Anamorphic projection


Standard Member
I'm getting a bit confused about anamorphic projection. Can any movie be played in anamorphic or does it have to be 2:35.1 ratio?
Can any projector be used for anamorphic projection or is it only high end projectors?
How much do the lens cost.
I'm fairly new to projection and have just bought a optoma hd131xe but it has triggered off a thought about taking the movie experience further.
Maybe a future upgrade if not compatible with my pj. I'm currently projecting across the width of the room at 3m, I could go down the length diving me over 4.5m.
It's a bit confusing.

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Any movie can be played 'anamorphically' but it's really designed for 2.35 movies on a 2.35 screen, not 16:9 movies (though you could, but you'll lose the top and bottom part of the image).

You would use an anamorphic lens to do it 'anamorphically' but you can get similar results by zooming. See the link in my sig for info and for a video on how a lens works.

Any pj can be used with a lens, but you will need the pj to do the necessary scaling, or an external scaler (see the video which will explain).

Not all pjs can zoom for 2.35 though, as you need a zoom range of greater than 1.33 and lens shift to keep the image on the 2.35 screen as zooming often means the image will move up or down, depending on whether or not the pj is mounted higher or lower to the center of the screen (ceiling or coffee table mounted for example).

Anamorphic lenses vary in quality and cost (few hundred to a few thousand pounds), though you can make a good saving buying second hand. They range from a few hundred for basic prism lenses with no lens coatings or corrector elements, to treated and corrected prisms or cylindrical lenses. Any decent lens will cost you more than the projector.

It looks like the only option with the Optoma is to use a lens unless you adopt the shrink method which scales down 16:9 movies to around 1440 x 817.



Standard Member
Hi many thanks for the reply. For some reason I can't see signatures on the iPad app. I'll have a route around though.


Standard Member
Many thanks for the reply.
Iv just been looking at various screen on the internet,
I see there are some sold in 16.9 and 16.10 ratios, are there any advantages getting one over the other?

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
16:10 would be suited to 16:10 projectors that were used for presentations - there aren't many (any?) films in that ratio (1,6:1 - nearest might be 1.66:1) )and most are 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 (and some variations). If you went anamorphic with a lens with 16:10, your screen would be 2.13:1, so scope films would have black bars top and bottom.

I would go for a 16:9 of the two, but if you wanted a Constant Image Height set up, then you would need a 2.35 screen and a pj that could zoom for that as well as have lens shift (or an anamorphic lens).



Distinguished Member
I think it's important to clarify what 16:10 is, and it's NOT for projecting films of any ratio.

16:10 is a ratio for PC monitors and displays. The chips are manufactured like this so that they can be used in either data projectors or home cinema projectors.

Sometimes the extra height pixels are just left unused on a home cinema model (in which case it'll be listed as 16:9 aspect ratio), and sometimes the menu gives you choice to display in either 16:10 or 16:9 (in which case choose 16:9).

If you have a projector which is 16:10 with no facility in the menu to switch to 16:9, then it's probably designed as a data projector, and not for home cinema use.

Whatever you do though, DO NOT, use 16:10 to project 1.66:1 films. The height of the film image will fill the height of the 1080p picture on the disc, and leave small black bars at either side of the 16:9 image. This is how it should be.

The image will not fill the 16:10 chip unless you upscale it which, given the numbers involved, you don't want to do.

You'd also have to faff about re-setting your zoom and the 16:10/16:9 setting every time you watched a 1.66:1 film, and every time you then went on to watch a film if a different ratio.

Steve W

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