Trouble with shifting frames

Original Poster
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 602
In response to the discussion about different frame formats in Pilot and Feature version here. (later posts)

I just came across this thread http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=139633
where someone noticed that the Feature version on DVD is not centered in horizontal dimension.
Apparently, he is right. Lets just take a look at the conference scene. In those shots with Ray and Mr. Darby the camera doesn?t seem to be focussed in on them. The desk is not exactly in the center.



Sure, that alone doesn't say anything. But I watched the corresponding Pilot sequence - and here the desk is aligned to center.



To obtain fullscreen format, the original footage needed to be reduced in horizontal dimension. A research made obvious: Except a few shots, the major part of the Pilot was trimmed on the right side only, without loss on the left. Still it looks more adjusted than the theatralic release (watch some comparative samples here). How come?
How much from the original picture is really shown to us in Pilot and Feature? Different standpoints are possible. Let?s go back to the "desk scene":

Theory 1:
The Pilot frame resulted from cutting off all information from the right edge of the footage. The conference desk - likewise all other scenes - was filmed asymmetrically (as seen in Feature), but became centered in post-production. That suggests DL filmed the flick systematically "rightwards" knowing that the right frame would go missing from the TV show anyway. Very unlikely...

Theory 2:
Same as Theory 1, but without any implied intention. The desk aligned to center (Pilot version) is just a coincidental outcome of the conversion process. Nevertheless, the "right-cut" Pilot looks more justified to me than the Feature (watch gallery above). Can this all be coincidence?

Theory 3:
The desk in aligned to center in the Pilot, because it was filmed this way. Thus the TV format originated by having left and right edges symmetrically removed from the original footage. That again makes me wonder what happened to the left frame (left side of the desk). The DVD version only makes use of the right share. Why would DL leave out approx. 1/6 of his film material and let cinematic as well as DVD version shift aside?

Hope, my ideas came across. Please tell me, if I am seeing things...
Oct 1, 2004 11:03 PM
0 0
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 892
Very good Bob


I loaned my pilot dvd to a friend and wont have access to it for a couple of weeks, it will be interesting to explore this. I have noticed that the frames in the film seem to be cut verticaly down to the tops of actors heads in some scenes.
Oct 2, 2004 7:41 AM
0 0
blu
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 343
"This is the girl."

The interesting thing about the feature screen-cap from the example given is that Lynch centres the photo in the frame, not the characters. Which makes sense given the context.

Bob - I can't get into the link you provided. :confused:
Oct 3, 2004 8:32 AM
0 0
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 892
blu"This is the girl."

The interesting thing about the feature screen-cap from the example given is that Lynch centres the photo in the frame, not the characters. Which makes sense given the context.

Bob - I can't get into the link you provided. :confused:

nice catch blu, "it's just a recommendation"
Oct 3, 2004 7:48 PM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 602
Thanks Rochas for the hint :up:

Here's what this guy is saying (though it doesn't provide a conclusion):

David Lynch shoots all his films in the aspect ratio of 2.35. Since Mullohand Drive was a pilot for TV, he probably shot it 1.33. But to make a 90 minute TV pilot into a 150 minute film, he had to go back and shoot new scenes. He would have to shoot these new scenes in 1.33 to fit with the TV scenes, thereby leaving behind his beloved 2.35. If he shot the movie in 1.33 how will they be able to show it in my theater? They would have to only use 50% of the screen, which would be kinda weird.
But, on the other hand, maybe Lynch did shoot his TV pilot in 2.35, and ABC would have cut off the sides. Or maybe Lynch shot his TV show in 1.85, a step down for him. If he shot it in 1.85 for widescreen TVs Lynch could have just shot his movie in 1.85. But, all TV shows that broadcast in widescreen for widescreen TVs only carry an aspect ratio of 1.77, like 'The Sopranos' or 'ER'.
So did David film his TV show in full frame not knowing that he would have to turn his show into a movie so it would get released? Or maybe he didn't let ABC have control, and he shot his original scenes in 2.35. That would be best, because David Lynch is a very visual director, and 2.35 is the aspect ratio for that. So, what did he do. I dunno, does anyone know the answer?
Oct 5, 2004 5:17 AM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 602
I think I got it now. Read this article on "How Video Formatting Works". It lays all down. The interesting part is on page 7 and page 10

What I get out of it is:
DL shot the picture in widescreen 1:85. Even the pilot - so he must have had in mind to bring it on the big screen one way or another, like he did with TP-FWWM.
To queeze the film into a TV version they used "pan & scan" technique.
That is, only focusing on the elements of the picture that are most important to the plot and cropping it out. This is obviously a subjective decision and unfortunatelly not done by the director but a video technician.
So DL filmed his movie with the pan-and-scan process in mind, meaning, most of the shots have the important information on one side of the screen (here left) with a lot of dead space on the other side. This way he helped the pan & scan execs to decide what part to cut away.

That pretty much works for me...
Oct 13, 2004 8:30 AM
0 0