Blu Rays Aspect Ratio Question

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by otomo, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    No offense, but the series wasn't made for a 4:3 aspect ratio but for 4:3 tube television sets (with overscan, I constantly need to add).
    This is a subtle but crucial difference, IMHO, that too often gets forgotten (and Star Trek is about the art of entertainment and not the art of cinematography).

    The way I see it it's the difference of watching an image with excessive overhead and bottom space (4:3) on a display device (16:9) it was never meant for.

    How would the TNG directors shoot the series in widescreen assuming they theoretically could travel back in time?

    Looking at the 21:9 widescreen footage of Generations I'd dare to say that for example the bridge scenes in TNG would be trimmed not only to fit a 16:9 widescreen but also to look much better.

    But obviously that's something we should discuss in the future - once a tasteful 16:9 version of TNG is made available for evaluation and examination.

    Bob
     
  2. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think that there's a misunderstanding that film-based sources are automatically shot in 16:9 AR. This is not the case, as shown by Star Trek-TOS. Even going back to the beginning of film as an art form, the first films were in 4:3 AR. There have been about 10 or so distinct ARs for film over the past century. 16:9 was seen as a mean between 4:3 and the widest of the wide-film formats. 16:9 is recent. It's a good median. But I'm not for stretch-o-vision (making 4:3 content 16:9 by distorting the content). I think we should respect directorial intent. Do less, not more. A great example of this is 2001: A Space Odyssey's restoration for its Blu-Ray release. Another one? The Wizard of Oz. Without a doubt, the best the film has looked, and quite possibly the best restoration of classic films.

    My view.
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    It is true, 4:3 was the "original" aspect ration and as time has gone otherways have been found to make a wider picture put it all has come down to cropping out what you want from that 4:3 capture.
     
  4. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Here's a link to a fairly good presentation about the history of film and different aspect ratios.

    One pertinent fact that isn't mentioned is the near-universal adoption of matted widescreen (1.85:1 being the most common AR) for theatrical films starting in the mid-1950s. That is, for films not made in anamorphic processes like CinemaScope or Panavision, or wide film gauges like CinemaScope 55 or Todd-AO or Super Panavision 70 . . .

    It's enough to make your head spin.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0kHKijb8jI[/yt]
     
  5. Maxwell Everett

    Maxwell Everett Commodore Commodore

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    Taking the last part of what you said first, I think the cinematographers who worked on Star Trek over the roughly five decades that it's been around would disagree with you. Part of its entertainment value is due to the work of those artists and it shouldn't be downplayed or diminished. Just my opinion, but there you go. :)

    As for the first part, the display device that TNG was intended for and the existence of overscan doesn't really change anything. Film projection also has a difference between camera aperture (bigger area) and projection aperture (smaller area). These tolerances exists for exactly the same reason, whether it's a television set in the home or a theater screen in a cinema.

    I wouldn't necessarily call 5% extra image all around excessive. And I think CBS made the right choice in remastering the show with the TV Trans area for three key reasons:

    1. It matches the transmission area that was broadcast from 1987-1994.
    2. It matches the image area that was presented on DVD starting in 2002.
    3. It prevents overcropping on the majority of flat screens today that ship with overscan turned on by default.
    If CBS didn't produce a "tasteful 16:9 version" of TOS-R -- that is, meticulously re-frame every live-action shot for widescreen -- I wouldn't expect them to do the same for TNG. :)
     
  6. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Yeah, I've seen that before. It really IS head spinning.
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    1. and 2. were taking the overscan of then still popular 4:3 tube TV sets into account. With 3. it's really a question of what kind of flat screen you are using.
    I'd dare to say that those sad examples of Joe Sixpacks mentioned here (i.e. stretching the 4:3 images horizontally to fill their screens) wouldn't give a damn whether their images would be overcropped or not.
    On the other hand, I'd expect all fans to put such an emphasis on OAR etc. to use flat screens with 1:1 pixel mapping as this is the only way to ensure perfect picture resolution. Apparently, CBS didn't consider this and now these expendable overscan areas at the top and bottom, the directors didn't want us to see, show up on every properly calibrated flat screen.

    The way TOS was shot, including more close-up shots of actors and sets (i.e. Bridge) makes it unsuitable for a 16:9 reformatting, IMHO.

    I feel that's quite differently with TNG. We may just take the can't-do-widescreen-sample of this "educational" shot (with the equipment left and right) from "Lonely Among US" and extract the 16:9 frame out of it. I'm confident we wouldn't loose any crucial picture information. ;)

    Bob
     
  8. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What excessive overhead and bottom space are you referring to? The show was composed for that aspect ratio. No space is wasted.

    They'd shoot it differently. Shots would be framed and composed differently. More 'spread out', less vertical layering, much like they did for Generations.

    That's the important point, they didn't do that on TNG. They didn't compose their shots to look right in widescreen, so if you forcefully alter it to a widescreen format after the fact, then you're making it look worse, because the compositions will be wrong for that shape.
     
  9. GNDN

    GNDN Commodore Commodore

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    The show was conceived, filmed, framed, edited and presented in 4:3.

    The blu-rays properly maintain that, no tinkering, tweaking, re-imagining, re-formatting required.

    ST:TNG is 4:3, the same as TOS, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, I Love Lucy, The Star Wars Holiday Special, etc.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Again, the series was composed for 4:3 television and therefore came with the inevitable compromise (to make sure you cover all the action on the bridge from left to right) that you have image areas overhead and especially at the bottom ("crutch" space) with really not that much worth showing.

    Exactly. :)

    We could just use the screencap I just linked and wonder how the director Corey Allen would have had positioned a "widescreen" camera. Probably exactly like in the 4:3 image but with less overhead and crutch space.

    Admittedly, the issue becomes more problematic in close-up shots but chances that studio equipment are cluttering the unseen areas of the camera negatives in such shots would be rather negligible.

    Anyway, it's a good thing TNG has been made available in 4:3 (and not in an aspect ratio according to original plans "this time for the next generation"...). There will come a time when 4:3 will no longer sell as good as it still does.

    Bob
     
  11. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I"m of two minds about it, I will always appreciate keeping the original formatting but a part of me would be curious to see it done in 16:9. If it didn't come down to a choice, if both versions were available in the same set, I could live with a widescreen version (and might guiltily even come to like it).
     
  12. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly...

    :bolian:
     
  13. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Using the zoom feature on your Blu-ray remote does that for you. The choice is literally at your fingertips already. If CBS-D were to create 16x9 versions, it wouldn't look any better than zooming it yourself. Heads would be chopped off, the saucer of the Enterprise would be chopped off, etc.

    Also, by asking for both the 4x3 and 16x9 versions in one set, you're asking them to double the amount of discs, greatly increase the production time and cost, and double the price, things that would all enrage the fanbase. I wouldn't pay an extra $60 per season for useless discs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  14. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I guess what I'm not getting in any of these posts is why anyone would want a cropped image.
     
  15. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I did the math - cropping a 4x3 image to 16x9 removes 25% of the image.

    Think of it a different way. Would you want an episode of TNG to be cut down to 33 minutes, with 11 minutes chopped off?
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Depends? Some of the 'B' stories were pretty bad. :techman:
     
  17. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good point. :lol:

    Outrageous Okona without the humor B-plot....how much less awful would it be?
     
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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  19. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I actually thought the Data B-plot was more interesting than the boring A-plot with Okona. :shrug:

    Another TNG episode where the B-plot was better than the A-plot was "The Icarus Factor", which had Worf's plot being more interesting than Riker being visted by this father.
     
  20. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    At the most superficial level some people just don't like seeing "black bars" but I think others feel that a widescreen picture can provide a more full and cinematic experience. Now whether that can actually be accomplished by such post-processing is certainly up for debate but I think that's the goal. Hopefully by using the full frame source and judiciously and selectively cropping one can do better than merely using their TV's zoom function.

    Don't get me wrong I'm all about OAR and original FX but I can see the other side and have an interest in it to some extent. I do think if one has to choose between one or the other that going with OAR is absolutely the right choice.