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DVDs Cropped to Widescreen from Fullscreen transfer?

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DVDs Cropped to Widescreen from Fullscreen transfer?

Old 06-12-08, 08:40 PM
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Here Comes the Grump

The complete series DVD release of the 1969 DePatie-Freleng cartoon "Here Comes the Grump" was quite a mess. They cropped it for 16x9 HDTV, but then compressed the cropped image back to academy ratio for the standard DVD. So not only was the the image cropped, it was also squeezed!

Thankfully, they "busted" themselves by including original ratio coming attractions on the set, which made for easy comparison between original and remastered images.

I blogged about it two years ago (with pics).
Old 06-12-08, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by kg3
This is just one example of a DVD originally released as widescreen in theaters, then cropped to FS for VHS/Cable then seemingly cropped again from this FS transfer to 16:9 WS.
If that was the case, the image on the dvd image would be severely cut into on the sides. This is a simple opening of the matte for the FS image, not some crazy double-cropping malarky. Josh Z, you explained this perfectly. Odds are that the other two movies TK listed fall into the same category. Maybe the framing isn't perfect, such as with Excalibur, but I really really doubt that they've been double-cropped.

Last edited by canaryfarmer; 06-12-08 at 09:46 PM.
Old 06-12-08, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z
You're still not understanding the concept of an open-matte video transfer.
Look again at the comparison shots you've compiled. Shot 1 clearly has too much empty headroom at the top of the shot and looks very awkward. That black thing at the very top may even be a boom mic.
The open-matte 4:3 version has too much extraneous picture information exposed at the top and bottom of the frame. More is not always better.
Originally Posted by canaryfarmer
If that was the case, the image on the dvd image would be severely cut into on the sides. This is a simple opening of the matte for the FS image, not some crazy double-cropping malarky. Josh Z, you explained this perfectly. Odds are that the other two movies TK listed fall into the same category. Maybe the framing isn't perfect, such as with Excalibur, but I really really doubt that they've been double-cropped.
Here are just a couple of DVD screenshots of examples of why I feel this is a cropped FS and not a cropped to WS from an open-matte transfer.

In this first one the man in the middle right of the frame is actually talking while his face is cropped to below his nose!



And, in this one the actor (Jeffrey Jones) on the left is talking back and forth with Teri Garr as the framing cuts his head off to his eyes!



Unfortunately there are many other examples of these sorts of problems, I just thought to post a couple so people can see more of where I'm coming from. Anyone can check their own copy if they got the 16:9 $3 copy of Mom and Dad Save the World from Big Lots (I can give time locations of a lot of examples on the DVD).
Josh Z - I do understand the concept of an open-matte video transfer. But the strange cropping of peoples' heads and just scenes in general seeming way too tightly focused/ overly close-in makes me believe this is not a 16:9 version cropped from an open-matte transfer but rather a 16:9 cropped from a FS version, artistically I don't think it would be preferable to crop into the head and face when someone is talking?!
Aside from my discussion of Mom and Dad Save the World I have seen many mentions of theatrical releases vs. FS transfers and FS versions cropped to 16:9, etc. Also, many people have mentioned that they have FS/WS flippers on which the WS is actually the FS cropped (need original theatrical version to confirm if open-matte FS). It may or may not be possible to compare to / find scenes from the original theatrical versions to prove definitively. Some people state they saw the original theatrical releases of the films in question and are sure about this.
I would just like confirmation about some of these suspect titles but can't realistically locate the theatrical release comparisons or find definitive info., again I do know that theatrical widescreen releases are matted to widescreen from the 35mm original and some FS transfers to VHS/Cable/DVD are from the original film with the matte removed. But many transfers are FS from the matted widescreen with or without pan and scan,etc.
It would be nice to discuss these possible problems in an objective and open way without the sometimes unkind statements that have been made.
Old 06-12-08, 11:38 PM
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I think it's simply much more likely that the framing is off. Move either of those last example frames up just a bit and you have a nicely composed still.
Old 06-13-08, 08:33 AM
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kg3, these new screencaps you've posted better demonstrate the problem you're describing.

I think canaryfarmer has it right. It's not that the widescreen image was cropped on the sides to 4:3 and then cropped again on top and bottom to 16:9. It looks like in the transition from the original 1.37:1 camera negative to the 16:9 DVD, the telecine operator fell asleep at the switch and slid the frame down too far. Especially in the first shot, you can see that there's too much footroom and not enough headroom. I don't think there's anything missing from the sides.
Old 06-13-08, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rw2516
Nope. Shot in SUPERSCOPE. I think it's 2.00:1 or something.
This explains it all. Basically the film was shot and meant for Academy Ratio, and then was converted to 'superscope' which crops a lot of the image. And the true aspect ratio of the film has never been released at all. Since the 'fullscreen' transfers available on video/dvd are pan & scan transfers from the cropped 'widescreen' print.

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/wingss4.htm
Old 06-13-08, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by The Monkees
I thought that the original "Invaision of the body snatchers" was cropped from a 1.33:1 to 2.35:1.
It was likely meant to be shown around 1.66:1 to 1.85:1. The real problem was the SuperScope process blowing up the image too much and introducing a lot of extra graininess. The 2:1 framing is only slightly tight, so a transfer at 1.85:1 using standard 1.85:1 STMPE specs should look right.
Old 06-16-08, 06:18 AM
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Here's a another example of open matte vs. widescreen. Consider these screenshots from the R4 open matte, and R1 anamorphic releases:



Now compare the R1 anamorphic release frame:



In this frame you can clearly see the whole of frame as it exists on the print. Also, you can see Mary Woronov standing on her "mark", which is the white masking tape T under her feet. These things are normally masked when projected in the intended 1.85:1 ratio. A good example is Pee Wee's Big Adventure. The VHS tape is open matte, and without the 1.85:1 masking, you can see practical effects that are ruined by the open frame, in particular the ropes pulling the railroad signs when Pee Wee is driving at night, and the endless bike chain scene. Sometimes they are still visible, in this case probably due to the extremely low budget of the original production. In a modern production, actor's "marks", boom mikes and other things are digitally removed, so you don't see them.
Old 06-16-08, 11:15 AM
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The pictures you posted seem identical except one is horizontally stretched and the colors are different. But you can see the same things on the walls and the ground, including her mark. The only difference I see is that the top of the frame is trimmed, cutting off too much of the dude's head.
Old 06-16-08, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by E. Honda
Here's a another example of open matte vs. widescreen. Consider these screenshots from the R4 open matte, and R1 anamorphic releases:
Uh, no. As droidguy said, there's no difference in the framing of those two shots. The bottom one has the exact same framing, it's just been squished.
Old 06-16-08, 03:56 PM
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It has been squished a little, but is definitely not the exact same.
Old 06-16-08, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Kory
It has been squished a little, but is definitely not the exact same.
The first image has been stretched vertically. The second image has been compressed vertically. Neither one has correct picture geometry.

Comparing the picture information at the edges of the two shots, the left edge is identical, the bottom edge is identical, and the right edge is identical. However, the first image has a bit more picture information at the top of the frame (you can see above the X-rays).

In any case, these shots do not make a very good example of what E. Honda describes them as. The tape laid down for the actress' mark is clearly visible in both images, indicating either that both are open-matte transfers to varying degrees, or that the tape was just a dumb production flub.

Last edited by Josh Z; 06-16-08 at 05:35 PM.
Old 06-16-08, 05:15 PM
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My doctor's office has pieces of tape on the floor also. I guess I live in an open-matte world.

Old 06-17-08, 11:49 AM
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I think what TK is talking about is this... imagine a film that was only projected with a hard matte at 1.85:1, like Jurassic Park. Then imagine a fullscreen transfer is made for TV at 1.33:1. Then imagine Universal decides to release a widescreen version of the film on DVD, but instead of just transferring the original projected image, they take the 1.33:1 image and crop IT to 1.85:1. See examples below:


<- Original projected image

<- Cropped to 1.33:1

<- 1.33:1 image cropped to 1.85:1



You can see how in the second shot, information is lost on the sides. Then notice on the third shot, information is lost on the top and bottom, creating a very tight, poorly-framed image. I'm not in anyway implying that this was actually done to Jurassic Park, or any other film transfer, but I thought a visual example might help sort out what I think the OP was trying to illustrate.
Old 06-17-08, 07:24 PM
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Rooked, that's perfect! Now, has this actually happened?
I swear I remember reading about one such example here.
Old 06-17-08, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Egon's Ghost
Rooked, that's perfect! Now, has this actually happened?
I swear I remember reading about one such example here.
It's possible that it may have happened in isolated examples, but it's certainly not a common problem.
Old 06-17-08, 10:32 PM
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I remember reading old Video Watchdog articles where they described something like this happening with some laserdisc releases. Something about blowing up the picture within the letterboxing (making the picture easier to see back in the day before people had large, widescreen TVs). I think they called it "zoomboxing" and used the LD of JURASSIC PARK as an example (and it looked close to what is shown in the JP pics in the post above). Is it possible that some of these fiddled-with LD transfers migrated to some DVDs? (especially earlier non-anamorphic releases?). I have no idea if this is the case, I'm just throwing this out there.

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