Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ThinkFilm Think They Know Better Than Terry Gilliam

Gilliam has spoken. His preferred ratio for Tideland on DVD is...

drumroll please...

2.25:1 - which, I'm sure you know isn't a standard aspect ratio. He opened the matte up a little from the 2.35:1 cinema release, and this is the master he provided to both ThinkFilm in the US and Revolver in the UK. Revolver issued it, ThinkFilm thought they knew better...

Here's Gilliam's statement, via Phil Stubbs:

"I mastered the DVD and decided that opening it up a bit vertically from the strict 2.35 looked better on the small screen. It's probably about 2.25. It is the choice of the director. Tell the fans to relax. I prefer it this way"

Revolver adhered to this, and released the film as Gilliam desired. ThinkFilm did not. Here's a statement from David Hudkoc at ThinkFilm:

You are correct that a 2.35:1 version is the most desired. We had in fact requested one early on in the DVD creation process; however, one was not created. Eventually, a faux 2.35 was created by the UK distributor, which ended up being closer to a 2.25 – a quick, but not complete solution. We are only in position to put out what materials are delivered to us, and although we all knew that the 1.78:1 was not ideal, nor true to the film, we had to proceed. We are currently working on getting a 2.35:1 master to work from and will plan a re-release when it is made available.

We apologize for the disappointment with the 1.78 version. Again, we will release a proper 2:35 as soon as it becomes available.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Dave Hudakoc.


So, essentially, provided the 2.25:1 master from Gilliam, Hudakoc decided this was 'a quick soultion', declared it 'faux' and decided to make his own 1.78:1 version. Why? Why not release the 2.25:1?

Now they're talking about a 2.35:1 re-release at ThinkFilm... which, again, isn't Gilliam's preference. Oh dear.
Make good use of Mr. Hudakoc's e-mail address, telephone number and fax line to make sure he gets up to date on all of this.

We aren't campaigning for a 2.35:1 Tideland anymore. We're campaigning for the 2.25:1 to Gilliam intended. Thankfully, Revolver have already issued one, here in the UK, and from websites like CD-Wow you can order it for delivery to many countries of the world.

[EDIT: A second statement from Terry Gilliam to Phil Stubbs reads
"I think we have to get the word out NOT TO BUY the American version of the DVD. The Canadian version is correct. It's Region1... so Americans can see the film as intended" but, sadly, Mr. Gilliam had been deceived about the US release and may yet be wrong about the Canadian one. Is there ANYBODY out there who can confirm without a shadow of a doubt that the Canadian release is in the correct 2.25:1 aspect ratio?]

[EDIT: David Hudakoc has requested I remove his address and telephone number information from this post. Of course, I complied. Anybody who can use Google should have no trouble finding them anyway. Luckily they weren't in the comments, which I can't delete]

[EDIT: ThinkFilm are now slurring the Canadian release. Tut tut]


Mattvideo said...

The canadian version is incorrect as well, at least through Rogers Video rental copies. I haven't checked the sale copies yet, sometimes they're different

Anonymous said...

I bought the Canadian disk and it's either 1.85 or 1.78.

Anonymous said...

Dammit, I just bought the US version and have only watched the special features. I had no idea it was cropped to 16x9. It's Lord of War all over again! ThinkFilm had better offer an exchange program or I won't be buying any more of their DVDs, same as Lionsgate. I don't reward greedy, ignorant companies for screwing me over.

Anonymous said...

ok so is the Candian one correct or not? ugh. on dreams messageboard people confirmed that it was fine, so i ordered a copy from amazon.ca. now i come here and see people saying that its not. am i now going to have two coasters instead of one?

Anonymous said...

so, you cant delete, say the address for David if i post it here like this? dhudakoc@thinkfilmcompany.com good to know so now i wont do it.

Anonymous said...

I can't be the only one who reads that Thinkfilm statement as straight nonsensical CYAing, right? I mean, what they're saying is, they only got a 2.25:1 transfer and, since that wasn't a 2.35:1 transfer, they didn't know what to do. I'm confused where the 1.77:1 transfer came from, since it doesn't sound like it came from the UK distributor.

I'm hoping to hear some confirmation about the Canadian disc, that would be a really nice surprise.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad email address dhudakoc@thinkfilmcompany.com was taken off. I'm sure there are a great number of people who would like to send their thoughts on this issue.

Anonymous said...

The Canadian (maple) release is indeed ~1.78:1 (just pulled a screenshot and checked the pixel dimensions). Too bad, i enjoyed the film and am now a bit bummed that i didn't get to see the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

So Mr. Gilliam has stated that the preferred aspect ratio for the DVD release is 2.25:1, becase "it looked better on the small screen."

What about folks, like myself, who have a 92" screen and high quality projection? I would prefer to watch the film as it was shown in the theater, at 2.35:1, but there seems little chance of that happening.
Also, what does the ever growing HD-DVD/Blu-Ray community get? An altered version of the director's vision to fit "the small screen" or something to match the quality of the original 35mm?

Brendon said...

Bottom line, it's Gilliam's film. And trust me - he knows what he is doing.

He framed for 2.25:1 protection throughout. It wasn't an option in cinemas - you find a cinema that projects in 2.25:1

This is, finally, the (rather unorthodox) aspect ratio he had known the film would end up seen in the most.

It takes a little thinking outside the box to go with such an odd AR, but trust Gilliam. He knows just what he is doing.

Anonymous said...

THINKFilm: Dave Hudakoc, 416/488-0037 ext. 239

Anonymous said...


It's not the same situation as 'Lord of War', please look here:


First US Pics, second UK Pics. As You can see, US is open matte, which is not the same as the ~ pan & Scan as 'Lord of War'!!!!

Anonymous said...

The frame was opened up to 1.78:1, not cropped to it. There is actually more picture to see in the Region 1 version. Go here for screenshots: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/blogs/shortends_post/32220/the-front-page-turning-the-tideland-part-2/

Anonymous said...

Tideland is not the only film to suffer at the thoughtless hands of Thinkfilm!

Beware the US R1 release of 'Keeping Mum' as well, Thinkfilm has cropped that framing to 1.78 from an intended 2.35:1 and loads of left and right side information is lost, speaking characters are sometimes almost completely out of frame, details mentioned by the director on his commentary track are nowhere to be seen.

Tideland is not an isolated incident.