'Pinocchio' first in line for framing upgrade

How do you improve on a classic? For Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, the answer is to color every inch of it. Starting with “Pinocchio,” the studio is sprucing up the black bars that frame its classic animated features when rendered for the small screen.

Animator Toby Bluth has created “decorative” bars, dubbed Disney View, which will frame the Blu-ray version of “Pinocchio” due March 10. The standard DVD edition will continue to use plain black bars.

Rather than distort the original theatrical image, Disney’s classic animation has historically been tagged with black bars on the sides when played on widescreen TV sets. However, some fans have complained that the bars take away from their viewing experience.

“It supports the film, and is at most an accompaniment,” said Bluth, who created 16 sets of Disney View bars for “Pinocchio.” “There aren’t any panels that distract from the film. They are like theatrical set pieces framing the action.”

Disney View is expected to be used with the studio’s next classic animated Blu-ray release in October, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Susanne Ault is a senior reporter at Video Business.

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