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What Is It About the 1.66:1 Ratio That I Love So Much? (1 Viewer)

PMF

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It’s lucky that Christopher Nolan didn’t make any of his multi-ratio films during the age of theater curtains; otherwise the usher or projectionist would’ve surely had a lot more to juggle. :oops:

Other than that, I’m actually getting what Dick is talkin’ about. I, too, have found 1.66:1 to be very pleasing to the eye. :thumbs-up-smiley:
 
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avroman

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When I installed my Home Theatre, I included black velvet movable left and right side masking, and movable bottom masking on the 15 foot screen so I could achieve proper aspect ratios on all titles from 1.19:1 to 2.76:1. I wouldn't have it any other way. ( My actual screen dimensions are 15 X 8 feet, so I even get a respectable looking IMAX image.)
 

TJPC

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I’ve told this story before. I once wanted to attend a movie theatre that was having a “Maggie Smith” double feature. The first movie was “Travels With My Aunt” and the second I believe was “The Prime of Miss Gene Brody”.

I had no interest in the first movie, so I timed myself to arrive just as the second started. I was a bit early at the fairly large theatre in Toronto.
When I looked at the screen, I was surprised to see that the image was being projected on 10’ of curtain on either side! They had not opened them far enough and an entire audience had spent at least 90 minutes watching it this way without complaining. I immediately sought out an usher, who was horrified and manually pulled the curtains over.
 

murrayThompson

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I was a cinema projectionist in Australia and NZ for over 35+ years. Most theatre chains all over the world only had two ratios, 1.85 and scope. Every 1.66 and 1.75 film were all screened in 1.85, so whatever the so called director may have wanted he never got! 1.66 and 1.75 were all screened with 1.85 aperture plates with motorised side black masking going out for scope. I worked in an art house cinema for 11 years, only here we had lenses and aperture plates for 1.33, 1.66, 1.75, 1.85 and scope, that however was very very rare. In my home cinema I have a 150" curved micro perf Stewart ST130 screen, I have 5 ratios with motorised black masking with auto stops. I always like to screen films in there true ratio, even if some look square and smaller....
 

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Billy Batson

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Yeah, I don't mind 1:66 at all. I'm sure that most of the time the film was actually projected in 1:85, but the people working on the transfer notices that the head room is a bit tight at 1:85 & so plays it safe with 1:66, which is fine with me. My favourite shape is 2:35 (or thereabouts), but of course the film needs to have been shot in that ratio in the first place! :)
 
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Worth

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I don't really have an aspect ratio preference, but I've grown to like 'scope less, as both at home and in the vast majority of cinemas, the image is smaller than 1.85, which is the opposite of the original intent of the wider frame.
 

cinemel1

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I find the Cinerama 3 strip ratio the most fascinating, especially when it has been carefully matched up and hidden as much as possible as I the Blu ray of "How The West Was Won". I end up watching for tell tale evidences of this match up instead of the story in HTWWW. I have seen this movie countless times, and although I generally hate westerns, it is the technical aspect that keeps me coming back. It is too bad that I find most of the rest of the Cinerama format movies just dated travel logs. These would be impressive on screen in a Cinerama theatre, but I find them hard slogging at home.

I have all of the Cinerama films restorations in the blu-ray Smilebox editions. I saw them in their original presentations in NY. In addition to their historic value, they represent the world as it looked during another time. Musical scores (Tiomkin, Gould, et al) are in good shape. Unfortunately, the somewhat stilted and corny narrations in many of them are annoying. Lowell Thomas was well known in those days. You can’t beat him saying “and this is Cinerama” as the curtains parted to that roller coaster ride. I just wish he would shut up during the amazing fly across the USA in the finale. The first iterations of “This is Cinerama” and “Windjammer” were not restored from the greatest material and the join lines are pretty obvious throughout. They went back a few years later and re-did these two titles and now they are fine. They did an amazing job on “How the West Was Won” in the early days of blu-ray. The book that came with that release was a nice touch.
 

Dick

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Almost everybody has a wide screen TV now. Couldn't Blu rays of academy aspect movies have a "curtain" around them instead of a black bar?

Disney kind of did that years ago by adding graphics on the sides of 1.33:1 movies, apparently for vacuous viewers who thought they were losing part of their picture. It's an option on a bunch of their DVD's and Blu-rays. I never use it, of course. Besides, one does not see the curtains in theaters once the show starts. If they do, they're distracting.
 

Harold Chasen

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Almost everybody has a wide screen TV now. Couldn't Blu rays of academy aspect movies have a "curtain" around them instead of a black bar?

The German Blu Ray of Cobra Woman has an option to watch it with red curtains on the sides. The DVD Beaver review shows how the title card looks when presented this way: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_61/cobra_woman_blu-ray.htm

I'll stick with black bars, but of course tastes vary, so I just wanted people to know that that this option exists (for those with region B capability, that is).
 

RichMurphy

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This is why I built some movable masking for the sides of my CinemaScope projection screen to keep busy during the pandemic. I like black borders on all four sides of my image, and now I can do that (well, except for Ben-Hur and the Cinerama Smilebox epics, but nothing is perfect ;)). Even 1.33:1 silent films look better.
 

Blu Eye

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I don't personally have a preferred ratio.

I only wish to watch a film exactly in the correct ratio as the filmakers intended it to be seen in.

However, I must say it is beginning to annoy me how many modern movies are 2:35 which seems to be de rigueur.

In my opinion, not many filmakers justify their choosing of 2:35 especially in most films I have seen post 2000.

Actually, I immediately begin to think a filmaker is an amateur when I watch a film and realize it is another 2:35 ratio. It makes me think they are just copying someone they might admire and that they probably don't know what they are doing.

Okay. Rant over.

Of all the films I have seen in 2.35 or Cinemascope Once Upon A Time In The West and 2001 spring to mind but I don't want to open a can of worms here as there are obviously many more great films that utilize the ratio to great effect.

I think I have only seen one or two films in the 1.66 ratio. On The Waterfront is the first film that comes into my head (was "From Here To Eternity" 1.66???)

I am sure I have seen more than that but can't think of hardly any off the top of my head. Not sure how many great films have been shot with 1.66 as an artistic choice as it is not a subject I am much knowledgable about.

It would be interesting to know how many films were shot in 1.66 but matted at 1.85 in theatres on release and subsequently released on home video in the incorrect 1.85 ratio. I think 23% of the original picture (frame) is lost through this process.

I am looking forward to Full Metal Jacket getting released on 4k and I'm hoping that will be released in 1.66 (see my post in that thread in relation to that pending movie release).
 

OLDTIMER

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I envy those of you using projectors. At least you can keep the picture height the same for all screen ratios. With a fixed 1.78:1 TV screen, films of 2.35 or wider makes the image look soooo small!

Since most people watch on a TV screen these days, (and cinema audiences are diminishing) I would have thought it would have been to most viewers' benefit for movie-makers to produce their films at 1.78 or thereabouts.

On a slightly different point, I used to project 35mm films at home. It was fun to occasionally screen 1.66 un-matted movies without the aperture plate (hence 1.33) in order to see all of the unwanted out-of-screen image: microphone booms, the front of camera trolleys, undesired edge of sets, studio crew, and more!
 
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jayembee

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I like the 1.66:1 ratio when its used on a film like Passage to India, where it suggests the older film formats from the story's era. That film was shown 1.85:1 in the US, though, but the European Blu-ray shows it in 1:66 and it works beautifully.

The US Blu-ray is also 1.66:1. I didn't see the film theatrically when it was released, so I've no idea if it was screened at 1.66 or 1.85, but the BD looks just right.
 

jayembee

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I don't really have an aspect ratio preference, but I've grown to like 'scope less, as both at home and in the vast majority of cinemas, the image is smaller than 1.85, which is the opposite of the original intent of the wider frame.

True enough, that a 2.35 film on a TV looks "smaller" than a 1.85 film. But I tend not to notice that unless it's a movie with a varying aspect ratio, such as Nolan's Dark Knight films with the IMAX scenes at 1.78. Or Brainstorm, where the "device" sequences expanded in size, clarity (they were shot in 65mm), and soundstage to make them feel "more real" than the real world scenes, when the film was projected in the theater. On video, all of that was completely lost on video because the wide ratio was perceptively smaller.
 

AnthonyClarke

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I have a 150-inch projector screen and only watch, when possible, at original ratio. I have black bars of course top and bottom for widescreen movies, while I have configured it so that the entire screen fills for 16.9. My Academy ratio movies look sensational as I get maximum height, and hardly notice, on that size screen, the side bars. Yes, projector is the way to go. I'm using an Epson 8600 with an Oppo 4k-capable player and the final model of the great B & W Panorama soundbar. Very happy with that combo. Although I'd love to be able to afford a true native 4K projector, the Epson does display 4K discs very nicely
 

jayembee

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I am looking forward to Full Metal Jacket getting released on 4k and I'm hoping that will be released in 1.66 (see my post in that thread in relation to that pending movie release).

It's Warner. I'd be very surprised if it ended up being anything other than 1.78. I'd love to be surprised, though.
 

Blu Eye

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I do envy people with projectors for their home theatres.

At the moment I do not have the resources or a property big enough to support one as I currently live in a small flat.

In my opinion it seems if you are going to have a projector system then you need to make the investment to ensure you are getting a high quality performance from the system you choose.

It's not an area I am yet familiar with (done a little homework) but I assume if you do it on a low (read cheap) budget then the results would probably be unsatisfactory. The technology of the hardware evolves quickly too so it's a case of being patient and not rushing into it.

Also, it's a case of ensuring you have a dark room and creating a suitable environment for high quality surround sound etc. If you don't have a room suitable for that then it would probably make sense for a large 85 - 90 inch TV instead which is capable of more brightness in a lighter room environment.

I think if/when I do have my own projector system I will probably have a 2:35 screen and maybe watch widescreen films on it only and a seperate 90 inch TV in another room for all other ratios.

I am hoping that if I do get the opportunity for a projector system that most of the models that will be available will be capable of HDR and can truly achieve an average of at least 700 nits or so.
 

Lord Dalek

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If I have learned anything from the various home video releases of Kubrick films and bizarre press releases regarding them, it's that Leon Vitali has a habit of contradicting himself and misremembering things. So I wouldn't put much weight into claims that Kubrick shot Full Metal Jacket for 1.66:1.
 
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