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Twentieth Century-Fox ignoring it's legacy?


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When TCM scheduled "April Love" I was happy that we were finally going to get to see it in widescreen. WRONG. It was the same old butchered pan-and-scan that pops up on Fox Movie Channel every once in a while. Wasn't Fox the "pioneer" in widescreen filmmaking and promotion back in the day? The current pan-and-scan versions of many of their widescreen films seem to date from the early days of home video, which would make them about 30 years old now. Times have changed, guys. It's frustrating that the people who ought to have the most interest in preserving these films in their original aspect ratios are apparently so indifferent to their legacy. Their latest tactic seems to be to create new HD-friendly prints that STILL don't present the film in true CinemaScope, as with the print of "State Fair" which they've recently started showing. I wonder if TCM knew what they were getting in the case of "April Love" or if they were suckered into violating their own standards by having to show a butchered film. I can understand that not every CinemaScope film would be profitable to release on DVD, but shouldn't they at least make a true print available to broadcasters who pay a fee to show Fox films? The Fox Movie Channel website is useless; there's no way to give feedback, or to do much of anything really. (So I'm doing it here. Sorry.)

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  • 2 months later...

It's ridiculous! Fox certainly released all their laser disc/dvd movies in widescreen so why these crappy pan and scan versions? This seems especilly grating as more and more people buy large flat screens that show beautiful images satisfactorily in scope. This is so backward thinking and then of course,there's the sheer irony of TCM relentlessly reminding us with their ubiquitous short on the virtues of widescreen vs pan and scan- and then broadcasts pan and scan anyway! Are there really a large number of people who still want "full screen"?

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>It's ridiculous! Fox certainly released all their laser disc/dvd movies in widescreen so why these crappy pan and scan versions?


The films that Fox released on laser disc were from tape masters. They would have to transfer those masters to digital masters to use for DVDs and Blus.


Due to the age of the tape masters, they may have decided that the cost wasn't warranted or it could be that they have decided to restore the films before transferring them to a digital format.


If that's the case, restorations are costly and take time to do.


As for ignoring its legacy, at least Fox is better at appreciating their classic film library than Universal or Paramount.


But that's not saying much.

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>The films that Fox released on laser disc were from tape masters. They would have to transfer those masters to digital masters to use for DVDs and Blus.


Well, to transfer anything to anything, you have to transfer FROM something TO something.


In other words, to TRANSFER a movie to DVD, one has to use some sort of MASTER MEDIUM which is used to transfer FROM.


To transfer from a tape to digital (hard drive or DVD) is no more difficult than transfering from tape to digital or tape to DVD or DVD to tape, or digital to tape or to DVD.


THE EXPENSIVE PART OF THE PROCESS is to TRANSFER THE ORIGINAL FILM MASTER to any form of ELECTRONIC MEDIUM. Since it is the original film master that has the tendency to fade, crack, degrade, curl, shrink, and break.


Another thing: An old FILM MASTER transfer to TAPE would have used the older style of 4:3 electronic image capture device, ie some kind of old image chip like an old 4:3 camera chip.


But a high definition transfer from FILM to any electronic medium today would require a NEW FILM TRANSFER, using a new larger 16:9 ratio electronic pickup image device.


One can not make a High Resolution HD blue-ray image from an old Low Resolution SD tape. Well, one can make it but the result will be a Low Resolution SD image on an HD blue-ray disk. That's like copying a small 35 mm negative still photo onto a large 4 x 5 sheet film. You end up with a big 4 x 5 negative, but it contains only the original sized grain and resolution and image quality of the original 35 mm negative.


Note the History Channel's new shows: VIETNAM IN HD and WORLD WAR II IN HD. Note that the old 16mm and 35mm 4:3 films are dubbed to a 16:9 image size for the HD FORMAT, and the image quality is the best we have ever seen on TV from these old original films.


The film quality of the old war movies is much higher than we've ever seen on TV before because the new larger HD image pickup chips are larger and capture more of the film's original high definition.


But it irritates me that these new HD dubs of the old war films crop the frame image to 16:9, leaving black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, and cutting off the tops of heads of the soldiers in the closeups! So we wind up with higher resolution film, but with as much as 1/3 of the film frame missing, by being cut off at the top and bottom to fit the 16:9 TV screen format. These old films should have been dubbed to HD in their original 4:3 format, and then we would see the higher resolution images without 1/3 of the image being missing at the top and bottom of the screen.


Anyway: That's my .02 cents rant for today. Thank you. :)

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Here is a picture of a new type HD film-to-electronic format copy machine:




According to this information, the best resolution is obtained when the film moves through the "projector" part of the machine at a very slow speed:


(New Link):




*A film scanner scans original film stock: negative or positive print or reversal/IP. Units may scan gauges from 8 mm to 70 mm (8 mm, Super 8, 9.5 mm, 16 mm, Super 16, 35 mm, Super 35, 65 mm and 70 mm) with very high resolution scanning of 2K, 4K or 8K Video Format resolutions. (2K is approximately 2048?1556 pixels and 4K is approximately 4096?3112 pixels).*


*Some makes of film scanner are intermittent pull-down film scanners which scan each frame individually, locked down in a pin-registered film gate, taking roughly a second per frame. Continuous-scan film scanners, where the film frames are scanned as the film is continuously moved past the imaging pick up device, are typically evolved from earlier telecine mechanisms, and can act as such at lower resolutions.*


Edited by: FredCDobbs on Nov 24, 2013 6:24 PM

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This is the type of CCD chip that actually records the image off the 35 mm film. This is what converts the optical film image into electronic signals for showing on TV and for recording on DVD, tape, hard drive, HD blueray, etc.





Generally speaking, light goes through the film print and this CCD device records each frame as a complex group of electronic signals.


So, on TV we never see a "film". We see some kind of electronic recording of a film image.



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Here is a good short documentary showing how THE WIZARD OF OZ was copied from old film to new electronic media.


THIS is what is the MOST EXPENSIVE of the process of going from an old film to a new HD electronic media, especially if the old film was 3-strip Technicolor, and if the film is restored by means of removing both dust and scratches from the film.



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Yes, and a friend of mine who takes large-format photos tells me they make large-format CCD cameras that use very large CCDs for the highest quality still photography. I think Wiki has a list of CCD sizes on one of its webpages.


The old original picture-tube (image pick-up tube, like a camera tube) TV system, that showed 16mm film prints to local TV audiences, was very low quality. Very many old films were copied to tape using that old system and those are usually the fuzzy old prints we see occasionally.


The History Channel VIETNAM IN HD show used a large HD CCD to copy the old color films and the quality is very good, since 16mm film in the old days recorded a higher quality image than the old 16mm TV picture tube recording devices.


As a matter of fact, I remember that my old 8mm films from my high school days produced a higher quality image than the best image shown on regular TV back in those days.

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