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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Anyone Notice the 1.85:1 Trend? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Anyone Notice the 1.85:1 Trend?
Aron Toplitsky
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 - posted 06-24-2017 06:06 PM      Profile for Aron Toplitsky   Email Aron Toplitsky   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I noticed Justice League (according to IMDB and seeing the new trailer) as well as the new Transformers film, are both presented in 1.85. Are studios and filmmakers finally getting it, that our HDTVs are 16x9 and most theaters are now showing films on Common Width screens? Or is this just an artistic decision?

According to IMDB in the "aspect ratio" section it says this about the new Transformers....

1.85 : 1
1.90 : 1 (IMAX 3-D version: some scenes)
2.00 : 1 (IMAX version: some scenes)

That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Why three different ratios if the film was entirely shot on IMAX digital cameras? I believe they also rigged two cameras to shoot simultaneously for 3D.

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Stephan Shelley
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 - posted 06-24-2017 06:29 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You also have more pixels with 1.85 vs scope on 2k and 4k.

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Frank Cox
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I firmly believe that common width is film (or digital) done wrong.

The fact that this is different from television sets is a feature.

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 06-24-2017 07:20 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Transformers is not 1.85 - it flips between different aspect ratios throughout the movie.

You think that's an indicator they had 16:9 screens on their mind?

Really?

If I look at the list of KDMs and thus CPL names we played in the last 5 years, I see a very strong tendency towards scope. Every now and then some prominent movie shows up in flat when it was 'expected' to be a typical scope feature. That doesn't show a trend.

It's the occasional outlier.

- Carsten

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 06-24-2017 07:55 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
About a year or five ago I thought I witnessed a trend of major blockbusters starting to prefer flat as the preferred aspect ratio, but I never ran actual numbers, so it might have just been a gut feeling or some correlation without any real causation.

But I'd say if you look at the last 5 or so years, scope is still going strong and still seems to be the preferred aspect ratio for most a-list releases, especially action movies.

Somewhere during the last 5 or so years, somebody started this in-movie aspect-ratio switching stuff. Am I the only one who things this is just flat out retarded? Except for the oddball release where the aspect-ratio switching is part of the concept (think about The Grand Budapest Hotel), I think this aspect ratio switching is totally counter-intuitive. Besides breaking all the benefits of adjustable masking, for me, this constant switching breaks my focus, it's really killing to my sense of immersion.

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 06-24-2017 10:30 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Marcel Birgelen
Somewhere during the last 5 or so years, somebody started this in-movie aspect-ratio switching stuff.
The first movie I remember doing this was The Horse Whisperer, and that was about 20 years ago. It changed from 1.85 to 'scope about an hour in to a three-hour movie. The prints were anamorphic with the first two or three reels pillarboxed, though. I have a dim recollection that the change happened on a reel change, but may be wrong about that. I remember having to be there to change the masking at the right moment, though. At the time I was working in a place that ran most features from a platter, but had absolutely no automation of any description.

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Brad Miller
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 - posted 06-24-2017 11:42 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Horse Whisperer reel 1 was pillarboxed to 1.85
Reel 2 and onward were full scope.

There was no scene change at the reel change. It was just a camera change mid-scene. About as retarded as all of this IMAX nonsense going on with multiple aspect ratios.

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 06-25-2017 06:50 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A lot of that bs is actually only happening nowadays because IMAX is trying to sell 'their' aspect ratio.

- Carsten

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Geoff Jones
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 - posted 06-25-2017 09:07 AM      Profile for Geoff Jones   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Marcel Birgelen
Somewhere during the last 5 or so years, somebody started this in-movie aspect-ratio switching stuff.
Superman (1978) and The Road Warrior (1979) both opened with 1.33:1 prologues which transitioned to scope.

Galaxy Quest (1999) introduces the "Galaxy Quest" TV show in 1.33:1, then transitions to 1.85:1 for the "Real World," then transitions to scope when the characters realize that they are in outer space.

In Brother Bear (2003), when Kenai becomes a bear, the film transitions from 1.85:1 to scope.

Enchanted (2007) switches from 1.85:1 to scope when the film transitions from animation to live action.

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 06-25-2017 09:56 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, I was somehow waiting for the Mad Max 2 (1981 if I remember correctly) intro/prologue to appear or the one of Superman. [Smile]

Those 5 years were not an absolute number by any means, it's more like an indicator of what I think is a period in where we've seen an uptake of this aspect-ratio switcheroo, to a point where I think, it's becoming ridiculous.

I remember watching movies like The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises in both 70mm and 2K digital IMAX and I found this aspect-ratio switching pretty disturbing, especially in 70mm IMAX presentations where you went from a narrow-banded image to a full-screen monster image every now and then. Every time the image switched back to "narrow vision", it felt like you're now watching the unimportant discount scenes.

There are other more recent examples, like The Wolf of Wall Street, which opened on a "flat" fake commercial, while the entire rest was in scope.

There's also the first Alice in Wonderland or Tron: Legacy, that switched from non-stereosopic images for the "real" world to stereoscopic 3D for the "alternate world" scenes.

I think Leo is right on "The Horse Whisperer" (1998) though, it is probably the first movie to do a "prolonged aspect ratio switch", so not just for a few seconds of narrative or for exposition purposes like a fake commercial, infomercial or information video.

quote: Leo Enticknap
I remember having to be there to change the masking at the right moment, though. At the time I was working in a place that ran most features from a platter, but had absolutely no automation of any description.
I guess you're probably the only one who ever bothered adapting it "in flight". It also often comes at a price, since most movable masking systems aren't entirely silent. So, you could argue that "remasking" an already running movie only adds to the distraction.

quote: Carsten Kurz
A lot of that bs is actually only happening nowadays because IMAX is trying to sell 'their' aspect ratio.
Ah, it's *their* aspect ratio. [Smile]

*Their* aspect ratio is also a pretty ambiguous concept when it comes to IMAX.

Is it 1.43, like their classic 70mm builds?

Or is it 1.85, like which is closest to most of their current installs?

Or is it 2.35, like what most DMR-secret-sauced movies still end up in, due to the lack of any "special IMAX content"?

Or is it all of the above? Because that's what you basically can expect when going to watch an IMAX special feature. If you're "lucky", you'll get them all in one single show.

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 06-25-2017 12:42 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think the best example of this "in-movie aspect-ratio switching stuff" (and I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned it) is Doug Trumbull's "Brainstorm" (1983).

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 06-25-2017 02:10 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Life of Pi also has some. Not nearly as stupid as in Transformers 5, though.

- Carsten

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Mark Lensenmayer
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 - posted 06-25-2017 03:19 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
More American Graffiti -- 3 stories -- 3 aspect ratios

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Daniel Schulz
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 - posted 06-25-2017 03:26 PM      Profile for Daniel Schulz   Author's Homepage   Email Daniel Schulz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Ah, it's *their* aspect ratio. [Smile]

*Their* aspect ratio is also a pretty ambiguous concept when it comes to IMAX.

Is it 1.43, like their classic 70mm builds?

Or is it 1.85, like which is closest to most of their current installs?

Or is it 2.35, like what most DMR-secret-sauced movies still end up in, due to the lack of any "special IMAX content"?

Or is it all of the above? Because that's what you basically can expect when going to watch an IMAX special feature. If you're "lucky", you'll get them all in one single show.

I think what IMAX is pushing these days is a 1.9:1 AR, which is just the full-container image of a DLP chip. They had a whole marketing campaign for Sully and also for Beauty and the Beast which showed you the picture you were missing out on if you saw those movies at 2.35 in a non-IMAX theater. Which of course is silly, if the filmmakers wanted you to see a taller image they could have framed for 1.85 and released a flat DCP.

The only justifiable variable AR I can think of (apart from things like Grand Budapest Hotel) is Christopher Nolan, because he wanted to use 15/70mm IMAX film for both image acquisition and projection, but for practical reasons can't film the *whole* movie with IMAX cameras. So the native IMAX 70mm footage is 1.43, and everything else is 2.35.

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Bobby Henderson
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 - posted 06-25-2017 03:29 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Aron Toplitsky
I noticed Justice League (according to IMDB and seeing the new trailer) as well as the new Transformers film, are both presented in 1.85. Are studios and filmmakers finally getting it, that our HDTVs are 16x9 and most theaters are now showing films on Common Width screens? Or is this just an artistic decision?
This hardly establishes any sort of trend. From what I can tell, the 'scope aspect ratio is still by far the most popular for movie releases. The dominance of 'scope doesn't look like it's going to wane any time soon. I have my own theories why the 'scope ratio is more popular. One is that it's a money thing; there are fewer pixels to render with 'scope. In digital 'scope is the lowest resolution format. The optical effects of anamorphic lenses are very popular and make any feature production look more like a movie rather than just a TV show (although a growing number of TV shows are using anamorphic lenses on their cameras).

Justice League could be yet another experiment to give favor to premium priced screens (like IMAX, Dolby Cinema, etc.) Nearly all of those premium screens are common width and in some kind of flat 1.9:1 or 1.85:1 ratio.

Looking at the first trailer for Justice League, the movie looks like it was specifically composed for the 1.85:1 ratio. I doubt Warner Bros. will try to do what Sony did with the James Bond Skyfall release. The movie was shot in flat format with IMAX Digital screens in mind, but a 2.39:1 extraction was made for standard priced theaters.

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