Twin Peaks FWWM: Botched Aspect Ratio?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jack Johnson, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    I had always thought it a little odd that the recent Newline DVD release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me appeared to have been cropped on ALL SIDES of the image over the open matte, VHS fullscreen version I have.

    I assumed, since David Lynch supervised the video transfer, that the dvd represented his chosen aspect.

    After reading the following, however, I began to wonder (from a web article on various widescreen formats):

    NOTE: when the full screen version shows additional information on the sides that cannot be seen in the widescreen version, that is a major red flag, and it is likely that the widescreen version was created in some inartistic shortcut way, not from the negative or an original theatrical print.

    In such a case, the widescreen version does not reflect the theatrical version, even if it happens to have the same aspect ratio. In that circumstance, the widescreen DVD may have a congruent rectangle to what was seen in the theaters, but a far smaller version of the same shape.




    --End quote



    So, any truth to that? I can definitely vouch for the fact that Newline's dvd has significant cropping on all sides of the open matte, VHS image.

    In any case, I imagine David Lynch still signed off on the cropped--"wide"--version, but I'd be interested to know why, and why the framing was done in this way.



    Thanks,


    Jack
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I've heard that the laserdisc had cropping problems, but everything I've read regarding the DVD is that it is the correct theatrical image.

    Soundtrack is a different matter though.
     
  3. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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    Yeah, the soundtrack for sure is botched. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    OOOOOOOOOOOOH! this pisses me off! I was all set to buy it and they screwed up the soundtrack? Grrrrrrrrrr.
    Might as well wait for a better transfer. But that might take too long! [​IMG]
     
  5. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Ray,


    I think maybe the others are only referring to one aspect of the soundtrack...in the scene from the bar on the Canadian border.

    The original mix featured dialog which was deliberately obscured, rendering the featured subtitles necessary. The new mix, which Lynch himself approved, brings the dialog up a bit. I'm not sure why he chose to alter the track, but in my view it's the one downside to the audio, though others have complained it's mixed too low (the whole track). But I think it's more a case that Lynch recorded much of the film at lower levels such that planned, "jarring" audio effects that pop up now and then would shake your house down to its foundation.

    I can recommmend the disc, despite the curious cropping. It looks terrific; a very detailed, fine image.
     
  6. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    Jack,

    Should I look out for different releases or is there only one released version of this. Meaning is there an earlier DVD than the current one and which cover should I look for so I'll know which one to buy.

    That's a HUGE relief for my being a fan of Kyle. Thanks! One last thing before I actually get around to buying this, are both front/center/surround and sub at all affected by this on your audio system? Does the audio sound clear and not like it's under-the-water? Which audio track would you recommend to me to listen to whilst I watch it?

    Thanks! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Ray [​IMG]
     
  7. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    One more thing, Jack. Where are you from? I knew someone with your name when I was younger.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    The DTS track is fantastic, in my opinion. As Jack mentioned, I was just referring to the dialog being pumped way up during the bar scene. In fact, on some of the extras they show parts of the scene with the correct sound level for the dialog, and you can see why the subtitles were necessary.

    But that didn't deter me from buying the DVD, and considering it's the only R1 release, I don't think any TP fan should skip it for that reason.
     
  9. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    I'm coming to the personal conclusion Mr. Lynch decided to make the bar scene louder so as to make it seem that the characters have to overtalk the commotion in the background. Is this in anyway true?
     
  10. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Well, his initial intention was to have the setting so loud that the only way to understand the characters was to read the subtitles. With the track on the DVD, the dialog is bumped up so it is very easy to understand...but the subtitles remain. Even if Lynch OK'd it, it's still a mistake.
     
  11. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    Ah... So THAT's why! Thanks for clearing that up for me! I'll officially put it on the 'DVD's to Purchase' list now... [​IMG]
     
  12. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Ray, I'm from upstate new York...sort of between Syracuse and Binghamton. You?


    Yeah, it may be that Lynch was thinking that bringing the dialog up was a way of making it seem the characters were shouting to make themselves heard above all the racket.

    I agree that his first mix was better. When the audience had to strain to hear the spoken dialog, felt more like we were there. I mean, who hasn't had that experience in some situation with live music? Very immersive. Louder dialog is more traditional, more audience friendly...makes the scene feel a little more like a movie instead of "an experience".

    I've heard the film in two-channel and 5.1, and this particular issue is about as noticeable either way.


    Well, that said, it's still a must...and the only region one dvd released to date.


    --Jack
     
  13. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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    I seriously doubt Lynch had much to do with the DVD mix. The Canada scene seems more like the work of an ignorant technician more than anything else. Once a movie is done, it's done. Lynch never goes back to remix or re-edit things. The DVD is worth getting just to see Madchen Amick in the documentary. [​IMG]
     
  14. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    It was messed up. The biggest gaffe was during the final sequence, where the angel's head was almost totally out of frame!
     
  15. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    richardWI:

    TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME was remixed in 5.1 AT DAVID LYNCH'S HOUSE*. He has his own mixing studio, and also mixed THE STRAIGHT STORY, MULLHOLLAND DR., and the 5.1 BLUE VELVET there (I'm not sure if he had the studio when he made LOST HIGHWAY. TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME was mixed at Skywalker for its theatrical release). I think it's pretty clear that, this being the case, he had a lot to do with how the New Line DVD sounds. You can argue about whether or not you like the changes, but they are clearly changes that Lynch approved.

    That's curious about the DVD being cropped on the four sides compared to the VHS- I have the Japanese LD of FIRE WALK WITH ME, which unlike the Image laserdisc is CORRECTLY letterboxed. I'll compare it to the DVD and see how it compares.

    Vincent

    * It's the house that Bill Pullman lives at in LOST HIGHWAY, BTW.
     
  16. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    Jack, I'm in California. Near Monterey in the town of Santa Cruz.

    I knew it! I'm a smart cookie, yes![​IMG][​IMG]
    Expect me in the store to buy! Hahahahahahahaha! [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    There's a way to access the official credits on the dvd (maybe by clicking on the Newline logo):

    Here as well, Lynch is listed as having personally supervised the transfer of Fire Walk, which makes the possibility that the dvd was improperly cropped seem that much more weird.

    As you understand it, Vincent, in most cases it's improper to arrive at a letterboxed format by cropping the full camera negative on all sides?

    Regardless, I guess we can at least be assured FWWM is presented as intended...even if Lynch arrived at it with uncoventional cropping.




    --Jack
     
  18. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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    Vincent, What's your source on this?
     
  19. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    In addition to the previously-mentioned titles, David went back and remixed Eraserhead in the early 1990s with original sound designer Alan Splet. This beautiful Dolby Stereo surround re-mix is used on the current, official Eraserhead DVD release supervised by David, who also had final say on the MPEG-2 compression.

    Cheers,
     
  20. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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    I'll be damned. (probably already am.) Well I guess Lynch isn't above making non cosmetic changes years later. I learn something new everyday.

    At any rate, the Canada scene on the dvd is in no way an accurate reproduction of the innovative mix I heard several times at the theater.
     

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