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A Touch of Frost Series 1-5 DVD Aspect Ratio

Discussion in 'Blu-rays, DVDs & Streaming Services' started by DSGeorgeToolan, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. DSGeorgeToolan

    DSGeorgeToolan Member

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    Hello everyone. For my first post on this forum, I thought I'd share some information regarding the early series of the wonderful 'A Touch of Frost'.

    I think it has always been assumed that, as they were made in the early '90s, they were filmed in 4:3, but a recent ITV3 broadcast of the superb 'A Minority of One' seems to indicate that they have ALWAYS been intended for 16:9. Have a look at these:

    This is a screengrab of the current R2 DVD from Universal Playback:

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    Now here is a grab from the recent ITV3 broadcast, which appears to have been taken from a new HD master judging from the improved clarity and grading, and greatly increased frame area on the left and right:

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    And finally a direct comparison between the two, illustrating a slight reduction in vertical composition on the new master:

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    Here's hoping for a blu-ray release in the future, eh?
  2. DSGeorgeToolan

    DSGeorgeToolan Member

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    Some more comparisons for anyone who's interested, in the same order as the previous three:

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  3. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say that they've ALWAYS been intended for 16:9. Looks like they were framed for 4:3 but shot with a 16:9 safe area and have been 'opened up', as per a lot of US TV from the '90s (it's just been done to Friends, for example). Unusual to see it on a UK show though.

    Good catch regardless, and welcome to the forums.
  4. probedb

    probedb Active Member

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    It could be ITV are sorting their old stuff for Blu-Ray? I know Acorn Media are releasing the original Poirot series on Blu-Ray in the US and it's been remastered. I believe it was shot on 16mm so I'll be interested in seeing if there's any difference.
  5. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes, the BBC's Pride and Prejudice was another thing shot on 16mm that was transferred at 16:9 for Blu-ray.
  6. cheekydog1

    cheekydog1 New Member

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    I only have the original dvd releases of ATOF but AFAIK this is what happened.

    The first few series were made in 4:3.
    But when they wanted to start showing widescreen they took these 4:3 versions and cropped them to 16:9.

    When the dvd's came out they took that cropped 16:9 version and chopped off the sides for a 4:3 dvd so you actually had bits missing from all 4 sides - basically a hell of a mess.

    I would suggest that the HD versions simply restore some of the image that had been incorrectly chopped off in the first place as ITV would have needed to return to the original film for the HD but for dvd's they simply played with existing video masters.

    I do not know if subsequent issues of the dvd's have corrected this bodge up.
    Apparently its only the Cinema Club series 1-5 that were cocked up.
    The later series released by ITV themselves should be correct

    Not sure about the dvd's but cropped fake widescreen broadcasts of things like Minder also appeared in the early days of 16:9 ITV.
  7. DSGeorgeToolan

    DSGeorgeToolan Member

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    Unfortunately, ITV seem to have made a similar cock up with series 6 and 7 on DVD, using a cropped 4:3 master for the DVD, cropping it again to 16:9.

    These screengrabs from the episode 'One Man's Meat' illustrate the severity of the problem. This image is from the R2 ITV DVD:

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    And here is the recent ITV transmission:

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    And a comparison between the two:

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    And some more:

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