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When does fullscreen show more than widescreen?

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I've always been a fan of widescreen, not because of "the director's intentions" or any of that sentimental bunk, but because of the "more bang for my buck" principle: I was always under the impression that you saw more of the picture. I even did the math (being fond of numbers). I figured this was a constant in the DVD market: fullscreen cuts off 25% of a 1.78:1 film, 28% of a 1:85:1 film, and about 44.19% of a 2.39:1 film. Now I read about films shot in Super 35, where the widescreen version is the more seriously cropped one, and the fullscreen actually displays more of the picture. Is this true? What other film formats do this? Would I be better off getting the 4:3 versions of all my films that were shot in Super 35? Is Super 35 the same as 35 mm?
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99% of all FS releases are cropped from the widescreen version. You aren't getting more. In the vast majority of films shot in Super-35 you are never supposed to see the full area, only the widescreen area, its just a technical process and has little to do with composition.

Directors compose for the theater. Whatever the theatrical format is, thats what you are supposed to be seeing, and very few films have "open matte" fullscreen--half the time it reveals things like boom mikes and light stands that the matte bars are supposed to be obscuring anyway.

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Is the widescreen more seriously cropped? Well, it depends. If the widescreen has only the top and bottom cropped it can contain more of the original than a fullscreen that has top, bottom and the sides cropped. But as zombie84 said most fullscreen versions are cropped widescreen versions. And the ammount that is cropped can even differ per scene in the same movie.

Red=widescreen, green=fullscreen. See wikipedia
http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/6933/super35andtechniscopezb7.png

I don't know what other film formats do this (I think none). I would always go for the widescreen versions. And yes, Super 35 is shot on 35mm.
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I'm pretty sure a lot less than 99% of full screen movies are straight pan & scan. I bet at least 25% of all widescreen movies are matted in some way. Kubrick is probably best known for doing this with his later films. I'm just thinking off the top of my head. The new disney dvd's for The Jungle Book Robin Hood and Aristocats are all cropped to widescreen. (And I don't think there would be any boom mikes to worry about in animation.) One of the Pirates of the Carribean movies (all Super 35) was misframed in the widescreen version. I'm pretty sure The Pursuit of Happyness is another super 35. I saw it at an advance screening and it looked like a 1.85:1 movie. I was surprised to see the widescreen dvd 2.40:1. They say a matted widescreen is correct because that's the way you saw it in the theatre but that wasn't true in my case. A dvd preview on the Casino Royale dvd is 1.85 and it shows more on the top and bottom.
Here's some examples for the Harry Potter films. (Anybody know how Order of the Phoenix was shot?)
http://plum.cream.org/HP/
Anybody know whether these films are open matte?
The Ten Commandments
Animal House
Airplane
Sixteen Candles
The Breakfast Club
Top Gun (one of the few older movies to get a special edition rerelease with a seperate full screen version from Paramount)
Pretty In Pink
Some Kind of Wonderful
What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
The Naked Gun (all 3)
Home Alone
Better off Dead
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
The Truman Show (The new dvd shows slightly less on the top and bottom the Trutalk montage with the mock LIFE cover is a good example)
A Beautiful Mind
Lost and Delirious (Lea Pool- 2001)
Stardust (Great movie! go rent/buy it. It's 2.35:1 and a user post on IMDB said it was hard matte. Still I'm sure I saw more on the top and bottom in the theatre than some of the widescreen clips I've seen online. The theatre screen looked about 2.15:1)

What I wish is that studios would give a full screen dvd release only for open matte films. For example Scorsese shot many of his films like Goodfellas in the 80's and early 90's so that they could be also formatted for 4x3 tv. He has returned to true widescreen with more recent films like The Departed. Guess which movie Warner made available in full screen?
And I know that it costs more to do a pan & scan transfer. Is that also true for making an unmatted release?

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All 3 Sailor Moon movies were shot in 4:3 and cropped to 16:9 for theatrical and Japanese home video release. The US versions are open-matte, and sometimes this reveals errors in composition around the borders, such as a split-screen image having ragged edges that the cropping obscures.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Jurassic Park, surprisingly, is like this as well. You can really tell as they enter the rotunda for the first time. We used the Widescreen for a long time for a reconstruction we're doing, but then saw that the full screen showed more of the ceiling and of the dome and windows, which were in question at the time, and so we used that.

HOWEVER, sequences that used CG didn't have that extra. To save on time and space, they simply imported the widescreen image into the computer for the CG sequences... so sequences with animals in them, you get a cropped wide screen. Images without animals, you would get more of the top and bottom of the image.

Which, I'd imagine, is probably the case with some of the other movies mentioned as well.


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Independence Day is a good example where, in the 4:3 version, you see more of the movie. My brother had the fullscreen VHS while i had the widescreen version and we noticed quite a few more things on the fullscreen version. One example is in one of the shots of the Whitehouse. On the fullscreen version you can see loads of people on the streets but on the widescreen they are missing. Now not long after we purchased the VHS versions our local cinema held a sci-fi festival and Independence Day was one of the films showing so we went. Sure enough in the theatrical version you could clearly see all of the people in that shot. I'm not too sure why they matted the widescreen version the way they did because it didn't have that aspect ratio when it was at the cinema.

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Independence Day, really? I remember seeing it on tv very recently and it looked like clear pan and scan to me. Furthermore, some of the trailers that were about 1.85 showed no more on the top and bottom I thought. There is a full screen dvd available. Anybody know if the mix has been redone? My audio professor mentioned it was very uneven due to being rushed for theatres.
I know what you mean about the video being more matted than you saw it in the theatre. As I mentioned before, the same thing happened with Pursuit of Happyness.
I didn't mention James Cameron's films because I already knew about them. The list I wrote was ones I don't know about. Some might not be matted, I don't know.
Willy Wonka (from the 70's) is another. The back of the warner dvd says it is not matted but I have the full screen version and, honestly, it didn't look like I was missing anything.

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Irony that the audio was uneven...

The whole reason why the SE soundtracks are so crappy is because they were rushed out.

Only a few hours were allocated to mix almost half of the score for Empire... because they had to get out of the recording studio so that the orchestra for Independence Day could get in and record...

irony lol


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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Here's a few screenshots examples showing the matting issue with Independence Day. The fullscreen shots are taken from the Fullscreen VHS and the widescreen ones are from the special edition 2 disc DVD set
http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/3820/independenceday0ir3.jpg
Unfortunately the VHS has degraded hell and the last half of the film is almost unwatchable, which is a shame because i would have liked to have made a DVD version of this. When it was originally shown on UK TV it was the 16:9 version which was the original theatrical ratio so the whole picture was there unlike the DVD versions ( I don't know if the fullscreen DVD versions are pan & scan versions of the DVD transfer or the same as the original fullscreen VHS versions)

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Wow. Does anyone have the Fullscreen Independence Day DVD? If so, does it match the VHS, or is it Panned/Scanned from the Widescreen DVD transfer? It's next on my list of edits, and I would love to potentially have more picture available.

FE<3OT

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I was just thinking about the back of the Pearl Harbor vhs. "This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fill more of your tv screen. During battle scenes, the black bars will be slightly bigger."
I wonder if that means you get the entire film image, completely unmatted?
And has a full 16 x 9 version of Titanic ever come about? A few clips were shown about 1.85 on "The Force is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars" feature from the '04 Star Wars bonus disc. I have the vhs and that's a full screen transfer I'd definitely like to get on dvd. (It was also released in both formats on laserdisc) Is it wrong for me to say I like the 4:3 version better when watching on a standard tv?

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If I'm watching on my 13" display, I prefer FS. For archival purposes, though, and for watching on my computer, I prefer OAR, whichever it is.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Koyaanisqatsi is a shocking example of how a widescreen print can be vastly inferior to the Open Matte/OAR version (look up Koyaanisqatsi IRE version).

FE<3OT

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Originally posted by: reave
Koyaanisqatsi is a shocking example of how a widescreen print can be vastly inferior to the Open Matte/OAR version (look up Koyaanisqatsi IRE version).


Isn't that a case where the 4x3 version was the OAR? I seem to remember something about it being cropped to 16x9 for the DVD.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Yes. For years I waited for a "proper" widescreen DVD release of Koyaanisqatsi, only to find out that 4:3 was the OAR.

FE<3OT

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Since I finally found the retail DVD, I was just about to toss my TV>DVDRecorder rip of "Cloak and Dagger", when I decided to compare them I wanted to see what had been missing in the Fullscreen picture. Come to find out that the TV version actually had more picture.

I'm not sure of the OAR for this movie, but I'm hanging on to my TV rip now. I looked on IMDB and around the net, but I can't find any info on this, or anyone complaining about the Widescreen picture cutting some of the screen off.

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FE<3OT

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Interestingly, the old dvd (or was it the laserdisc) for Willy Wonka said "matted" on the back. I saw Independence Day on one of the Encore channels recently (4x3), the people were not visible in that shot of the white house. It definitely had the pan & scan appearance as I previous wrote about seeing it on tv. This leads me to think the full screen dvd is just pan & scan.
There's a facebook group called "People who like fullscreen more than widescreen are truely dumb." (I don't know if they can cansider themselves TRULY smart.)
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2217646160

Does anyone know what movie the picture is from. It looks a lot like Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith but it's not, plus any full screen Star Wars movie will always be pan/scan. I wish the image was bigger so I could better tell. But that's the kind of image that actually makes fullscreen look better. You actually see more of the people (ok just their legs) in the 4x3 version. And the extra space on the sides that contains nothing looks pointless, especially with those black bars on a standard tv. (truly dumb to use that example for a pro widescreen group)

http://img174.imageshack.us/img174/4458/n221764616035418gc8.jpg

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One thing that I've slowly been observing in watching widescreen versions of various films is that mere numbers and percentages of visual information can be irrelevant, especially concerning films shot from the 1980's and afterwards. Even if it is hard-matted 1.85:1 or anamorphic scope, many films had to be shot with a pan-and-scan VHS and TV print in mind- in other words, shot with "safe zones" so everything important can be seen in the 4x3 version. Evident in films as early as "Paris, Texas" and as recent as "Charlie Wilson's War". I've only seen Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" on a fullscreen laserdisc and found nothing wrong with the framing, leading me to believe it was shot in a similar manner.

If you want to get an eye for this, you need only start with 16x9 television programming, like football games, and shows that weren't originally aired letterboxed like "Firefly" (every episode but the pilot) or "CSI" shows. USA is airing everything in 16x9 letterbox regardless of whether it was intended that way, so you also have "NCIS" reruns. It's like a horizontal open matte print.

Of course, that just makes this whole "OAR" and "intended framing" argument that much more confusing, and then you'd start entering more obscure territory like "Plan 9 from Outer Space" should actually be shown 1.85:1 and "El Mariachi" in 1.33:1. In terms of composition, the soft matte/Super 35 films really get it worse than the hard-matted ones when it comes to the differing versions.

Does anyone know what movie the picture is from. It looks a lot like Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith but it's not, plus any full screen Star Wars movie will always be pan/scan. I wish the image was bigger so I could better tell. But that's the kind of image that actually makes fullscreen look better. You actually see more of the people (ok just their legs) in the 4x3 version. And the extra space on the sides that contains nothing looks pointless, especially with those black bars on a standard tv. (truly dumb to use that example for a pro widescreen group)

http://img174.imageshack.us/img174/4458/n221764616035418gc8.jpg


Those proportions could be possible since Episodes II and III were shot on HDTV cameras, which are native 1.78:1 (and it could be possible that they rendered all the shots hard-matted, but the only way to know is to look at both versions side-by-side). And you're right- that's not the best example to convert people.

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I wish I'd read that post sooner. That picture is from The Matrix Reloaded, when Neo and one of the Councilors are looking at the machines that help Zion run smoothly.
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The 4:3 DVD of The Cure (1995) contains "This film has been modified...." I assumed that meant pan/scan.
Only after I bought the widescreen laserdisc did I realize the DVD is open matte.
Oh well, at least I only paid $3 for the LD.

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
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When I upscaled the picture to a bigger size, I figured it might have been from Reloaded. As for episodes II and III, they were shot in 16 x 9, however just about all the raw footage is blue screen and completed in 2.35:1. So the full screen dvd's should still be pan & scan, just like the any other Star Wars movie.
The digital cameras didn't turn out so great for II and III, I think they're going to look even worse as HD home video keeps improving. Not only did they use digital but didn't they also lost resolution by cropping from 16 x9? It doesn't appear to matter with super 35 shot on film. But with digital, that detail loss might be important.
TV shows is something that's also confusing me. Like Smallville is matted. So is West Wing after season 1. But why would a show back in 2001 or so been shown in widescreen. With only standard definition available at the time, it would have to be broadcast letterbox even on a widesceen tv. Right?

I really wish there was more of a movement to have open matte versions also available on new video releases. With blu-ray disc capacity, why can't we get both?
I remember reading an old interview on the digital bits I think with Robert Harris and the interviewer said something like "I think people are finally starting to see the point of widescreen and maybe we could also get full frame versions for open matte movies." Harris seemed to agree.

One other question, is The Godfather open matte? I'm hearing about the film restoration but wondering if the new dvd will actually show the entire frame that they spent so much money to clean.

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Based on some reviews, it seems that "The Godfather" and its sequels are cropped but not all the way. I saw nothing wrong with the framing of "The Godfather: Part II" on VHS, and apparently neither did Coppola since he requested the re-cut version of the trilogy be presented fullscreen-only on Laserdisc.

Otherwise, I'd say a fullscreen DVD set is as likely as a 2.35:1 edition of "Apocalypse Now". The customers going after these discs would find little use with anything but 16x9/1.85:1.

The 16x9 ratio has been in the minds of TV producers since the late 90's; it's all looking towards the future, similar to how many animated films in the 70's and 80's were shot and composed for their unmatted future television and video aspect ratios (some Disney films and pretty much anything by Ralph Bakshi suffer from noticeable cropping in their "original" widescreen ratios, including "Wizards" and the animated version of "The Lord of the Rings" that fans petitioned to get the theatrical ratio for).

If HDTV owners only had standard definition broadcasts at the time, then I'd suspect they would have to zoom in. It's what they get for being early adopters. And if not for practical reasons shows like "Smallville" and "The West Wing" probably had their aspect ratios for aesthetic reasons.
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