on the back of dvd boxes).

    The 16:9 standard (which is 1.77) goes back almost 20 years now and while a lot is masked in mystery (since people don't go back to the old SMPTE Journals and read the evolution of the standard) it started out at 15:9 and went to 16:9 when the hi-def was based on the sytem worked out by Nippon television and was analogue.

    Now if you get out your tape measure and your tv raster, you'll find it really is a small difference between 16:9 (1.77) and 1.85 when you're dealing with average home projection sizes.

    Now if you go to a theatre with a tape measure (and the audience doesn't attack you) you'll find almost every theatre is slight different. They all "hover" around 1.85 and 2.4, but every one is "adjusted" for throw, angle of the throw and the screen type. Some screens are tilted back to take care of keystoning from a high booth, other theatres have a trapazoid cut aperture plate for the same purpose.

    The net result is that you really have little or not control on the amount of the image that is shown in a theatre.

    And on a tv, you have varying degrees of control of overscan depending on the type of display.

    So if there is "any" effect of 16:9 you've probably already seen it.

    Back in the late 1980s, we were instructed to shoot tv shows at Warner Bros to protect 16:9 which meant that there needed to be sets and action to fill that frame even though the broadcast and transfered image was 1.33.

    We did go through a period in the mid to late 90s where the shows were shot 16:9 and then a 3:4 was extraced from the tape for broadcast resulting in a quality loss for the ntsc domestic broadcast. Never heard any complaints except from those of us that knew what was going on.

    John
     
  4. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Not to pick nits, but this isn't really true. Hollywood embraced Cinemascope in order to get their piece of the CINERAMA pie. After all the Hollywood studios rejected the Cinerama process, the first feature "This Is Cinerama" was released independently in New York. When a movie playing on only 1 screen for the last 4 months of the year becomes the highest grossing film of the year, Hollywood studios change their minds quickly.

    OK, back to your regularly scheduled discussion...

    Note that 1.85 is the most commonly used AR in the US, and when such films are shot soft-matte, they are often opened up slightly to 1.78.
     
  5. Craig Sherman

    Craig Sherman Stunt Coordinator

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    Isn't that already the case with HD HBO? Haven't they cropped 2.35 movies to 1.78 for their 16x9 broadcasts?

    I remember on one of these boards, somebody in their sig posted an image of a 2.35:1 (or 21.15x9 if you will) Television set, with an image of Yoda from Episode II. I wouldn't mind one of those.

    CDE,

    CS
     
  6. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    Yep, I have HBOHD and last night they played Episode II croped to 16x9. They too that all too often.
     
  7. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    2.35 movies shot super 35 mostly open out pretty well, but cropping an anamorhpic movie doesn't generally look that good.
     

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