Widescreen adaptation still mostly sucks

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Ezekiel43

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#1  Edited By Ezekiel43
Member since 2017 • 1980 Posts

So I just watched The Evil Dead for the first time. I liked it. The 4K picture was attractive. I wish all the popular modern films (I still consider this modern) shot in 1.33:1 were released in the original aspect ratio. Usually, it's just older films or Criterion releases that maintain the original aspect ratios. I watch tons of films with pillarboxes and never have a problem with it.

I'm watching The Wire on Blu-ray for the first time. My two previous viewings were the DVD version. I'm on season 3 now, and while the wider aspect ratio opens up a lot of scenes, I find that there are so many zoomed faces that I kind of wish it had the original 1.33:1 framing. Way too much of this:

I wonder if The X-Files is as problematic in widescreen. I've heard that it was filmed with widescreen in mind.

Anyway, do you like this? Are people really so stuck on widescreen that this is needed?

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Ezekiel43

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#2  Edited By Ezekiel43
Member since 2017 • 1980 Posts

Yeah, The X-Files sounds much more like a proper widescreen show.

One of the X-Files directors:

We shot The X-Files in Super 35 format and framed for 4:3. We protected for 16:9, because we knew it was coming.

Conversely, David Simon, creator of The Wire:

Because we knew the show would be broadcast in 4:3, Bob [Colesberry] chose to maximize the storytelling within that construct. As full wide shots in 4:3 rendered protagonists smaller, they couldn’t be sustained for quite as long as in a feature film, but neither did we go running too quickly to close-ups as a consequence. Instead, mid-shots became an essential weapon for Bob, and on those rare occasions when he was obliged to leave the set, he would remind me to ensure that the director covered scenes with mid-sized shots that allowed us to effectively keep the story in the wider world, and to resist playing too much of the story in close shots.

It is, indeed, an arguable trade-off, but one that reveals the cost of taking something made in one construct and recasting it for another format. And this scene isn’t unique; there are a good number of similar losses in the transfer, as could be expected.

There are scenes that clearly improve in HD and in the widescreen format. But there are things that are not improved. And even with our best resizing, touchups and maneuver, there are some things that are simply not as good. That’s the inevitability: This new version, after all, exists in an aspect ratio that simply wasn’t intended or serviced by the filmmakers.

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SOedipus

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#3 SOedipus
Member since 2006 • 11659 Posts

I own both series on blu-ray. I never noticed that on The Wire and I had the DVD version too for all seasons. Such an amazing show.

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uninspiredcup

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#4  Edited By uninspiredcup
Member since 2013 • 36135 Posts

I'm glad TNG was never remastered as wide-screen, likewise with the blueray version of Kai. They were never meant to be viewed in that manner, so why would I watch them like that?

Touching up aged special effects, as long as it's done sensibly and not George Lucas levels are fine IMO.

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Too bad Deep Space 9 will never get that treatment, it ran out of budget and had to re-use a lot of effects in the final season.

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Ezekiel43

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#5  Edited By Ezekiel43
Member since 2017 • 1980 Posts

The following are from the first half of season 3 episode 6. As you can see, there is cropping all over the place, and it's not minimal either. I did include a few shots where the wider aspect ratio opened up the picture, but mainly focused on the more zoomed shots. Still, going through the shots one by one, I found information cut at the top and bottom in nearly every single one. I think I prefer the taller picture. They really should have given us both options.

Edit: Maybe a video would be better than thirty-five screenshots.

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Horgen

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#6 Horgen  Moderator
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Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been given similar treatment. The conversion to widescreen and HD has killed it.

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Willy105

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#7 Willy105
Member since 2005 • 24902 Posts

These things should be shown in their original aspect ratio at all times, no matter what.

It sucks that the last two Avengers movies are only available in cropped widescreen instead of their original IMAX aspect ratios.

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Ezekiel43

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#9 Ezekiel43
Member since 2017 • 1980 Posts

@Willy105 said:

These things should be shown in their original aspect ratio at all times, no matter what.

It sucks that the last two Avengers movies are only available in cropped widescreen instead of their original IMAX aspect ratios.

That's a bit different. After asking about this on another forum, I was told that the point of IMAX is to have such a big image that it takes up your peripheral vision, which is why the important information is usually within the 2.4:1 (or whatever) framing. Still, I'd love to see some of these movies in 16:9 without the black bars. I didn't even like Blade Runner 2049 much, but I'd still watch a 16:9 version with all the additional information.

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Ezekiel43

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#10  Edited By Ezekiel43
Member since 2017 • 1980 Posts

Disney Plus botched The Simpsons.

https://screenrant.com/disney-plus-simpsons-animation-aspect-ratio-wrong-bad/

I find how The Simpsons has been treated over the years so damn sad. Where are those original aspect ratio Blu-rays of the old seasons? Old South Park seems to have been treated right.

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Horgen

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#11 Horgen  Moderator
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@ezekiel43 said:

Disney Plus botched The Simpsons.

https://screenrant.com/disney-plus-simpsons-animation-aspect-ratio-wrong-bad/

I find how The Simpsons has been treated over the years so damn sad. Where are those original aspect ratio Blu-rays of the old seasons? Old South Park seems to have been treated right.

I heard about this one. People can live with black bars on both sides if they want to watch old shows. Buffy is another show completely butchered in the process of getting it 16:9 ratio (It's done a lot more than just cropping in Buffy's case).

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#12  Edited By judaspete
Member since 2005 • 3270 Posts

@horgen: I heard about Buffy. Glad I kept the dvds all these years. Came close to selling them once when my appartment was feeling cramped.

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Horgen

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#13 Horgen  Moderator
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@judaspete said:

@horgen: I heard about Buffy. Glad I kept the dvds all these years. Came close to selling them once when my appartment was feeling cramped.

I tried watching them again, didn't know about the issue. The few episodes I watched felt odd. Granted it has more issues than just cropping. The whole brightness and colour aspect is touched. A lot of scenes in Buffy are supposed to be quite dark, and that darkness is has been added post production. It has not been added in the 16:9 version. If you search it up, you will find one example being used when Buffy is supposed to be asleep during the night. In the re-touched version, it looks like it is broad daylight. Not to mention that a lot of details are missed due to cropping the image from the original ratio.

I really want to see it again, but the butchered version on Netflix won't do.

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Ezekiel43

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#14 Ezekiel43
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@horgen said:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been given similar treatment. The conversion to widescreen and HD has killed it.

@horgen said:

I heard about this one. People can live with black bars on both sides if they want to watch old shows. Buffy is another show completely butchered in the process of getting it 16:9 ratio (It's done a lot more than just cropping in Buffy's case).

I never watched Buffy, but I know it's loved. I wonder if the DVD is still being produced or if it's on a limited run now. These botch-jobs make waiting to watch shows later stressful sometimes.

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Horgen

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#15 Horgen  Moderator
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@ezekiel43 said:

I never watched Buffy, but I know it's loved. I wonder if the DVD is still being produced or if it's on a limited run now. These botch-jobs make waiting to watch shows later stressful sometimes.

I watched it on and off over the years it ran here.