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The Smilebox conundrum


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thus far tcm has given us only How The West Was Won smileboxed...but why no smileboxed presentations of two other of tcm's renowned pet movies...2001: A Space Odyssey and Ice Station Zebra.

Why may I ask no smileboxed presentations of those two other Cinerama films?

 

By the way, just how would a smilebox formatted film look on one of them new 4k ultra high definition TVs with the curved screens? :)

 

2rmwkz5.jpg

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thus far tcm has given us only How The West Was Won smileboxed...but why no smileboxed presentations of two other of tcm's renowned pet movies...2001: A Space Odyssey and Ice Station Zebra.

Why may I ask no smileboxed presentations of those two other Cinerama films?

 

By the way, just how would a smilebox formatted film look on one of them new 4k ultra high definition TVs with the curved screens? :)

 

 

 

 

http://gizmodo.com/why-curved-tvs-arent-just-another-gimmick-1502249372

 

Getting ready to present IMAX films which uses a curved screen.

.

imaxprivatetheater.jpg

 

Any additional Cinerama films will bre traveloges.

 

c-3.jpg

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WINDJAMMER...... doh...

 

KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA (or is it WEST OF JAVA??).... doh...

 

Sorry, but just give me GONE WITH THE WIND and RANDOM HARVEST in 4:3.

 

Wide screen was mostly a failure.

 

You can get both Wide and Tall screen just by enlarging the screen, and more sharpness in the films by using 65 mm film instead of 35 mm film. There is no need to make the film artificially wide and cut off the tops of heads and the bottoms of legs, or cut out the blue sky or snow-covered tops of mountains or the earth and flowers in the foreground.

 

A curved TV screen has a position for only 1 viewer at a time.... the viewer sitting in the center of the screen.

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  • 5 months later...

I suspect that we won't see the later 70mm "Cinerama" films done in Smilebox because the developers of this process, headed by David Strohmaier, are confining their efforts to restoration of the original three-strip Cinerama productions both for presentation in their original formats and for digital presentation.

 

The Smilebox version on dvd and/or bluray, I think, is meant to simulate for the tv screen the films as they were originally seen in the theaters with Cinerama installations.  I imagine that if one made a deeply curved screen for a media room and projected the bluray format on that screen, the image would properly fill the screen. 

 

The Smilebox version is not in the 146° curvature recommended by Cinerama technicians "back in the day," but I may be wrong.  I only know that by using a internet program for determining the arc of a curvature, the Smilebox version as recorded from TCM's presentation of How the West Was Won two years ago (and probably screened  since then) is nowhere near 146°.

 

My regret is not having a suitable place to create a media center. If I had, I would outfit it with a screen suitably curved to give me the Smilebox version with no bleedover of image on to the masking nor unfilled portions of the screen at the center. 

 

By the way, the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is the place to see a Cinerama film.  The solid screen is sufficiently curved but not so deeply as to wash out images on the left and right sides of the screen. I am waiting for the chance to travel from Michigan to Los Angeles again to see HTWWW in that great venue.

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WINDJAMMER...... doh...

 

KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA (or is it WEST OF JAVA??).... doh...

 

Sorry, but just give me GONE WITH THE WIND and RANDOM HARVEST in 4:3.

 

Wide screen was mostly a failure.

 

You can get both Wide and Tall screen just by enlarging the screen, and more sharpness in the films by using 65 mm film instead of 35 mm film. There is no need to make the film artificially wide and cut off the tops of heads and the bottoms of legs, or cut out the blue sky or snow-covered tops of mountains or the earth and flowers in the foreground.

 

A curved TV screen has a position for only 1 viewer at a time.... the viewer sitting in the center of the screen.

I don't think we can say that wide screen was mostly a failure, given the fact that most films today are in one or another widescreen format.  I'll agree, though, that reformatting "Academy ratio" films to fill a wider screen do not succeed. MGM once reissued Gone with the Wind in 70mm format.  While the soundtracks were great, the screen images were bad because cropping destroyed the director's frame composition.

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  • 5 weeks later...

 

 

Rising costs of making three-camera widescreen films caused Cinerama to stop making such films in their original form shortly after the first release of How the West Was Won. The use of Ultra Panavision 70 for certain scenes (such as the river raft sequence) later printed onto the three Cinerama panels, proved that a more or less satisfactory wide screen image could be photographed without the three cameras. Consequently, Cinerama discontinued the three film process, with the exception of a single theater (McVickers' Cinerama Theatre in Chicago) showing Cinerama's Russian Adventure, an American-Soviet co-production culled from footage of several Soviet films shot in the rival Soviet three-film format known as Kinopanorama in 1966.

Cinerama continued through the rest of the 1960s as a brand name used initially with the Ultra Panavision 70 widescreen process (which yielded a similar 2.76 aspect ratio to the original Cinerama, although it did not simulate the 146 degree field of view.) Optically "rectified" prints and special lenses were used to project the 70 mm prints onto the curved screen. The films shot in Ultra Panavision for single lens Cinerama presentation were It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Battle of the Bulge (1965), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), The Hallelujah Trail (1965) and Khartoum (1966).

The less wide but still spectacular Super Panavision 70 was used to film the Cinerama presentations Grand Prix (1966), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (which also featured scenes shot in Todd-AO and MCS-70), Ice Station Zebra (1968) and Krakatoa, East of Java (1969) (which also featured scenes shot in Todd-AO).

The other 70mm systems used for single film Cinerama (Sovscope 70 and MCS-70) were similar to Super Panavision 70. Some films were shot in the somewhat lower resolution Super Technirama 70 process for Cinerama release, including Circus World (1964) and Custer of the West (1967).

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Cinerama name was used as a film distribution company, ironically reissuing single strip 70 mm and 35 mm Cinemascope reduction prints[citation needed] of This Is Cinerama (1972).

Three-strip Cinerama actually had an aspect ratio of 2.59:1. This is partly the result of the 35mm film frame being one-third higher than the standard 35mm frame.  Thus, the "1" being higher, the total "spread" of the three frames is a bit narrower, not that there is all that much difference in width between aspect ratios of 2.76 and 2.59. Using the Cinerama Dome's screen, the wider aspect ratio of a film like Ben-Hur (2.76) requires that the screen be horizontally masked because not all of the height of the screen would be usable.  That, or the screen would have to be widened to accommodate the full frame, and the maximum width of the Dome's screen is 86 feet, the full width being used for three-strip Cinerama screenings. Using the full Dome screen would require masking off the sides of "Ben-Hur" to avoid unacceptable spillover onto the screen's masking and curtain.

 

Another point: It can be argued that the last Cinerama production filmed entirely in the three-strip format was "Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm."  Some portions of "How the West Was Won," the last three-strip Cinerama production, incorporate footage that had been shot using the single-strip Ultra Panavision process (ar that time known as Camera 65, developed by MGM which produced HTWWW) with the single filmstrip then  formatted for the three-strip Cinerama. It is easy to spot the Panavision footage on the Cinerama screen:  some loss of depth of field and graininess, especially in shots incorporating mountains in the background.  I did not find this noticeable in the shots on the train during the train robbery sequence which could not possibly have been filmed with the bulky Cinerama cameras. I do not find these differences noticeable in the Smilebox version of HTWWW on the tv screen. Others, perhaps, can spot the differences even on the small screen.

 

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I don't think we can say that wide screen was mostly a failure, given the fact that most films today are in one or another widescreen format. 

 

All films today have their tops and bottoms cut off.

 

4:3 films in the old days were shown in large theaters that had giant screens. Mall theater screens today are very small and are missing the tops and bottoms of the scenes.

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All films today have their tops and bottoms cut off.

 

4:3 films in the old days were shown in large theaters that had giant screens. Mall theater screens today are very small and are missing the tops and bottoms of the scenes.

  I don't think you can say that today's films have "their tops and bottoms cut off."   I won't argue that there are cinemas operating that have very little concern for film presentation.  I wouldn't patronize such places, though.

 

  In the days prior to the 1952-53 introduction of widescreen films, the movie palaces did not have large screens.  I remember the ads touting those theaters that had installed "giant" screens.  Even Radio City Music Hall's screen for 4:3 films was nowhere near the size it could have been, given the space actually available.  When widescreen came in, theaters installed screens that provided bigger pictures even for those films still screened in the Academy ratio.

 

  What happened in many of the "second run" or neighborhood theaters, as I know from experience, larger screens were installed. To play widescreen films, though, the total image size was reduced to accommodate the screen and matting was lowered to cover the upper portion the screen not being used for CinemaScope and other widescreen films.  I would consider it ideal that a cinema always use the full height of its screen and that adjustable mattes accommodate the true aspect ratio of the film.

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thus far tcm has given us only How The West Was Won smileboxed...but why no smileboxed presentations of two other of tcm's renowned pet movies...2001: A Space Odyssey and Ice Station Zebra.

Why may I ask no smileboxed presentations of those two other Cinerama films?

 

By the way, just how would a smilebox formatted film look on one of them new 4k ultra high definition TVs with the curved screens? :)

 

2rmwkz5.jpg

      The curved-screen TV's do not have a deep enough curve to accommodate the Smilebox format. The viewer would see almost as much black "smilebox" as is seen on the flatscreen.  I wonder whether a person could construct a home theater screen in such a manner that the projected Smilebox Cinerama films would fill the screen with no bleedover at the sides and without distortion.  I wish I had the resources to experiment!

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By the way, the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is the place to see a Cinerama film.  The solid screen is sufficiently curved but not so deeply as to wash out images on the left and right sides of the screen. I am waiting for the chance to travel from Michigan to Los Angeles again to see HTWWW in that great venue.

 

You don't need a Cinerama movie to benefit from the Dome.  I saw 2001 and Blue Water White Death there, and they were both stunning--in their respective ways.

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      The curved-screen TV's do not have a deep enough curve to accommodate the Smilebox format. The viewer would see almost as much black "smilebox" as is seen on the flatscreen.  I wonder whether a person could construct a home theater screen in such a manner that the projected Smilebox Cinerama films would fill the screen with no bleedover at the sides and without distortion.  I wish I had the resources to experiment!

 

Cinerama had a specially designed screen that comprised of over a thousand vertical panels.  The way it reflected the light along with the deeply curved screen created 3D - it's called The Waller Effect.  The home television will not do this regardless how much it curves, also having a curved screen TV doesn't do anything to help a widescreen presentation.

 

Showing a Smilebox movie on a curved television will still present the simulation. At present there is no technology to see Cinerama in it's TRUE form at home and why would any industry invest in something by which there were too few movies shot using the 3 strip process?

 

detroitimg04.jpg

 

 

 

 

Also note that Cinemascope was originally intended to be presented on a curved screen (lead balloon time) but using it didn't work out since only one film was used.  It only gave a wide field of view like normal human vision.

 

531001-RobeAd-600.jpg

 

 

 

3 strip Cinerama camera....

Cinerama-camera1.jpg

2637tri.jpg

 

 

 

Cinemascope

 

200px-Cinemascope_4_perf_35_mm_film.svg.

 

cinemascope_new_lens_design.jpg

 

cinemascope55_cam1.jpg

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Not sure what smilebox is, but when I got my 42 inch Smart TV (buyer - dumb blonde), the first thing I watched was a Charlie Chan picture. I couldn't get over how humongous the actors were. Why, it was just as though they were standing in my living room. I love it and have no desire or complaints about screen size or definition or Major Mo. I'm still having SAP issues when watching some flicks on TCM though. I turned off the SAP with my cable remote and that solved the issue the last time, but lo and behold, the problem is back. Phooey!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cinerama had a specially designed screen that comprised of over a thousand vertical panels.  The way it reflected the light along with the deeply curved screen created 3D - it's called The Waller Effect.  The home television will not do this regardless how much it curves, also having a curved screen TV doesn't do anything to help a widescreen presentation.

 

Showing a Smilebox movie on a curved television will still present the simulation. At present there is no technology to see Cinerama in it's TRUE form at home and why would any industry invest in something by which there were too few movies shot using the 3 strip process?

 

detroitimg04.jpg

 

 

 

 

Also note that Cinemascope was originally intended to be presented on a curved screen (lead balloon time) but using it didn't work out since only one film was used.  It only gave a wide field of view like normal human vision.

 

531001-RobeAd-600.jpg

 

 

 

3 strip Cinerama camera....

Cinerama-camera1.jpg

2637tri.jpg

 

 

 

Cinemascope

 

200px-Cinemascope_4_perf_35_mm_film.svg.

 

cinemascope_new_lens_design.jpg

 

cinemascope55_cam1.jpg

    Curved screens installed for presentation of widescreen formats other than Cinerama (and Todd-AO) had only a slight curve.  One reason given for such installations is that the curvature helped create in the viewers a heightened sense of involvement in the action on the screen.  Because no special engineering in those days was used to produce anamorphic lenses that could accommodate a deep curvature, only a slight curvature was part of the installation of some wider screens. 

 

    It seems to me that some curvature is justified in a screen for widescreen presentations for one particular reason: to maintain a constant distance that the light travels from the projector lens to the screen.  The shortest distance would be from the lens to the center of the screen.  To maintain this distance as a constant, then, the lens must be thought of as the center of a circle, with the distance to the center of the screen thought of as a radius for creating an arc that encompasses the sides of the screen.  A screen with this curvature or arc would then enable a test pattern film to project on the screen a pattern of squares that would remain true squares of the same size at the edges of the screen as well as in the center.  It would also mean that picture focus would remain constant over the entire width of the screen.

 

    I'll admit that there likely isn't a noticeable difference in clarity nor any noticeable distortion in a widescreen film projected on a flat screen because the amount of curvature would be slight.  Some have argued that if there is to be no distortion the screen ought to be curved vertically as well.

 

    If the curvature of a screen increases the viewers' sense of participation,  then even deeper curvature seems justified if appropriate optical correction in lenses is made that results in presentations without distortion or lack of image sharpness over the whole screen.

I find Cinerama Dome's 122° screen quite acceptable for Cinerama presentations.  I suspect it is just as good for the other widescreen films shown on it.

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