What's up with widescreen "back to school"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian_Linnen, Oct 23, 2002.

  1. Brian_Linnen

    Brian_Linnen Stunt Coordinator

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    i watched 'back to school' last night which was more than worth the $10.00 i paid for it at best buy.

    the widescreen version on the disc was really weird though - the tops of peoples heads were getting cut off and during the credits, if they listed more than one peron's name, the second name was cut in half. i could only see the top half of the letters!!

    i ended up watching the fullscreen version because it was just too annoying. does anyone know why it was like that?
     
  2. Mike_Richardson

    Mike_Richardson Supporting Actor

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    The "widescreen" version is an abomination, no doubt about it. MGM completely mangled the aspect ratio as you said, chopping off the credits and WAY too much of the picture. While I would prefer to see the movie in 1.85, I don't want to see it in THIS 1.85 [​IMG]
    I can only assume the studio made a huge mistake. No question the full-screen is MORE representative of the real aspect ratio than the "widescreen" (which here should be called "chopped-screen"!).
     
  3. Brian_Linnen

    Brian_Linnen Stunt Coordinator

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    man - if that was an honest attempt to present this film as it was intended to be, you are correct - they really did mess it up.

    i guess that must be why i was able to get it for $10.00! at least this film isn't a special-effects extravaganza that cries out to be seen in widescreen. i was able to deal with the fullscreen version and still enjoy the movie.

    thanks for letting me know that it wasn't my machine's fault that it was getting butchered!


    bpl
     
  4. Mike_Richardson

    Mike_Richardson Supporting Actor

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    i was able to deal with the fullscreen version and still enjoy the movie.
    Absolutely agreed. It's one of the few fullscreen titles I would watch on DVD (mainly because MGM gives us no choice here), but the framing is comfortable and I had no problem with it, either.
    And hey, for $10, it still beats VHS [​IMG]
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    My recollection of the discussion when this was released was that it was indeed an abomination--the studio took a P&S version of the film and then matted that to produce the widescreen version. Obviously, quite unacceptable; while the FS version isn't right, it's a heck of a lot closer than the lbx abortion.
     
  6. Brian_Linnen

    Brian_Linnen Stunt Coordinator

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    i have always wondered what "matted" meant - basically you are saying that they just took the P&S version and slapped the black bars down across the top and the bottom without any thought to it?

    that is totally ridiculous!!!

    at a glance, it looks like OAR, but if you watch it for more than 15 seconds, you realize you are getting ripped off. very dumb move on their part.
     
  7. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Yeah, the disc is definitely worth $10.00. Rodney's best movie for sure. For some reason, I don't suspect this will be re-released again.
     
  8. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

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    Some movies are fine in full-frame. Kubrick movies (with exception of 2001 and Spartacus) for example. I like to do comparisons of widescreen and full-frame versions of 1.85:1 movies because there seems to be no consistent way that movies in this aspect ratio are shot. Some are heavily cropped in full-frame and some have almost no cropping at all. For example, I compared the two versions of UHF recently. The full-frame version suffers very obvious cropping compared to the widescreen version (The phone number on the banner in the background when Big Edna throws Weird Al out of the restaraunt). Then I compared Return of the Living Dead and found almost no cropping on the sides. Linnea Quigley's butt is covered by the matting in the scene with her and Suicide, but nothing seems added on the side(s). I will probably watch Return of the Living Dead full-frame next time, but I will watch UHF in widescreen. That's why I sometimes like having both widescreen and full-frame versions on a DVD. Unless of course, the movie is Panavision, CinemaScope, etc in which case the non-widescreen version is just a waste of space. It seems to me that lower-budget 1.85:1 movies often fare better full-frame. I saw the Black Christmas DVD in a store and there's a note on the back saying that they chose to present the movie in 1.37:1 full-frame because the movie was shot that way and no information is lost. However, there's really no way to know which movies will suffer in full-frame and which won't.

    I'll shut up now. Just a thought I had.
     
  9. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    Barry, interesting points. I actually noticed that Men at Work looks awkwardly-framed in widescreen (tops of heads are cut off), but looks fine in 'fullscreen'. I'm not sure if the fullscreen was fake-matted for DVD, or what, but it looks better in Fullscreen, so I'm glad they included both.
     
  10. Apolonio Chavez

    Apolonio Chavez Auditioning

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    Actually, for being a Rodney Dangerfield film, it is not as great as Easy Money, which thank God, is widescreen.
     
  11. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    This sucks. I was planning on buying this at some point, but a cropped Pan & Scan version? What could be worse than that? I guess that if the Full-Frame version is open matte then I can use matting from my PowerDVD to get the true apect ratio.

    What I mean is, if the movie was shot open matte, and for theater release just matted that original source, then I can get the OAR ratio by having PowerDVD matte the frame to 1.85:1. The question is whether the full-frame side of the disc is already cropped on the sides, or whether it is just the open matted version. Does anyone know this?
     
  12. Brian_Linnen

    Brian_Linnen Stunt Coordinator

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    michaelG - it really isn't bad watching the P&S version!
    after a few minutes, i didn't even think about it. it really is worth the $10 investment.
     
  13. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Another film that was improperly matted for widescreen on DVD is Charlottes Web (cartoon). Heads of animals get cut off during songs...something that I really doubt the artists intended during the theatrical run. Also looks like a matted version of a hard P/S image.

    I think I'll ultimately pick up the separate full-screen of that too as it is unlikely they'll revisit their mistake.

    BTW, anyone heard about whether Columbia has finally fixed the mis-matted/zoomed "Annie" disc?

    -dave
     

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