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Which version of How the West Was One did you prefer?

  • I preferred the Super wide scope version on disc one.

    Votes: 4 28.6%
  • I preferred the Smile box version on disc two.

    Votes: 10 71.4%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please answer this only if you've already seen this on Blu-ray. Question is really simple. Which version did you prefer?


Super scope version on Disc One or

Smile Box version on Disc Two


I was initially very skeptical of smile box concept. I generally prefer my movies to be in original theatrical format and language. However it quickly became apparent that super wide scope format on disc (~2.8:1) did not represent the original theatrical format for home. The movie was meant to be displayed on a curved cinerama screen and simply did not show the intended effect on a flat wide screen. An example would be when a person on the edge of the screen was talking to the person near the center. On super wide screen they looked as if they were talking to some invisible person outside the screen. It wasn't perfect on the smilebox, but better. You also had better sense of panorama and 3-dimensionality with the smilebox screen. Short of projecting this on your very own cinerama screen, I think the Smilebox is probably the best alternative for home theater.
 

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I haven't actually seen the disk yet (so I didn't vote) BUT I have seen the SmileBox format a number of times during its development.


It really works. Mainly, it gives you a 2D view of what the actual curved screen looks like when you are in the theater.


The Cinerama camera is very wide and captures a broad and curved panorama. Hence, if you flatten it out, optical distortion becomes very pronounced. Straight lines become very curved on the sides.


SmileBox greatly improves this and gives you what you would see in the theater.



Note: of the two Cinerama houses in the US, the Seattle Cinerama theater actually uses the original slotted screen and Voice of the Theater speakers. This means that the presentation is more curved and closer to what you would originally have seen. The sound is also more mellow and true to the original Cinerama experience compared to a modern, "punch-heavy" sound system with exaggerated bass designed for modern action films.


The Pacific CineramaDome in Hollywood (as good as it is, and I am not being critical!) uses a modern screen and modern speaker array. It is good, but not quite up to the standards of the Seattle house. I understand that the third theater, in Bradford England, is very original as well but I haven't seen it.


I was able to compare Smilebox in the lobby of the Seattle theater with some of the same scenes on the screen inside. This gave me a good sense that Smilebox really works.


Kudos to David Strohmeier for promoting it, and to Warners for actually using it. Warners really cares about its classic library and listens to its customers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmike007 /forum/post/14626001


Are there any screen shots of how it looks on a display ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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The smilebox version eliminates the distortion caused by flattening the three separate frames. Also, this version is even better because they have seamlessly "stitched" all three frames together as one.


Previous versions of Cinerama films have looked odd on home video because the seams never quite lined up properly, sometimes cutting characters in half or creating an off-putting triptych look.
 

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First off- this is as magnificent a presentation of a classic catalog title as has ever been available for home consumption. Blade Runner, Close Encounters...these were both 5 star Bd releases, but what was achieved here with the near seamless compositing of the three panels, as well as the resolution boost that was inherent in that system and how much that impacts when reduced to 1080, is just breathtaking.

As for which I prefered- unfortunately both versions lack some impact on a CH set up. Both have to much false space that I can't mask off cleanly on my set-up and having to see LBX bars kills the specatcle. However, with the smilebox version I can zoom out enough so that the image just about fully fills a 2.40:1 ratio, while still retaining a sense of the center third being slightly farther away (the smilebox is still visible for the middle third of the image).

Not ideal since it clips off the top and bottom outer edges, but a good compromise for my set up.
 

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Viewing the Smilebox version looks absolutely nothing like the original (which I have probably seen 20+ times) in the theater.


I was very disturbed by the difference between the fake curve imparted by the smilebox process when compared to the flatness of the image itself.


For example, when sitting in the theater, you have the deep curve of the screen and the image follows the same curve.


With the Smilebox process, the concave top and bottom try to fool the brain into thinking it's viewing the image on a deeply curved screen, but the depth perception cues from the image don't correlate with the pseudocurve.


Also, in a CIH setup, the Smilebox image is considerably smaller (narrower) than the full 2.85:1 image.


All in all, a very disturbing alteration of perspective. I'll take the disc 1 any day......


Vern
 

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You've really seen this projected accurately 20+ times in the theater? Cause I think that's a load of nonsense.


"I was very disturbed by the difference between the fake curve imparted by the smilebox process when compared to the flatness of the image itself. "


The image is not supposed to be flat, that's the point. Disc one actually causes much more distortion by flattening the three panes.


Perhaps it's your constant height setup that's the problem. Have you watched disc two on a large HD set? I'd suggest doing so, it looks amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vern Dias /forum/post/14626728


I was very disturbed by the difference between the fake curve imparted by the smilebox process when compared to the flatness of the image itself.


For example, when sitting in the theater, you have the deep curve of the screen and the image follows the same curve.


With the Smilebox process, the concave top and bottom try to fool the brain into thinking it's viewing the image on a deeply curved screen, but the depth perception cues from the image don't correlate with the pseudocurve.


Vern

But the image isn't anywhere close to flat. According to the documentary, there was three separate cameras pointing in different directions to shoot the original footage. I thought the spacial distortion was much worse with the super scope version (actually giving me a headache). But I can see how smilebox may give much smaller image on a CIH setup. Perhaps you could have varied your zoom like Paulidan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by benricci /forum/post/14626774


You've really seen this projected accurately 20+ times in the theater? Cause I think that's a load of nonsense.


"I was very disturbed by the difference between the fake curve imparted by the smilebox process when compared to the flatness of the image itself. "


The image is not supposed to be flat, that's the point. Disc one actually causes much more distortion by flattening the three panes.


Perhaps it's your constant height setup that's the problem. Have you watched disc two on a large HD set? I'd suggest doing so, it looks amazing.

Perhaps he is referring to a conventional projection of this film. Was there ever a version produced in normal scope format? I would think not, given how it was originally shot, but then again there weren't very many Cinerama theaters either.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by xradman /forum/post/14626855


Perhaps he is referring to a conventional projection of this film. Was there ever a version produced in normal scope format? I would think not, given how it was originally shot, but then again there weren't very many Cinerama theaters either.

I believe that the version shipped to conventional theaters was stitched together from the three Cinerama panels. This wasn't a situation like Oklahoma! where the filmmakers shot the movie in two camera formats simultaneously. How the West Was Won was only shot in three-camera Cinerama.
 

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I got this in from WB yesterday - and I must say I'm digging the Smilebox version. It takes some getting used to - but once you adjust, you kind of get drawn in. And I'm only seeing it on a 52" LCD display - can't imagine how cool it would be on a good PJ system. And the quality of the transfer is amazing.
 

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I have got to try this out, to the netflix queue disk 2 goes!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by benricci /forum/post/14626774


You've really seen this projected accurately 20+ times in the theater? Cause I think that's a load of nonsense.

Perhaps back during the original release in 1962 (it did run a very lengthy time).


But in the past ten (10) years, I'm only aware of it showing three times (someone correct me if I'm wrong): Los Angeles in 2005 (three showings) and 2008 (one showing); Seattle in 2005. I really only know the LA dates.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by benricci /forum/post/14626774



The image is not supposed to be flat, that's the point. Disc one actually causes much more distortion by flattening the three panes.

Actually that's not correct. The smilebox version is the one that is distorted. Figures on the periphery are clearly distorted. It looks to me that the curve used is too severe, but I'm guessing they were going for 'attitude over accuracy'. If I had a CH set up that was 2.89:1, I would likely be watching the 'flat' version due to the nondistortion. It is more because of the significant LBX bars it entails on a 2.40:1 set up that I feel compelled to zoom out the smilebox. Neither is ideal...but if any release could stand to be blown up as large as possible, its this one. The level of percieved detail is astounding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulidan /forum/post/14628362


Actually that's not correct. The smilebox version is the one that is distorted. Figures on the periphery are clearly distorted. It looks to me that the curve used is too severe, but I'm guessing they were going for 'attitude over accuracy'. If I had a CH set up that was 2.89:1, I would likely be watching the 'flat' version due to the nondistortion. It is more because of the significant LBX bars it entails on a 2.40:1 set up that I feel compelled to zoom out the smilebox. Neither is ideal...but if any release could stand to be blown up as large as possible, its this one. The level of percieved detail is astounding.

I guess we disagree then. Super wide scope version on disc one had much more objectionable distortion than Smilebox version on disc two IMO.
 
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