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Customer Review

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Word About Aspect Ratios, November 23, 2009
This review is from: Full Metal Jacket [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Not a review, just a word about aspect ratios.

A lot of movies in the 80's were shot in a "soft" or "open matte" format, which means they were shot full frame (1.33:1) and later matted by cinema projectionists to fit the screen (remember that cinema screens used to be much more disparate in size and ratio than they are today). This practice also facilitated transfer to home video, since the negative was already in a full-frame format. It is a huge falacy that all films were shot in a "fixed" or "closed matte" format and then later panned and scanned for home video. You'd be surprized how many movies were actually shot full frame and soft matted in the theater (Schindler's List and Top Gun to name but two). The thing to remember when regarding movies shot in the seventies, eighties, and early nineties (or every Stanley Kubrick movie ever made) is that "widescreen format" or "theatrical aspect ratio" is not always synonymous with "original aspect ratio."

The original aspect ratio for FMJ is 1.33:1. The 1.85:1 version presented here will fill the entire screen of your 16:9 television, but it will do so by cropping out the top and bottom of the original frame.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2009 11:38:46 PM PST
schachi says:
Your statement is correct but the INTENDED aspect ratio is 1.85:1. Please do not forget that many prints must be masked correctly by the projectionist in the cinema. If the intended aspect ratio is not done correctly during the transfer to any home video media, you can see things in the picture, which are not intended to be seen, such as boom microphones and chalk marks on the floor for the correct positioning of the actors.

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 9:29:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 5, 2009 9:30:00 PM PST
charktorious says:
To add to what schachi wrote, with two scene examples: http://www.widescreen.org/widescreen_matte.shtml

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2011 1:34:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 6, 2011 1:48:15 AM PDT
robert davis says:
regarding schachi's comment: yeah, absolutely... i do not understand why so many people seem to not grasp the concept of the director's INTENTION. thank goodness for the "zoom 1" picture size setting on most newer teevees and dvd players. i don't want to see spike marks, windscreens, or rotors on chopper shots. they say that kubrick hated letterboxing. too bad he did not get to see how much lousier pillarboxing looks (especially when it is the result of including unintended content).

Posted on Jun 29, 2013 6:50:46 PM PDT
What SIJ says is true about 1.85 projection aspect ratios being created by the projectionist with an aperture plate mask. However, while working as a movie projectionist in college I projected Full Metal Jacket and was surprised to see it had already (in the print) been hard matted with black bars at the top and bottom of the picture. In other words, with his typical attention to detail, Kubrick left nothing to chance and performed the matting himself in the print.
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