Aspect Ratios of movies Please read before posting questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-24-2007, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is a explanation of aspect ratios. This has been asked to have a sticky so here it is.

http://www.rexer.com/cine/oar.htm

http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5140690-4.html
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-24-2007, 06:25 AM
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Thanks for the links to these clear explanations of the different aspect ratios.
Ever since I became aware of this issue with DVD releases I've tried to "vote with my wallet" i.e. find out what the OAR of a movie is and buy the correct DVD version (usually widescreen).
My question here is that I would have hoped that with the HD formats the studios would finally take care in providing us with the AR that the director intended but, if my research is correct, this would seem to not be the case with the recent Uni HD DVD release of The Sting.
George Roy Hill intended this to be in 1.33:1
The studio balked and the top and bottom of the theatrical release was matted in order to give it a widescreen AR, thereby cutting off people's hats and the top of their heads as well as giving a more zoomed in and claustrophobic feeling to the movie when compared to the original 1.33:1 release (available on SD DVD here).
Does anyone have any info on why Uni decided to not go with the OAR that the director intended? And does Uni have any plans in the works to release a version with the original 1.33:1 AR?

Mods: Please move/delete this post if this is not the proper place for these questions to be asked.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-24-2007, 02:52 PM
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i thought the "intended" aspect ratio was 1.85:1.
The negative was 1.37:1.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0070735/technical

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post #4 of 13 Old 03-24-2007, 06:49 PM
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This sticky is long overdo. I'll copy a letter to the editor from Home Theatre Magazine and leave the writer anonymous. The perception below is fairly widespread and needs to be corrected. And to the letter writer whoever you are. No one is making fun of you because your letter is representative of many, in fact the majority who misunderstand aspect ratios:
Quote:


I just purchased a new PS3 from my local Best Buy as an inexpensive Blu-ray player. Of course, I will let the kids play games on it at times, too. I was all ready to enjoy the Blu-ray release of Stealth after I hooked up the PS3 when letterbox bars appeared at the top and bottom of the screen. I called Sony tech support to see if I had some setting wrong, and was dumbfounded to hear that this was a widescreen movie, and the Blu-ray disc would have the bars just like the DVD. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I assumed that, with Blu-ray and HD DVD, we had stepped out of the dark ages and into a world sans letterboxing. What's going on? FYI, the PS3 is connected by HDMI to a Pioneer Elite A/V receiver and then to an Elite 1080p plasma. And, yes, I do know what happens when you assume.

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post #5 of 13 Old 03-25-2007, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart81 View Post

i thought the "intended" aspect ratio was 1.85:1.
The negative was 1.37:1.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0070735/technical

That's interesting. A quick search returns the three links below. The Sting was indeed shot in 4:3 (1.37:1 according to the quoted IMDB link) and the widescreen presentation was created by matting the top and bottom of the full image on the negative.
http://home.earthlink.net/~davidhaye...icles/p06.html
http://home.earthlink.net/~davidhaye...icles/p07.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_and_scan

I can't, however, find any info on whether George Roy Hill and Universal agreed or disagreed on the 1.85:1 AR theatrical release apart from the claim made by an Amazon reviewer on December 18, 2004:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0783225873/
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-25-2007, 09:03 PM
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HPForMe, thanks for posting that. I'm not sure what part of "high definition" makes people think "no bars"

David Mackenzie
DVD/BD Compressionist/Author
Reviewer & Tech Consultant, HDTVtest
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-25-2007, 10:07 PM
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Other links: some of these have other good links

Widescreen advocate
http://www.widescreenadvocate.org/widescreenprimer.html

The Digital Bits (Bill Hunt) aspect ratio primer
http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articl...reenorama.html

The Digital Bits (Bill Hunt) guide to anamorphic DVD
http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articl...hic/index.html


Why Widescreen? DVD Active
http://www.dvdactive.com/editorial/a...idescreen.html

The Letterbox and Widescreen Advocacy Page (Widescreen.org) Best Overall Site
http://www.widescreen.org/widescreen.shtml

Hong Kong Fanactic - Intro to Widescreen
http://hkfanatic.com/widescreen/aspect/aspect.php

American Widescreen Museum
http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/

Swedish Widescreen Page (worth checking out)
http://www1.tripnet.se/~adler/wide2.html

Secrets of Home Video Guide to Enchanced for 16:9 TVs
http://hometheaterhifi.com/volume_6_...vember-99.html

Examples:

http://www.widescreen.org/examples.shtml

http://www.michaeljfoxdatabase.com/W...SvsPNS_MA.html

http://home1.gte.net/res0mrb7/widesc...ent/index.html

http://home1.gte.net/res0mrb7/widesc...mmy/index.html

http://home1.gte.net/res0mrb7/widesc...cks/index.html

http://home1.gte.net/res0mrb7/widesc...ble/index.html

http://home1.gte.net/res0mrb7/widesc...ion/index.html

.
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-25-2007, 10:18 PM
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I think as more people move to 16:9 HDTVs the issue lessons for 1.78 and 1.85 movies and even for 1:33 pillar boxed movies as people can understand a near full screen of those aspect ratios or understand their 4:3 content is smaller than their old widescreen HDTV, and undertstand they get pillarbox or have to expand the image.

I also think that most people find it less disturbing that epic type 2:35 movies still have some letterbars on their wider HDTVs as they are still bigger than their old analog 4:3 TVs. The fact that in most cases now for HD DVD or Blu-ray they get OAR anyway will just lead some to uninformally bitch, but deal with it anyway.

People liked Fullscreen movies when they have smaller 4:3 TV's.

The real problem most consumers had with letterboxing on their DVDs was that the black bars too up not only took much space on their old smaller analog 4:3 TVs but that the resulting wide image was just to small on anything than a 27: TV, where that was just acceptable. A 2:35 image on a 4:3 TV is almost half black bars, that just sucks wind on a 20 inch TV.

But HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs are intended for larger sized 16:9 widescreen HDTVs. Its just less of an issue for most people. People may still be somewhat confused and may complain, but at least they don't have to bothers witching to anamorphic or stretch mode on their DVD player anymore.

On a 32" 16:9 LCD HDTV or anything larger a 1:85/1:78/2:35 image is much bigger, the black bars are much smaller and its more an irritant than a deal breaker.

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post #9 of 13 Old 03-25-2007, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AES256 View Post

That's interesting. A quick search returns the three links below. The Sting was indeed shot in 4:3 (1.37:1 according to the quoted IMDB link) and the widescreen presentation was created by matting the top and bottom of the full image on the negative.
http://home.earthlink.net/~davidhaye...icles/p06.html
http://home.earthlink.net/~davidhaye...icles/p07.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_and_scan

I can't, however, find any info on whether George Roy Hill and Universal agreed or disagreed on the 1.85:1 AR theatrical release apart from the claim made by an Amazon reviewer on December 18, 2004:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0783225873/


OAR gets really complicated when it comes to open matte films.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_matte
Is it possible for a director to "intend" a film to be one aspect ratio in the cinema and different one at home? I don't see why not. King Kong is a good example.(there is a whole thread on the issue http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ight=king+kong)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blasst View Post

Here is a shot from King Kong, first is HDDVD, second is the Cinemax shot.[IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG]

The cinemax version actually allows you to see more of the image than the theatrical realase . So perhaps it's possible for a film to have multiple "intended" aspect ratios.

things are going to get worse and worse and never get better again.
Kurt Vonnegut
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-26-2007, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AES256 View Post

That's interesting. A quick search returns the three links below. The Sting was indeed shot in 4:3 (1.37:1 according to the quoted IMDB link) and the widescreen presentation was created by matting the top and bottom of the full image on the negative.
http://home.earthlink.net/~davidhaye...icles/p06.html
http://home.earthlink.net/~davidhaye...icles/p07.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_and_scan

I can't, however, find any info on whether George Roy Hill and Universal agreed or disagreed on the 1.85:1 AR theatrical release apart from the claim made by an Amazon reviewer on December 18, 2004:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0783225873/

I don't know the full story behind The Sting, but I think that Amazon user is just confused on the matting process. Almost all 1.85:1 movies are shot full-aperature 1.37:1 and then matted for theatrical exhibition. That doesn't mean that the intended composition was ever 1.37:1.

The theatrical projection standard for "flat" films was 1.85:1 by the time The Sting was produced. George Roy Hill would not have had much venue for a 1.37:1 movie at that time even if he'd wanted one. Aside from art theaters equipped to project classic Academy Ratio movies, the majority of theaters in the country are incapable of projecting 1.37:1 prints without matting.

When The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999, it had to be printed in windowbox format on the 35mm theatrical prints, so that it could be projected onto 1.85:1 screens with black bars on the sides. But that sort of effort was simply not ever done at the time The Sting was released. Even re-releases of major classic films like Gone With The Wind were cropped to 1.85:1 in most theaters at that time.

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post #11 of 13 Old 04-04-2007, 02:15 AM
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well said.



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post #12 of 13 Old 04-04-2007, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benes View Post

True, but a common misconception I see is that some people think more picture automatically means it is better. The framing of the shot is just as important as anything else. If Peter Jackson was framing for a 2.35:1 aspect then the open matte version is giving us extraneous information. And that can very well take away from the focus of the shot. For example in the above shot it might have been intended to focus on the characters face but the open matte version makes it seem like a wider shot.


Well... who can say what is better? My point is that there could be multiple versions and not just a deffinitive one. I feel the same way about directors cuts or special editions.

things are going to get worse and worse and never get better again.
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-13-2007, 01:03 PM
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Here is a great article from HighDefDigest on aspect ratios and the feared black bars

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