The OAR dilemma - 1.33:1 (Kubrick)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Nick Breckon, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. Nick Breckon

    Nick Breckon Stunt Coordinator

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    So I just placed my order for the Stanley Kubrick collection, when it hit me - the only movie in the whole bit that's going to work well with my 57" 16x9 RPTV is 2001.

    What do you guys do when you have to watch a 1.33:1 movie on a 16x9 screen? I hate to distort the image, but I'm worried about burn-in when I stick with OAR. Not only that, but the gray bars on the sides of the display are annoying. This is less me seeking an answer, and more of a poll. Do you stretch to the screen, or put up with the bars? I suppose I could always use my analog 35" Sony in the basment.. [​IMG]
     
  2. Nick Breckon

    Nick Breckon Stunt Coordinator

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    So I just placed my order for the Stanley Kubrick collection, when it hit me - the only movie in the whole bit that's going to work well with my 57" 16x9 RPTV is 2001.

    What do you guys do when you have to watch a 1.33:1 movie on a 16x9 screen? I hate to distort the image, but I'm worried about burn-in when I stick with OAR. Not only that, but the gray bars on the sides of the display are annoying. This is less me seeking an answer, and more of a poll. Do you stretch to the screen, or put up with the bars? I suppose I could always use my analog 35" Sony in the basment.. [​IMG]
     
  3. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    I "put up" with the bars, as stretching doesn't make sense to me.

    If you must fill your 16:9 screen with The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, use the zoom mode (without stretching) on your TV/player. That way you'll get the films as they were originally seen in theaters, although Kubrick preferred the (open matte) 1.33:1 ratio.

    Don't you have a 14:9 zoom mode on your TV BTW? Pretty handy for non-anamorphic 1.66:1 dvds (like Lolita/Barry Lyndon), if your player doen't have a zoom mode for non-anamorphic dvds.
     
  4. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    I "put up" with the bars, as stretching doesn't make sense to me.

    If you must fill your 16:9 screen with The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, use the zoom mode (without stretching) on your TV/player. That way you'll get the films as they were originally seen in theaters, although Kubrick preferred the (open matte) 1.33:1 ratio.

    Don't you have a 14:9 zoom mode on your TV BTW? Pretty handy for non-anamorphic 1.66:1 dvds (like Lolita/Barry Lyndon), if your player doen't have a zoom mode for non-anamorphic dvds.
     
  5. Anthony Clifton

    Anthony Clifton Stunt Coordinator

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    The art should manage the hardware, not the other way around...
     
  6. Anthony Clifton

    Anthony Clifton Stunt Coordinator

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    The art should manage the hardware, not the other way around...
     
  7. Eric DiPiazza

    Eric DiPiazza Stunt Coordinator

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    I just watch the 1.33:1 on my regular television.
     
  8. Eric DiPiazza

    Eric DiPiazza Stunt Coordinator

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    I just watch the 1.33:1 on my regular television.
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I watch a lot of 1.33:1 movies, as well as a lot of 2.35:1 ones. I don’t distort the picture of either aspect ratio in order to eliminate unused screen space on the sides or at the top and bottom of the picture, as I wish to see the movies the way the filmmakers intended.

    Since you are concerned with ‘burn-in’, there are some precautions you can take that will reduce the chance of burn-in. First, make sure that your set is not using the same settings as the ones on the showroom floor. The ‘vivid’ (and other similar names) setting are used by retailers to show off their displays (especially necessary in bright showrooms). And even in darker rooms many customers judge a set by how ‘bright’ and colorful a display seems—so a retailer with a bright set has a big advantage.

    Choose a setting like ‘pro’, which will provide a much darker picture. This will work pretty well, although I would advise getting a calibration DVD such as AVIA or Video Essentials and using that to adjust your settings. Or you can choose to have your set professionally calibrated.

    Regardless of your approach, any of these actions will substantially reduce your chances of burn in.

    I use the same displays for TV as well as movies. And we often do stretch ‘talking head’ shows such as the news or Letterman.

    Between TV and movies we use our sets a lot and have had no hint of burn-in.
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I watch a lot of 1.33:1 movies, as well as a lot of 2.35:1 ones. I don’t distort the picture of either aspect ratio in order to eliminate unused screen space on the sides or at the top and bottom of the picture, as I wish to see the movies the way the filmmakers intended.

    Since you are concerned with ‘burn-in’, there are some precautions you can take that will reduce the chance of burn-in. First, make sure that your set is not using the same settings as the ones on the showroom floor. The ‘vivid’ (and other similar names) setting are used by retailers to show off their displays (especially necessary in bright showrooms). And even in darker rooms many customers judge a set by how ‘bright’ and colorful a display seems—so a retailer with a bright set has a big advantage.

    Choose a setting like ‘pro’, which will provide a much darker picture. This will work pretty well, although I would advise getting a calibration DVD such as AVIA or Video Essentials and using that to adjust your settings. Or you can choose to have your set professionally calibrated.

    Regardless of your approach, any of these actions will substantially reduce your chances of burn in.

    I use the same displays for TV as well as movies. And we often do stretch ‘talking head’ shows such as the news or Letterman.

    Between TV and movies we use our sets a lot and have had no hint of burn-in.
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    BTW Nick, ‘2001’ won’t work any better with your widescreen set than does ‘Barry Lyndon’. The only difference is where the unused space (black bars) appear. 2001 will have those black bars at the top and bottom of the set—Barry Lyndon on the sides.

    No fixed size display can accommodate all different aspect ratios without some unused display space somewhere.
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    BTW Nick, ‘2001’ won’t work any better with your widescreen set than does ‘Barry Lyndon’. The only difference is where the unused space (black bars) appear. 2001 will have those black bars at the top and bottom of the set—Barry Lyndon on the sides.

    No fixed size display can accommodate all different aspect ratios without some unused display space somewhere.
     
  13. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    You could put litle curtains on your wide screen covering the bars. When watching a wide-screen presentation, open the curtains up, like in a real theater. [​IMG]
     
  14. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    You could put litle curtains on your wide screen covering the bars. When watching a wide-screen presentation, open the curtains up, like in a real theater. [​IMG]
     
  15. Bart H

    Bart H Auditioning

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    I always watch anything that was meant for 1.33:1 without stretching it or zooming it on my 16:9 RPTV. I've had the set for about 3 years, and watch pretty much regular TV on it as well as movies. I have absolutely no sign of burn in on my set from the gray bars. The reason they are gray instead of black is to burn in at aproximately the same rate as the screen would under normal use. At least that's how I understand it, and it seems to be right at least in my case. After a short time I got used to them anyway. I don't even notice them anymore.

    As for the Kubrick films, I've always wondered if his statements weren't taken out of context or misunderstood. Somehow I find it hard to believe he wanted his films to be seen differently than they were shown in the theaters. I wonder if he just wanted them to be open matte rather than pan-and-scan for TV use, and people took that to mean open matte rather than theatrical OAR. Or was he specific about it and I'm just wrong?
     
  16. Bart H

    Bart H Auditioning

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    I always watch anything that was meant for 1.33:1 without stretching it or zooming it on my 16:9 RPTV. I've had the set for about 3 years, and watch pretty much regular TV on it as well as movies. I have absolutely no sign of burn in on my set from the gray bars. The reason they are gray instead of black is to burn in at aproximately the same rate as the screen would under normal use. At least that's how I understand it, and it seems to be right at least in my case. After a short time I got used to them anyway. I don't even notice them anymore.

    As for the Kubrick films, I've always wondered if his statements weren't taken out of context or misunderstood. Somehow I find it hard to believe he wanted his films to be seen differently than they were shown in the theaters. I wonder if he just wanted them to be open matte rather than pan-and-scan for TV use, and people took that to mean open matte rather than theatrical OAR. Or was he specific about it and I'm just wrong?
     
  17. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    Well, we've beat this horse to death around here. Everyone has their own opinion. These quotes from Leon Vitali (from this interview), Kubrick's assistant for over 20 years, say it all:

    "DF: Well, now on to the question of aspect ratio. This is by far the most contentious area of debate among our readers. Many are confused between the aspect ratio Kubrick shot his films in, how they were exhibited theatrically, and how they are shown on home video...

    LV: Very often, well, if you go back to Dr. Strangelove, for example, he shot that in the camera basically "full frame,." (Roughly 1.37:1) But you will see if you look at the film that very often, there will be mattes in one shot, then in the next shot there will be no mattes. Then the next shot there will be, then the next shot there won't. With A Clockwork Orange, it is basically 1.66:1, and that is how he shot it in the camera, but from time to time you'll see that there is a slight shift in his aperture (thus slightly affecting the aspect ratio.) And that is just how he shot it, and what Stanley had always wanted was a video version of his film as he shot it in the camera, not necessarily how it was projected. That was very important to him. And he did not particularly like 1.85:1.

    DF: Well, to take The Shining as an example again, many are distracted in the opening sequence by the infamous "helicopter blades." Because the video is not matted, you can see the helicopter blades at the top of the shot. Some have taken this to be "evidence" that Kubrick's preferred compositions were not be transferred properly to home video. To be honest, I, too have often wondered about this and am distracted by those helicopter blades! (laughs)

    LV: That's just how he wanted it. And the helicopter blades, for him, well...for him, they were totally inconsequential. If I can just say to you, that for Stanley each shot, each scene, stood for itself as a composition. And if he liked something in that shot, he would use it regardless of aspect ratio. I could probably catalogue for you plenty of things like the "helicopter blades syndrome" which are in his films. But if he liked the acting, or let's say there was a particular sound that he liked, if there was some kind of extraneous noise and it was just there and there wasn't anything you could do about it but he liked the actual take, he would use that anyway. And that is how he approached his work.

    With A Clockwork Orange, now in multiplexes - and I think it is terrible - you can only really project it in 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. If you project A Clockwork Orange in 1.85:1, it kills it, it really does. It was composed for 1.66:1 and that is how it should look.

    DF: I think some confusion is due to the fact that films like The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut were shown theatrically in 1.85:1...but not on video.

    LV: That is because at the time (of The Shining) 1.85:1 was becoming an industry norm in the United States, so what he did was, he shot his original negative, then he made the interpositive, then for theatrical release he would mask the interpositive, which meant he still had the original negative in full frame. This was also very important to Stanley. He was very conscious of the fact that you lose I think 27% of your picture when it is matted to 1.85:1. He hated it, he didn't find it satisfactory. He liked height."
     
  18. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    Well, we've beat this horse to death around here. Everyone has their own opinion. These quotes from Leon Vitali (from this interview), Kubrick's assistant for over 20 years, say it all:

    "DF: Well, now on to the question of aspect ratio. This is by far the most contentious area of debate among our readers. Many are confused between the aspect ratio Kubrick shot his films in, how they were exhibited theatrically, and how they are shown on home video...

    LV: Very often, well, if you go back to Dr. Strangelove, for example, he shot that in the camera basically "full frame,." (Roughly 1.37:1) But you will see if you look at the film that very often, there will be mattes in one shot, then in the next shot there will be no mattes. Then the next shot there will be, then the next shot there won't. With A Clockwork Orange, it is basically 1.66:1, and that is how he shot it in the camera, but from time to time you'll see that there is a slight shift in his aperture (thus slightly affecting the aspect ratio.) And that is just how he shot it, and what Stanley had always wanted was a video version of his film as he shot it in the camera, not necessarily how it was projected. That was very important to him. And he did not particularly like 1.85:1.

    DF: Well, to take The Shining as an example again, many are distracted in the opening sequence by the infamous "helicopter blades." Because the video is not matted, you can see the helicopter blades at the top of the shot. Some have taken this to be "evidence" that Kubrick's preferred compositions were not be transferred properly to home video. To be honest, I, too have often wondered about this and am distracted by those helicopter blades! (laughs)

    LV: That's just how he wanted it. And the helicopter blades, for him, well...for him, they were totally inconsequential. If I can just say to you, that for Stanley each shot, each scene, stood for itself as a composition. And if he liked something in that shot, he would use it regardless of aspect ratio. I could probably catalogue for you plenty of things like the "helicopter blades syndrome" which are in his films. But if he liked the acting, or let's say there was a particular sound that he liked, if there was some kind of extraneous noise and it was just there and there wasn't anything you could do about it but he liked the actual take, he would use that anyway. And that is how he approached his work.

    With A Clockwork Orange, now in multiplexes - and I think it is terrible - you can only really project it in 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. If you project A Clockwork Orange in 1.85:1, it kills it, it really does. It was composed for 1.66:1 and that is how it should look.

    DF: I think some confusion is due to the fact that films like The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut were shown theatrically in 1.85:1...but not on video.

    LV: That is because at the time (of The Shining) 1.85:1 was becoming an industry norm in the United States, so what he did was, he shot his original negative, then he made the interpositive, then for theatrical release he would mask the interpositive, which meant he still had the original negative in full frame. This was also very important to Stanley. He was very conscious of the fact that you lose I think 27% of your picture when it is matted to 1.85:1. He hated it, he didn't find it satisfactory. He liked height."
     
  19. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    Here's a few more quotes from Mr. Vitali, from this interview:

    "Bill Hunt: Was there ever talk about doing alternate anamorphic widescreen versions of the later films - the ones that were shown theatrically at 1.85? So you could have both versions on DVD?

    Leon Vitali: Yes, it was discussed. But Stanley just wasn't interested.

    Bill Hunt: So how will the open matte films be presented in future high definition broadcasts, hi-def having a 1.78:1 aspect ratio?

    Leon Vitali: They'll have black bars on either side."
     
  20. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    Here's a few more quotes from Mr. Vitali, from this interview:

    "Bill Hunt: Was there ever talk about doing alternate anamorphic widescreen versions of the later films - the ones that were shown theatrically at 1.85? So you could have both versions on DVD?

    Leon Vitali: Yes, it was discussed. But Stanley just wasn't interested.

    Bill Hunt: So how will the open matte films be presented in future high definition broadcasts, hi-def having a 1.78:1 aspect ratio?

    Leon Vitali: They'll have black bars on either side."
     

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