It's Official: HBO Is Remastering 'The Wire' in the Wrong Aspect Ratio
The Criticwire blog on indiewire,com reports that back in September, when a bunch of websites prematurely ran with the news that HBO was running a marathon of a remastered version of “The Wire,” there was lots of speculation about what that might mean, particularly when it came to dealing with the show’s 4:3 aspect ratio in the widescreen era. Well, now we’ve got our answer. The remastered “The Wire” will be made available via HBO Go on December 26, with one full season a day airing on HBO Signature, and the whole thing will be available for digital purchase on January 5. And according to HBO:
The entire series has been beautifully re-mastered in 16×9 Full-Frame HD from more than 8,000 reels of original 35mm camera negative, allowing for a tighter fit on widescreen TVs and computer/tablet screens. The original negatives were scanned, edited, dust-busted and color-corrected with great care and attention taken to stay true to the look and feel of the original Standard-Definition 4×3 version.
Stripping away the PR-speak, that means HBO is reframing the entire show so that idiots won’t complain that it doesn’t fill up their flatscreens. They can spin staying “true to the look and feel” of the show, but David Simon and his crew made a deliberate artistic decision to stick with 4:3 even as other shows were going widescreen — even abandoning the process of “future-proofing” after the initial season. As director of photography David Insley explained: