Grand Budapest Hotel - Not CIH Safe - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-30-2014, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Grand Budapest Hotel - Not CIH Safe

Wes Anderson's latest film features a mix of aspect ratios. The majority of the movie is 4:3, with scenes in different time periods that jump to 1.85:1 and 2.35:1.

The Blu-ray release is variable height, not CIH safe. Given that the dominant aspect ratio is 4:3, I suppose it's not reasonable to expect the studio to encode the disc with that windowboxed in the center of the screen.

My questions is how was this displayed in theaters? Was it CIH on scope screens, or were the 2.35:1 portions always letterboxed onto 1.85:1 screens?

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post #2 of 19 Old 06-30-2014, 01:59 PM
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I didn't see it, but I imagine it was CIH in the theater. I feel like I've only ever seen letterboxing done to movies formatted for home use. I guess it is possible that it was done in the theatrical release but highly unlikely.

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post #3 of 19 Old 06-30-2014, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 230-SEAN View Post
I didn't see it, but I imagine it was CIH in the theater. I feel like I've only ever seen letterboxing done to movies formatted for home use. I guess it is possible that it was done in the theatrical release but highly unlikely.
I've seen a couple of movies in the theater that switched to letterboxed 2.35:1 for selected scenes. Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book did that. (The crappy DVD is entirely cropped to 4:3.)

If I'm not mistaken, Life of Pi did this as well. (I didn't see that one in the theater.)

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post #4 of 19 Old 07-01-2014, 07:46 AM
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I saw this in the theater and it was CIH on a scope screen, not letterboxing of the 2.35:1 portions.

I very disappointed that they released this movie as variable height on blu-ray. This would make it a no-buy for me, and I'm a big Wes Anderson fan. I understand that if I were watching this on my HDTV I would prefer variable height, otherwise most of the movie would be letterboxed AND cropped on the sides (or "windowboxed" as Josh Z posted). It would still be nice if they had a blu-ray release that gave the customer the option of which format to show (CIH or variable-height/TV friendly) but I understand we CIH folks are a small minority. Still, you should be able to view it as it was shown in theaters. Same issue with subtitles, but at least my Oppo can move those.

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post #5 of 19 Old 07-02-2014, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helmsman View Post
I saw this in the theater and it was CIH on a scope screen, not letterboxing of the 2.35:1 portions.
Are you sure? I just found this on another forum:

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topi...ion/?p=4106376

"Here is the note that comes with the DCP. I would think the any film-outs would follow this plan.

* IMPORTANT: This feature is meant to be played in a 1998x1080 FLAT ASPECT RATIO. Set your projector to FLAT for this feature. And follow the framing chart guidelines. The aspect ratio will transition throughout the film and vary throughout. This is intentional and the projector should remain programmed to FLAT."

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post #6 of 19 Old 07-03-2014, 06:18 PM
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In the theatrical screening my wife and I attended, this was not shown CIH.
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-04-2014, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helmsman View Post
I saw this in the theater and it was CIH on a scope screen, not letterboxing of the 2.35:1 portions. ...
Yep, CIH on a scope screen at our local cineplex too.

Really enjoyed this move so we bought the blu-ray. I cued it up with the A-lens and for the most part, I found it to be not too distracting. The elevetor scenes suffered the most I think.

After you click the play button there is a rather crude black letter over white background message, just before the feature starts, instructing you to set your display to 16 X 9 aspect.
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-04-2014, 01:47 PM
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So let me get this straight about the Blu-Ray:

It's best if I keep my screen to 16:9 shape, in which case the 4:3 and 1:85:1 images will be constant height, but the 2:35:1 material will
appear with the standard "black bars." Is that correct?
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-07-2014, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
The Blu-ray release is variable height, not CIH safe. Given that the dominant aspect ratio is 4:3, I suppose it's not reasonable to expect the studio to encode the disc with that windowboxed in the center of the screen.
Why not? It worked for Oz the Great and Powerful!

[Edit: Oz was mostly 2.35, so I see your point.]
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-08-2014, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottJ View Post
Why not? It worked for Oz the Great and Powerful!

[Edit: Oz was mostly 2.35, so I see your point.]
Yeah, for the majority of viewers watching on 16:9 TVs, there's a big difference between watching a couple minutes of the movie windowboxed in the center of the screen before it expands out to 2.35:1 versus a couple minutes at 2.35:1 and around an hour and a half windowboxed.

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post #11 of 19 Old 07-09-2014, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
So let me get this straight about the Blu-Ray:

It's best if I keep my screen to 16:9 shape, in which case the 4:3 and 1:85:1 images will be constant height, but the 2:35:1 material will
appear with the standard "black bars." Is that correct?

With your constant area screen, you're covered no matter what, eh?

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post #12 of 19 Old 07-09-2014, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Peer View Post
With your constant area screen, you're covered no matter what, eh?
Well yes and no. If a movie is switching between 3 different ARs then I would likely be inclined to just choose one screen size, vs constantly adjusting my masking. I do adjust the masking sometimes for movies that go between 2:35:1 and 16:9 sometimes (e.g. with IMAX scenes).
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-10-2014, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
Well yes and no. If a movie is switching between 3 different ARs then I would likely be inclined to just choose one screen size, vs constantly adjusting my masking. I do adjust the masking sometimes for movies that go between 2:35:1 and 16:9 sometimes (e.g. with IMAX scenes).

I was think more along the lines that you aren't limited to choosing one aspect ratio because that's the only screen you have. I'm not either, since I have both a 16:9 and a 2.35:1 electric screens. In the case of a movie like this, or Tron etc., I prefer to use my 16:9 screen. Certainly fun to watch the movies with 16:9 IMAX scenes open up.

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post #14 of 19 Old 07-16-2014, 02:38 PM
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I watched this last night and it's probably now my favorite Wes Anderson film...

If I screen it for friends I think I might see if I can easily make the switch between anamorphic and normal a minimal number of times to at least get close to the theatrical presentation.

I was surprised that most (all?) of the 1.85 material was window-boxed. So I could leave the lens in place for the 1.85 and 2.35 segments, and move it hopefully just twice during the whole film. The majority of the film is in 4:3, with bookends in 1.85/2.35.

I rented it, but will probably end up buying a copy (hold out for the inevitable Criterion!) - if someone has it and is interested, it would be cool if we could document the times of the major aspect change points where it's "worth" the swap time. If I could make a lens change once near the start of the film, and once more at the end - I think that would be worth the effort...


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post #15 of 19 Old 07-21-2014, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post
I was surprised that most (all?) of the 1.85 material was window-boxed. So I could leave the lens in place for the 1.85 and 2.35 segments, and move it hopefully just twice during the whole film. The majority of the film is in 4:3, with bookends in 1.85/2.35.
The 1.85:1 scenes are windowboxed, but they're not windowboxed enough to be Constant Height. The black bars on the top and bottom are smaller than those on the 2.35:1 scenes.

This movie has some very strange aspect ratio decisions. It appears that Wes Anderson wanted to call attention to the artificiality of the different compositions.

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post #16 of 19 Old 07-21-2014, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
The 1.85:1 scenes are windowboxed, but they're not windowboxed enough to be Constant Height. The black bars on the top and bottom are smaller than those on the 2.35:1 scenes.
You think there's enough "safe" space to just show them in anamorphic mode?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chethead View Post
This movie has some very strange aspect ratio decisions. It appears that Wes Anderson wanted to call attention to the artificiality of the different compositions.
The aspect ratios show the timeframe - 4:3 was "distant past", 1.85 "recent history" and 2.35 "today" - if I followed it correctly. I tried to pay attention to the changes, but the movie was too good.

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post #17 of 19 Old 07-22-2014, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post
You think there's enough "safe" space to just show them in anamorphic mode?
Here are a couple of screenshots I had to borrow from a site I would normally prefer not to visit, but I'm at work at the moment and don't have any other options.





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And here's what the 1.85:1 image looks like cropped to the same top and bottom lines as the 2.35:1 image.



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This example appears to be relatively "safe," though you definitely lose some picture from the top and bottom. In this case, it's just some empty headroom and footroom. I can't guarantee that all of the 1.85:1 shots in the movie will work this well. Wes Anderson has a habit of cluttering the visual frame with as much information as he can cram in. You might get some shots with interesting imagery pushed all the way to the extreme edges.

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post #18 of 19 Old 07-22-2014, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
Wes Anderson has a habit of cluttering the visual frame with as much information as he can cram in. You might get some shots with interesting imagery pushed all the way to the extreme edges.


If you're a fan at all of Wes Anderson, this SNL parody is hilarious (and 100% accurate):


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post #19 of 19 Old 07-22-2014, 02:29 PM
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From the screencaps Josh posted, the composition of the un-cropped 1:85:1 image looks better to me, better composed, so I think when I watch this I'll just use leave my screen 16:9 shape and let it do it's wacky thing as intended.
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