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Harry Potter, POA - the truth about the aspect ratios offered.

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Harry Potter, POA - the truth about the aspect ratios offered.

Old 03-31-05, 04:21 PM
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Harry Potter, POA - the truth about the aspect ratios offered.

Visit this page: http://plum.cream.org/HP/poa.htm

Last edited by nemein; 04-01-05 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 03-31-05, 04:28 PM
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I sense a widescreen circle-jerk over the horizon.

Oh yeah. vague thread titles are looked down upon here.
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Old 03-31-05, 04:37 PM
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Uh no! And all this time I'd been buying Fullscreen DVDs becuase I wanted the full picture!
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Old 03-31-05, 05:22 PM
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can't we just lock this thread? nothing good will come of this.
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Old 03-31-05, 05:27 PM
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Yes, let's lock this thread and discuss dumpster diving for DVDs or "how my cousin stole OOP DVDs and sold them on ebay."

The impact the Pan & Scan process has on this film, as opposed to the open matte versions of the first two films is alarming and truly worthy of intelligent discussion. I guess that's lacking around here these days.
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Old 03-31-05, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pdinosaur
can't we just lock this thread? nothing good will come of this.
Yes, God forbid someone might actually become educated about OAR. That would be a travesty!!!
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Old 03-31-05, 06:15 PM
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My genius uncle bought the fullscreen version for my brother. I still haven't forgiven him.
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Old 03-31-05, 06:27 PM
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This thread makes me wanna go hug my widescreen TV
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Old 03-31-05, 06:58 PM
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Good comparo on that page
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Old 03-31-05, 07:09 PM
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The first 2 movie were framed "much better" in 4:3.

I like the wide better, but the first 2 HP movies would easier to watch in 4:3 than the last movie.
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Old 03-31-05, 07:29 PM
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This thread would serve much more purpose if people understood WHY the first 2 movies, directed by Chris Columbus, were much better in pan-scan than this 3rd movie, directed by Alfonso Cuaron.

It's simple, really. Chris Columbus prefers to use Super 35, which films a 35mm 4:3 frame which is then cropped at the top and bottom for theatrical release. Alfonso Cuaron prefers to use Panavision, which is a 35mm 4:3 frame but which uses an anamorphic optical lens to "squash" what is being filmed at the theatrical aspect ratio.

The result is that there is actually more image available above and below the theatrical frame for use in the pan-scan versions of the first 2 movies, so they are used, and the pan-scan versions of the first 2 films look a lot better. There is nothing to do with a Panavision-filmed movie except cut the sides right off, because there is no additional image that can be used.

The result is that the pan-scan versions of the first 2 HP films in some cases actually show MORE image than the widescreen versions. The 3rd film is butchered because that is all that can be done.
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Old 03-31-05, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Cornell
The result is that the pan-scan versions of the first 2 HP films in some cases actually show MORE image than the widescreen versions. The 3rd film is butchered because that is all that can be done.
Still, all three are "butchered" as fullscreen releases. Remember, original aspect ratio is what film lovers should really demand---not simply widescreen vs. fullscreen. If the film was shown in a widescreen format, it should be preserved on DVD the same way (though I'll agree that open matte is the lesser of two evils).
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Old 04-01-05, 06:49 AM
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Originally posted by Mr. Cornell

This thread would serve much more purpose if people understood WHY the first 2 movies, directed by Chris Columbus, were much better in pan-scan than this 3rd movie, directed by Alfonso Cuaron.

It's simple, really. Chris Columbus prefers to use Super 35, which films a 35mm 4:3 frame which is then cropped at the top and bottom for theatrical release. Alfonso Cuaron prefers to use Panavision, which is a 35mm 4:3 frame but which uses an anamorphic optical lens to "squash" what is being filmed at the theatrical aspect ratio.
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The result is that the pan-scan versions of the first 2 HP films in some cases actually show MORE image than the widescreen versions. The 3rd film is butchered because that is all that can be done.
According to IMDb, as well as every other Internet resource I can find about this, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was filmed, like its predecessors, in the Super 35 process. This can be determined by watching the scene when the Knight Bus first appears and approaches Harry after he falls backward onto the curb.

A sure sign of an anamorphic lens is when lights--flashlights, headlights, etc--pointed at the camera cause intense bands that stretch across the picture. The anamorphic squeeze is what creates the effect. (James Cameron has addressed this very issue. Looks unnatural to him, which is partly why he prefers Super 35.) I noticed the apparent panning-and-scanning of the full screen version of Prisoner of Azkaban, a movie that I expected to be filmed open matte, so I watched the Knight Bus scene specifically for the light bands. And I saw none.

This tells me that Prisoner of Azkaban was, in fact, shot Super 35, but for some reason they decided to pan and scan the widescreen print rather than open the mattes. Makes no sense, but I don't know how else to explain it. The movie shows no signs of being filmed anamorphically, which means there should have been plenty of extra picture information to work with. Yet the full screen version is butchered beyond belief.

I actually watched full screen and widescreen side-by-side to compare them, and I was taken aback constantly by the insane degree of cropping that was being carried out on the full screen version. One site I found illustrated how they not only chopped off the sides, but a little off the top and bottom, as well. As I remember my own full screen experience, I observe this to be true. Amazing.

--THX
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Old 04-01-05, 03:37 PM
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I find this pretty interesting. Anytime I see how butchered pan & scan versions of films are compared to its intended aspect ratio, it just fascinates me why people would buy the fullscreen.

Anyway, I guess the first two films don't look too bad in fullscreen due to the open mattes. There's a pretty noteworthy shot where the camera pans up to reveal Hogwarts that might even look better in fullscreen.
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Old 04-01-05, 04:11 PM
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The more the P&S process butchers the original, the happier I am.
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Old 04-01-05, 04:45 PM
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Hands down the best comparison of FS vs WS I have ever seen....Well perhaps because I am addicted to Harry Potter
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Old 04-01-05, 05:17 PM
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i'm guessing the reason POA was P&S, despite being shot on Super35, is because of the digital color correction process which was only done to the 2.40:1 image extracted from film.
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Old 04-01-05, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CertifiedTHX
This tells me that Prisoner of Azkaban was, in fact, shot Super 35, but for some reason they decided to pan and scan the widescreen print rather than open the mattes. Makes no sense, but I don't know how else to explain it. The movie shows no signs of being filmed anamorphically, which means there should have been plenty of extra picture information to work with. Yet the full screen version is butchered beyond belief.
There are plenty of good reasons to crop a Super35 image rather than open the mattes, such as boom microphones dipping down from above, lights and film equipment at the top and bottom of the exposed film frame, CGI special effects only being rendered for the theatrical 2.40:1 area, or (as Cygnet74 postulates) the digital color correction process also only being performed on the 2.40:1 area of the film negative.

The other possibility is that, in trying to reformat the movie for 4:3, the director made his choices on a case-by-case basis and decided that the entire visual design of the film would have to be changed and only focus on smaller parts of the frame.

Or, maybe he just really hates "full frame" and decided to crop the hell out of the 4:3 transfer out of spite. That's what I would have done. Hell, I'd take it a few steps further and make sure that in every shot the only thing you see is a small square around Harry's face.
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Old 04-01-05, 07:41 PM
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I think this is an interesting bit

This exemplifies something about fullscreen releases of widescreen movies which makes me angry. There is a requirement in the movie industry that the end credits must be included in their entirety on DVD or video releases. In cases like this one, where there are so many names, and the list meanders down, left, right and up at times, the only way to display all the names is to include the full width of the original widescreen design, which requires the inclusion of the dreaded "black bars" at the top and bottom of the screen. My issue is this: if it is considered important that all the people who worked on the movie get the recognition they rightly deserve (and which I certainly don't begrudge them), why does the movie industry allow their work to be decimated and degraded the way this movie does? It makes them look at best incompetent, and at worst fools
I've wondered this myself but always thought it was a minor point that not many others would see. Glad to see someone else notice it.
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Old 04-04-05, 11:56 AM
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Now, many of the previous posts are exactly why I opened this thread. Thanks to everyone who posted entertaining/informative reading. If anyone has anything else to add, I'm sure many would appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 04-04-05, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CertifiedTHX
A sure sign of an anamorphic lens is when lights--flashlights, headlights, etc--pointed at the camera cause intense bands that stretch across the picture. The anamorphic squeeze is what creates the effect. . . . so I watched the Knight Bus scene specifically for the light bands. And I saw none.

This tells me that Prisoner of Azkaban was, in fact, shot Super 35
Seriously, you believe that there exists no anamorphic lens which can be used by a talented enough director of photography in a heavy CGI scene and not produce that effect? I'll make no comment otherwise, but today's technology can certainly eliminate any "anamorphic byproduct."
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Old 04-04-05, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by hogfat
Seriously, you believe that there exists no anamorphic lens which can be used by a talented enough director of photography in a heavy CGI scene and not produce that effect? I'll make no comment otherwise, but today's technology can certainly eliminate any "anamorphic byproduct."
Anamorphic lenses are notorious for producing visual artifacts, and the lens flares mentioned above are big enough that I doubt they could be removed digitally without creating serious side effects in the process.
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Old 04-04-05, 11:56 PM
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Originally posted by hogfat

Seriously, you believe that there exists no anamorphic lens which can be used by a talented enough director of photography in a heavy CGI scene and not produce that effect? I'll make no comment otherwise, but today's technology can certainly eliminate any "anamorphic byproduct."
Perhaps technology HAS advanced to the point where they can remove undesirable byproducts of the anamorphic lens. I just know what I've read. Those heavy light bands are caused by that lens, so when I see them in a movie with a "scope" aspect ratio, I know immediately how that movie was filmed. It's a telltale sign. That's all.

--THX
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Old 04-05-05, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hogfat
Seriously, you believe that there exists no anamorphic lens which can be used by a talented enough director of photography in a heavy CGI scene and not produce that effect?
No talent can overcome the optical science that results in anamorphic lens flares. The flares can be avoided entirely, to be sure, but when a flare occurs with an anamorphic lens, it will have the look necessitated by the shape of the lens. As for using CGI to get rid of it, it'd be a rather pointless excercise. If a lens flare occurs, the work needed to digitally remove it or somehow make it spherical would be time-consuming, expensive, and purposeless.

I'll make no comment otherwise, but today's technology can certainly eliminate any "anamorphic byproduct."
I guess enough time, updated software, CPU power, and man power could eliminate any defect from any element of filmmaking. Whether such work would ever really be done (or was done in the film in question) is another story entirely.

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Old 04-11-05, 12:10 AM
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The biggest point, however, is that while the presence of an anamorphic lens flare likely implies that an anamorphic lens was used in filming, the inverse is not necessarily true. That's simple logic.

Beyond that, a large deal of work is done with computer image generation to mimic actual properties of film. Lens flares may be added if one believes the image would look more "film-like."
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