Monday 29 August 2016

Shocking Shockers review


Wowsers, another Shockwave?  How many can one guy possibly have? At least Three by the looks of things, maybe four (now).  Thus the introduction for Legends Shockwave has finished.

And the review starts.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Cinema Screen sizes, an explanation.

A conversation I often have with people is about screen sizes of movies.  As I used to work as a projectionist, it annoys me greatly when dvds/blu rays are played in the wrong ratio, resulting in a distorted picture.  It also annoys me even more when a show that was originally designed for a certain ration is pushed into another. 

So with that in mind, I made up a chart using the wonderful technology of a ruler, paper and a pencil, Scanner came along later (Changed to something nicer because my hand writing is nasty) so that the explanation will become easier.

First of all, let’s get some clarification on the terms I will use:
  • Ratio is the comparison of the sides of the screen, i.e height and length. A Widescreen cinema picture has a ratio of 1.85:1.  If 1 = 1 metre, then it will be 1 metre high and 1.85 metres long.
  • Masking is fabric on the sides and sometimes top of the cinema screen that is used to sharpen the edges of the projected image.  Often mistakenly called ‘the curtains.’
  • Widescreen [cinema]  (Shortened to “WSC”) is the image on screen with a screen ratio of 1.85:1
  • Cinemascope  (shortened to “CS”) is the image on screen with a ratio of 2.35:1

Cinema screen ratios differ from the size of the screen on TV.  When the screen length widens this is often interpreted by the average viewer as widescreen, but is in fact cinemascope.  This confusion partly stems from the TV sizes, as a TV ‘widescreen’ image is 16:9, which is terribly close to cinemas 1.85:1, but not perfectly so. 

When the cinemascope size is seen on a TV, the image will have black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.  This is usually referred to as ‘anamorphic’ in dvd cases.  Some examples of dvds that show in cinemascope on the TV are the Pirates of Caribbean, Transformers (2007 onwards) and Harry Potter movies. You can test these yourself to see the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, showing an image that is longer than it is tall.

When watching a broadcast of these movies from most TV channels, I have noticed that they will go and make arrangements to have the image fill the whole screen of the TV, thereby cropping the image quite a bit on the left and right hand sides.  Apparently to avoid missing any important details on the sides of the picture, they will scroll the image across if need be, thereby cropping the opposite side even more so, but since the point of interest is focused, the cropped section is not missed.  If you watch carefully, you will often see a slight distortion on the credit roll as they often just force it into TV widescreen to fill the screen.

To illustrate the cinema sizes, I have made up a little chart.

Cinema Ratios

So as you can see, Cinemascope has the most length, Widescreen has the most height (In regards to picture volume) and the other is so rarely used, I wonder why I put it on the chart.  In case you are wondering, these are all in scale, with a side height of 1.

Here are the screen sizes for TV.

Tv ratios

So now the common TV ‘widescreen’ image is 16:9, which comes down to 1.77:1 (Cinema W/S is 1.85:1).  Which is close, but not quite the same. However a WSC cinema image will look almost exactly the same.  So therefore, to get the CS format on a TV,  black bars need to cover the space at the top and bottom of the screen.

For TV 4:3 is the standard format of the old ‘square’ CRT TVs.  A good example of this format is most early cartoons are in this size.  Watching them on a 16:9 TV will result in back space on the left and right of the screen, but you can force them to the 16:9 ratio, however the image will be badly distorted.  This applies to most old video games as well.

Be aware that a lot of enhanced Blu ray releases force shows into 16:9 when they shouldn’t be.  For example, I have Transformers the Movie from the 1986 cartoon on blu ray and it has been forced to a full screen image on a 16:9 display.  This has cropped a massive amount of the picture, as it should be shown as a 4:3 image.

Extra Bit

I included masking in the terms, but see I didn’t mention it.  In the days of film projectors, masking was often used to keep the edge of the image sharp.  Masking would consist of thick black fabric and depending on the setup of the screen be at both sides of the screen, or at the top and bottom.

In the case of the side masking, CS would allow for the largest picture, whereas in the case of the top/bottom masking, WS would allow for the largest picture.  In modern cinemas (That is ones that use digital projectors) the projected image is sharp enough on the sides to get away without using the masking, but masking does manage to make it look just that touch nicer.

Sunday 21 August 2016

Legends Hardhead. (Insert pun here)

This is a picture of Hardhead
Wow, LG 21.  Looking at the release numbers for these guys, I’ve been going backwards. Ha ha ha ha.  Oh wells.  In this post, I will be looking at Hardhead, the first Headmaster released in the Legends line.  I initially skipped ordering this guy because I thought the vehicle mode looked a bit flat.

Then I saw the robot mode and regretted that.  Being a stingey bugger, I refused to pay the prices he seemed  to be creeping up to on Amazon Japan (annoyingly enough, the marketplace sellers just seem to try and outdo each other pushing the prices higher and higher).  So it was a awhile after experiencing the joys of Skullcruncher and the mediocrity of Galvatron before I managed to find one (the last one) on the shelf of a shop.  Huzzah.

I bought it.

Sunday 14 August 2016

Something Something Skull Something Spoo

I always preferred the Decepticon Headmasters over the Autobot ones.  I think it’s because the Autobots all looked like random Space vehicles, a pet hate of mine that I seem to have been ranting on about a lot lately. 

Luckily the Decepticons managed to connect to my love of robot animals (Dinobots are the top baby!) so the weird versions of the Decepticon HMs manage to get off scot-free.  I mean, as a kid, I seriously doubted whether or not Mindwipe was a bat.  How many bats have a big spiked looking tail?

Well, that was a bad introduction for announcing the impending Skull(cruncher) review.  I’m a bit torn, his Japanese name is Skull, but Skullcruncher sounds much cooler (while being quite a bit longer to type as well.).  Hasbro named him Skullsmasher, but luckily I don’t have to deal with that, as his lovely JP box has Katakana Skull and English written Skullcruncher.  Skullcruncher it is. Sometimes.

Sunday 7 August 2016

LG 23 Galvatron, is a Headmaster?!??

After my previous excited post about Headmasters, you may be wondering if everything from now will be all love and praise for any and every Headmaster that may or may not pass through my door.  I like to look at toys rather critically, no toy is ever perfect for me and I will always have criticisms on them.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the toys so don’t worry about my love for Head Masters.
Currently I have two.  One I meant to cancel after a cup of tea, but didn’t.  The other I fully intended to get.

This post is about the lucky one.  The one that owes his home to a cup of tea.

His name, Galvatron.

Monday 1 August 2016

Slightly Excited Ranty Post on Headmasters

Or S.E.R.P.H for short

Yay, It’s the return of the Headmasters!!  I’ve been hoping for this day, since, well, a long long time.  As a kid I thought the Headmasters were the bee’s knees.  Admittedly I thought the English premise for them story wise was a bit silly, as they pushed the two personality thing a fair bit. That always managed to pose so many questions for me.  If highbrow was highbrow before, when he bonded with Gort, what happened to Highbrow?  Surely highbrow would change as he would be influenced by Gort’s thoughts and personality, resulting in a permanent change in Highbrow’s personality, meaning that in the end, he wouldn’t be Highbrow anymore….  Wow man.

Then on top of that, why would a Decepticon subject themselves to such a situation.  Take Snapdragon for example, inactive without his head and stuck with Krunk, surely Snapdragon would not be a happy chappy at being controlled by a human?  Sure, if there is some amazing power that becomes available, I guess they might go for it, but aside from having a wingman, that’s it.  Surely they could’ve just made a small wingman robot that is remote controlled by the larger Transformer and be done with it?

See?  It just doesn’t seem to make sense.  That’s why I just prefer the Japanese version of how they came about.  Initially little robots, they made Transtectors (Cool name too) which were vehicles and big robot modes.

That got a bit off-Track.

So bringing us back, I loved the Head/Power/Targetmasters.  The fact you had a little robot that could drive a vehicle AND THEN become the robot’s head was just too damn awesome in my mind.

Now, Headmasters is the theme of the day and many not-headmaster characters are becoming headmasters!  How do I feel about this?  I don’t mind as long as the toys are good!  Although I’d prefer that they adopted Powermasters and Targetmasters at the same instead of forcing PMs into HMs (ginrai/PM Prime for example.), but the toys do look nice.  Now, this was originally going to be an introduction to my Galvatron review, but it got a bit long and ranty, so I’ll just leave it as a “I’m happy about all this Headmaster loving that is going on” and an obvious note that I am working on my Legends Galvatron review (not a video one, so you can have a reprieve from my ‘singing’).

Well, not RIGHT now…  Right now I off to watch some Voltron, Legendary Defender Episodes to help me get more excited by the SOC Voltron later in the year.  So, stay tuned!