The Wire in HD

David Simon wrote a piece about The Wire’s conversion to high-definition and a 16:9 aspect ratio. I remember watching the series while it was airing and reading about the intentional preservation of the 4:3 ratio. I just figured we’d never see a widescreen release.

At the last, I’m satisfied what while this new version of The Wire is not, in some specific ways, the film we first made, it has sufficient merit to exist as an alternate version. There are scenes that clearly improve in HD and in the widescreen format. But there are things that are not improved. And even with our best resizing, touchups and maneuver, there are some things that are simply not as good. That’s the inevitability: This new version, after all, exists in an aspect ratio that simply wasn’t intended or serviced by the filmmakers when the camera was rolling and the shot was framed.

Glad to hear that Simon is down with the new treatment (for the most part).

On video copyright and hints of sanity from executives

If you’re interested in copyright and the current mess of streaming rights, it’s worth reading Why Johnny can’t stream by James Grimmelmann at Ars Technica. That said, there are hints of sanity coming from television executives these days, perhaps a sign that people upstairs are finally getting it.

From Australia, broadcaster ABC will offer Doctor Who for streaming not long after it airs in UK.

“Piracy is wrong, as you are denying someone their rights and income for their intellectual property,” Mr. Dahill said. “The fact that it is happening is indicative that as broadcasters we are not meeting demand for a segment of the population.

“So as broadcasters we need to find convenient ways of making programs available via legal means to discourage the need for piracy.”

I’d like to think his statement was obvious, but it’s taken the better part of a decade for them to catch up with the torrenters.

HBO also appears to be making some inroads in the realm of sanity, bringing streaming only service to part of Europe. I’d like to see how this one plays out first, it could be massively crippled. Given the hoards of people who wants to throw money at HBO for access to content, you have to assume they’re making gobs of money from the cable companies or signed terrible contracts a few years back.

Typographic titles

My Man Godfrey intro

I was watching My Man Godfrey and was struck by the title sequence and its use of typography. Older films generally have the credits first, this one is no different in that respect, but the integration into the film is quite phenomenal — the camera pans across a cityscape, with the cast, crew and title, displayed as blinking signage. The film is now in the public domain, and available for viewing on Google video or download from the Internet Archive.

Bored to Death intro

On a somewhat related note, I thought the title sequence for Bored to Death was quite well done. Although, it’s more in the vein of typography as illustration.

Update: Added graphics from two title sequences. Also thought I’d take a moment to mention Christian’s Movie Title Stills again, which I linked to earlier.

Four Things

I’ve been tagged for four things by Matt, it’s been awhile since one of these meme’s floated around. The site has more readership now and I’ve been slacking with the personal sections, so here goes.

Four jobs I’ve had in my life

  • Carny
  • Janitor
  • Teacher
  • Web Designer

Four movies I can watch over and over

  • Braveheart
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Run Lola Run
  • The Shawshank Redemption