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Help me build a case for creating a new cartoon in WIDESCREEN

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Help me build a case for creating a new cartoon in WIDESCREEN

Old 03-03-05, 02:45 PM
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Help me build a case for creating a new cartoon in WIDESCREEN

I'm on a creative team that's producing a CGI cartoon for kids, which will go direct to DVD next year. The company that will sell it is established in retail, but new to the home entertainment world. I saw to it that all of our CG tests thus far have been in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Now that we're working on the real deal, the marketing director is leaning toward a 1.33:1 release because right now, only a minority of people have widescreen television sets. I realize that a lot of people, including kids don't like the black bars, but I think that in the not-so-distant future they'll be glad it fills their screen.

Therefore, I'm working up a formal proposal to attempt to sway the final decision, and that's where I could use some help. I'm looking for web resources related to the following...

-Widecreen (HD) television sales past, present, and forecasted

-The entertainment industry's conversion to HD (including deadlines they must meet)

-Anything else related to this situation. Hard numbers are best since that's the language of the Marketing dept.


I'm also going to be citing these widescreen advantages...
It's more cinematic feel (that's what they want)
The fact that we want to be with the times
The fact that we don't want to later try to catch up with the times, which would cause a loss of consistency between this one and future releases.
Artistic advantages related to composition, aesthetics, etc.

Please help me keep one less FULL FRAME production from entering our world! : )
In the meantime, I'll be a Googling fool.
Thanks.




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Old 03-03-05, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by hugo1000faces
I'm on a creative team that's producing a CGI cartoon for kids, which will go direct to DVD next year.
And this is probably why they want to put it out as a fullscreen DVD. If you want to convince them to do the DVD in widescreen, try using existing releases as examples (Barbie DTV's are all widescreen, many Disney DTV's are widescreen as well). You might be able to compromise to a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Disney calls that "Family Friendly Widescreen".
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Old 03-03-05, 03:29 PM
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Another thing to consider is that your show will be more viable to sell in the future -- both to television and on future formats like HD-DVD/Blu-Ray -- if it's 16x9.
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Old 03-03-05, 03:40 PM
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I'd recommend 1.85:1 because of HDTVs. Even Wal-Mart sells them now.
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Old 03-03-05, 03:55 PM
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16:9 aspect ratio is the clear direction and goal the television market is moving toward. Do you want to be on the cutting edge of technology, or tomorrow be obsolete and inadequate?
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Old 03-03-05, 05:22 PM
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MTV's CG animated Spider-Man was in 16:9 and in 5.1 and looks and sounds wonderful.

I'd also mention that a lot of programs these days are already being shown in 16:9 even without 16:9 TVs.
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Old 03-03-05, 06:20 PM
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Cant a DVD be authored to present a 16:9 formatted picture in a 4:3 "pan and scan" on 4:3 TVs (except its actually just a center crop). Ive seen this option on some DVD authoring programs so I would imagine its there (which really frustrates me when 16:9 shows that are center cropped for 4:3 are just released in 4:3). The only problem with that is people with 4:3 TVs would have to watch 4:3 regardless I think.
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Old 03-03-05, 07:01 PM
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do something where you have a family of superheros and they lead mundane lives, while only using there powers for household needs, but then a maniacal evildoer starts to rub out superheros of the past by creating ginormous boss battles and challenging them for his own pleasure until the dad of this superhero family goes in for the call of duty, only to be captured, then his family stumbles upon all these happenings and they spring into action to save dear ole dad...that would be cool!!
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Old 03-03-05, 07:17 PM
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Since the company is new to the home entertainment world; it would make since to play it safe with a 4:3 release that will appeal to a larger consumer base. Also, if the cartoon does well and is still popular when HDTVs become the standard, the company can always release a new version 16:9. (classic double dip)
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Old 03-03-05, 07:52 PM
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Since nobody else has attempted to answer any of your questions, I'll try, via a quick google.

From here

DTVs get Wider
Consumers also are casting their voting dollars for DTV displays that have widescreen 16:9 aspect ratios. By the end of 2003, some 74 percent of all DTVs sold had widescreen sizes, up from 60 percent in 2002. For 2004, CEA expects almost 80 percent of all digital televisions to have widescreen aspect ratios. The others have the more traditional squarish 4:3 aspect ratio.



Keep in mind that this is only for digital televisions (not analog), but the sale of analog TV's will eventually be non-existent.

I believe that television broadcasts must be digital by 2007.



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Old 03-03-05, 08:51 PM
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Why make it 1.85:1 instead of 16:9?
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Old 03-03-05, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by island007
Since the company is new to the home entertainment world; it would make since to play it safe with a 4:3 release that will appeal to a larger consumer base. Also, if the cartoon does well and is still popular when HDTVs become the standard, the company can always release a new version 16:9. (classic double dip)
Would a fullscreen release be the safe choice that appeals to a larger consumer base? When given a choice, the widescreen versions nearly always outsell the fullscreen versions, and fullscreen-only versions are, relatively speaking, rare.

Seems to me that the safe choice would be widescreen. Judging by sales figures, the fullscreen market is the smaller one.
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Old 03-03-05, 10:11 PM
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To elaborate on what BigDan said, just go to Video Business' weekly DVD sales chart:

http://www.videobusiness.com/topDVDSellers.asp

You can pick any week from the past few years and show concretely that full-screen DVDs have not outsold their widescreen counterparts--when separate versions have been made available--in years.

To put it in the context of a CGI family movie, just show them the current week's chart. The widescreen version of Shark Tale is at No. 4 in its third week, just a small drop from No. 3 last week. Meanwhile, the full-screen version of the movie is at No. 19. The same thing happened when Shrek 2 came out in November. A few weeks after its release, the widescreen version was still firmly placed in the top 5 while the full-screen version, which debuted close to the widescreen initially, had fallen out of the top 20 rather quickly. In both cases, the widescreen was always placed higher than the full-screen. Not only that, but they have legs.

How could a marketing director look at that evidence and claim full-screen would be the bigger seller? Actual figures don't back that up.

I'm assuming since you haven't brought it up that the film is too big for the disc to hold both versions, to satisfy you artistically and the marketing folks commercially?

Last edited by rasalas; 03-03-05 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 03-03-05, 11:04 PM
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I really appreciate your comments and the informative links. Some valuable points have been brought up. Especially the fact that more consumers pick Widescreen over Fullscreen when given the choice (thanks bigdan, rasalas.) The numbers say it all! I'll also cite the examples you gave of direct to video DVDs that are in widescreen (thanks mark and josh). And I'll include your article spartanstew.

Yes, hogfat if we really want it to fit widescreen TVs I suppose we should go with 1.78:1.

Now to see if they'll consider these arguments. It may be that their minds are made up, but if so, at least I'll know that I tried.
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Old 03-04-05, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ENDContra
Cant a DVD be authored to present a 16:9 formatted picture in a 4:3 "pan and scan" on 4:3 TVs (except its actually just a center crop). Ive seen this option on some DVD authoring programs so I would imagine its there (which really frustrates me when 16:9 shows that are center cropped for 4:3 are just released in 4:3). The only problem with that is people with 4:3 TVs would have to watch 4:3 regardless I think.
Automatic pan and scan will work if the DVD player is set for the "4:3 pan and scan" option. Many people set it for "4:3 letterbox" so it would be letterboxed. If it is set for "16:9" it will fill the screen and look stretched.
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Old 03-22-05, 03:15 PM
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I just wanted to follow up by saying that I gave my "advantages of widescreen" presentation last Thursday, and the marketing director agreed to switch the project to widescreen! Thanks again to those who gave input.

Naturally I'm thrilled with the decision, even though I doubt this DVD will wind up in many DVDtalker's collections.
Although, if they have kids, and shop in Christian bookstores I suppose it could happen.
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Old 03-22-05, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by spartanstew
I believe that television broadcasts must be digital by 2007.
Yes, but keep in mind that "must" was pushed back five years (or so) after the last deadline by which broadcasts "must" be digital was ignored by the industry.
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Old 03-22-05, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by rasalas
To elaborate on what BigDan said, just go to Video Business' weekly DVD sales chart:

http://www.videobusiness.com/topDVDSellers.asp

For those unable to log in...
TOP DVD SELLERS FOR WEEK ENDED 3/13/2005
Click on column headings to sort
Choose another date:
This
Week Last
Week Weeks on Chart Title Label/Distr., SRP Amazon Best Buy Blockbuster Buy.com Circuit City DVD Empire EBay Half.com Tower
1 NEW 1 LADDER 49-WIDE BV, $29.99 13 1 1 3 1 1 - 2 1
2 1 2 BAMBI: SPECIAL EDITION BV, $29.99 1 4 3 2 9 3 - 3 2
3 NEW 1 FRIENDS: NINTH SEASON WB, $44.98 2 3 16 1 10 4 - - 3
4 6 5 THE NOTEBOOK NL/WB, $27.95 4 9 6 18 - - - 1 22
5 NEW 1 WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED FOX, $29.98 - 8 4 - 3 - - - 6
6 3 2 THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE-WIDE PAR, $29.95 - 14 2 4 - 15 - 16 8
7 8 10 NAPOLEON DYNAMITE FOX, $29.98 5 11 13 17 - - 2 24 9
8 4 2 FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX-WIDE FOX, $29.98 - 10 8 11 - 2 - - 10
9 2 2 THE EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING-WIDE WB, $27.95 - 12 9 - - - - - 11
10 5 6 RAY-WIDE UNI, $29.98 9 20 5 7 - 7 - 10 5
11 NEW 1 LADDER 49-FULL BV, $29.99 - 2 - - 2 - - - 4
12 7 5 SHARK TALE-WIDE DW/UNI, $29.99 8 19 7 13 - - - 6 43
13 NR 7 LOTR: RETURN OF THE KING-EXTENDED NL/WB, $39.99 7 13 - - - - 21 - -
14 13 7 ALIEN VS. PREDATOR-WIDE FOX, $29.98 - - 18 - - - 8 13 -
15 9 4 SAW-WIDE LG, $28.98 - - 10 - - - - 9 24
16 NEW 1 BARBIE: FAIRYTOPIA LG, $19.98 - 33 12 - - - - - 21
17 11 6 SHALL WE DANCE?-WIDE BV, $29.99 - - 17 - - - - 19 -
18 12 3 SOUTH PARK: FIFTH SEASON PAR, $49.99 25 35 - 22 - - - - 17
19 14 4 TAXI-WIDE FOX, $29.98 - - 14 - - - - - 35
20 16 2 GET SHORTY: SPECIAL EDITION MGM, $29.98 - - 20 - - - - - 27

I know it's not easy to read, but I hope it helps.



Now, for my 2...Has there actually been serious marketing research that the majority of kids don't like widescreen? I think the majority of kids don't give a crap and are probably far more used to seeing it than their parents. It's usually the parent throwing the tantrum in the store if the movie only comes in widescreen, not the kid.
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