Aspect ratio's in Bond films

DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
edited October 2011 in Bond Movies Posts: 19,590
My favourite AR for films that offer wide vista's and breathtaking sceneries lies between 2.35:1 and 2.40:1. However, there are films that benefit from a different AR. Jurassic Park, for example, was shot in 1.85:1 so that the dinosaurs looked bigger. Now, as we are aware, DN and a couple of other Bonds were shot in AR's such as 1.37:1 and 1.66:1.

How do you feel about AR's for the Bonds that aren't around 2.40:1? Would you like to see one of those again?
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Comments

  • Monsieur_AubergineMonsieur_Aubergine Top of the Eiffel Tower with a fly in my soup!
    edited October 2011 Posts: 642
    Great topic. I feel TMWTGG could have benefitted from the 2.35:1 ratio given all the external Thailand locations but then again why would you film the close quarters fight in the bellydancers dressing room with a 'Ben Hur' ratio setting. In the main the films have 'fitted' their frame very well I feel.

    A great piece of audio commentary appears on the TND special edition DVD during the stealth boat takedown. Spottiswoode debates this very subject with Dan Petrie Jr. Very interesting little chat for those who love this technical angle to things.

    I hope I've responded to this in the right vain Darth? Was this what you were lookin for?

  • Posts: 1,309
    I've always thought the smaller aspect ratios (1.85:1 etc.) are nowadays used for comedies and un-action oriented films.

    James Bond, I think, needs to stay at 2.35:1 or greater. An aspect ratio in that range captures the essence of locations and action sequences perfectly. I also think the cinematography benefits from having a larger aspect ratio and Bond films should be a little 'show-boaty' when it comes to what is visually presented.
  • edited October 2011 Posts: 5,767
    Not much more to add really, @SJK91.

    I´m a sucker for wide ratios. Those Bond films that were shot in smaller ratios were framed with the ratio in mind I guess, so I´m not entirely sure if it would make sense to show them in something like 2.35:1, otherwise I would like or prefer to see them in that ratio.
  • zebrafishzebrafish <°)))< in Octopussy's garden in the shade
    Posts: 3,251
    Very interesting topic, thanks for bringing that up!
    I am all for a widescreen format, it brings back memories of some glorious film experiences in the past. Widescreen is so great for vast outdoor scenery, as in Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, North By Northwest or many great Westerns.
    Then, when the action is cramped, like the staircase fight in CR, I think benefits from a smaller shoulder width. Of course you can't change aspects ratios in the middle of a film, but you can use camera angles to box in a scene.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,590
    I hope I've responded to this in the right vain Darth? Was this what you were lookin for?

    It was. Thanks, @Monsieur_Aubergine ;;)

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,590
    I used to watch the Bonds as a kid on video cassette. That means they gave me only half a film since everything was cropped and chopped up to fit the 1.33:1 ratio of our old television sets. Watching the Bonds on a widescreen TV and on DVD, it felt like a renewed acquaintance with the world of Bond. Such a pleasure to finally getting those remarkable vista's in full!

    That said, IMDB lists FRWL's AR as 1.33:1. Is this correct? I would have assumed it to be between 1.66:1 and 1.85:1... :-?
  • Monsieur_AubergineMonsieur_Aubergine Top of the Eiffel Tower with a fly in my soup!
    edited November 2011 Posts: 642
    MGM home video widescreen edition states 1.66:1. However the DVD presentation delivered even more picture that the widescreen vid???

    I will always remember the trailer for the Sean Connery collection in widescreen in 1993...during the promo the 4:3 presentation shrank to the middle of the screen and then the edges tore away to reveal the rest of the picture... I was floored!!!! Happy days they were. (yoda seems to have chipped in there lol)
  • Agent007391Agent007391 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
    Posts: 7,823
    2.40:1 is the perfect aspect ratio, hands down.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,590
    MGM home video widescreen edition states 1.66:1. However the DVD presentation delivered even more picture that the widescreen vid???

    I will always remember the trailer for the Sean Connery collection in widescreen in 1993...during the promo the 4:3 presentation shrank to the middle of the screen and then the edges tore away to reveal the rest of the picture... I was floored!!!! Happy days they were. (yoda seems to have chipped in there lol)
    My feeling exactly!
    2.40:1 is the perfect aspect ratio, hands down.
    The ghost of Stanley Kubrick may not agree with you, sir. ;;) And neither do I for that matter. You see, when for example a horror film takes place in confined spaces and we need many close-ups of the characters in order to read their thoughts and emotions, 1.85:1 works too IMO. Except when Carpenter did Halloween. He works the magic with 2.35:1!
  • Agent007391Agent007391 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
    Posts: 7,823
    Yes, well, I don't agree with the ghost of Stanley Kubrick. He and I (though we've never met) are not the best of friends. I saw 2001, and hated it. I saw The Shining, didn't like it. I saw Full Metal Jacket, and wasn't particularly entranced. I never really got why he was so particularly loved.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,590
    Then we disagree too, sir. ;)) 2001 is my favourite film of all time. Its astonishing visuals, its philosophical story, its legendary use of music... I can't get enough of this spiritual journey into a possible future and the lesson in modesty we, earthlings, need to endure. As for The Shining, wonderful horror film! The camera work, the acting, the mood making... It's all there. FMJ is my favourite Vietnam film. I won't elaborate but here's a Kubrick fan addressing you, friend. :)
  • Agent007391Agent007391 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
    Posts: 7,823
    Then we disagree too, sir. ;)) 2001 is my favourite film of all time. Its astonishing visuals, its philosophical story, its legendary use of music... I can't get enough of this spiritual journey into a possible future and the lesson in modesty we, earthlings, need to endure. As for The Shining, wonderful horror film! The camera work, the acting, the mood making... It's all there. FMJ is my favourite Vietnam film. I won't elaborate but here's a Kubrick fan addressing you, friend. :)
    I'm happy that you found something in Kubrick films to like, but I didn't. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that I never found much to like in Kubrick's films.
  • I'm just curious in regards to aspect ratios -

    Are widescreen films today shot all on 2.35.1? Or are they actually shot on 2.39.1?

    It seems to be a mixture of both, with most 2.39 films just saying they are 2.35 just for conventions sake. Is this right?
  • No ideas?
  • retrokittyretrokitty The Couv
    Posts: 380
    So, what you're saying, Darth, is that size does matter. Gotchya.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,590
    I'm just curious in regards to aspect ratios -

    Are widescreen films today shot all on 2.35.1? Or are they actually shot on 2.39.1?

    It seems to be a mixture of both, with most 2.39 films just saying they are 2.35 just for conventions sake. Is this right?

    I'm sorry, @Pierce2Daniel, I don't quite know. I hope someone with a deeper knowledge of this will answer your question.

    retrokitty wrote:
    So, what you're saying, Darth, is that size does matter. Gotchya.

    Have you been talking to my girlfriend, @retrokitty? ;-)

  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,337
    DarthDimi wrote:
    I used to watch the Bonds as a kid on video cassette. That means they gave me only half a film since everything was cropped and chopped up to fit the 1.33:1 ratio of our old television sets.
    I used to seek out tapes that featured widescreen presentations. There weren't many, but before DVD I had a bunch!
  • Hi there,
    Just joined this forum to comment on this thread. :)
    First of all, let me help by answering Pierce2Daniel's 2.39 vs. 2.35 question.
    I'm just curious in regards to aspect ratios -

    Are widescreen films today shot all on 2.35.1? Or are they actually shot on 2.39.1?

    It seems to be a mixture of both, with most 2.39 films just saying they are 2.35 just for conventions sake. Is this right?
    Movies have never been filmed at 2.35:1 aspect ratio, it has always been 2.39:1.
    2.35:1 is a technical term (used for the film stock, I believe) used by film operators, and now on DVDs showing the full image. With soundtracks added there's only room for approximately 2.39:1.
    Today the term 2.35:1 is used less and less, simply because it refers to the type of film or the mechanics of the process (still, not entirely sure), since most films are recorded digitally (and still at aspect 2.39:1).
    Hope that answers your question.
    DarthDimi wrote:
    That said, IMDB lists FRWL's AR as 1.33:1. Is this correct? I would have assumed it to be between 1.66:1 and 1.85:1... :-?
    For FRWL, the correct VIEWING aspect ratio is 1.66:1. The 1.37:1 aspect ratio refers to the original film stock - the entire image, including parts that were never intended to be viewed on the screen. That's why the 1.66:1 on the DVDs is exactly as it should be.
    On that note, let me comment on what I think about aspect ratios: I think it's a shame that we've moved so far away from 1.66:1. Disney used it for their animated features in the 90's, but otherwise it's a pretty dead format. I find the compositions beautiful, and aesthetically for more pleasing than the new 1.77 aspect ratio, which is being utilised for digital television. That said, I agree with many of the above, that the modern Bond is well suited to a 2.39:1 aspect ratio.
    I just wanted to point out the lost aesthetics of less-than-widescreen presentations. It does indeed provide something different.
  • Breeeaaaath!!! Also, sorry for double posting.
    The reason I actually joined this forum, was to ask about changing aspect ratios of all the 2.35:1 Bond movies until Die Another Day, in which the aspect ratio changes to something near 2.21:1 in the title sequences and end credits. This happens on all the Ultimate Edition DVDs. I was wondering: Does this prevail on the Blu-Ray discs (of which I have still to own a single one) and does anyone remember if this was how any of these movies were presented theatrically?
  • StirredNotShakenStirredNotShaken I'm gonna use this to clarify that Dalton is tied with Craig
    Posts: 1,734
    zebrafish wrote: »
    Of course you can't change aspects ratios in the middle of a film

    Tenet would like a word with you hahaha
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,188
    I remember I saw an IMAX presentation of SKYFALL when it came out, and it was specifically formatted at 1:90:1 in order to take advantage of the taller IMAX screens. To be honest, I think the film actually looked better in a taller aspect ratio than the more cramped 2:39:1. I'd love to see a home video release with the IMAX AR, but that'll probably never happen.

    I do appreciate when blockbusters like THE AVENGERS go for a 1:85:1 ratio than the typical 2:39:1. Hell, I don't care for Snyder's JUSTICE LEAGUE, but good on him for putting out a film with a 1:33:1 AR. I wouldn't be against seeing a future Bond film on a taller aspect ratio like 1:66:1, after all, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is my #1 Bond film, and I don't see how a wide AR would make the film any better.

    But yeah, I've come to appreciate 1:85:1 a lot more in recent years because it's so rarely used in blockbusters. Hitchcock never went any wider with his films, because he already figured back then that 1:85 was the perfect AR because it's neither too narrow or too wide. It's got the right balance.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 7,669
    That’s a good point, it would be nice to see that version of Skyfall released. A bit like how Fallout switches to its IMAX sections on home video format.

    I can’t remember what happed with LALD; why did that switch back to the narrower format? Always seems an odd choice. Roger even had to do a new gunbarrel when the screen got wider again!
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,590
    I must admit that I'm a sucker for the very wide formats. Tarantino's THE HATEFUL EIGHT was a blast in that respect. I also don't mind the home cinema trickery of switching between fullscreen and widescreen (e.g. in several of Nolan's films). Overall, I think an aspect ratio must be chosen in favor of the movie. It made sense for Jurassic Park to come in at 1:85:1, but it also makes sense for many westerns, for example, to choose 2:35:1 because of the wide vistas. I furthermore hate it when older films, mostly shot in 1:33:1 or 1:66:1, are "squeezed" inside our widescreens to fill them completely; I want to look at the film as made, not with heads resembling bananas.

    As for the Bonds, I find the 2:35:1 films oozing more of those "cinematic" flavors. I used to not really care, though, since in the '90s, VHS tapes were 1:33:1, and our TV screens naturally too. But once the switch to widescreen TVs was made, and DVDs used the actual aspect ratio (or the closest thing to that), I discovered more Bond than ever before. ;-) Films like YOLT, MR, TLD, ... benefit spectacularly well from their 2:35:1 aspect ratios. Wouldn't want them any other way. As for LALD, well, the aspect ratio doesn't bother me. It makes the film feel "more confined", more "indoors" so to speak, but that it probably in keeping with the tone that Hamilton and others were going for anyway. A "smaller" film, literally and figuratively.

    That said, if the next Bond film is deliberately shot in, say, 1:85:1, and all the framing of the shots and such is tailored to that ratio, then of course I'm game. I'll happily leave it to the artist to decide on the canvas he wants to paint on.
  • MalloryMallory Are you ready to get back to work?
    Posts: 1,299
    The enhanced Skyfall ratio was used for a few years as the ITV broadcast version, until it was swapped out with the standard non-imaxed one.

    It will be interesting to see how NTTD approaches it, will it be Nolan i.e. constant changing between ratios, or will it be on a scene by scene basis a la Fallout. Hoping for the latter.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 7,669
    Mallory wrote: »
    The enhanced Skyfall ratio was used for a few years as the ITV broadcast version, until it was swapped out with the standard non-imaxed one.

    That's interesting: I never spotted that. So the TV version is a version we can't buy.
    Did it swap between formats? I can't remember how Skyfall worked- I only saw it in IMAX once.
  • MalloryMallory Are you ready to get back to work?
    Posts: 1,299
    mtm wrote: »
    Mallory wrote: »
    The enhanced Skyfall ratio was used for a few years as the ITV broadcast version, until it was swapped out with the standard non-imaxed one.

    That's interesting: I never spotted that. So the TV version is a version we can't buy.
    Did it swap between formats? I can't remember how Skyfall worked- I only saw it in IMAX once.

    There was no aspect ratio swapping for Skyfall, it was opened up for the entirety of the film. A decision made after they started shooting it, Deakins photography was so framed to allow this without further adjustment.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 7,669
    Thanks. It'd definitely be good to see that again, then.
  • MalloryMallory Are you ready to get back to work?
    Posts: 1,299
    For those interested, the clips from Skyfall used in the Being James Bond retrospective are from the expanded ratio version. The rest of the films look like they have been “pan and scanned”.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 7,669
    Mallory wrote: »
    For those interested, the clips from Skyfall used in the Being James Bond retrospective are from the expanded ratio version. The rest of the films look like they have been “pan and scanned”.

    That is interesting, thanks. I wonder why we've never had much in the way of a movement to see this again.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    edited September 7 Posts: 4,188
    mtm wrote: »
    Mallory wrote: »
    For those interested, the clips from Skyfall used in the Being James Bond retrospective are from the expanded ratio version. The rest of the films look like they have been “pan and scanned”.

    That is interesting, thanks. I wonder why we've never had much in the way of a movement to see this again.

    Probably because the filmmakers prefer the wider presentation. The most recent Marvel film SHANG CHI was done just like this too, but that’s likely going to only be presented in home media at 2.39:1. The taller aspect ratio I think is just a bonus for movies like these.

    The only times we see the IMAX format on home media is when filmmakers like Christopher Nolan prefer it. Zack Snyder recently did that with the recent reissue of BATMAN v SUPERMAN featuring scenes in the taller aspect ratio.
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