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How the West Was Won: SmileBox vs. flat

Blu-ray

As an addendum to my earlier post on Warner’s magnificent Blu-ray release of How the West Was Won, I have, by popular demand, included a few screen captures comparing the SmileBox version with the standard “flat” formatted edition. Superficially, the SmileBox version appears to demonstrate an increased level of sharpness, but in reality I suspect that this comes from an added amount of edge enhancement, and that there is no actual gain in real world detail. There is a small amount of haloing in some shots on both versions, but, in the case of the flat version, I’m not convinced that this was added digitally but rather is an optical or lens effect (don’t quote me on that, though - I could be mistaken). Either way, the ringing is accentuated in the SmileBox version - check out the edges of hat brims in particular, not to mention the curves at the top and bottom of the screen in the SmileBox version.

Ultimately, I definitely favour the flat version, but others may disagree, arguing that the SmileBox version is a more faithful approximation of the film’s original theatrical exhibition.

Example 1
(Left: SmileBox version; Right: flat version)
How the West Was Won How the West Was Won

Example 2
(Left: SmileBox version; Right: flat version)
How the West Was Won How the West Was Won

Example 3
(Left: SmileBox version; Right: flat version)
How the West Was Won How the West Was Won

Example 4
(Left: SmileBox version; Right: flat version)
How the West Was Won How the West Was Won

Example 5
(Left: SmileBox version; Right: flat version)
How the West Was Won How the West Was Won

 
Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 9:53 PM | Comments: 2
Categories: BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | Technology

 
Comments

1.

Either the smilebox version is streched or the letterbox version sqeezed.

Posted by: Peter von Frosta, October 27, 2008 3:04 PM

2.

"Superficially, the SmileBox version appears to demonstrate an increased level of sharpness, but in reality I suspect that this comes from an added amount of edge enhancement, and that there is no actual gain in real world detail."

Actually, there's a good reason the Smilebox version shows increased detail. The Smilebox version is zoomed in a bit to match the Cinerama projection aspect ratio of 2.59:1, whereas the "flat letterbox" version shows the full 2.89:1 image captured on the three negatives. Since the Smilebox version is zoomed in a bit, it thus would have a bit more detail.

Plus, the Smilebox version itself lends itself to having mre detail, simce not nearly as much of the image is taken up by black bars.

I'm surprised that you prefer the flat letterbox version. I find that version awkward, and the image tends to "bend" away at the sides of the frame, whereas the Smilbox version retains the correct perspective and it seems that the image is wrapping around you and objects and going off into space behind you instead.

Vincent

Posted by: Vincent Pereira, November 7, 2008 3:32 AM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
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