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2:35 vs 1:85 Ratio

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Old 03-12-2006, 01:14 PM   #1
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Default 2:35 vs 1:85 Ratio

OK I have to admit ... I HATE 2:35 ratio in my Theater room. I didn't mind it in my little TV's and the big screen TV. But with my projector and screen in my new theater room it just doesn't look good.

1:85 fits the screen perfect. I have no idea why Directors and DP's don't move to this format.... esp. with the popularity of Theater Rooms. I am soooooo disappointed that The Lord of the Rings is in the 2:35 format. It just takes the illusion that I am "at the movies" in my Theater room away. Is there a reason why these great movies like Star Wars and LOTR choose the 2:35 Ratio format that anybody knows? Now it's preserving the original theatrical exhibition I know this.... But with the percentage of fans skipping out on the Theater and choosing to showcase movie in theater rooms etc. It seems logical to choose the 1:85 for the Theater to make all the fans happy?
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Old 03-12-2006, 02:09 PM   #2
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I'm not sure. I did find a few interesting links about 1:85 and 2:35 (which is actually 2:39 but commonly referred to as 2:35):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2.35:1

Personally, I'd like to see DVD movies at 1920x1080 and let the player decide which format to output. Wouldn't everyone be happy then?
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:50 PM   #3
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its a concious choice for most directors. Actions movies are almost always shot in the wider format, as they feel it frames the action better, and you can get these expansive scenes. As the end user at home though, you are losing resolution on the top and bottom of your screen and it sucks!! I remember when I watched The Incredibles DVD for the first time, I was really upset. This movie was completely made in the computer, and yest the Director chooses to present the movie in this format. I think he did it to give the movie a certain feel, as it was mostly very 1950's. I thought Pixar was sticking to a certain format though. They did so much work with A Bug's Life to make sure you could see everything not only in widescreen, but in the full screen version too.
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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With films like LOTR and Lawrence of Arabia, I prefer 2.35:1 over 1.85:1. It has more of an epic feel. I have an LCD front projector and I don't use a screen. I instead painted the entire wall with Screen Goo so there are no borders. There's no negative impact to watching 2.35:1 or 4:3 for that matter.
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:46 AM   #5
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I would think that first & foremost, movies are made for a theater. And at the theater 2:35 better replicates the natural field of vision, gives a wider canvas and is more immersive.

As big as it's grown, the DVD industry is still a secondary market. I doubt we'll ever see a shift away from 2:35 just for consideration of home theaters. And really, an epic movie in 1:85 just doesn't have the same cinematic feel.
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:12 PM   #6
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I know some people who have spent big bucks on their home theater like to think that DVD sales drives, or will soon drive, the movie industry. You are thinking like a consumer not a supplier. That goofy movie First Launch opened this last weekend at 24 million dollars. They are not going to throw that money away and they are, and probably will not be, convinced that DVD sales can ever make up for theater revenue. They are banking on the fact that it takes a huge screen to fully get the benifit from 2:35 films and plenty of people will go to theaters to view them.

There are things you can do to add to your 2:35 experences at home. There are dual lense projectors, special screens with motorized masks and video processors that will take care of the resolution issues as well as bigger screens, but of course you need room for those.
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:14 PM   #7
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Good points.. But I do see a slow shift from theater to theater rooms etc. I think DVD sales made $18 billion for Hollywood this year..

A movie looks better in my theater room than at most theaters.. I do know it sounds better.. And the price on equipment is going down. A few years ago you would see no Theater room equipment in stores. Now you see theater room seats in many, many stores. I think the way we view movies is changing. I am a fan of "going to the movies" But we are catching up to that technology.
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wldcatt
I think DVD sales made $18 billion for Hollywood this year..
That's true, but the question is getting rid of the 2.35 format. How much more would only 1.85 formatted movies add to the DVD sales vs. reduce theater sales? The directors have decided to stay with the 2.35 format for some reason. DVD consumers don't get to decide.
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:32 PM   #9
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Just an observation:-
Cinema screens are likely to be height limited rather than width limited as with TVs. In other words the picture height in a cinema will be the same for both ratios but wider for 2.35:1 - surely this was the origin of 'widescreen'.
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:51 PM   #10
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The generally accepted origin of widescreen was the popularity of TV in the 50s. Since TV at 4:3 was the same aspect ratio of film, the movie industry created Cinemascope to give people a reason to go to the movies.
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Old 03-16-2006, 03:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbinck
The generally accepted origin of widescreen was the popularity of TV in the 50s. Since TV at 4:3 was the same aspect ratio of film, the movie industry created Cinemascope to give people a reason to go to the movies.
Exactly. 2.35:1 isn't closer to the human vision, as the human field of view is much closer to 1.75:1. It was made purely to get people in the cinemas.

I dislike 2.35, for me it just feels unnatural. Look at The Fellowship of the Ring, the part where Gandalf is knocking on Bilbo's door. The vertical height is so narrow, that Gandalfs hat doesn't fit in the screen! 1.78 (or 1.85) would do much better for composition.
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Originally Posted by borromini
With films like LOTR and Lawrence of Arabia, I prefer 2.35:1 over 1.85:1.
For the record, Lawrence of Arabia is 2.20:1 (Super Panavision 70).

It's a shame, by the way, that the movie "Napoléon (1927)" isn't on DVD. I would like to see how a 4.00:1 aspect ratio looks on a 1.78:1 tv.
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTroy
...I dislike 2.35, for me it just feels unnatural. Look at The Fellowship of the Ring, the part where Gandalf is knocking on Bilbo's door. The vertical height is so narrow, that Gandalfs hat doesn't fit in the screen! 1.78 (or 1.85) would do much better for composition...
I suppose it's personal preference since it feels absolutely natural for me to watch a 2.35:1 film...just as natural as 2.2:1 As for your example, I don't believe the director of FOTR had no choice but to cut off Gandalf's hat because of the 2.35:1 shot. That scene didn't seem awkward compositionally to me and you're viewing it the way he intended without the pointy hat fully shown. 2.35:1 shows it's advantage in the spectacular wide shots of Middle Earth that 1.85:1 could never do justice to. We all have our preferences.
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borromini
I suppose it's personal preference
Of course we all have our own preferences. That I don't like 2.35:1 doesn't mean you can't like it.

But let me be clearer on the Gandalf thing. Because of the 'wide-ness' of 2.35:1, a good close-up is almost impossible. If you want the whole Gandalf (hat inclusive) on screen, he can only fill 15% horizontally. That's hardly close-up. So the image gets zoomed in more: his hat is cut off.

You can see this too in facial close-ups. In 1.78:1 you mostly see a whole head, in 2.35:1 often the hairline gets cut off. Simply because the effect of close-up (that is: the viewer sees nothing more than the face) doesn't work if the whole face is in screen.

And the "1.85 can't show spectacular wide shots" argument doesn't work. E.g. the famous Koyaanisqatsi, a movie which is all about the picture (in fact it's sometimes described as a 'moving painting' or an 'art movie') is in 1.85:1.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTroy
...And the "1.85 can't show spectacular wide shots" argument doesn't work. E.g. the famous Koyaanisqatsi, a movie which is all about the picture (in fact it's sometimes described as a 'moving painting' or an 'art movie') is in 1.85:1.
You mean it doesn't work for you. In talking specifically about the shots in LOTR, Middle Earth couldn't be done justice in 1.85:1. Using Koyaanisqatsi, which I've seen, as a counter argument doesn't work...for me.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTroy
...But let me be clearer on the Gandalf thing. Because of the 'wide-ness' of 2.35:1, a good close-up is almost impossible. If you want the whole Gandalf (hat inclusive) on screen, he can only fill 15% horizontally. That's hardly close-up. So the image gets zoomed in more: his hat is cut off...
I understand the point your making. I just don't think there's anything wrong with the composition of the scene you refer to. There's no rule that requires that the hat should be included, which doesn't further any argument against using this AR since it's not about the limitations of using 2.35:1.

Now if Peter Jackson had stated that he was frustrated with that shot because he was forced to cut the hat due to the AR, then you might have an argument. Jackson is a meticulous director who knows exactly what he wants and Andrew Lesnie won the Oscar for best cinematography for FOTR because of the film's excellent shots.
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