Worst of the Worst

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Frame Rate
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:15 pm

Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Frame Rate » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:24 pm

RE: CHINATOWN NIGHTS, in particular:

Although folks in the USA are fast approaching the tenth(!) anniversary of the FCC's mandatory switch to all-digital broadcast television, it's still common there to visit a public waiting-room area with a TV (doctor's office, dentist's office, car-repair shop, bus/train/plane departure lounge, etc.) and see the set tuned to a 4:3 aspect-ratio program that is stretched (by default) to fit the 16:9 screen. Even retail stores that sell TV's sometimes still have their display-model sets grinding away, with the news anchors and sitcom stars in hideous close-ups with their cheeks puffed out as if they were chipmunks preparing for a hard winter!

What this suggests (to me, anyway) is that since the FCC did NOT mandate a consistent/reliable/user-friendly way for set manufacturers, set retailers, program broadcasters and cable/satellite companies to deal with the concurrent aspect-ratio changeover (while thousands of older shows and movies continued in syndication) -- a substantial portion of the public has simply become inured to picture-width distortions. And all that fiddling with the remote control that's necessary -- to flip through the (nowadays enormous) channel list and sample each offering in the CORRECT aspect ratio -- is just too taxing, even for viewers who actually read the set's instructions and master the routine!

So... do you suppose something similar (in the minds of both movie-makers and movie-viewers) happened (becoming inured to a visual distortion, that is) during the changeover to talking pictures?

In other words, after many years of movies being projected at least a few fps faster than they were filmed, were folks so accustomed to the accelerated, on-screen pace of human locomotion that the widespread intercutting of silent-speed and sound-speed footage in early talkies (and that practise continued well into the first decade of sound) that neither the studios nor the audience paid much (if any) heed?

Perhaps it was only when the companies' aging inventories of hand-cranked, now second-unit cameras (and their veteran operators) were retired that such visually disruptive (to the perceptions of later generations of viewers) intercutting was finally retired as well.
If only our opinions were as variable as the pre-talkie cranking speed...

earlytalkiebuffRob
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:32 pm

Frame Rate wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:24 pm
RE: CHINATOWN NIGHTS, in particular:

Although folks in the USA are fast approaching the tenth(!) anniversary of the FCC's mandatory switch to all-digital broadcast television, it's still common there to visit a public waiting-room area with a TV (doctor's office, dentist's office, car-repair shop, bus/train/plane departure lounge, etc.) and see the set tuned to a 4:3 aspect-ratio program that is stretched (by default) to fit the 16:9 screen. Even retail stores that sell TV's sometimes still have their display-model sets grinding away, with the news anchors and sitcom stars in hideous close-ups with their cheeks puffed out as if they were chipmunks preparing for a hard winter!

What this suggests (to me, anyway) is that since the FCC did NOT mandate a consistent/reliable/user-friendly way for set manufacturers, set retailers, program broadcasters and cable/satellite companies to deal with the concurrent aspect-ratio changeover (while thousands of older shows and movies continued in syndication) -- a substantial portion of the public has simply become inured to picture-width distortions. And all that fiddling with the remote control that's necessary -- to flip through the (nowadays enormous) channel list and sample each offering in the CORRECT aspect ratio -- is just too taxing, even for viewers who actually read the set's instructions and master the routine!

So... do you suppose something similar (in the minds of both movie-makers and movie-viewers) happened (becoming inured to a visual distortion, that is) during the changeover to talking pictures?

In other words, after many years of movies being projected at least a few fps faster than they were filmed, were folks so accustomed to the accelerated, on-screen pace of human locomotion that the widespread intercutting of silent-speed and sound-speed footage in early talkies (and that practise continued well into the first decade of sound) that neither the studios nor the audience paid much (if any) heed?

Perhaps it was only when the companies' aging inventories of hand-cranked, now second-unit cameras (and their veteran operators) were retired that such visually disruptive (to the perceptions of later generations of viewers) intercutting was finally retired as well.
My late partner would have grown up watching films in 4:3, yet preferred to watch such films incorrectly presented, as do a couple of friends who are both in their eighties. After watching MY LEARNED FRIEND like this once (they suggested I bring along a movie) I determined not to bring an Academy one over again. Even friends who are film enthusiasts seem not to mind this sort of thing...

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Donald Binks
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Donald Binks » Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:15 pm

I notice now in some documentaries, of all things, where archival footage in Academy is stretched into the widescreen frame. This is just careless, and no, I don't consider it "artistic licence".

One of my "remotes" has an easily found button to change aspects on the television; another requires one to flip up a lid and then press two buttons in sequence which is a design nightmare.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

earlytalkiebuffRob
Posts: 3470
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:41 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:15 pm
I notice now in some documentaries, of all things, where archival footage in Academy is stretched into the widescreen frame. This is just careless, and no, I don't consider it "artistic licence".

One of my "remotes" has an easily found button to change aspects on the television; another requires one to flip up a lid and then press two buttons in sequence which is a design nightmare.
Agree on the question of 'artistic licence'. Just seems to imply that the makers couldn't care less just because a small minority in the audience would actually notice and care.

Back in the 1970s, the 'Palace' cinema in Portsmouth showed older movies and modern ones* which hadn't been shown widely. Films such as PARTIE DE CAMPAGNE, THE GOLF SPECIALIST, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA were all widescreened, and when I queried this, my objection was shrugged off with a 'take it or leave it' attitude. The cinema used to show sex movies (and yes, If you really want to know, I saw some of these), but this later programming did not last more than a few years, and the building is now a 'night club'.

*I was once accosted on my way to one show by a lady of the evening who asked if I wanted 'business'...

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FrankFay
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Location: Albany NY
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by FrankFay » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:05 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:32 pm

My late partner would have grown up watching films in 4:3, yet preferred to watch such films incorrectly presented, as do a couple of friends who are both in their eighties. After watching MY LEARNED FRIEND like this once (they suggested I bring along a movie) I determined not to bring an Academy one over again. Even friends who are film enthusiasts seem not to mind this sort of thing...
I gave up very early trying to convince my elderly parents- their argument is basically that they paid for a widescreen set& they'll use it as they see fit
Eric Stott

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