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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:

    [​IMG]

    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 Active 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 Active 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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  8. MidwestGeek

    MidwestGeek New Member

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    Did anyone ever find out whether a widescreen blu-ray or DVD was ever produced for purchase?
    -MidwestGeek
  9. brian s

    brian s Well-Known Member

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    I inherited some of these DVDs from my late mother but I have to confess that I haven't watched any of them yet. She also used to enjoy Midsomer Murders and all of her DVD's where the original 4/3 or a very annoying 14/9 version of the 16/9 versions. Any DVD or Blu releases should always be in the original aspect ratio as they were meant to be shown.

    Bri
  10. Garrett

    Garrett Moderator

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    I remember before Frost came out there was a female private detective series that went out on ITV on Sunday evenings, quite good as well but only ran one short series. I thing the actress became pregnant.
    Anyway the point is this was one of the first series I saw broadcast in 16:9 so I take it everything after should have been filmed in16:9 although broadcast originally in 4:3.

    PS anyone know that name of that series?
  11. probedb

    probedb Active Member

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    The Midsomer Murders ones are truly annoying! Acorn have no plans to re-release them either. Lucky my Oppo has a decent zoom control so I can get rid of the bars above and below.

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