When did Criterion finally go Anamorphic?

 
Old 05-08-03, 06:23 PM
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When did Criterion finally go Anamorphic?

I was going to get the Armageddon Criterion for about $20, but passed on it since it was non-Anamophic. I think its #40 and the ones I have are #s 65, 75, 108, and 157 and all are Anamorpic.

So which ones are non anamorphic and by what number did they finally start doing anamorphic? Also, what about 5.1 surround sound? Do all thier movies (that were actually made with it) have this, or did they finally start adding that in at a later number?
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Old 05-08-03, 06:44 PM
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Insomnia was the first anamorphic disc.
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Old 05-08-03, 08:09 PM
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Also, it's worth pointing out that any films in 5.1 are that way only because they were originally presented that way. Also, there are some anomolies - Insomnia may have been the first, but the RObinson comedies soon after were actually plain old letterbox.

Check out "Browse The Collection" at www.criterionco.com. You can check the features on each disc.

If you're one of the enlightened, you could get one of the foreign Armageddon Special Edition Director's Cuts for your multiregion player...
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Old 05-09-03, 02:56 AM
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Originally posted by DonnachaOne
Also, it's worth pointing out that any films in 5.1 are that way only because they were originally presented that way.
Untrue. Gimme Shelter has new 5.1 tracks, but never had a 5.1 track before. The Last Temptation of Christ features a new 5.1 remix created for the disc, although it originally had a 2.0 surround track (it also had a 70mm 6-track release, which may bear some resemblance to the 5.1 track, but Criterion specifies proudly that the 5.1 track is new). The Beastie Boys Anthology has 5.1 tracks, although the videos were not originally released that way. The Monterey Pop set features new 5.1 tracks, although the film was not originally released that way. There may be others...

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Old 05-09-03, 04:23 AM
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Originally posted by DonnachaOne
If you're one of the enlightened, you could get one of the foreign Armageddon Special Edition Director's Cuts for your multiregion player...
I know there is an R4 16x9 SE, but a DC?
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Old 05-09-03, 04:31 AM
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Originally posted by odyas
I know there is an R4 16x9 SE, but a DC?
The R4 SE is the director's cut.

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Old 05-09-03, 05:46 AM
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my trouble with Criterion is quite the opposite: they go anamorphic too often. I'll never buy Criterion releases of some of my favourite movies - the ones by Bunuel - since Criterion made anamorphic the OAR 1.66:1

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Old 05-09-03, 06:14 AM
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I'll personally take an Anamorphic 1.66:1 over a NON-Anamorphic transfer ANY day...

Big Deal if you loose a bit of picture on top and bottom. Most 1.66:1 films are cropped to 1.85:1 for Theatrical Viewing any way. A smart Director wouldn't frame his film too tight already knowing this.
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Old 05-09-03, 09:06 AM
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You don't lose any picture on a good 1.66:1 anamorphic DVD. You just get black bars on both sides.
If you can't see them, it's because your TV suffers from overscan and "zooms" the picture. And then you lose top and bottom of the film... But the disc is fine!
And if your TV actually suffers from overscan you also lose picture on a non-anamorphic 1.66:1 DVD... You just don't notice it because you're happy with top and bottom black bars , but picture is actually missing on both sides.

Here is an anamorphic 1.66:1 DVD from Criterion:


It is not over-matted!
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Old 05-09-03, 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by mdm67
my trouble with Criterion is quite the opposite: they go anamorphic too often. I'll never buy Criterion releases of some of my favourite movies - the ones by Bunuel - since Criterion made anamorphic the OAR 1.66:1
When done properly (and Criterion does it properly) you can make 1.66:1 films anamorphic without losing any picture.

Anamorphic 1.66:1 is a *good* thing. I'm not sure why you would avoid it.
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Old 05-09-03, 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by djtoell
Untrue. Gimme Shelter has new 5.1 tracks, but never had a 5.1 track before. The Last Temptation of Christ features a new 5.1 remix created for the disc, although it originally had a 2.0 surround track (it also had a 70mm 6-track release, which may bear some resemblance to the 5.1 track, but Criterion specifies proudly that the 5.1 track is new). The Beastie Boys Anthology has 5.1 tracks, although the videos were not originally released that way. The Monterey Pop set features new 5.1 tracks, although the film was not originally released that way. There may be others...

DJ
My mistake.
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Old 05-09-03, 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by djtoell
Untrue. Gimme Shelter has new 5.1 tracks, but never had a 5.1 track before. The Last Temptation of Christ features a new 5.1 remix created for the disc, although it originally had a 2.0 surround track (it also had a 70mm 6-track release, which may bear some resemblance to the 5.1 track, but Criterion specifies proudly that the 5.1 track is new). The Beastie Boys Anthology has 5.1 tracks, although the videos were not originally released that way. The Monterey Pop set features new 5.1 tracks, although the film was not originally released that way. There may be others...

DJ
Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave are also remixed in 5.1 at the directors request.

What DonnachaOne's point is is that unless the director gets involved in creating the new mix, criterion won't do a 5.1 remix. They wouldn't remix Seven Samuai into 5.1
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Old 05-09-03, 04:57 PM
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Originally posted by djtoell
Untrue. Gimme Shelter has new 5.1 tracks, but never had a 5.1 track before. The Last Temptation of Christ features a new 5.1 remix created for the disc, although it originally had a 2.0 surround track (it also had a 70mm 6-track release, which may bear some resemblance to the 5.1 track, but Criterion specifies proudly that the 5.1 track is new). The Beastie Boys Anthology has 5.1 tracks, although the videos were not originally released that way. The Monterey Pop set features new 5.1 tracks, although the film was not originally released that way. There may be others...
As Pants has said, the Criterion's policy is to not adulterate the original work. Creating a new 5.1 mix without input from the creator of the original sound does not fly with them. I pretty much agree with this policy.

As for the anamorphic issue, its not always as simple as "criterion didn't do a f-ing anamorphic transfer, that sucks!" The early releases, that was the case. I believe their reasoning there was that they weren't sure people would have the technology to view the film correctly. I don't know how much BS that is, but I believe that is what I read. Specifically with Armaggedon, I read that Disney was being difficult and did not want anamorphic video on the Criterion release. Who knows why, but thats the story. So in some cases, I think that Criterion just dropped the ball (early releases) other cases are just odd.

As for yet ANOTHER issue all in the same thread I think the main argument against 1.66:1 anamorphic is that those people using standard televisions to view the dvd are losing resolution compared to 1.66:1 non anamorphic. Standard tvs would be losing vertical resolution on the sides without gain of horizontal resolution from the anamorphic enhancement. People viewing the 16x9 picture would be losing vertical resolution but they gain horizontal resolution from the enhancement. Basically it somewhat evens out for people with a 16x9 display, and 4x3 loses out. The one benefit I can see to an anamorphic transfer on a 4x3 is that it would compensate for the overscan, resulting in more image on screen. In the end, there isn't a lot of difference any way you slice it.
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Old 05-09-03, 05:19 PM
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Originally posted by FreshOne
As for the anamorphic issue, its not always as simple as "criterion didn't do a f-ing anamorphic transfer, that sucks!" The early releases, that was the case. I believe their reasoning there was that they weren't sure people would have the technology to view the film correctly. I don't know how much BS that is, but I believe that is what I read. Specifically with Armaggedon, I read that Disney was being difficult and did not want anamorphic video on the Criterion release. Who knows why, but thats the story. So in some cases, I think that Criterion just dropped the ball (early releases) other cases are just odd.
Criterion's reluctance to do anamorphic transfers was based on their opinion that early DVD players did not do a good job downconverting the image to 4:3 for those viewers with traditional televisions. They held out until they were satisfied that the benefit to viewers with widescreen displays outweighed the disadvantage to those without.

Of course, in retrospect it is clear that they should have gone with anamorphic from the very beginning. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that...
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Old 05-09-03, 05:49 PM
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Originally posted by FreshOne
I think the main argument against 1.66:1 anamorphic is that those people using standard televisions to view the dvd are losing resolution compared to 1.66:1 non anamorphic. Standard tvs would be losing vertical resolution on the sides without gain of horizontal resolution from the anamorphic enhancement. People viewing the 16x9 picture would be losing vertical resolution but they gain horizontal resolution from the enhancement. Basically it somewhat evens out for people with a 16x9 display, and 4x3 loses out. The one benefit I can see to an anamorphic transfer on a 4x3 is that it would compensate for the overscan, resulting in more image on screen. In the end, there isn't a lot of difference any way you slice it.
That sounds like another myth that needs to be shattered. I've never even heard this argument before. How could a non-anamorphic disc possibly look better on a 4x3 set than an anamorphic disc? A standard set will display the downconverted signal of an anamorphically-enhanced image just fine, and it won't look any different than a non-anamorphic picture would.

Last edited by Sartana; 05-09-03 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 05-09-03, 08:17 PM
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I think I've posted this before (somewhere), but it's an easy cut and paste from my spreadsheet, so what the heck...

This is a list of the Criterion letterboxed movies. If it's anamorphic, it's not on here. If it's 1.33:1 then it doesn't need to be anamorphic, so it's not on here. The numbers listed are the Criterion spine numbers.

4 Amarcord
5 400 Blows, The (original release only, new one in box set is 16:9)
7 Night To Remember, A
8 Killer, The
9 Hard Boiled
10 Walkabout
12 This Is Spinal Tap
13 Silence Of The Lambs, The
17 Salň
18 Naked Kiss
19 Shock Corridor
20 Sid & Nancy
21 Dead Ringers
23 Robocop
24 High And Low
26 Long Good Friday, The
27 Flesh For Frankenstein
28 Blood For Dracula
29 Picnic At Hanging Rock
34 Andrei Rublev
37 Time Bandits
38 Branded To Kill
39 Tokyo Drifter
40 Armageddon
45 Taste Of Cherry
50 And The Ship Sails On
51 Brazil
52 Yojimbo
53 Sanjuro
57 Charade
59 Night Porter, The
60 Autumn Sonata
73 Cleo From 5 To 7
74 Vagabond
83 Harder They Come, The
119 Withnail And I
120 How To Get Ahead In Advertising
128 My Métier (in Dreyer box set)

While there is no guarantee that they won't have to add to this list, it doesn't seem too likely - The Dreyer box set came out 21-Aug-2001.
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Old 05-10-03, 04:15 AM
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Originally posted by Pants
What DonnachaOne's point is is that unless the director gets involved in creating the new mix, criterion won't do a 5.1 remix. They wouldn't remix Seven Samuai into 5.1
Maybe that's your point, but it doesn't appear that it was her's (his?). I'm not complaining about Criterion allowing remixes to appear, I just wanted to clear up the misconception (which appears to be persistent myth, as I've seen it posted here before) that Criterion never does remixes.

DJ

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Old 05-10-03, 04:19 AM
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Originally posted by Sartana
That sounds like another myth that needs to be shattered. I've never even heard this argument before. How could a non-anamorphic disc possibly look better on a 4x3 set than an anamorphic disc? A standard set will display the downconverted signal of an anamorphically-enhanced image just fine, and it won't look any different than a non-anamorphic picture would.
It's not a myth. 1.66:1 anamorphic transfers get presented within a 16x9 (that is, 1.78:1) frame with black bars on the sides on both 16x9 and 4x3 TVs. Therefore, on 4x3 sets, a 1.66:1 anamorphic image will appear within a smaller viewing area (1.78:1 with black bars on the side) than non-anamorphic 1.66:1 (which just appears as 1.66:1). A non-anamorphic 1.66:1 image will therefore have greater displayed resolution on a 4x3 set than an anamorphic 1.66:1 image would.

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Old 05-10-03, 04:54 AM
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My beef with it is that I have a 16x9 HDWS TV and am able to see the anamorphic widescreen without a "streth" image. Before, if the DVD was non-anamorphic, i could care less because I could use the "zoom" feature on my remote and everything looked good. I than got a progressive scan DVD player and got educated on the aspects of progressive, and now when I have progressive on, my damn TV wont let me zoom in, unless I turn the progressive off. When I do this though, I notice how crappy the image looks when zoomed in and interlaced. So it pisses me off.

Why the hell would Criterion refrain from making their movies anamorphic because they thought alot of people may not have access to the technology? What does it matter? People who watch their movies on a 4x3 screen dont notice anything one way or the other, but people with 16x9 screens loose out. I think thats just lazy of Criterion.
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Old 05-10-03, 05:02 AM
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Originally posted by Ravenous
Why the hell would Criterion refrain from making their movies anamorphic because they thought alot of people may not have access to the technology? What does it matter? People who watch their movies on a 4x3 screen dont notice anything one way or the other, but people with 16x9 screens loose out. I think thats just lazy of Criterion.
The problem was that Criterion did believe it to be noticeable on 4x3 sets.

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Old 05-10-03, 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by djtoell
Maybe that's your point, but it doesn't appear that it was her's (his?). I'm not complaining about Criterion allowing remixes to appear, I just wanted to clear up the misconception (which appears to be persistent myth, as I've seen it posted here before) that Criterion never does remixes.

DJ
A - yup, I'm a guy. These Irish names...

B - Quite correct. I assumed Criterion always presented a film "as is", the way the director originally intended, without any revisiting.

They still always have the original soundtrack, right?
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Old 05-10-03, 05:36 PM
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Originally posted by DonnachaOne
A - yup, I'm a guy. These Irish names...
Sorry.

B - Quite correct. I assumed Criterion always presented a film "as is", the way the director originally intended, without any revisiting.

They still always have the original soundtrack, right?
Not always. Picnic at Hanging Rock only has the 5.1 remix and the original mono track isn't included. Likewise, The Last Temptation of Christ only has the 5.1 remix and is missing the original 35mm 2.0 surround track (although, as I noted earlier, the new 5.1 track may resemble the original 70mm 6-track mix).

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Old 05-12-03, 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by Sartana
That sounds like another myth that needs to be shattered. I've never even heard this argument before. How could a non-anamorphic disc possibly look better on a 4x3 set than an anamorphic disc? A standard set will display the downconverted signal of an anamorphically-enhanced image just fine, and it won't look any different than a non-anamorphic picture would.
This is not exactly true. In order to convert an anamorphic image for display on a 4:3 TV, the player has to in effect drop every fourth scan line. Some players do this better than others. On many players what you wind up with is a lot of moire and line twitter artifacts.
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Old 05-12-03, 12:56 PM
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Toshibas are notorious for poor "downcoverted" images, Pioneers are considered pretty good, but I think most folks believe Sony does it best of all (this is going back a few years, before the majority of folks had anamorphic TVs).

If you've got a 4x3 set that doesn't do "the squeeze", there's at least one feature I've come across that will let you see how well or poorly your player downconverts. It's on "The Limey" DVD and shows examples of the transfer in "regular" format and also in anamorphic format. I checked it out on an old Sony Trinitron (without anamorphic capabilities), and while my Pioneer DVD player did a fair job in the downconversion of the anamorphically-enhanced example, the image did indeed look better for the non-enhanced example. If you've got this title and a non-anamorphic display, see for yourself how well/poorly your player handles the downcoversion.
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Old 05-12-03, 03:20 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Z
This is not exactly true. In order to convert an anamorphic image for display on a 4:3 TV, the player has to in effect drop every fourth scan line. Some players do this better than others. On many players what you wind up with is a lot of moire and line twitter artifacts.
A good example of the quality of downconversion can be seen here. This demonstration was created by Morgan Holly, who worked on a number of Criterion laserdiscs and is still active in DVD production. This page is probably a bit old, so it might be wise to take Morgan's description of his preference with a grain of out-of-date salt.

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