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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » Silence of the Lambs (discussion) (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Silence of the Lambs (discussion)
John Hawkinson
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 - posted 01-30-2003 12:34 AM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Author's Homepage   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Moving discussion from the FITA thread (Silence of the Lambs).

Michael Coate asked: "Were there any notes enclosed with the prints indicating the projection ratio is 1.66:1, or is 1.66:1 simply the ratio the image was printed in (meaning 1.85:1 would be the projection ratio)? I can recall seeing other Orion spherical releases printed with rounded hardmatte corners (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and RoboCop 2 come to mind, yet they were still meant for 1.85:1 projection)."

No, as you would expect, there's no enclosed data (it rarely lasts 3 months, much less 10 years). There appears to be a full 1.66:1 image, however, and there are no boom mics or other untoward items visible when projected at 1.66:1. In fact, it looked to me that there was even a little more than 1.66:1 in there, but I did not actually measure.

--jhawk

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 01-30-2003 01:41 AM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John,
Why did you move this thread? There was nothing "chatty" about it. If others start babbling about things like their DVD collections or anything else not related to the entry in other FITA threads, that's not my problem...so don't hold me responsible. Sometimes my contribution to these FITA entries may seem chatty to some but it's all relevant information if you ask me; I'm adding useful information or attempting to clarify already posted information. If the FITA category is really meant to be a resource and an archive of useful information then I'd suggest not getting bent out of shape when someone tries to add relevant data to a particular film's entry.

The Silence Of The Lambs may very well have been intended to be projected at 1.66:1. My point was simply that *most* spherical prints in the last couple decades -- whether hardmatted or not -- are meant to be projected at 1.85:1. For some odd reason, many people get tripped up on 1.66:1 hardmatted prints, falsely thinking they automatically imply 1.66:1 projection. Re Silence; I was just trying to get a clarification on the ratio so the entry for that title would be as complete and accurate as possible.

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Brad Miller
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 - posted 01-30-2003 01:58 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
It wasn't an insult at you Mike. John was just nipping it before it turned into chit chat. The FITA forum is for hard data. Since he linked the thread to this one, people searching the archives can still have access to the data. If some hard proof turns up in this thread, then it can be added back over in the FITA thread. [Smile]

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John Hawkinson
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 - posted 01-30-2003 02:04 AM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Author's Homepage   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Michael: I moved the thread because I thought that it was not a set of clear answers regarding Silence of the Lambs. It was a set of questions, to which I did not have useful answers. But I think they are questions still being discussed. (Perhaps someone else will have answers...[*])

I don't hold you responsible for the DVD collection discussion, but the presence of them does make me more sensitive to what I see as gray areas in the FITA charter.

The question of how to run most of the 1.66:1 -matted prints is a good question. Our general policy is to run them at 1.66:1 unless there's something glaringly wrong at that aspect ratio. I suppose our policy might differ if we had different lenses for 1.66:1 versus 1.85:1, but that's just us (well, and a lot of other people).

I certainly appreciate your desire to clarify. Personally, I would see such inquiry outside the FITA, but you are welcome to differ with me on that; I'm not an authority by any means.

--jhawk

[*] perhaps someone will email MGM/UA, or the DP (Tak Fujimoto?) to get the definitive answer. I promise not to "grump." [Eek!]

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 01-30-2003 02:30 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Which brings up a related point... why, oh why, can't DPs instruct the lab to print his or her intended aspect ratio for projection on the head leader of each reel of the cut camera negative. Then on every single f***ing element of a film it would say, clear as daylight, 'show this in 1:1.66' or 'show this in 1:1.85'. No projectionists would have to faff about holding bits of film up to the light and playing guess the ratio: their lives would get easier and presentation standards would imptove. Everyone's a winner. So why don't they do it?

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John Hawkinson
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 - posted 01-30-2003 02:37 AM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Author's Homepage   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
DP instruct the lab? Isn't it more like "Why can't the DP instruct the Producer to instruct the Executive Producer to instruct the Studio to instruct the lab?" Or am I too pessimistic?

--jhawk

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Brad Miller
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 - posted 01-30-2003 03:08 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
But this brings about another issue. If I was given a print of Silence of the Lambs to run at a theater that had 1.66 and 1.85 and I had hard evidence that the film was shot to be projected ideally at 1.66, I would STILL run it at 1.85. Why? Those damned rounded corners. Can't stand 'em! [Mad]

There would have to be obvious cropping or subtitling issues when projected at 1.85 for me to ever settle with round corners.

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 01-30-2003 05:49 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If the printer matte is such that a film can't be shown in 1:1.66 without exposing its edges at the corners, then surely it can't have been intended for projection in that ratio. Either that or there was a serious lab screw-up.

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Paul Linfesty
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 - posted 01-30-2003 08:33 AM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking of 1.66, I've seen several films at the Mann Chinese Theatre in Hollywood that were projected in this ratio (Robocop, Robin Hood (Costner) and Interview With the Vampire. Flat previews that were hard matted at 1.85 were shown with the black mattes equally above and below the image. So this theatre (a high profile one in the shadow of the industry's influence) apparently has (or had) a policy of projecting the extra image if it was on the film.

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John Pytlak
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 - posted 01-30-2003 09:15 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Standard SMPTE 195 discusses the proper use of "hard mattes".

Standard SMPTE 301 specifies an area on the leaders for labeling the intended aspect ratio.

http://www.smpte.org/smpte_store/standards/

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 01-30-2003 09:26 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I know that SMPTE 301 calls for precisely what I called for above, but my experience as a projectionist was that neg cutters (or whoever's responsiblity it is to write ID information on the head leaders before duplication) paid about as much attention to SMPTE 301 as I do to Chairman Mao's little red book. Ensuring that the intended aspect ratio for projection is communicated between whoever determines what it should be and the projectionist is hardly rocket science, but my experience was certainly that the industry seemed incapable of doing it.

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John Pytlak
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 - posted 01-30-2003 10:00 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Chairman Mao's Red Book [Wink]

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 01-31-2003 03:07 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Nice link, wrong colour! [Big Grin]

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Paul Linfesty
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 - posted 01-31-2003 10:21 AM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jhawk

I really see no reason why you felt the need to challenge my opinion via private e-mail instead of answering in post. Your answer was a relevant part of this discussion, and shouldn't be hidden. As far as wondering what the official projection policy of the Chinese Theatre used to be (BEFORE they changed booth location upstairs and increased screen size) almost EVERY flat feature I've seen there has been shown at either 1.66 or 1.33(7). (I should add that this is the case for 35mm flat films). I have seen previews projected (on occasion) at 1.85 when preceeding a scope film, though. Now, the 1.66 and 1.37 image seems to be about the same screen width as 1.85, just adding extra height.

I can only go by my observances. I really don't know for a fact if this was "policy" or not. My use of the word "apparently" meant I was guessing based on this observation.

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John Hawkinson
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 - posted 01-31-2003 10:42 AM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Author's Homepage   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess I'm the big bad ogre of FT this week. I sent you private email, Paul, because I didn't think the one sentence "Just because they did it 3 times doesn't mean it's a policy, as much as randomness perhaps the personal policy of an individual projectionist." was necessary to post (that was the sole content of the email). It would come across as a nitpicky commentary on word choice [which it was], and did not add to the discussion usefully as far as I could see.

--jhawk

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