Snobby Sitcom Purists

February 3, 2009

My wife pointed out to me that Seinfeld looks way better then it used to so I check it out on-line. Sienfeld has been remasted in HD for TBS. They went back tot he original film prints and converted those to HD, also cropping the headroom so it can appropriately fit the frame. On message boards the snobbiest of the video snobs were complaining about the aspect ratio conversion. They complained about how the photography suffers as well as loss of resolution.

First off, we’re talking about Seinfeld, it’s not Lawrence of Arabia. On a sitcom such as Seinfeld, camera work is purely practical. It’s like a play on-screen, it’s only filmed because it has to be.

As for lowered resolution, that’s a bunch of bo-shit! The show was shot on film, you can blow the image up as much as you want and quality won’t change much.  Maintaining the 4:3 aspect ratio would sacrifice lots of TV resolution. Would you rather to lose an undetectable amount of film resolution, or a third of your screen’s?  No, resolution is not a issue when cropping 4:3 film to 16:9 HD.

It’s my opinion that 16:9 video is a generally more pleasant then 4:3.  As long as important visual information is lost, and headroom looks natural, then crop away.

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