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post #1 of 24 Old 03-04-2007, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Why arent movies, say ones shot on Super 35, released in open matte? Obviously they do indeed do open transfers since many movies show on TV in open matte formatting. Since this both fills tvs, and retains the entire original image, I dont understand why not release them, atleast sometimes. Mind you I am not a proponent of cropping 2.4:1 movies to fit 1.78:1, I believe in OAR.

CROPPED < OAR < OPEN MATTE -- OOOOH I SAID IT!
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-04-2007, 12:29 AM
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The hardcore will say that open matte is not OAR. I am with you on this.


The Chronicles of Narnia in open matte looked better that the pure OAR of the dvd. Pirates of the Car looked great in open matte...superior to the dvd. Heck Gladiator open matte looks great.

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post #3 of 24 Old 03-04-2007, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by necrolop View Post

Why arent movies, say ones shot on Super 35, released in open matte? Obviously they do indeed do open transfers since many movies show on TV in open matte formatting. Since this both fills tvs, and retains the entire original image, I dont understand why not release them, atleast sometimes. Mind you I am not a proponent of cropping 2.4:1 movies to fit 1.78:1, I believe in OAR.

Clearly you do not believe in OAR if you want to alter the composition of the movie to fill your TV screen.

Adding extraneous extra picture to the top and bottom of the frame is just as harmful as cropping off the sides. If the director and cinematographer composed their shots for 2.35:1, that is the OAR.

This topic has been covered ad nauseum in this forum.

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post #4 of 24 Old 03-04-2007, 08:01 AM
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Yeah, we don't really need to go any further with this topic do we?

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post #5 of 24 Old 03-04-2007, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveFi View Post

Yeah, we don't really need to go any further with this topic do we?

Agreed, this one can be locked down. Films should be viewed the way the director intended them to be viewed. Case closed.
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post #6 of 24 Old 03-09-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by necrolop View Post

Why arent movies, say ones shot on Super 35, released in open matte? Obviously they do indeed do open transfers since many movies show on TV in open matte formatting. Since this both fills tvs, and retains the entire original image, I dont understand why not release them, atleast sometimes. Mind you I am not a proponent of cropping 2.4:1 movies to fit 1.78:1, I believe in OAR.

I think your assumption is mistaken about the fact that they're shooting a lot of movies open matte. I don't think this is the case. There are not that many movies shot this way these days, the only one I can think of immediately is T3 which was released open matte in the 4:3 transfers so it's not P&S. But I think the overwhelming majority of films are shot anamorphic or closed matte, so there simply isn't anything to open up if you want to do a 4:3 transfer.

Kubrick shot all his films open matte/4:3, that's a giant can of worms, but basically those are really the only films that come to mind at the moment that were even shot like this. I think pretty much everything nowadays is shot anamorphic.
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post #7 of 24 Old 03-09-2007, 03:48 PM
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If the director approves of an open matte DVD of his movie, who is to say that he and his DP didn't really compose a better version of it in that aspect ratio than the one people saw in the theater?

After all, the shelf life of a film on DVD is many years longer than it is at the theater. In most cases, even the money that movie earns is greater on home video than it is in the theater. So, why WOULDN'T the filmmakers assume the DVD version ought to be closer to what they really intended than the version shown in the theater? If boom mikes, crew members and set lights aren't showing, then somebody must have considered it probable that what we are seeing in the shot would be acceptable.

I haven't heard of many modern directors protesting an open matte home video version of their movie because it showed a little more at the top and bottom than they really, really wanted anyone to see. Personally, I find it hard to believe that any modern director is so particular and certain of exactly what he/she wants to show slightly below his actors' knees or slightly above his actors' head and what that would mean either way that opening it or closing the image by several degrees would matter very much to him or his audience.

I mean, it's not like we're talking about Hitchcock, Welles, Ford, Lean or Kubrick where an EXACT placement or the EXACT relative size of an actor, a prop or a set piece within the frame matters all that much to anyone anymore, right?
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post #8 of 24 Old 03-09-2007, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitchfan View Post

If the director approves of an open matte DVD of his movie, who is to say that he and his DP didn't really compose a better version of it in that aspect ratio than the one people saw in the theater?

After all, the shelf life of a film on DVD is many years longer than it is at the theater. In most cases, even the money that movie earns is greater on home video than it is in the theater. So, why WOULDN'T the filmmakers assume the DVD version ought to be closer to what they really intended than the version shown in the theater? If boom mikes, crew members and set lights aren't showing, then somebody must have considered it probable that what we are seeing in the shot would be acceptable.

I haven't heard of many modern directors protesting an open matte home video version of their movie because it showed a little more at the top and bottom than they really, really wanted anyone to see. Personally, I find it hard to believe that any modern director is so particular and certain of exactly what he/she wants to show slightly below his actors' knees or slightly above his actors' head and what that would mean either way that opening it or closing the image by several degrees would matter very much to him or his audience.

I mean, it's not like we're talking about Hitchcock, Welles, Ford, Lean or Kubrick where an EXACT placement or the EXACT relative size of an actor, a prop or a set piece within the frame matters all that much to anyone anymore, right?

In most cases, it's the studio, not the directors that determine how a DVD is released. Directors often have no say. Once the movie gets made, it becomes studio property.

On the other hand - we actually did mention Kubrick. While there aren't a lot of directors that are that careful, Spielberg, Reiner and Polanski - to name three - do an excellent job of placing elements throughout the frame in specific locations.
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-09-2007, 05:06 PM
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I have bought three Silence of the Lambs DVDs. I gave away the last two because the one I prefer to watch is the fullscreen open matte version, even though it leaves sidebars on my widescreen monitor. You cannot tell me any of those scenes look better in 1.85:1. I think the original Cinematography is great in 4:3 and only average in 1.85:1.

Then there are the few cases where a fine fullscreen film gets vandalized for a Widescreen DVD. Such as the fine Howard Hawks film Mans Favorite Sport? from 1964. I saw it once in 1.33:1 when it was released. I saw it again 10 years later in a Fullscreen 16mm print in a military theater. I bought a VHS copy, also Fullscreen. I bought a DVD and found that the DVD was a hacked-up "Widescreen" format produced by clipping off the bottom 25% of every frame! Then to add insult to injury, in 2005 the IMDB "corrected" the AR in their database from 1.33:1 to 1.85:1 to match the butchered DVD.

I shredded the DVD. I normally am a fierce advocate for OAR. There are exceptions, it would be narrow-minded to blindly believe every filmmaker composes shots for widescreen.

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post #10 of 24 Old 03-10-2007, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I think your assumption is mistaken about the fact that they're shooting a lot of movies open matte. I don't think this is the case. There are not that many movies shot this way these days, the only one I can think of immediately is T3 which was released open matte in the 4:3 transfers so it's not P&S. But I think the overwhelming majority of films are shot anamorphic or closed matte, so there simply isn't anything to open up if you want to do a 4:3 transfer.

You unfortunately have it quite backwards. 75% or more of all current movies are shot with some form of soft matting.

All 1.85:1 movies are shot full-frame 1.37:1 and then matted to their theatrical aspect ratio. Of 2.35:1 movies, there's a split between those shot with anamorphic lenses (no matting) and those shot Super35 (matting), with the balance leaning towards Super35.

The divide between 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 theatrical movies has been about 50/50 for decades.

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post #11 of 24 Old 03-10-2007, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

In most cases, it's the studio, not the directors that determine how a DVD is released. Directors often have no say. Once the movie gets made, it becomes studio property.

This is quite incorrect. The Director's Guild of America contracts require that either the film's director, Director of Photography, or other appointed surrogate be allowed to approve any home video master for their movie.

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post #12 of 24 Old 03-10-2007, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

This is quite incorrect. The Director's Guild of America contracts require that either the film's director, Director of Photography, or other appointed surrogate be allowed to approve any home video master for their movie.

Well, then there are an awful lot of directors spinning stories out there since I'm always seeing reports about how they didn't like how a movie was released on DVD or weren't consulted in some way.
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post #13 of 24 Old 03-10-2007, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

You unfortunately have it quite backwards. 75% or more of all current movies are shot with some form of soft matting.

All 1.85:1 movies are shot full-frame 1.37:1 and then matted to their theatrical aspect ratio.

Even 1.85:1 movies shot with HD cameras?
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post #14 of 24 Old 03-11-2007, 03:56 AM
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HD digital cameras shoot a 16:9 aspect ratio, or 1.78:1. Most often they are used with anamorphic lenses to produce a digital 2.35:1 tape.

1.85:1 is specificly an AR produced by first filming 35mm with spherical lenses, then specifying a aperture plate for the projector that provides the matte.

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post #15 of 24 Old 03-11-2007, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Spike375 View Post

Even 1.85:1 movies shot with HD cameras?

Those are still a statistically insignificant fraction of all movies being produced today.

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post #16 of 24 Old 03-11-2007, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

HD digital cameras shoot a 16:9 aspect ratio, or 1.78:1. Most often they are used with anamorphic lenses to produce a digital 2.35:1 tape.

1.85:1 is specificly an AR produced by first filming 35mm with spherical lenses, then specifying a aperture plate for the projector that provides the matte.

Gary

I'm aware that HD has an AR of 1.78:1 and not 1.85:1.

The movie I'm refering to specifically is Sin City and I'm either mistaken about it being shot with HD cameras or it's been matted from 1.78:1 to 1.85:1 because when I play it on my 360 at 1080p via VGA to a 1080p native lcd tv thereby eliminating overscan to 0% I see tiny black bars on the top and bottom. Which would indicate that it is indeed 1.85:1.
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post #17 of 24 Old 03-11-2007, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Spike375 View Post

I'm aware that HD has an AR of 1.78:1 and not 1.85:1.

The movie I'm refering to specifically is Sin City and I'm either mistaken about it being shot with HD cameras or it's been matted from 1.78:1 to 1.85:1 because when I play it on my 360 at 1080p via VGA to a 1080p native lcd tv thereby eliminating overscan to 0% I see tiny black bars on the top and bottom. Which would indicate that it is indeed 1.85:1.

Sin City's digital cameras had a native aspect ratio of 16:9, but the movie was slightly matted to 1.85:1 (theatrical standard) for projection. The DVD retains that very slight matting.

Attached is a screen shot directly off the DVD (resized slightly for upload, but not cropped).
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post #18 of 24 Old 03-11-2007, 05:02 PM
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That's what I thought, thanks for the clarification.
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post #19 of 24 Old 04-04-2007, 08:10 AM
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Josh Z:

Doesn't anyone shoot "hard matte" any more (i.e., where the film is matted in the camera), or is hard matte a product of my movie-addled brain?

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post #20 of 24 Old 04-04-2007, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by RevRick View Post

Doesn't anyone shoot "hard matte" any more (i.e., where the film is matted in the camera), or is hard matte a product of my movie-addled brain?

Almost no one shoots with hard mattes in place. There's no technical or even artistic reason to need it. If a director is strict about wanting precisely 1.85:1 on video, they can require it be transferred that way at the telecine. No need for mattes in the camera.

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post #21 of 24 Old 04-04-2007, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitchfan View Post

If the director approves of an open matte DVD of his movie, who is to say that he and his DP didn't really compose a better version of it in that aspect ratio than the one people saw in the theater?
...

I just watched _Run Lola Run_ last night (it's a flipper with both ws and fs versions) and I would have to agree with Hitchfan in this case. I found the framing with the matte open to be much more pleasing. For example, the tight face shots of Lola and her boyfriend in bed are opened up and feel much more natural than the matted version.

Also, I rewatched _Dark City_ (another flipper) a few days ago and IMHO it looks better with the matte open, but to a much lesser extent than Lola.
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post #22 of 24 Old 04-04-2007, 01:08 PM
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I much prefer the visual look of a 1.78:1 or wider aspect ratio. It's just more pleasing to my eyes.

But I see very little evidence that the vast majority of today's filmmakers care all that much about the specific cinematic information they are imparting within that widescreen frame. Oh, I know they care about showing what the character is doing or where he is looking when he says his line and so on. The very superficial stuff that has everything to do with photograhs of people talking or walking or running or sitting but very little to do with the art of cinema.

But, in most cases, that is the same information we get when the matte is opened to the full frame image. Only, perhaps we'll get slightly more of that information in a way that looked as much if not more appealing in some way to the director and cinematographer watching it on their full frame monitor on the set.

When Hitchcock filmmed in 1.85:1, he gave us TONS of visual, uniquely cinematic "screenplay" and thematic information from his choice to include both characters within the same frame, exlude one of three characters from the frame, which character occupied a more dominant position within the frame, how big the image of the character's face was after cutting to a carefully framed insert shot of that character's hand reaching for an important prop, etc.

David Lean's use of vast spaces to the left or right of a character in an exotic natural setting within his widescreen images are legendary for how they impart a power and personality to that setting that would be pathetically diluted if the image was "squared off" and opened to full frame.

Ford, Wyler...the giants. They exploited an inherent strength of cinema within whatever specific aspect ratio they were using that imparted information in a way that no other medium could match, despite the fact that any one of those other mediums can also tell us what a character is saying while he is walking, running or sitting.

But I see very little if any evidence of such a meticulousness to achieve a deepening or strengthening of the "screenplay" and thematic elements of a movie within a specific frame among modern filmmaking in the way previous filmmakers did. And the fact that very little information is either lost or gained on those counts when you go from 2.35:1/1.85:1 to 1.33:1 other than perhaps how "cool" it looks supports that conclusion, imho.
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post #23 of 24 Old 04-04-2007, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

This is quite incorrect. The Director's Guild of America contracts require that either the film's director, Director of Photography, or other appointed surrogate be allowed to approve any home video master for their movie.

Well... you can "approve" or supervise a transfer, but you can't tell a studio not to release a full-frame version of the movie. If they think there's a market for it, it's done. I don't see too many these days, though, thankfully. But maybe a children's movie will have one, for example. And usually directors don't complain because their residuals are related to DVD sales in a major way. Some what's good for the studio is good for that director's pocket.

W/R/T Super35, most S35 movies are shot with what's called a "common topline," which means that a subsequent full-frame version (say, for pay cable) will only show more information at the bottom of the frame. This is a compromise most seem to live with, as the headroom and left to right information remain constant from the theatrical presentation. It does change the nature of the composition, however -- albeit only slightly -- and is not ideal, in my view. But there's not much to be done about it. An exception: Paul Thomas Anderson managed to get Magnolia onto pay cable only in 2.35 format, but I have no idea how loud he had to scream, or to whom, or how many times, or whose kids he threatened to get it done.
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post #24 of 24 Old 04-04-2007, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Almost no one shoots with hard mattes in place. There's no technical or even artistic reason to need it. If a director is strict about wanting precisely 1.85:1 on video, they can require it be transferred that way at the telecine. No need for mattes in the camera.

Not only that, hard mattes are contractually forbidden (at least in boilerplate).
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