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Ziggy587
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Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by Ziggy587 Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:45 pm

Does anyone else hate when they crop something that's 4:3 to be 16:9? I watch plenty of old shows on Hulu that are properly displayed as 4:3 as they were originally shot. I just put on Seinfeld and noticed it was cropped. I wish they would at least give you the option.

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The above stills have good markers to see how much is actually missing, but it's not a good example of how claustrophobic it makes some of the scenes feel. Particularly when the camera already had someone's head taking up most of the frame, it ends up just feeling really zoomed in. Or worse when they do the over the shoulder of person A to frame person B's face, the top of person A's head is always cut off and it feels too tight.

I guess it's not nearly as bad as stretching 4:3 to 16:9, but it still annoys me. It's the equivalent to pan and scan, which I thought we were past those days.

I've read about some old shows actually being framed for 16:9 but only ever aired in 4:3, but then they remaster it to 16:9 for a modern release. That I'm OK with because it was original intended to be shown in widescreen. But something that was only ever framed for 4:3 being CROPPED into 16:9 is blasphemy!
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by isiolia Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:27 pm

Thing about the example there is that both versions are cropped.

This was something people complained about with The Simpsons on Disney+ to the point that they were fixing it.

Far as I know, some of the older TV like that was cropped anyway, so sometimes the source is "widescreen" but the frame includes things that weren't supposed to be in the shot. Offhand, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was like that, with versions going widescreen and ending up including boom mics in frame and stuff.
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by Ziggy587 Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:40 pm

You know something weird that I came across? There's an Amazon review for the BD release of Air Force One that shows that it's cropped from 4:3!

Image from Amazon review...

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Air Force One recently popped up on Amazon Video so I went to the time stamp in the above image and sure enough it's cropped! How is this possible? Was this movie really only mastered in 4:3? And if so, as bizarre as that is for a 1997 action movie, why crop it to such a wide aspect? Cropping it to 16:9 would have been bad enough, but they went even further. But a quick Google shows that the movie was released theatrically in 2.39:1 aspect ration. So why they hell are these releases severally cropped from the the pan and scan version?

isiolia wrote:Thing about the example there is that both versions are cropped.


Do you mean because Seinfeld was apparently shot on film? The above 4:3 still is from the DVD release.
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by Jagosaurus Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 pm

I immediately thought of pan & scan days as well.

I'd take that over hard coded widescreen bars & a lower resolution of the picture in VHS (or even early DVDs). That was a killer.

My first widescreen TV (2007) was a game changer. That said... I always chose 4:3 when appropriate.
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by PretentiousHipster Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:09 pm

The shot composition was done with 4:3 in mind so cropping it to make it widescreen ruins everything.
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by isiolia Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:36 am

Ziggy587 wrote:Do you mean because Seinfeld was apparently shot on film? The above 4:3 still is from the DVD release.


Just mean that both have picture data that gets cut off in the other. They didn't just cut off the top and bottom of the 4:3 image, but instead went back to the source footage and framed it differently. You can, for instance, see more of the guy's head and more of the chair on the edge of the left side of the image.

Given the air dates for it, I doubt that the show was filmed for 16:9. As mentioned, it would have been shot for 4:3.


Air Force One is likely just open matte - the more cropped version was what was intended, but the additional picture data was there for when fullscreen DVDs or broadcast TV versions were there. It's still a thing today, even if not as extreme.
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by Ziggy587 Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:21 am

Jagosaurus wrote:I'd take that over hard coded widescreen bars & a lower resolution of the picture in VHS (or even early DVDs). That was a killer.


So most late model CRTs had a really cool feature that addressed this. It was a widescreen mode that would squish the image down to 16:9 on the screen so that you could set your DVD player output to widescreen and get the full resolution sent to the TV.

isiolia wrote:Just mean that both have picture data that gets cut off in the other. They didn't just cut off the top and bottom of the 4:3 image, but instead went back to the source footage and framed it differently. You can, for instance, see more of the guy's head and more of the chair on the edge of the left side of the image.

Given the air dates for it, I doubt that the show was filmed for 16:9. As mentioned, it would have been shot for 4:3.


Right, that's what I meant. I remember when they announced that Seinfeld would be released on Blu Ray, it was revealed that the show was shot on film so it was possible to remaster it in HD and possible in widescreen. Which was odd for a sitcom in the 90's, most of those were shot on tape and that's that for the resolution and aspect ratio. But yeah...

PretentiousHipster wrote:The shot composition was done with 4:3 in mind so cropping it to make it widescreen ruins everything.


Even though it was shot on film, they shot with 4:3 in mind so I wouldn't call that cropped because it's what they original intended. It's cool that they can go back and remaster it for 16:9, and I'm sure that they're grabbing the widest shots possible, but many of the shots are noticeably cropped. There might be a few that are really wide, like shots where the camera pans around inside Jerry's apartment. But close up shots and the smaller sets are noticeably zoomed in, as there was probably always some set gear just outside of the expected 4:3 frame. These shots are just very jarring to watch.

I watched through the entire X Files series back when it first popped up on NetFlix. That show started in 4:3 then at some point started to be in 16:9, and NetFlix streamed the original aspect ratios. Fast forward to present, it's no longer on NetFlix but appeared on Amazon Prime. I started to watch it from the beginning and right from S1E1 it's in widescreen! Why did they have to change it? Does the majority out there really hate watching 4:3 on their HDTVs?

Freaks and Geeks is a 1 season show from 1999, but got a sort of cult following. For the Blu Ray release, they included two versions: Widescreen and the original aired aspect ratio. Although this might be a bad example. I've never seen it in 4:3, but I watched through it twice in 16:9 and it doesn't seem squished ever like Seinfeld and some other examples do. Being that it came out in 99, they might have had widescreen in mind when they were shooting it. But anyway, that's the right way to do it, release BOTH. But I guess it wasn't as big of a task for a 1 season show compared to 9 seasons of Seinfeld to make 2 remasters of each episode.

isiolia wrote:Air Force One is likely just open matte - the more cropped version was what was intended, but the additional picture data was there for when fullscreen DVDs or broadcast TV versions were there. It's still a thing today, even if not as extreme.


Ah, this didn't occur to me. That must be what it is. This always seemed like the weirdest thing to me. Usually you want to watch the widescreen version because the 4:3 version is pan and scan and cuts a lot out. But open matte actually has more in the frame. I remember in the early days of consumers switching to widescreens, it was revealed that a few video games had something similar. I can't remember examples, but I think Bioshock was one of them. Widescreen was actually just a crop of full frame. I thought it was very strange for a video game to do this.
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by Jagosaurus Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:19 am

I'd have to dig up the article, but while we're talking about being shot on film, thought it was relevant to bring up the early digital age.

When 4k BD came out I was reading reviews. The technical reviewer brought up some movies shot in the early 2000s were shot in 1080 digital. There's really no way to go back to those, pull out more, and make a true 4K release or remaster. It will always be a touch up and resolution upscale. Weird some releases, even movies, aren't really able to progress to the "next generation"... similar to those 4:3 tapes..
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by marurun Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:10 am

One weird example of screen ratios is Babylon 5. The show was filmed widescreen and then cropped for broadcast, but the CG was all done 4x3 (cheaper to do at a time when CG was expensive and basic). So when it came to DVD you could see most scenes widescreen, but any time there was CG it would be cropped (or barred, I don’t remember).
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Re: Cropping 4:3 to be 16:9 >: (

by Ziggy587 Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:30 am

Jagosaurus wrote:I'd have to dig up the article, but while we're talking about being shot on film, thought it was relevant to bring up the early digital age.

When 4k BD came out I was reading reviews. The technical reviewer brought up some movies shot in the early 2000s were shot in 1080 digital. There's really no way to go back to those, pull out more, and make a true 4K release or remaster. It will always be a touch up and resolution upscale. Weird some releases, even movies, aren't really able to progress to the "next generation"... similar to those 4:3 tapes..


Yeah, that's just stupid. Apparently Star Wars Episode II and III were both shot in digital 1080p. A funny argument I've heard though is that since so much of those movies are CG, they can just re-render the CG in a higher resolution and very little has to be upscaled.

That always seemed like the dumbest thing to me though. A TV show I can understand. That would be the equivalent of all the TV shows that were recorded on tape instead of film. But shooting a movie capped at 1080p, especially something huge like Star Wars, just seems dumb.

Relevant video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVpABCxiDaU

marurun wrote:One weird example of screen ratios is Babylon 5. The show was filmed widescreen and then cropped for broadcast, but the CG was all done 4x3 (cheaper to do at a time when CG was expensive and basic). So when it came to DVD you could see most scenes widescreen, but any time there was CG it would be cropped (or barred, I don’t remember).


The above video I linked to explains that Star Trek The Next Generation was shot on film which is why the current remaster looks awesome. Voyager was apparently shot on film but immediately converted to tape, and all the editing and special effects were done on tape.
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