Open Matte Godzilla

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Open Matte Godzilla

Postby MikeSTZillak » Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:43 pm

Are any of the Godzilla and other Toho kaiju eiga open matte?
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Terasawa » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:34 am

The Heisei films were shot flat. I’ve never seen any traditional open matte versions of these films (i.e. none that are totally unmatted). Spacehunter M, who I don’t think posts here anymore, has found a few foreign tapes of the Heisei films that offer just a bit more visual information and I think that’s as close as it gets.

The two Hollywood films are 2.35 but probably not photographed with anamorphic lenses. If that’s the case then theoretically modern 1.78 TV versions might be unmatted.

Also, technically, the U.S. versions of the two ‘50s Godzillas, Rodan, and Half Human could be considered open matte. Those films were composed for, shot, and released at 1.37 in Japan but were released here after most theaters switched to widescreen presentations. There’s evidence in Box Office and Variety that those films were soft matted to ~1.85 in American theaters. In fact the titles and new scenes in HH seem to have been produced with widescreen in mind.
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Servanov » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:27 pm

1998 apparently has an open matte version. Also, Godzilla 1985's American scenes were shot open matte, which, things are in the works, and may get a better release sometime soon.
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Joseph Goodman » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:22 pm

Terasawa wrote:The two Hollywood films are 2.35 but probably not photographed with anamorphic lenses. If that’s the case then theoretically modern 1.78 TV versions might be unmatted.



Godzilla (2014) was actually shot anamorphic, in Panavision on the Arri Alexa XT digital camera. No un-matted version with that one.

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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby MikeSTZillak » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:23 pm

Servanov wrote:1998 apparently has an open matte version.

Was this used for the VHS release?
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Servanov » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:37 am

I don't think so, from what I can gather, it was mainly for foreign TV broadcasts.

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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:40 am

I've been downloading it for weeks. It's on this tracker I'm a member of but the only seeder is some guy in Turkey with a horrible connection who's only intermittently online.
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Great Hierophant » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:37 pm

Terasawa wrote:The Heisei films were shot flat. I’ve never seen any traditional open matte versions of these films (i.e. none that are totally unmatted). Spacehunter M, who I don’t think posts here anymore, has found a few foreign tapes of the Heisei films that offer just a bit more visual information and I think that’s as close as it gets.

The two Hollywood films are 2.35 but probably not photographed with anamorphic lenses. If that’s the case then theoretically modern 1.78 TV versions might be unmatted.

Also, technically, the U.S. versions of the two ‘50s Godzillas, Rodan, and Half Human could be considered open matte. Those films were composed for, shot, and released at 1.37 in Japan but were released here after most theaters switched to widescreen presentations. There’s evidence in Box Office and Variety that those films were soft matted to ~1.85 in American theaters. In fact the titles and new scenes in HH seem to have been produced with widescreen in mind.


I have heard the same thing being said for Godzilla King of the Monsters, although in this case the American footage and credits were Not Meant to be projected in the Open Matte format. Any theater that had converted to widescreen may have used blockers on the projection lens to mask off the top and bottom of the frame so they could project the image to cover the breadth of the screen.

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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Terasawa » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:22 pm

Great Hierophant wrote:I have heard the same thing being said for Godzilla King of the Monsters, although in this case the American footage and credits were Not Meant to be projected in the Open Matte format.


That’s what I was trying to say but it may not have been clear. There’s documentation that Rodan was screened at 1.85:1. I can’t recall if KOTM and Half Human were too but at least in the latter’s case, the new American footage works better at 1.85.

Joseph Goodman wrote:
Terasawa wrote:The two Hollywood films are 2.35 but probably not photographed with anamorphic lenses. If that’s the case then theoretically modern 1.78 TV versions might be unmatted.



Godzilla (2014) was actually shot anamorphic, in Panavision on the Arri Alexa XT digital camera. No un-matted version with that one.


Thank you. I should have looked that up before posting but... I didn’t. Whoops.
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:06 am

KotM's credits are not composed for widescreen. Here are a couple stills in their original formats, from the Criterion transfer:

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And here's a rough crop to 16:9 (1.85:1, the American standard widescreen ratio, would be a little wider):

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The film might still have been shown in widescreen, but the credits weren't designed with that in mind, and I doubt the new scenes were either. The "open matte" presentation would've been the intended aspect ratio -- it's like calling a 1.37:1 presentation of King Kong or Casablanca "open matte"; there was never supposed to be any matting in the first place as far as the filmmakers were concerned.

Gigantis' credits do fit within a 1.85:1 frame, though they cut it close sometimes. So do Rodan's. It's worth noting that Gigantis was distributed by a major studio that would've been deliberately keeping up with current trends in exhibition, and King Brothers, while not a major, was from what I can tell far more established than Jewell/Embassy in production rather than just distribution of existing films. This might at least partially account for the difference.
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Tamura » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:23 pm

Projectionists would have been able to tilt whatever framing they were using - they weren't stuck with a center matte. This feature would've been super important during the 3D fad in order to line up the left and right records correctly. Gigantis' ending credits seem to suggest it was meant to be matted less on the top than the bottom - wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to protect people's heads.

Flat would have been anywhere between 1.66 and 2:1 at places that were doing solely widescreen, and I've seen American articles stating that 1.75:1 was a pretty popular aspect ratio during the late 50's or early '60s... 1.85:1 was the recommended ratio by some administrative body starting in 1956, but that was just a recommendation and I doubt it was enforced vigorously. Theater booths could have had their flat widescreen apertures carved to any ratio that they'd been using for years, or one that fit their own auditorium's proscenium. I'm sure most domestic flat films were protected out to 2:1 for theaters matting that wide, at least during the early years of widescreen.
Last edited by Tamura on Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Space Hunter M » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:39 pm

Servanov wrote:I don't think so, from what I can gather, it was mainly for foreign TV broadcasts.

The VHS version indeed has more picture info than the HDTV version.
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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Servanov » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:39 pm

Oh, well looks like it was. That's very interesting. To SHM, do you know if it's any different for VFX shots and/or titles?

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Re: Open Matte Godzilla

Postby Space Hunter M » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:37 pm

Servanov wrote:Oh, well looks like it was. That's very interesting. To SHM, do you know if it's any different for VFX shots and/or titles?

Most of them (and by extension most of the regular footage) are simply the 16:9 area cropped down. However, many key VFX shots have further vertical info in the VHS version.

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