What's wrong with the Academy Ratio?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Bardon, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    I was watching Citizen Kane the other day, and I was wondering why nobody uses the Academy ratio anymore. Really, if studios wanted to end this whole P&S debate, all they'd have to do is force directors to film in academy-that way the films could be shown in academy theatrically, we'd get the OAR, and J6p wouldn't have "dem black bars". Or do studios have respect for a director's creativity in the theater, but not at home...
     
  2. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    OK, what is "Academy Ratio"?
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  3. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  4. Agee Bassett

    Agee Bassett Supporting Actor

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    I have always preferred the contours of the Academy ratio to widescreen. The extremely-horizontal dimensions of the "python-canvas" are not ideal for close-ups and perspectives which emphasize verticals. Also, a certain "focus" is lost in composition. I theorize that the aforementioned reasons may have been why Kubrick eschewed widescreen (FWIW, so did Hitchcock, Ford, Hawks, etc.).
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    [Edited last by Agee Bassett on October 24, 2001 at 11:59 PM]
    [Edited last by Agee Bassett on October 25, 2001 at 12:00 AM]
     
  5. Derek Duncan

    Derek Duncan Stunt Coordinator

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    Academy is alright for older films, but I am a strict 2:35 lover. I don't think you would really enjoy seeing a square in the middle of the theater. Am I the only one who loves the beautiful panarama of 2:35 films, they really put you in the film. Can you imagine Lawrence of Arabia in academy.
    Derek
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    quote: I was wondering why nobody uses the Academy ratio anymore. [/quote] You mean, aside from the fact that there are tens of thousands of movie theaters with screens that are the wrong shape?
    Hey, while we're at it, let's force directors to give up sound. Silent films were good enough for the pioneers of the industry, and going back to them would end all these pesky debates about audio formats. [​IMG]
    M.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on October 25, 2001 at 12:08 AM]
     
  7. Steve Pendleton

    Steve Pendleton Auditioning

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    There's nothing "wrong" with it. It yields an intimate look, maybe partly due to the association with TV, that lends itself close action. Scope, being panoramic, lends itself to sweeping subjects.
    The lack of 1.37:1 for mainstream commercial projection is partly a marketing issue, to separate theatrical films from TV. Maybe someone can do a 40s-style noir in a 40s-style OAR.
    SRP
     
  8. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    Nothing is wrong with Acadamy Ratio.
    If I was making a movie, I would probably go with a 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 AR though. These ratios are closer to the AR of peoples' vision. These ratios are also much better suited for theatrical presantation. This is not just because that happens to be what they are set up for, but because auditoriums usually have a front wall that is much wider than it is tall.
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    If a movie is not available in OAR, than it might as well not be available at all.
     
  9. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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  10. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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  11. Jeff

    Jeff Supporting Actor

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  12. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Imagine Ben Hur at 1.37:1.
     
  13. andrew markworthy

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    If I remember correctly, movie makers only moved away from Academy Ratio in large numbers once television took hold. It a neat move to reinforce the message that cinema could offer an image which was big, in colour (sorry, color) and stereo sound: all beyond early TVs.
    However, we are now in a grip of teleological reasoning - because cinema is the way it is, we think that is how it *must* be as a matter of default. However, there is nothing magical or necessary about widescreen, surround sound (personally I hate it) or indeed even sound. For example, Ben Hur made for Academy Ratio would still look spectacular, but it would have been shot differently. The great silent movies don't 'lack' sound - they are designed as purely visual experiences. We don't beef because the Mona Lisa doesn't talk, do we?
    I personally would like to see greater variety used in ratio sizes (and cinemas aren't 'the wrong shape' - by having movable drapes around the screen you can create the correct screen perfectly easily). I'm not knocking widescreen *at all*, but for some movies, I think it's utterly inappropriate. However, there does seem to be a herd mentality about use of widescreen amongst the studios.
     
  14. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  15. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    For Agee Bassett: Kubrick, Hitchcock and Hawks may have avoided wide screen but John Ford was not adverse to shooting his films in the wide screen scope format.
    The Long Gray Line (1955) (DVD debut in January 2002) and Mister Roberts (1955) were shot in Cinemascope. Seven Women (1966) was shot in Panavision. Cheyenne Autumn was shot in Super Panavision 70 millimeter and the Civil War segment of How The West Was Won shot in Cinerama.
     
  16. Jerry Gracia

    Jerry Gracia Supporting Actor

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    WIDESCREEN cinema has become a very important part of the theatrical experience. It's not going anywhere.
    Yeah, widescreen was created to compete against TV...but it also provided a wider canvas for compositions.
    I watched CITIZEN KANE a couple weeks ago and it had great cinematography...1.33:1 isn't bad at all, but it just isn't a favorable theatrical aspect ratio anymore. It can still work when needed, i.e. BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.
    1.33:1 as an aspect ratio for a movie not intentionally framed that way, now thats unacceptable and vise versa.
    I think this idea of having all movies shot in 1.33 just for the sole purpose of not having to deal with letterboxing is totally ridiculous. Then we'd have to make all film makers shoot in 1.78 when widescreen TVs become standard...not a good idea at all. Not to mention, the artistic liberties will be taken away from the film makers.
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  17. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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    There is nothing wrong with the Academy Ratio.. It's just that directors prefer to shoot widescreen these days.
     
  18. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    "...Imagine Ben Hur at 1.37:1... "
    ...ahh... MGM's original Ben Hur (1925) was shot in 1.33:1 - and it's epic alright... (read all about it in Kevin Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By - Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1968, and watch the LD release if you get a chance)...
    . . . [​IMG] . . .
     
  19. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    There's nothing wrong with AR. I do prefer widescreen movies but have no problem watching older films shot in the academy ratio. Just my two cents! [​IMG]
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  20. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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