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TV shows and TV movies gone W I D E

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by UHDvision, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Cropping Bewitched to 16x9 would be no different than doing that to The Wizard of Oz.

    When cropping is done badly, the show can be ruined. For instance, cropping The Simpsons killed too many jokes to count.
     
  2. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    Well, it's a little bit different. Oz wasn't shot with 10% overscan in mind, the way pretty much any television production prior to the HD era was. There's a bit more wiggle room there.
     
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  3. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    That overscan was on all sides, not just the top and bottom. Pre-HD tv is basically the same as pre-Academy Ratio movies, and overscan cuts less than cropping.

    Many shows' camera operators made their compositions knowing full well they would be seen in 4x3 in their medium of origin. Imagine The Brady Bunch in 16x9. The show's nine-square opening credits would be ruined! Or the animated heart from I Love Lucy.
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    The animated heart wasn’t originally part of the show.
     
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  5. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    True-- I think Philip Morris cigarettes advertised themselves in the original opening.
     
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  6. Message #486 of 516 Oct 1, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
    MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    But it's been part of it for so long it's almost as recognizable as if it were a logo. That was created even later, IIRC around the late 1960s when CBS's daytime reruns ended and they sold it to syndication. But it is so obviously framed for 4x3 I'm not sure there is even enough room to expand it for a 16x9 image without cropping the heart itself.

    So, you can't even show I Love Lucy on TV exactly as it originally aired. Cropping those original openings would create the same problem; the first season actually predates widescreen movies by a year. It just feels anachronistic, for lack of a better word, in a way restoration and remastering does not.

    But in that case, the show is already available in 4x3 HD on Blu-ray for seasons 1 and 2. And someone also mentioned Charlie's Angels; that's getting an OAR Blu-ray with the reboot in 16x9, so they both will be presented as they were originally aired. The original aspect ratio should always be made available.
     
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  7. UHDvision

    UHDvision Screenwriter

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    That discussion goes back 10 years, but to sum it up:

    - Every show should be approached with a unique perspective.

    - It's true I love Lucy and others just were made to be fully 4/3.

    - It's also true that showing most 1960's TV shows 4/3 reveals too much top and bottom room which makes them look bad. The Bewitched post above is one example. You're completely distanced watching those opened on all four sides, and the framing looks off.

    - It's factual that many of those are transfered 1.77:1 without major problems, if you go back to the Oneg.

    - If you discount video shot series, and TV programs, it's obvious that most TV shows from the 60's on are set up widescreen (by set up, I mean actor's placements). That is true to pilots which appeared widescreen overseas, but also long running series (ex. Man From Uncle), and in fact anything made post 8 to 10 years after films converted to widescreen.

    - You can't state that 40 years after everything was widescreen shot, director's who went back and forth between features and TV were still doing 4/3 arty set-ups. They placed the actors as they were doing for films, only they made sure there was enough room on all sides so that the footage was readable cropped on TV and that essential action was centered.

    It makes no sense anymore, for the TV shows that fit into that paradigm, to exploit them cropped or completely opened, as TVs are now widescreen.

    - Now, it's also true that for every show converted well, you can have shows converted badly, by framing too tight.

    As for myself, I enjoy Columbo from the 80's on in widescreen more than the same in opened up 4/3 cropped on the sides.

    I also, watching the HD release, realise you can zoom any 70's episodes of the same, and have composition and framing that makes much more sense.

    It's now up to the studios owning the series. They can choose to please a minimal amount of older purists and release those preserved in 4/3, or convert them for widescreen and see those having more shelf life extended way into the 21st century.

    It's a corporate choice they have to make. Sometimes, they go for both. Sometimes, they completely, and effeciently convert, and watch the revenues come in year after year.

    It's up to them.
     
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  8. RocketRobz

    RocketRobz Auditioning

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    I personally like the 16:9 version of Bewitched, as it gives the series a bit of a cinematic look, combined with HD.
    If Sony we're to ever release the series on Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray (a 4K remaster is in the works by NHK, last I heard), what they should do, is put both the 4:3 and 16:9 versions of some episodes on a single disc, like how CBS put some of the episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, with and without the vintage commercials, on a single Blu-ray disc.

    Fox released the 16:9 version of Lost in Space on DVD, and the 4:3 version on Blu-ray.
    Kinda wish they also put out the remastered 4:3 version on DVD, as well as the 16:9 version on Blu-ray.

    But yeah, if the companies are going to do 16:9 versions of old shows, I'd want the original 4:3 versions to still be accessible, for those who prefer those.
    As you said though, it's up to them.
     
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  9. Message #489 of 516 Oct 6, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
    Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    In honor of The Scrarecrow of Romney Marsh which comes out on Blu-ray this Tuesday as a Disney Movie Club exclusive, may I point out that this production was Disney's first experimentation with widescreen for a television product. It was actually filmed in 1.66:1 and broadcast in 1.33:1 with the sides chopped off. The widescreen version was of course used for the theatrical release but the widescreen TV version was never seen until 2008 when it was released on the Disney Treasures DVD.

    As filmed:
    SRMWS.

    As originally broadcast:
    SRMTV.
     
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  10. Harry-N

    Harry-N Producer

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    While I can see certain cases of TV shows going wide, shows that are perhaps not exactly great art, there are some that perhaps shouldn't be messed with, shows where the DP really did use the full 4:3 frame to tell the story.

    Such an case might be MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. Many times in that show, extreme close-ups of equipment, tools, faces, etc., were used, and the 4:3 frame was fully and correctly used. To simply chop off the top and bottom loses a lot of important detail.

    To my understanding, no-one has attempted to mess with this show, and it's probably a good thing. I've used some screen captures and performed a center-cut crop on these images.

    Example One: Close-ups. The show used a lot of facial close-ups. Here's a shot of Peter Graves picking his team.

    MI1.

    Here's the same frame cut for 16:9:
    MI1 (2).

    While that is not an egregious example, it does chop off the top of his head - not exactly an important detail, but certainly not what the DP intended either.

    Example two: Equipment view. In this scene Peter Graves is performing some important task on a video machine while keeping an eye on the monitors above.
    MI2.

    With a center cut attempt at widescreen, important information is lost at the bottom of the screen - and tilting it down would compromise the top of the screen info, already cramped.
    MI2 (2).

    Example three: later in that same scene. More info lost with a crop.
    MI3.

    Jim Phelps is working to edit a videotape. With a center-cut crop, both his head is severely chopped off, and the machine he's working on has lost some of its "identity".
    MI3 (2).

    These images are all from the HD remasters of the series as it appears on Amazon or CBS All Access. While it's possible that slightly wider images might be available on the original camera negative, I don't believe anything to the left and right would add anything substantial to the watching of the show.

    Go ahead and widen simple comedies, but don't mess with shows where the composition in 4:3 is important to the telling of the story. And ALWAYS make sure that the original 4:3 version is available before such surgeries are performed.
     
  11. UHDvision

    UHDvision Screenwriter

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    I wouldn't take those IMF shots as evidence. I have seen the first seasons in HD, and they are obviously zoomboxed. Those example probably widen on the sides, with top and bottom intact if you go back to the Oneg.

    In fact, few episodes were released as films overseas.
     
  12. Message #492 of 516 Oct 7, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
    MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I object to calling comedies "simple" and consider it a form of projection. Should Cheers be subject to tilt-and-scan only simply because of its genre? IIRC, Paramount made 16x9 and 4x3 versions available in HD when they remastered it years ago. They won't even try this on Blu-ray if Lucy and Andy Griffith don't sell enough to satisfy their demands.

    That example from the Disney show has an obvious gain of picture info on the left and right more than what is lost on the top and bottom. But they planned it that way. Not everyone did. Disney is also an unusual case because a lot of their long-form shows that aired on TV in the US actually did get theatrical releases overseas. Yet again, whether the shots would have actually been composed for widescreen or academy ratio is something you must consider on a case-by-case basis. So far, every other anthology series release prior to ABC switching to HD has been 4x3, both before and after Dr. Syn, unless there are exceptions I overlooked.

    When the Henson company had Fraggle Rock remastered in HD, they paid for 4x3 and 16x9 versions. HBO got the crop jobs and Sony got the Blu-ray rights to the OAR versions.
     
  13. Harry-N

    Harry-N Producer

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    "Obviously zoomboxed"? I took these frames exactly from the current HD presentations and I didn't zoom anything. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was designed to use the full 4:3 screen to present visual information and clues to the audience. As part of the pacing of the series, there were often quick cuts from one image to the next, and the viewer needed to pay attention or miss some vital info.

    Most of the scenes of the episodes from which I took these frames (Season Two) would probably look OK when cropped to 4:3 but I knew that there would be some scenes where chopping off the top and bottom would result in a compromised picture and they weren't terribly hard to find.

    Surely, it can be understood that something, somewhere, needs to stay in 4:3, and that you can't just have everything in widescreen just because it's your preference. Black bars never hurt anyone.

    Objection noted and overruled. :) It was never stated that all comedies are simple. I said, "Go ahead and widen simple comedies". This implies that there are comedies that are simple, and that widening them wouldn't be all that egregious, that's all. My usage was in comparison to a complex visual show like MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE or MANNIX or THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

    Let's face it, there are not too many complex visual shots in a show like DOBIE GILLIS. There are classroom shots, shots of Dobie in the park, shots of the store, etc. Chopping off the top and bottom so that the dreaded black bars are eliminated probably won't offend too many, though since we're all different, I'm sure I'm offending the great DOBIE GILLIS fan who's reading this.

    All I'm trying to say in my post above and here is that there are times when the original 4:3 ratio of a television show should be respected. Not everything has to be chopped into widescreen simply because that's the shape of your television. It applies to movies - and it applies to some television shows too.
     
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  14. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    As far as I'm concerned, it applies to nearly all TV shows until about 20 years ago (and that's being generous). Prior to that, they knew the show was going to be seen on 4x3 TVs so they shot for that aspect ratio. If someone wants old shows to fill their modern TV screen, that's fine but it's not the original intent of the photography.
     
  15. Message #495 of 516 Oct 7, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
    MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    And while Robert Reed was doing Mannix he was also doing double duty on The Brady Bunch, an example I already used upthread of another show that would be killed by the cropping you suggested based on the fact that the opening alone was composed for 4x3. The special pleading on the grounds that sitcoms are less visually complex than dramas — based on what? — just does not wash. Nothing cropped from that Mission: Impossible episode looked essential to the plot. Who cares whether or not you see the buttons on the tape recorder or not? Even the slightly-cropped-at-the-hair close-up was called a "Warner Bros. close-up" in the industry for years.*

    And then after you said that, you did a complete 180 and said this:

    Goalposts? What goalposts?

    Chopping off the top and bottom is a visual alteration that distorts the original intent. But if it is okay to chop a sitcom to 16x9 because it's "just" a sitcom, why stop there? Why not just go ahead and make it 2.55:1 like CinemaScope movies of the time were and like Netflix's Dead to Me, broadcast in a 2.35:1 ratio, does today? Who cares if Maynard G. Krebs is walking around without a head, since he went on to play Gilligan anyway? Might as well crop the bejeezus out of that show, too, since it's just a "simple comedy." Why even stop there? Why not go ahead and crop and chop The Mary Tyler Moore Show while you're at it? Who cares where Mary Richards puts the "M" in her apartment? It's just another "unnecessary detail" only non-comedies are worthy of having noticed. And why limit it to filmed sitcoms? Gotta crop those Maude closeups of Adrienne Barbeau and keep everything nice and TV-G.

    This, this, this, this, and this. The excuses for why it's okay to chop up TV but not movies are just that: excuses. There were no HDTV broadcasts in the US prior to 1998, so trying to create fake widescreen for the majority of TV programming prior to that is no better than doing that to pre-1952 movies.

    *Source: The Film Director, a book by Richard L. Bare who directed almost every episode of Green Acres.
     
  16. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    So are you thinking that Fox's recent widescreen all-in-one of O-R 1965-68 CBS Lost In Space was fake?
     
  17. Harry-N

    Harry-N Producer

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    Nobody understands me. I'm going to go out and eat worms.

    :(
     
  18. Harry-N

    Harry-N Producer

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    Let's try this again.

    I don't think ANY TV series, shot and broadcast in 4:3 needs to be altered. Ever.

    But I'm not the one in charge. If they have to chop shows, then offer both versions. And if you don't like my MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE examples, go make your own.

    [Sarcasm mode on]
    And if they have to chop a show, make it a stupid one that I hate, because the world needs to revolve around my tastes.
    [Sarcasm mode off]

    By the way, the worms were tasty.
     
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  19. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Nothing against Mission: Impossible, just the mentality that the OAR that was good enough for the original broadcast is no longer good enough for reruns today. For years, I was afraid that the fill-the-screen-at-all-costs mentality that cropped so many widescreen movies on TV for years would come back to bite actual TV shows in the behind. I wanted to be wrong about that so badly.
     
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  20. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Why couldn't they just live and let live, and let movies be what they were, and television what it was?
     

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