Size of shadowrama figures

The figures seem larger in some of the original seasons then they are in these newer ones. I get wanting to interfere less with the visual of the movie itself, but it’s harder to tell which bot is talking and /or catch their movements when they are so small

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I think that can be attributed to the aspect ratio of the original seasons. Those classic episodes had a 1.33:1 ratio for standard television exhibition.

Those later seasons weren’t filmed for standard television exhibition; they were filmed in a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1. That ratio would account for the smaller silhouettes.

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They’re bigger if you lean forward.

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Could a setting be “adjustable bot size “?

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MST3k-_Giant_Servo_in_the_theater_during_the_end_of_FUTURE_WAR

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Comparing season one with season eleven, the shadowramians do look smaller. And not because of aspect ratio reasons:

I don’t think making them classic size would impact the movie any more than it used to. More aspect ratio just means there’s more movie on the sides. It doesn’t shrink the content, unless you’re watching it on a 4x3 screen, with letterboxing, which nobody is doing.

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Cinematic Titanic blocked a lot more of the screen and it was still great, so I think the size of the silhouettes matter less than you think.

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Not fully related, but I woke up in the middle of the night to Nosferatu’s shadow in my bedroom. This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but I think you can see what I’m getting at here:

In reality that’s a hooded sweatshirt draped over a free-standing shelf that is currently not against a wall, so the figure is clearly in the room. Anyway I had a scare and wanted to share. I return you now to your regular Shadowrama thread.

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I think the bigger driving factor is resolution - keep in mind the original seasons were broadcast in standard definition, and the silhouettes had to be visible to audiences with equipment years before HDTV.

I think a good comparison is sports - look at on-screen graphics from decades ago versus how they are now, or the FoxTrax NHL puck versus modern puck and skater tracking graphics.

That would require the movie and silhouettes to be separate layers of video. Theoretically it’s possible, but I don’t know if this platform can do that or if it’d be worth the hassle.

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Yeah, probably not worth the hassle, but it does put me in mind of the commentary track on one of the Ghostbusters DVDs (I only ever saw the one, so I don’t know if it’s on all editions). Basically, someone realized that the subtitle track is just a video overlay, so they recorded the commentators in Shadowrama so you could watch them watch the movie. Pretty nice!

I think streaming subtitling is done as a text overlay, though, so you can’t just plug in to that. You’d not want audio sync issues, so you’d want Shadowrama to be a silent video (oh, and somehow transparent in a web player… yeah this is getting worse and worse). Really I think the only way to do custom sizing is to have several renderings available to switch between, and that’s just going to mean more content to generate and maintain.

Which is a long way of saying we’re back to the original poster’s request to maybe make the silhouettes a little larger. They certainly messed with Shadowrama a lot in the early days, so it’s not unheard of.

So I support this idea. The show is not about the movie as much as it is about the interaction with it. And even if the size is set because they want a bunch of seats in the theater (for maybe I dunno all hosts and bots show up at once) that could be a special one-off case where GPC reconfigures the theater to accomodate… or just not explain the change and we should really just relax).

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Um… :raised_hand:

Both of the teevees in my house are 4:3

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If you don’t mind me asking, how old are your TVs?

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I would think the main concern would be that there are gags that specifically require the positioning of the shadowrama against points on the screen.

Increasing the size (and likely repositioning it so the bottom right corner is the standard anchor point) may:
-block things happing closer to the current tops of seats
-If the host goes to “touch something” overshooting above (and to the side) the object
-GPC, or others coming in from the top or left being cut off or in some cases not appearing at all

I love the concept of a adjustable overlay, (heck I think it would be interesting if they sat on the other side of the screen) but I don’t believe is it very feasible.

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I’m not opposed to it either. It’s been fine for me on my current TV but people are viewing the show on so many different platforms and devices now that I know my experience isn’t necessarily representative.

In an absolute perfect world, though, I’d love it if there was a way to keep the silhouettes and MST3K audio separate from the movie because it’d be a way to fix one of my biggest issues with the original run episodes: print quality. A lot of the movie prints they had access to back then weren’t in great shape, and comparing (say) MST3K Giant Spider Invasion to the print Rifftrax Live used is like night and day. If you could layer the original MST3K material over the newer, clearer version of the movie…

Maybe if I win the lottery. :wink:

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That idea had crossed my mind, but then they are no longer streaming a derivative work, but the original work along with a derivative. I bet licensing a movie is way different than licensing a movie for the intent of creating a new work from it.

I did see online that someone had replaced the MST3K Manos print with the restored version. Seems like they made a mask by explody-ing the contrast or whatevs so that whatever was black remained, everything else went white, then chroma keyed out the white and put it over a new Manos. Worked pretty well, though the Info Club address got all weird (because it was white text).

But yeah, if you have a clean print, and edit it to match the MST3K edit, that’s a thing that can be done. I feel like we’ve veered into another feature request now, where we ask if it would be possible for them to license a newer print (or if it’s already included) and then it’s just a matter of reMASTERing (see what I did there) old episodes. Could even fix some of the weird stuff early on (like the green Shadowrama before they realized they could just lighten the movie), or the few times the seats don’t reach the edge of the screen and get cut off.

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That was because it wouldn’t have shown up on 4:3 TVs because it would have been outside the “safe area” for the TV screen where the cathode ray tube bends and often distorts so it’s covered up by a frame.

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Well I’d argue you’re supposed to extend the empty seats beyond the “safe area” for just this reason. I think it’s more likely whoever was setting the Shadowrama those days didn’t understand bleeds and print areas and other things that make it clear I’ve heard of publishing/printing terms but I’m really out of my depth here.

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The main one in the living room we bought in 2000 (maybe 2001), and the one in the basement is maybe a couple of years newer.

Not HD, not flatscreen, classic big ol’ box teevee.

But both work good enough that we haven’t felt the need to replace them yet.

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Just curious. :slight_smile: It got relegated to the basement but I’ve got a CRT TV from 2005 in my parents’ house.

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The living room TV just got replaced in 2020 when the old 27" CRT from…1990 or so? finally became unwatchable as the screen became too dark and wavy.

My father still has a 20" CRT in his bedroom, with a built-in VCR and DVD player that both still work, purchased in 1999. We are both very much in the “don’t replace it as long as it works” school of thought.

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