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Stephen444

TCM and aspect ratio

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Anyone else annoyed at the number of films shown on TCM that are not presented in the correct aspect ratio?

I was looking at the China Syndrome this evening and again I see that it is being shown in a 16:9 format rather than the 1.85:1 theatrical ratio that the film was shot in.

Give me the thin black bands at the top and bottom.  I want to see the films in their original proportions.  standards1.png.69a3dc6694ea086b537f253ffe447c1f.png

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Network, the film that came on after China Syndrome, was also shot in 1.85:1 but TCM again presented it in 16:9 ratio (TV screen ratio)  The premium channels chop off parts of films to fit the TV screen all day long.  For this reason I watch fewer films on TV, including TCM than I use to.  Thankfully DVD’s are usually correctly proportioned.

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I  wouldn't  always blame the channel. Often times the studios and distributors find it easier to simply make everything they release in a 16:9 ratio  figuring that it's close enough to 1.85:1 or similar aspect ratios that the average viewer won't notice or doesn't care. Of course, people on these boards don't tend to be "average".

TCM has always tried to run films in the proper aspects  ratios, but the studios are making harder and harder to get them.  I'm sure they're often told "that's the only version we have, take it or leave it."

 

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That's probably the sad truth.  I bought "The Swimmer" on DVD in the past few years.  It has two versions on it.  One is standard DVD.   The second version is Blu-Ray.  The DVD version is 1.85:1 with the nice little black strips top and bottom.  The Blu-Ray version, although clearer, is blown up to fill the screen.  

Although I don't watch a lot of TCM lately it seems that they have fewer airings of the filler that they use to always show about Aspect Ratio, featuring "Ben Hur" as an example.  I think it has Martin Scorsese as the commentator.

I will watch made for TV movies in 16:9, since that is the native aspect ratio, but I refuse to pay serious attention to films that have been altered. The result is that I am watching less TV, which is a good thing.

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Widescreen formats don't stand out much on HD like on the old CRT TV sets because HD are longer left to right - some more than others..  Think this has cause confusion over the years.  I like to go by theatrical aspect ratios to avoid confusion.  My Laserdisc  presents the old school 1.85 and 2.35 formats.

 

1.85 on HD..

Still-7-JP-750x469.png

 

 

vs older TV's

lebowski_1w.jpg

 

 

2.35 on HD...

8094547297_8f2426c0e2_b.jpg

 

 

...vs older TV sets

movie-16-9sensor-800x600.jpg

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Cinema film comparisons 

55.jpg

 

 

Super Panavision 70

2.20

Super-Panavision-70-West-Side-Story-1961

 

Ultra Panavision  

2.76

anamorphic.jpg

 

 

An experimental 4.0 ratio Polyvision used by Abel Gance in "Napoleon (1927)

Now that's w-i-d-e-s-c-r-e-e-n

?format=1500w

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17 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

IIIII'd liiiiike toooo seeee thaaaaat.

If you're referring to "Napoleon", it's available on DVD / Blu ray. Movie is 6 hours long. 

The one I got several years ago is a low res version that fit on a single DVD.  The Polyvision scene is on the last reel of the movie. Newest release may not work on US players (Region 1)

s-l300.jpg

 

This one is Region 2

61yRPbQcJgL._SL1500_.jpg

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Great examples of aspect ratios on old vs. new tv's.  

That's an amazing example of a rogue ratio in Napolean 1927.  Wow.  Who knew.

Thanks

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40 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

Abel Gance, visionary.

His invention is the forerunner of Cinerama using 3 cameras / projectors.

Polyvision

napoleon10.jpg

 

Cinerama has a curved screen

 

Cinerama-fix-1-680.jpg

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Magnavox screens are curved enough for me. I also like the dials for vertical and horizontal hold. Now that is true movie fanship...movies the way they were intended to be viewed. And at 2am, a beautiful display of a December snowfall.

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11 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Magnavox screens are curved enough for me. I also like the dials for vertical and horizontal hold. Now that is true movie fanship...movies the way they were intended to be viewed. And at 2am, a beautiful display of a December snowfall.

The Cinerama's deeply curved screen was only part of the trick of presenting 3D without glasses. Cinerama screen actually consists of more than a thousand strips of perforated plastic tape   It reflected light at an angle what's known as the "Waller effect".  It actually worked.

tic7-lg.jpg

 

Notice how patrons are seeking the "sweet spot".  The Exit door shows how big the screen is.

cinerama-1.jpg?w=500&ssl=1

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I'm glad this is being discussed here. I'm glad that I'm not the only one noticing and bothered by TCM increasingly showing movies in the wrong aspect ratio. What I've been seeing a lot recently on Spectrum in New York is movies that should be in some widescreen format that I'm getting in 4:3. I can't watch these. Of course, at one time I did watch movies this way all the time on television, but now that is along ago. This has just started happening a lot in the last few days.

Is anyone else finding this happening a lot? I know that I'm not the only New Yorker who gets TCM through Spectrum who is finding this happening. Spectrum says they have nothing to do with it.

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On 3/25/2019 at 9:03 PM, slaytonf said:

Abel Gance, visionary.

Also a terrible dramatist.  Everything you ever hear about Napoleon comes from the stunning Act 1 and the Triptych from Act 4.  Act 3, which I like to call "Napoleon & Josephine: The Blandest Lovers of All Time" is dire, a gaping hole of mediocrity that no one ever mentions when this film comes up (hearing about this film for more than a decade, I had absolutely no clue this was coming when I finally watched the BFI's release a couple months back because the boosters invariably skip over it; they just don't talk about it.)  It's all of his weakness with plot and character and none of his strength with visuals (well, save perhaps some of the very beginning of this Act at a party.)  As for the triptych, I don't think it's nearly as interesting as it's made out to be.  The early widescreen is nice, but the more experimental portions did nothing for me (indeed, after Act 3 I neither need or want to see multi close-ups of the Josephine from this film.)

The BFI's Blu-ray (United Kingdom, Region B) of Napoleon is Kevin Brownlow's (the film's biggest proponent and savior through the decades) restoration form the early 2000s.  Francis Ford Coppola and The Cinematheque Francaise have their own restoration in the works that is supposed to include some more material (these two different restorations are the result of a feud with Coppola, issues of who really owns the remnants of the film, and how exactly to restore it - Gance revised this film continuously over the decades.)  Criterion is apparently going to release this version over here.

As for the TCM aspect ratios, that's down to the studios that make the masters.  When Warner prepare masters for home video releases of 1.85:1 films, they leave the matte open to 1.78:1 instead (most of the time they leave it open, they may zoom in in a few cases, I can't remember for sure.)  I'd prefer they didn't but the difference really isn't terribly big.

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1 hour ago, JonasEB said:

As for the TCM aspect ratios, that's down to the studios that make the masters.  When Warner prepare masters for home video releases of 1.85:1 films, they leave the matte open to 1.78:1 instead (most of the time they leave it open, they may zoom in in a few cases, I can't remember for sure.)  I'd prefer they didn't but the difference really isn't terribly big.

I admit it I am obsessive about the difference.  Granted it’s not a big difference but, I feel, it is a lazy acceptance that can ruin the experience of viewing a film for those that appreciate seeing the original proportions of a movie.  This is especially true, I think, of TCM viewers.  I  assume that this is done for the preference of the the viewers that want to see their entire screen filled with the movie image and, of course, making it a less complex task of preparing the masters for home video release.  

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I had a handful of LaserDisc movies years ago. They were all Pan & Scan. My player went to LaserDisc heaven.

hqdefault.jpg

Ever since TV went HD and digital, way too many broadcasters have trouble getting the image to fit the screen.

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6 hours ago, Michael Rennie said:

I had a handful of LaserDisc movies years ago. They were all Pan & Scan. My player went to LaserDisc heaven.

hqdefault.jpg

Ever since TV went HD and digital, way too many broadcasters have trouble getting the image to fit the screen.

 

I still have a Laserdisc player,  Sony MDP-650 that replaced the Realistic MD-1000.  Can play both sides without removing disc and play's CLV like CAV (still / pause / frame advance), considered a high end model.

Have several disc with 2.35 widescreen with Dolby Surround / Digital audio i.e. "Jurassic Park" and "Twister".  First format to introduce widescreen.

155546975_sony-mdp-600-laserdisc-laser-d

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Right now (10am to 11:45am, April 3), TCM is showing All The Brothers Were Valiant in the wrong aspect ratio.  This 1953 movie is obviously meant to be 4:3, but TCM has it stretched out to fill a wide screen. The picture is distorted and essentially unwatchable.  (Six-footer Robert Taylor looks like he’s about the size of Mickey Rooney.)

i know this was probably just a mistake — someone probably thought, wrongly, that this movie was in a widescreen format.  We all make mistakes.  (At least, I hope  this was just a mistake and not an indication that TCM now thinks that every movie should be in widescreen format, which would be a disaster.)

But I wish TCM would be more careful.  The picture is so distorted that they may as well have not shown the movie at all.  Very disappointing. 

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1 hour ago, BingFan said:

Right now (10am to 11:45am, April 3), TCM is showing All The Brothers Were Valiant in the wrong aspect ratio.  This 1953 movie is obviously meant to be 4:3, but TCM has it stretched out to fill a wide screen. The picture is distorted and essentially unwatchable.  (Six-footer Robert Taylor looks like he’s about the size of Mickey Rooney.)

i know this was probably just a mistake — someone probably thought, wrongly, that this movie was in a widescreen format.  We all make mistakes.  (At least, I hope  this was just a mistake and not an indication that TCM now thinks that every movie should be in widescreen format, which would be a disaster.)

But I wish TCM would be more careful.  The picture is so distorted that they may as well have not shown the movie at all.  Very disappointing. 

All HD TV's has a picture size selection, select 4:3.

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TCM showed How The West Was Won last month in its original Cinerama widescreen format and I remember seeing a lot of tweets complaining about it. I imagine it’s tough to make everyone happy. 

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