Route 66: Season 1, Vol. 2
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Infinity Entertainment Group has been very excited to bring the iconic television program Route 66 to DVD for the first time. We have taken great care in restoring and packaging this beloved classic for collectors. However, it recently came to our attention that there is some confusion in the marketplace about some of the technical aspects of this restoration process.
A key decision in the digital restoration of the series was whether to retain the original full screen 4 x 3 aspect ratio (old tube televisions) or to update to a widescreen format with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio (new digital TVs). Since the restoration process utilized the original 35mm film assets, the goal was to do a high definition transfer, updating the aspect ratio for broadcast on new HD TVs. High Definition transfer which requires an update to the 16x9 aspect ratio for new HD TV Broadcast and future Digital Media delivery, i.e. Blu Ray DVD and HD Internet.
In this new widescreen format, without vertical cropping the program would appear distorted. During the film transfer, the post production house used a process called tilt and scan which allows a Telecine technician to examine each scene individually and center the frame on the action. Unfortunately, in extreme close-ups, the cropping may occasionally intrude on the original framing, sometimes cutting off a portion of the top of the head.
While we tried to remain as true as possible to the original programming, our overall goal is to not only make the program available once again on television, but to optimize it for the next generation of broadcast and television standards.
Infinity Entertainment Group is committed to bringing quality programming and relies on the support of our valued customers to do so.
Top Customer Reviews
The good news is that the visual quality for the episodes contained in this second volume represents an improvement over those in volume 1, at least based upon my viewing of the first two episodes (a good two-parter titled "Fly Away Home" with the great Michael Rennie) and spot checking other episodes. The visuals aren't in the same eye-popping category as some other shows from the era that have been released on DVD like the "The Untouchables" or "The Fugitive," but they still look pretty good to my eyes and represent an improvement over the vast majority of the episodes contained in volume 1. The extra features contained in volume 2 follow the same format as the first volume, cast credits and episode clips (to help you identify the actors) and early 1960s era commercials on disc 4.
Now for the bad news, Roxbury and/or Infinity have matted the top and bottom of the episodes to give it a FAKE WIDESCREEN look. So in certain scenes, the tops of the actors' heads are missing. This might not be so readily apparent to viewers who have never seen the show, but after releasing the first 15 episodes in volume 1 in the correct, full-screen aspect ratio, it becomes glaringly apparent. Even the bonus commercials on disc 4 are matted!Read more ›
Sure, it fills a "widescreen" TV, but at what expense? Tops of heads are frequently "cut off", and the cropping further deletes some of that wonderful Americana from 1960 that provided the mesmerizing backdrop of this classic series. The packaging does not warn you of this image tampering, so buyer beware! Maybe one day we'll see a re-release of the FULL image that was filmed and shown back in the '60s.
What were you thinking? I bought volume 1 and lived with the subpar prints, now this 16x9 crap -- I mean crop? How does cropping to 16x9 help try to draw a bigger audience beyond the die-hards when the series is black and white to begin with? I was a guaranteed sale of this and future volumes, but you lost me with this bizarre move.
Leave it to viewers whether they want to watch the show in a 16x9 picture.
All decent HD sets have a zoom function to fill the screen for 4x3 pictures (avoiding stretch-fill), plus a way to adjust up and down to find the visual center (above true center.) Sometimes I watch classic TV like Star Trek this way and it's fun. But that's my choice. I do not want that imposed on me, as Infinity, you are doing.
Others may differ, but ignoring or overlooking the problem doesn't mean that there isn't one. The visual damage from cropping the 4:3 image to fit a 16:9 screen without window-boxing combined with the packaging deception is at the very least tragic, and arguably criminal, since consumers are purchasing butchered product that distorts the artist's original intent; the franchise holder should be ashamed. Note: The excuses I've read in respect to this botched effort don't inspire confidence that Infinity Entertainment Group will take responsibility and ameliorate the situation.
These should be returned to the vendor for a refund in the hope that the rights holder(s) will get the message and either correct the existing sets by a recall and replacement offer or at least release future seasons in the proper aspect ratio. Another reason to consider returning the second set as defective is the fact that consumer outrage over the practice of "tilt & scan" may be the only means of insuring that other series avoid a similar fate.
The one star rating is given because it's important to clearly delineate an advocacy position on these issues. Those who care about the BIG picture should say My Way or the Highway to Route 66.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A++++ great product and great seller to do business with....definitely recommend. daPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
We got this DVD for the trip down nostalgia lane...the iconic theme song, the Corvette, the handsome leading guys... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Wanda Jones
Defintely corny by 21st century standards but still love the nostalgia! Fell in love with the show when I was a kid because I loved the Vettes!Published 8 months ago by Nina Rose-Racine
Fantastic!!! My husband is an avid fan of Rt #66. I bought the series for him from Amazon and saved $30...by buying the series separately.Published 10 months ago by Diana Mangum
Not closed captioned or subtitled. I deduct two stars for that, it is unthinkable in these times to produce DVD's without captions. Read morePublished 11 months ago by l. wagner
This is Route 66 at it's best as the adventure begins for Tod and Buzz in their Corvette. The film is in black and white as the original TV series, but it is clear and well... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Thomas 67
I like anthology shows (which probably gives away my age) and Corvettes. The interesting thing is It's not really about the car or Route 66 because most the time the car is only... Read morePublished 23 months ago by John Gibson
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|The Route 66 widescreen contoversy||
Robert, this reminds me of GONE WITH THE WIND prints which were released to theatres in the late sixties. They also cut off the tops of the actor's heads. As it is, I don't have a wide-screen tv and I'm not likely to get one anytime soon. So I'm glad the first volume and the multi-season... Read More
Feb 18, 2008 by SALOON SINGER | See all 7 posts