(early) cinemascope versus widescreen

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Spiny Norman
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(early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:07 pm

Help, I am confused.
Just now I was trying to look up whether a 1955 movie, Man without a star, was supposed to be 4:3 or widescreen.
I started looking on Lantern, and publications there seem to rule out cinemascope.

But surely, there is also non-anamorphic widescreen, achieved by "masking" (which was sometimes only done when the film reached the projector's lens)? So when was that invented/introduced?
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Paul Penna
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Re: (early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Paul Penna » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:23 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:07 pm
Help, I am confused.
Just now I was trying to look up whether a 1955 movie, Man without a star, was supposed to be 4:3 or widescreen.
I started looking on Lantern, and publications there seem to rule out cinemascope.

But surely, there is also non-anamorphic widescreen, achieved by "masking" (which was sometimes only done when the film reached the projector's lens)? So when was that invented/introduced?
Bob Furmanek's 3-D Film Archive is also a good reference for widescreen film history:

http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/the-first- ... widescreen

His primary-source research has shown that any US production filmed flat after about the first half of 1953 was composed for widescreen projection.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: (early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:32 pm

Paul Penna wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:23 pm
His primary-source research has shown that any US production filmed flat after about the first half of 1953 was composed for widescreen projection.
Just to make sure, do you mean by that that it would be projectionable 4:3, without a boom mic showing, but was meant to be "masked" AKA made wider by cropping top and bottom?
So in other words, it was a kind of optional "open matte", and the cinema could do what they liked?
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Paul Penna
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Re: (early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Paul Penna » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:47 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:32 pm
Just to make sure, do you mean by that that it would be projectionable 4:3, without a boom mic showing, but was meant to be "masked" AKA made wider by cropping top and bottom?
So in other words, it was a kind of optional "open matte", and the cinema could do what they liked?
He's found that initially cinematographers would protect for that, but that within a short time, a majority of theaters had reconfigured for widescreen projection:
On December 5, 1953, Boxoffice published a survey of 16,753 operating indoor domestic theaters. It showed that 80% of downtown theaters and 69% of neighborhood theaters had installed widescreens. In total, 58% of all U.S. theaters had gone widescreen by the end of 1953. The conversion was slow in the Southern and North central parts of the country and that’s why the films were still protected during photography for the standard Academy ratio.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: (early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:54 pm

Paul Penna wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:47 pm
Spiny Norman wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:32 pm
Just to make sure, do you mean by that that it would be projectionable 4:3, without a boom mic showing, but was meant to be "masked" AKA made wider by cropping top and bottom?
So in other words, it was a kind of optional "open matte", and the cinema could do what they liked?
He's found that initially cinematographers would protect for that, but that within a short time, the vast majority of theaters had reconfigured for widescreen projection.
Well, 1955, it could still be like that, right?

What puzzled me when I tried to look this up is that some of the journals in Lantern just say that something's 'scope or not. So then I don't know what that means for the "flats". Those would all be widescreen? It seems occasionally to be specified that a foreign film was still 4:3.
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Paul Penna
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Re: (early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Paul Penna » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:33 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:54 pm
Well, 1955, it could still be like that, right?

What puzzled me when I tried to look this up is that some of the journals in Lantern just say that something's 'scope or not. So then I don't know what that means for the "flats". Those would all be widescreen? It seems occasionally to be specified that a foreign film was still 4:3.
Furmanek reports that by 1955 widescreen was virtually universal in the US, so a film shot flat was sure to be seen matted to widescreen.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: (early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:25 am

Paul Penna wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:33 pm
Spiny Norman wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:54 pm
Well, 1955, it could still be like that, right?

What puzzled me when I tried to look this up is that some of the journals in Lantern just say that something's 'scope or not. So then I don't know what that means for the "flats". Those would all be widescreen? It seems occasionally to be specified that a foreign film was still 4:3.
Furmanek reports that by 1955 widescreen was virtually universal in the US, so a film shot flat was sure to be seen matted to widescreen.
Thanks, I see...
The principled viewer will want top and bottom masked off then, because there should be nothing essential in those areas.
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Jack Theakston
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Re: (early) cinemascope versus widescreen

Unread post by Jack Theakston » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:27 am

Yes, the whole point is that even though there is image area there, it's not to be projected.
J. Theakston
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"

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