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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How can we tell OAR?


I was at netflix looking to rent Psycho II (1983). The ONLY screen format listed was full screen (not pan & scan and not wide screen). Does this mean the OAR is 1.33:1?


Then, when reading "about the dvd" it said there is a "wide screen transfer". Doh!!!. What is a "wide screen transfer" of a "full screen format"? Do they just stretch it?


In summary, does anyone have tips on how to interpret the information at netflix or on the outside of a dvd box so we can tell the OAR of the film?


Thanks.


Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much pantherman007 for the great link to http://www.imdb.com.


Doesn't "full screen format" mean 1.33:1 (maybe Netflix got it wrong on Psycho II) while "wide screen format" means > 1.7:1? Or is the phrase "full screen format" too vague to mean anything?


Happy moviewatching,


Rick
 

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The terminology differs by studio. Full-frame and Pan & Scan are interchangeable and both indicate a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Studios and stores use 'Full-frame' to avoid negative connotations that go with 'Pan & Scan' and convice the average Joe that he's getting more (when actually he's seeing less of the movie).


While full-frame and P&S always refer to 1.33:1, 'widescreen' is less specific. It means that the film wasn't P&S'd when transferred to DVD, but the actual aspect ratio you see on your screen could be 1.85:1, 2.35:1, 2.76:1, or something else. Ben Hur, for example, was shown in theaters with several different aspect ratios - 2.2:1 through 2.76:1. (The DVD uses the latter for its transfer) Depending on the film's OAR, you'll more or less letterboxing when watching a widescreen DVD. Try this site for an overview of different aspect ratios, both original and how they get transferred to DVD:

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articl...reenorama.html


Back to Psycho II - even though it was filmed in 1.85:1, they P&S'd it when producing the DVD, so Netflix is correct that the DVD is full-frame.
 

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If you saw Psycho II in the theater, you probably watched a full frame version of the film that was matted off to approximately 1.85:1. For the DVD release, they probably just opened up the matte, top and bottom. How can you tell? Does it look like there is extraneous room in the frame, above and below? Do you spot the mic? That's a tip off that it's open matte, not Pan & Scan. Some 1.85:1 films are panned and scanned. Why? Special effects shots are often matted within the theatrical aspect ratio. So, during scenes with CGI, there simply is no picture top and bottom to show. In that case the image would be panned and scanned horizontally. This is just a few of the ways this can be handled. I believe some shots (CGI for instance) can be pan and scanned and others shown as full frame on DVD. So some scenes are clearly cropped and some are too open, showing what the director didn't intend for you to see.
 

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Originally posted by pantherman007:


"Ben Hur, for example, was shown in theaters with several different aspect ratios - 2.2:1 through 2.76:1. (The DVD uses the latter for its transfer)"

_____________ __________________


During its original roadshow exhibitions, Ben-Hur was never shown theatrically at 2:76:1, the anomorphic (1.25x squeeze factor) camera negative aspect ratio; 2:55:1 is about right.


During the late 60s and 70s Ben-Hur was shown in non-anomorphic 70mm (spherical or flat) with an aspect ratio around 2:21:1. You know what this does to the image, right? Uh, uh...severe cropping...


The DVD transfer, a much better effort than the horrid and misguided job MGM/Turner did for the wide-screen laserdisc version, is not quite 2:76:1 either, but for those who insisted in seeing it that way, well...there it is.


By the way, 35mm 4-track Mag, anomorphic, imbibition dye transfer (IB Tech) roadshow prints had the image "letterboxed" within the 35mm frame, meaning it had black bars above and below the active image. It was done so to preserve the "OAR" (not 2:76:1, though). How about them apples!... :)


-THTS
 

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Originally posted by DFletcher:


"Frank, your information isn't correct. Ben-Hur was indeed shown theatrically at 2.76:1."

_________________


I expected as much...look, do a search in this site and look for what I've already said about the matter in past posts and review of Ben-Hur.


As to the link you gave...yes, I am very well aware of his existence.

Btw, Marty Hart, the curator, has one of the lenses used to film Ben-Hur in his possesion. There is a picture of it in his site. Check the 65mm and 35mm markings inscribed therein and see what you make of it.

________________ _________________


"The DVD shows an aspect ratio of 2.76:1, but the transfer was made from a 35mm print, and the image has been cropped down from about 2.5:1."

________________________ _________________


I said as much in my "review," and that is why I wished to see a DVD transfer proceeding from 70mm elements...slightly cropping the sides...with an aspect ratio of 2:55:1...thus yielding higher VERTICAL resolution...something which low rez video formats badly needs (I don't suppose WB will be joining the D-VHS crowd and put Ben-Hur in HD anytime soon; that would really improve matters immensely)...but the powers-that-be opted out of that option... :rolleyes:


-THTS
 

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I suppose that you are referring to the marking on the lens that says 1.33:1, but Martin Hart qualifies that with this statement:


While the lens has a squeeze factor of 1.25:1, it still retains the inscription "1.33 anamorphosis" from the early developmental stages.


I guess I have no reason to accept his word over yours, but he does show pictures that represent an AR 2.76:1, with more picture information on the sides. He mentions that very few theaters actually showed this AR, because it simply wasn't practical (they lost too much height by doing it) and showed something more akin to 2.5:1, and then of course, when prints were made in 35mm for the rest of us, 2.5:1 became in fact, the AR of the movie.


I'll look for your review of the DVD elsewhere on this site.


One bothersome "aspect" of our insistence on original aspect ratios for home viewing: If we are trying to emulate the theatrical experience as closely as possible, then only one element of that is the aspect ratio. An extremely widescreen movie like "Ben-Hur" is unfortunately a very small picture on our television. Smaller than actual television programs, with an unfortunate loss of resolution. It will never have that "enveloping" quality so endemic to widescreen movies, until we can figure out how to make a television which has a fixed height, but variable width, and will stretch wider to show widescreen movies.
 

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Originally posted by DFletcher:


"I guess I have no reason to accept his word over yours, but he does show pictures that represent an AR 2.76:1, with more picture information on the sides."

___________


I never implied Marty's word isn't acceptable; indeed, he is the Master......and I simply his humble student (he has taught me more about film matters than anyone else; he is my tutor). Take his word at face value!

_____________ ______________________


"He mentions that very few theaters actually showed this AR, because it simply wasn't practical (they lost too much height by doing it) and showed something more akin to 2.5:1, and then of course, when prints were made in 35mm for the rest of us, 2.5:1 became in fact, the AR of the movie."

_____________ _______________________


That is, and has been from the way go, precisely my contention...that no audiences ever got to see Ben-Hur in its camera negative aspect ratio!

_____________ _______________________


"One bothersome "aspect" of our insistence on original aspect ratios for home viewing: If we are trying to emulate the theatrical experience as closely as possible, then only one element of that is the aspect ratio. An extremely wide-screen movie like "Ben-Hur" is unfortunately a very small picture on our television. Smaller than actual television programs, with an unfortunate loss of resolution. It will never have that "enveloping" quality so endemic to wide-screen movies, until we can figure out how to make a television which has a fixed height, but variable width, and will stretch wider to show wide-screen movies."

____________________________


I fully agree with 'ya on this, Sir!

And you know what else, viewing a 35mm IB Tech print of Ben-Hur being projected onto a 12 foot wide scope screen doesn't quite reach that EPIC, monumental impact that it possesses only when viewed on really huge screens either -and here we are dealing with film projection and not video!- although it more than makes up in terms of superb definition, gorgeous colors, insanely sharp imaging, and the simple fact that no matter how we slice it, a 12 foot width still manages to remain respectable dimensions.


Btw, I chose a scope-ratioed screen for my screening of both film and video formats to comform according to requirements dictated by a constant height application...


-THTS
 

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So you can replicate the theatrical experience with actual film projection at home. But this option is simply not available to me. I live in a New York City apartment with little space (and no available wallspace). If I want movies in my home, I'm gonna have to go with television. I have a 50" plasma display, and for most things, it's perfect (any "academy" feature, and standard 16x9 features) and for "scope" films, it is the best I've been able to come up with. Still, a movie like "Ben Hur" loses its epic size, and a lot of its resolution by being shown at this size (and don't get me started on what it looks like on a 27" non-enhancing television!).


I have HDTV over the cable, and I have watched "Charlie's Angels" in high definition. HBO has edited these to a kind of pan-and-scan, so that they fill the display (so a 2.35 movie is essentially 1.78). It isn't real pan-and-scan, though; what they do is, for most shots, they simply take the center of the image; but for some very wide shots, they add the bars. So you're seeing bars, but not all the time. The advantage to this system is that closeups are actually closeup, but wide scenes remain wide.


I know its a tradeoff, and most people on this forum want widescreen all the time so I'm in the minority, but as I said before, replicating the theatrical experience on a fixed-size television involves more than the OAR, to me.
 
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