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The Force Awakens: 1.78:1 scenes in 2D?

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Hello! This is my first post here. I am a longtime lurker. If this post does not belong here, please let me know.

The Force Awakens is being released on Blu-ray on April 5th. The standard 2D release features a 2.39:1 aspect ratio throughout the entire film, which means even the IMAX scenes are cropped to 2.39:1. The 3D release has the IMAX scenes cropped to 1.78:1, which will fill the entire screen. The fact that the 2D release won’t have the IMAX scenes cropped to fill the screen is a little ridiculous, in my opinion.

Would it be possible that someone with some talent be able to convert the 1.78:1 3D IMAX scenes into 2D and then insert them into the regular 2D film?

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If it had to be one way or the other, I’m actually kind of relieved they’re not including the shifting aspect ratio on the 2D blu-ray. The 2D theatrical release with the locked aspect ratio is the one I’ve seen three times and will see at least once more when I go with my parents this weekend, so even if I do make it to an IMAX screening eventually, I expect the 2D to remain the “true” version in my own memory. Still, in a perfect world it would be included as an option on the 2D disc.

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Erikstormtrooper said:

What scenes were shot in IMAX?

The escape from Jakku. I believe it started as Rey and Finn started running and ended when the Falcon left the planet.

joefavs said:

If it had to be one way or the other, I’m actually kind of relieved they’re not including the shifting aspect ratio on the 2D blu-ray. The 2D theatrical release with the locked aspect ratio is the one I’ve seen three times and will see at least once more when I go with my parents this weekend, so even if I do make it to an IMAX screening eventually, I expect the 2D to remain the “true” version in my own memory. Still, in a perfect world it would be included as an option on the 2D disc.

I completely understand why people don’t like shifting aspect ratios. It can be distracting. But I personally prefer to see as much as I can, especially because Abrams’ intention was probably to get the most he could out of a very square frame.

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Personally, the shifting aspect ratios kind of bother me. My Dark Knight blu-rays do it and it’s very frustrating. I actually prefer watching them on VUDU where that does not occur.

I like having the option, but if that was the standard way it came in 2D blu-ray I’d be rather frustrated.

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I think What Abrams could have done is include the full uncropped 1.44:1 sequence as a bonus feature in the Extras section of the Blu Ray (in addition to the shifting ratio on the 3D BD). In that way we could see both the standard 2.39:1 version of the film as well as the original IMAX framed sequence as it was shot. 2.39:1 to 1.78:1 is not bad but we are still missing a lot of image vertically from the original IMAX framing.

From the IMAX stills I have seen, the 1.44:1 framing is beautiful and has that sense of vertigo and immersion, but a 1.78:1 crop will lose all that feeling.

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Shifting aspect ratios is quite senseless, IMHO. Christopher Nolan started it; no reason for other directors to follow in his footsteps.

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I like the shifting aspect ratio in the Dark Knight. I’d like it more if the whole movie was 1.77:1 though.

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TheHutt said:

Shifting aspect ratios is quite senseless, IMHO. Christopher Nolan started it; no reason for other directors to follow in his footsteps.

It’s not senseless: he wanted to use as much screen real estate as he could with the IMAX scenes which are more of a square than the long rectangle of the 2.35 aspect ratio.

So he had three choices:

  1. Crop (and letterbox) the IMAX scenes to 2.35.
  2. Crop the IMAX scenes to 1.76 (less cropping. No letterboxing. Uses all available resolution of your television)
  3. Letterbox the IMAX scenes to 1.43 (you get the entire IMAX frame but you have big black lines on the left and right side of the screen)

There are pros and cons to each of these choices and Christopher Nolan picked the one he felt was the best to display the large format photography.

alt

PS: Did anyone see the Dark Knight in 15/70 IMAX? I didn’t care too much for the film, but the EXPERIENCE was out of this world. The detail was jaw-dropping.

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PS: Did anyone see the Dark Knight in 15/70 IMAX? I didn’t care too much for the film, but the EXPERIENCE was out of this world. The detail was jaw-dropping.

Yes, I saw them at an ‘all-knighter’ at the BFI IMAX in London. The experience is exceptional (Interstellar was just as good) and it will be very sad if and when IMAX replace their projectors with Laser.

On the topic of whether the changing aspect ratio is a good or a bad thing, I think it’s fundamentally a good thing. It doesn’t distract at all and the IMAX 15/70 scenes are absolutely worth it. The movie industry needs ways to attract people back into cinemas and IMAX 70mm is definitely one of those ways. I think another will be reverting a few screens back to 35/standard 70mm. The drive to digitise everything, release in 3D where possible and raise ticket prices is not working. The enthusiasm for analogue technologies on the other hand, is being felt across the board.

I have to say though, that the IMAX scene in TFA was not worth it. Christopher Nolan makes action sequences work for IMAX by slowing down the editing and having lots of practical effects/stunts to make up for it. You can appreciate the higher film resolution a lot better. Whereas the escape from Jakku was very fast paced. Nolan had 70 minutes of IMAX in the Dark Knight, TFA had about 5. It’s over before you can get excited, and some people I saw it with didn’t even notice it happen.

Really that aspect ratio shift is not doable in home video, because we’re all watching on wide screens. It’s nice to have something that a cinema can do that home video can’t. 😃

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My problem with IMAX scenes is that the AR shift wouldn’t have to happen if they just did the whole thing in IMAX. Either use IMAX or don’t use IMAX.

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Dek Rollins said:

My problem with IMAX scenes is that the AR shift wouldn’t have to happen if they just did the whole thing in IMAX. Either use IMAX or don’t use IMAX.

It would be a wonderful thing, but the cameras are too noisy and the film stock is so expensive. 70 minutes in the Dark Knight Rises is probably the nearest to a full film there’ll be. 5 minutes in Star Wars was kinda pointless - although it did mean they had show the film on celluloid in a handful of places!

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Even so, wouldn’t it be possible to shoot open matte and IMAX, so that the non-IMAX can be cropped to IMAX ratio?

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THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
DON’T GIVE UP ON THE SUN. DON’T MAKE THE SUN LAUGH AT YOU.

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Having seen TFA in 70mm, the IMAX sequence was very noticeable when it came up. I’d go back to San Jose to see it one more time if I could afford it! 😃


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Yeah, that would be possible and then 35mm and IMAX 70mm would cut together at the same ratio, but it wouldn’t be utilising all of the 15/70 frame, so you might as well downgrade very slightly to 65mm cameras. IMAX is a square format, so if you matte it, you’re wasting a lot of dough on the square screen, the incredibly powerful bulb and the film stock itself.
Home video has gone the way of widescreen, so cinemascope looks better than 4:3 on all our screens, but if we had HD (or equivalent) square telly’s - IMAX would work great, and you’d shoot academy 35mm to go with it.

Now basically everything has to be 16:9 or wider, IMAX is kinda an aberrant format - but because it fills up most of your visual field (unlike cinemascope) it’s a genuinely unique experience, and can’t really be translated to home video.
Sorry to waffle on 😛

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I’ve actually seen Interstellar on blu-ray recently. (wish I’ve seen it in imax, I wouldn’t care if it was digital or not.) I am sort of mixed on the shifting aspect ratios with that film, however I support it in the end.
When it changes during something simple, like characters talking during a car ride it is somewhat distracting, but I can deal with it.
It worked perfectly with the scenes in space, as the shots inside the ship were cinemascope, while outside they were imax. It created a definite difference between cuts, and just looked good. It even worked during the scene near the end, but I won’t spoil it for the few of you who haven’t seen it yet.

OT: Taking the imax screens from the 3D blu-ray would be easy. All you would need to do is:

  1. Split the 3D blu-ray into two files, one for the left eye and one for the right.
  2. See which one matches with the 2D blu-ray.
  3. Take the imax scenes from the side that matches and splice them with the 2D blu-ray footage.

It would be even easier if the full imax shots are special features.

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Dek Rollins said:

Even so, wouldn’t it be possible to shoot open matte and IMAX, so that the non-IMAX can be cropped to IMAX ratio?

Hell, I would watch an entire film in the full IMAX ratio, even at home if given the chance and the photography warranted it.

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I like the way Nolan handled the shifting aspect ratios of his films for the blu ray releases. It was the closest he could get to replicating the IMAX theatrical experience on current home theater tech. I’m also ok with the decision to keep the TFA blu ray locked in the scope aspect ratio as I think that will work fine on home video since it only has one short sequence in the whole film that would shift.

HOWEVER, I think ALL of these blu rays should’ve included the full frame IMAX footage as bonus features.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to see all four of these films at a 15/70 presentation (even got to see TDK twice thanks to a revival screening!) and there is nothing else like it in the world. Interstellar on IMAX was possibly the single greatest theatrical presentation I’ve ever experienced. The escape from Jakku on 15/70 was mind blowing. It was so visceral and nearly overwhelming. You felt like you were right there, in that chase. And you DEFINATELY lose something in the cropped scope version.

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That’s what I said. Since it’s just one scene, they should provide the full 1.44:1 framing inside a 1.78:1 window (pillarbox) and as a SPECIAL FEATURE. In this way we can see the framing as originally intended and those who complain about shifting ratios can watch the film matted to cinemascope throughout.

However, I would look forward to the 2.39 to 1.78 shift on the 3D BD and try and be satisfied with it since I don’t have an IMAX theatre of any kind nearby and have not seen that particular version. I will say though, that when the Falcon is doing that flip before the cameras and the Two TIE Fighters are coming in from the opposite direction, it was very clear that J.J had composed the movie for a narrower aspect ratio and wanted the Falcon to almost touch the top and bottom of the 1.44:1 frame, to give a life-size scale to Han’s ship.

Here it is Full IMAX- http://static4.techinsider.io/image/547895c26bb3f79f5f5539d6-2048-1432/star-wars-episode-vii.jpg

In the 2.39:1 version that scene felt TOO TIGHT due to the vertical cropping and almost indiscernible.
Same with the shot of Rey, Finn and BB-8 running -

http://media.washtimes.com.s3.amazonaws.com/media/image/2015/12/16/film_review-the_force_awakens.jpeg

Both shots felt TOO TIGHT in the widescreen version due to them being a straight vertical crop. If J.J would have adjusted the framing, say taking the full width of the 15-perf frame for the scope version and for the IMAX, zoom-in slightly and cut off some image at the sides. But to do that he’d have had to plan beforehand and shoot the scene from a distance. It’s very clear that J.J was composing for 1.44:1 in mind and the scope crop was just a compromise.
Even on the 1.78:1 IMAX scenes, the shots will feel tight because you will not be able to see the full Falcon or Rey’s legs within the frame which would have subconsciously created the immersion effect in our brain.

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No changing aspect ratios for Star Wars please. Thanks.

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I think it should be an option, definitely. Especially since it’s just one scene, you wouldn’t even notice that the shift had happened, especially if they used the digital IMAX crop.

Before I broke the external Blu-ray player for my MacBook, I was able to use the software I’d purchased to watch 3D Blu-rays. I confirmed with the 3D Guardians of the Galaxy that you should be able to just grab one of the eyes and have a 2D IMAX ratio capture.

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For those who want it, it shouldn’t be hard to do a simple edit provided the 3D bluray has it uncropped.
For those who don’t, we’ll have the original bluray.

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mapet318 said:

I just noticed blu-ray.com removed 1.78 from the TFA 3D listing. Hopefully it’s a mistake or inaccuracy.

So, that means the IMAX version won’t be released on home video. That’s very very sad and frustrating seing as they advertised the IMAX version much before the film came out. Even released stills showing how much the scope version would be butchered. Now they are abandoning it? Hopefully J.J. will release it later like the Star Trek compendium set.

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