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DVDs Cropped to Widescreen from Fullscreen transfer?

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DVDs Cropped to Widescreen from Fullscreen transfer?

Old 06-11-08, 02:37 PM
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DVDs Cropped to Widescreen from Fullscreen transfer?

I've run into a couple of DVDs which are labeled as Widescreen but you can tell by the close-in shots and cut off heads that they are really just cropped versions of the Fullscreen transfers that the studio did for VHS/Cable. This is worse that Fullscreen because not only did they cut off the sides when the transfered it to Fullscreen but they then cut off the top and bottom when they transfered it again to Widescreen. Really, its fake Widescreen because you miss more than if you were watching the Fullscreen transfer!

I'm having real trouble finding a list of all the movies that were transferred to Widescreen this lazy, sloppy way. Does anyone know where I can find a list of these movies so that I can avoid purchasing them? If not, does anyone know the proper term for this kind of transfer so that I can do a Google search?

Thanks!
Old 06-11-08, 03:05 PM
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It's probably just easier to ask if you're concerned about a particular movie instead of trying to find some magic list. Also, some movies' widescreen versions are supposed to be that way, as they've simply opened up the frame for the fullscreen from the correct widescreen ratio (usually filmed with Super 35). Laziness rarely has anything to do with it. I'd like to know which movies you're upset about.

Last edited by canaryfarmer; 06-11-08 at 03:23 PM.
Old 06-11-08, 03:17 PM
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I prefer WS and I'm not talking about when they open it up larger from the original print. I just noticed the obvious transfers from fullscreen on a few of the DVDs in my collection and wonder how many DVDs were cropped down from the fullscreen transfer. I can't list the hundreds I already own so I was just looking for a list.
Thanks
Old 06-11-08, 03:20 PM
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It would still help if you listed a title or two that you're concerned about.
Old 06-11-08, 03:21 PM
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The thing is, it's actually a pretty damn rare occurrence. I can only think of two examples : Season 1 of Kung-Fu (which pissed off so many people they changed back to the OAR for the subsequent seasons) and the new season sets of Dragonball Z. We're not asking for a list of every widescreen movie you own, just the ones you think are obvious. There can't be that many.

ninja edit: Oh, and the 10th Anniversary Ninja Scroll, which at least had the original 4x3 transfer included.

Last edited by canaryfarmer; 06-11-08 at 03:26 PM.
Old 06-11-08, 06:01 PM
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I've wondered on occasion when one sees the term fake widescreen used if the person was speaking about comparing an open matte release to the intended aspect ratio one and then presuming the IAR one was a fake widescreen transfer or something legitimate like the Kung Fu season example (recall reading one of the ER seasons is similar also though I'm not sure if it was originally aired open matte for 1.33:1 or composed for it and therefore qualifies to be mentioned).

There are a couple of people that post reviews on Amazon that seemingly confuse the two, stating something has first been altered to be "full screen" and then again cropped from that image to create the "widescreen" one, when they seem to be comparing an open matte DVD/VHS to the intended aspect ratio and complaining that the IAR release cuts off picture (the resulting image from something "pan and scan" then cropped to widescreen would seem like it would be barely watchable.. which is why ~1.37:1 IAR titles made ~1.78:1 seem more likely).

This person comes to mind. And to confuse the issue even more, they get the Kung Fu modification correct but the rest seem to have been directly compared to an open matte release to reach their conclusion. I don't recall ever seeing a trustworthy confirmation on them.

There are a number of releases for things with an intended aspect ratio of 1.37:1 that have been modified to something like 1.78:1 though. Just a few examples of those.

Blue Planet: IMAX (1990) (BD/HD DVD)
Chronos (1985) (BD/HD DVD)
Dragon's Lair (1983) (BD/HD DVD)
Father... A Son... Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, A (2005)
Glenn Miller Story, The (1953)
It (Stephen King's It) (1990)
Roy Orbison: Black & White Night (1988) (HD DVD)

Some made for TV movies from years past have been released in one aspect ratio in one region and in a different one in another region. There is so little information for some of those that one would basically have to guess which is the intended aspect ratio.
Old 06-11-08, 07:19 PM
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Jet Pilot (made in 1949, but released in 1957). Film in Academy ratio 1 - 1:33, but trim to 1 - 1:85. The Universal laserdisc release was in it's proper full-screen aspect ratio, but the DVD was released at widescreen. It's very obvious looking at them side-by-side that the DVD is missing information at the top and bottom of the screen.

I think this film is a prefect example of what your looking for.
Old 06-11-08, 07:22 PM
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John Boorman's 'Excalibur' DVD is the perfect example of how to completely screw up everything on framing and 'open matte' and 'fake widescreen'...
Old 06-11-08, 07:42 PM
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The Evil Dead. Thankfully, AB included both the WS and FF transfers on the latest edition, but the BotD edition only had the unholy WS transfer. That film is not meant to be seen WS. It just doesn't look right.
Old 06-11-08, 08:11 PM
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There are also alot of films whose OAR was 1.66:1 that are cropped to 1.78:1 when they are released to DVD..
Old 06-11-08, 09:54 PM
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One that was most upsetting for me was the V miniseries (1983 / 85)

Intented ratio = 1.33:1, but the DVD release has been cropped to 1.78:1... Boy did I get burned on that one. Still have the Japanese LD release which is proper 1.33:1, but has burned-in subtitles.
Old 06-11-08, 10:27 PM
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The newer edition of George Romero's Martin on DVD is cropped to Widescreen while the old Anchorbay has the 1.33:1 transfer.
Old 06-11-08, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by zyzzle
One that was most upsetting for me was the V miniseries (1983 / 85)

Intented ratio = 1.33:1, but the DVD release has been cropped to 1.78:1... Boy did I get burned on that one. Still have the Japanese LD release which is proper 1.33:1, but has burned-in subtitles.
Checking reviews on this one suggests that the director did also compose it for a theatrical showing so isn't entirely modified from its intended aspect ratio but instead just presents an alternate one (perhaps similar to the early ER seasons?).
Old 06-11-08, 11:39 PM
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John Carpenter's SOMEONE IS WATCHING was a TV movie from 1978, the DVD has been cropped to 1:78.
Old 06-12-08, 02:43 AM
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Here are a few of DVDs I recently purchased from Big Lots and they all seem to be cropped to 1.78:1 from the 1.33:1 transfers:

New Year's Day (1989)
Mom and Dad Save The World (1992)
Dream for an Insomniac (1996)

The shots are very close in and heads are often cut off. These are the few I have noticed so far. As I've mentioned, it would be nice to have a resource to find out what other DVDs have this issue. I can assume that any DVDs with covers which state they are preserving the original aspect ratio are good....its just the others that I'm curious about.
Old 06-12-08, 07:20 AM
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can anyone confirm that MOM AND DAD SAVE THE WORLD is a cropped image or does this guy not know what he's talking about? i've been meaning to pick that up.
Old 06-12-08, 11:03 AM
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Babylon 5.

The show was originally shot in widescreen (16:9), but was cropped to 4:3 when broadcast.

When it was released on DVD, widescreen transfers were used. The original filmed elements were shown at the apsect ratio they were filmed in. BUT all of the special effects shots and live-action elements with any special effects were trimmed at the top/bottom because the effects were only rendered at 4:3.
Old 06-12-08, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by abintra
Checking reviews on this one suggests that the director did also compose it for a theatrical showing so isn't entirely modified from its intended aspect ratio but instead just presents an alternate one (perhaps similar to the early ER seasons?).
Yep that's correct.
Old 06-12-08, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by riotinmyskull
can anyone confirm that MOM AND DAD SAVE THE WORLD is a cropped image or does this guy not know what he's talking about? i've been meaning to pick that up.
With respect to TK111, and full awareness that it is entirely possible albeit unlikely, there doesn't seem to be much of evidence that those are "fake widescreen".

I'm thinking the thought process to reach that conclusion is the same as the above linked to Amazon reviewer 'ed600' that thinks retaining a films intended aspect ratio if a full frame exposure print exists means that it is cropping the picture. Something being filmed on a 1.37:1 frame with the full intention and compostion being for something other than that, like the earlier Super 35 mention, is not "fake widescreen" when in its intended aspect ratio. The unmatted version is the modified aspect ratio release, not vice versa.

I'd give credit to the person whose signature it is but I don't recall offhand, basically, it isn't about which has more or less image but rather about preserving the composition as intended. The three titles TK111 mentions all seem to have their intended aspect ratio preserved on their DVD releases.

Couple generic links..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_35_mm_film
http://www.widescreen.org/aspect_ratios.shtml#super-35
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_matte
Old 06-12-08, 04:44 PM
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Psycho 4 is "fake widescreen".
Old 06-12-08, 04:59 PM
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I thought that the original "Invaision of the body snatchers" was cropped from a 1.33:1 to 2.35:1.
Old 06-12-08, 06:00 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.
Nope. Shot in SUPERSCOPE. I think it's 2.00:1 or something.
Old 06-12-08, 06:27 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.

That's what I always heard. This is the first time I've heard mention of Superscope.



Also, V & V: The Final Battle are 1.85:1 on DVD even tho it was originally broadcast on TV. When released, a lot of people said they were shown in theaters in the UK so I guess it's okay.

Last edited by The Valeyard; 06-12-08 at 06:30 PM.
Old 06-12-08, 07:17 PM
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I did some research online to find screenshots from Mom and Dad Save the World that appear to be from the full screen version (here's the website where the images were found: http://www.badmovies.org/movies/momdad/).
I did a couple of screenshots from my 16:9 DVD for comparison. It's pretty clear that unfortunately this DVD is cropped from a FS transfer. Here are the examples side by side:

http://s282.photobucket.com/albums/k...tos/MomAndDad/

For Comparison 1, notice there's less space above their heads and less of the car seats showing. Also, there's nothing additional showing on the right and left.

For Comparison 2, notice the top of his head is cut off along with a good portion of their torsos. Also, nothing different on right and left.

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 the original theatrical release was 16:9/1.78:1 (just as an example) then you would be losing approximately 44% of that original image! If the aspect ratio of the original theatrical version was 1.85:1 or 2.35:1, etc. there would be even more picture loss. I thought FS was awful but this practice is even worse.
Old 06-12-08, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kg3
I did a couple of screenshots from my 16:9 DVD for comparison. It's pretty clear that unfortunately this DVD is cropped from a FS transfer. Here are the examples side by side:

http://s282.photobucket.com/albums/k...tos/MomAndDad/
You're still not understanding the concept of an open-matte video transfer.

See here:

http://www.widescreen.org/widescreen_matte.shtml

And here:

http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/sh...rs_Go_Away/764

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 matted 1.85:1 version is the correct theatrical framing.



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.

Last edited by Josh Z; 06-12-08 at 08:28 PM.

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