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Where are all the OAR snobs now?

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by Stuart Sweet, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Back in the 2000s, you knew you were talking to a real home theater buff when they started talking about OAR: original aspect ratio. These were the guys who said that every movie should be letterboxed when viewed on an SDTV. It didn't matter if it was shot in super vista vision and you were watching it on a 13" TV, they wanted you to see the entire frame, no matter that Mrs. Robinson's leg was only an inch tall.

    When HDTVs became the norm, the really hardcore guys insisted that 16:9 wasn't good enough, even when it was pretty clear that cinematographers were framing shots so that nothing would be missed in that safe zone. Widescreen TV? Not good enough. If it was shown 2.35:1 in the theater, that's how it MUST be seen at home.

    Me, I always say that you do what works for you. To me, some stuff looked better when it filled the entire screen.

    Now we have a whole new problem. Friends and Seinfeld have been remastered in HD, and the new masters are 16:9. The shows, obviously, were first shown in 4:3 SD.

    Don't get me wrong, the difference in quality is night and day. When I compare Friends in HD to the same program shown from an old videotape masters, it's clear which I'd rather watch. But there's no question, the framing is uncomfortably tight in some shots. These programs were shot to be seen on a 25" 4:3 TV and sometimes people's heads are just, plain, huge.

    I don't know how these shows were shot. It seems clear they were 35mm masters judging from the quality, but without knowing the lenses and cameras used, I don't know what aspect ratio actually appears on the negatives. In some shots it does seem like there's extra detail on the left and right, but I'm not comparing them scrupulously to the originals. It's more likely they just cropped off the top and bottom in a 21st-century version of the pan-and-scan technique used for TVs in the past.

    So where are the snobs? Who's out there complaining that the top of Kramer's head is cut off or we can't see Rachel's designer shoes? Has OAR all of a sudden become irrelevant?
     
  2. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    Personally, I hate it when they cut the bottom of the screen off. It looks like the camera operator flunked film school.
     
  3. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    You're asking for it, mister.

    I was grateful when they remastered the original Star Trek (TOS) in HD, they didn't do it in 16:9 but instead kept it 4:3. It would have lost a lot going to widescreen. The new effects were done in 16:9 but windowboxed down to 4:3 for the U.S. transfer. As I undertand it, in Japan, TOS is 16:9 all the way. They can have it.

    On the other hand, I have always enjoyed Hogan's Heroes in 16:9 on HDNet, as well as Charlie's Angels.

    I would also say I enjoy TJ Hooker remastered in 16:9 but that would assume I appreciate TJ Hooker at all. That would be a lie. I can say it looks fine in 16:9. That's as far as I will go.

    I guess it depends on the series. The original Twilight Zone? Remaster it in 4:3, please. I'll take Seinfeld in 16:9. It's still as funny, and as you point out, it fills the screen.
     
  4. tkrandall

    tkrandall Hall Of Fame

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    I am a snob I guess. I prefer my content framed as close to its original content as possible. If that means pillar boxes, give them to me. That is how I have my TVs set up. I do not like obviously zoomed/cropped or stretched content.

    Hogans Heros is an interesting case. It looks great in 16:9 HD. I do not know the original film format, but I undertand it was wide screen of some sort. It was one of the earliest TV shows to make it on to an HD network and look authentically HD framed 16:9.
     
  5. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    I too am a OAR snob. Need a comparision? Look at Cinemax's broadcast of The Magnificent Seven (16:9) compared to HDNET's broadcast of the same film (2.35:1). Noticeable difference. Anything short of the director's intent is like reading a abridged version of a novel.
     
  6. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    I'll trade in black bars for a full screen quality image any day.

    OAR is fine, but in many cases undercuts the value of large screens.

    Given the choice, OAS loses here. Not given a choice, it's tolerable.
     
  7. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Even if Courteney Cox's head is the size of the Goodyear Blimp?
     
  8. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    Boo! :lol:

    OAR all the way in my house...
     
  9. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Guys, to be clear, I'm not talking about letterboxing here. I'm not talking about seeing a theatrical property in the same aspect in which it was shown in the theater. I'm talking about old TV shows being cropped to fit 16:9. Are you still so worried about that? Do you even care?
     
  10. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    You mean it really isn't?
     
  11. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    I agree with Carl Spock, depends on the series.
     
  12. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Hmmm, I can't find the time nor the interest to watch old shows, so I guess I'm really out of it. If all the scripted TV disappeared I could probably go for two years on what I've saved on external hard drives because we just didn't have time to watch everything.
     
  13. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    I'm not sure that it depends on the series for me, as much as it depends on how well it's done, and how much the editors have to work with. If I had to guess — and this is a guess — Seinfeld was probably shot to a wider aspect ratio than 4:3 because the conversion is consistently more pleasing. More likely Friends was shot 4:3 or close to it (like 1.37:1.) I see a lot more cropping there.

    I know they're remastering Star Trek: The Next Generation and I don't know how that was shot or how it is planned to be presented.
     
  14. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Director Sydney Pollack had a cool extra in his film The Interpreter. He did a demonstration of what the audience would be missing if they were watching the movie in P&S instead of OAR. Very revealing in terms of what he as a director wanted you to see vs. what you would have seen.

    Acually, I think with a larger screen it is better for OAR. I watch 2.35:1 movies all the time on my 70" and don't even notice the bars because the screen is already large.
    ___________

    As for the OT, I think they need to be shown as the director intended and that is 4:3. I can deal with black bars on the sides.
     
  15. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Black bars are black bars and big black bars are big black bars. Nothing will change that.

    I see OAR content on a 116" screen, and while the image is huge, the black bars are still annoying to some folks, especially on 2:35:1 content.
     
  16. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Star Trek: The Next Generation was shot with Lenses and Panaflex Cameras by Panavision. Given that the remastering should look well using 16:9.
     
  17. phox_mulder

    phox_mulder Legend

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    We were receiving STNG in HD before our contract ran out (TV Station), and it was 4:3.

    Not sure if the show was actual HD or they were just giving it to us in HD for the HD commercials though.

    It did look better than the previous years SD.


    phox
     
  18. rrdirectsr

    rrdirectsr Legend

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    As a CSR it always amazes me on how many people insist on stretch format when they are on SD channels that are in a letterbox / pillar box format or when they hook up a SD reciever to a HD tv. They would rather have the full screen then the picture quality.
     
  19. phox_mulder

    phox_mulder Legend

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    First year CBS ran the remastered Rudolph in HD we and they had thousands of phone calls and other complaints that it wasn't really HD and CBS was lying to them.

    The next year they ran different promos showing the old and the new and how 4:3 HD was still HD even though it didn't fill the screen.

    Still got hundreds of phone calls.

    Being that it's airing tonight, I bet there are phone calls.


    phox
     
  20. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    It will stay 4:3. link

    It's too bad they aren't going to 16:9. Given that the original raw film stock still survives, pre-special effects, they could reframe things in 16:9 and keep it looking good. By going out of the safety area on the sides and framing things carefully, they could make a really good looking picture that would fill the screen. They'd have to have a commitment to redoing all of the special effects in HD, which they aren't doing, but this still seems like a wasted opportunity to me.

    If you want a hint of this, go to the finale of Enterprise, "These Are The Voyages..." That opens with TNG footage reframed to 16:9. Except for the fact there are two Rikers in Ten Forward (the stock footage has him in the background), it looks very good in HD and 16:9.
     

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