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Anamorphic

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by mij, May 26, 2002.

  1. mij

    mij
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    Am I wrong in thinking that anamorphic DVD's should fill the entire screen on a 16:9 widescreen TV, I have "Terminator 2 Ultimate DVD" which is an anamorphic disk but still has black bars.

    Any simple explanations please.
    cheers, mij
     
  2. michaelm

    michaelm
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    Without going into too much detail, it's to do with aspect ratios.

    The higher the ratio, the bigger the bars.
     
  3. Doubledoom

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    Yes.

    Think of anamorphic widescreen as a 16:9 frame. Then inside that frame you will get the broadcast or recording. If it's aspect ratio is 16:9 too, then you will get full screen. If it is 2.35:1, as it is in the case you mention, it is wider than 16:9 so the black bars are there to compensate for the extra width. The black bars are part of the recording so picture is still 16:9 really.

    Sometimes, you get 2.35:1 films cropped to 16:9 so there are no black bars (BBC do this unfortunatly). Other times you get the 2.35:1 opened up to give additional height to fit the 16:9 (U571 in R2, for example). The first option is ugly as it is usually a 2.35:1 cropped to 16:9 with no P&S. So often the picture will look misplaced. The second option, although it sounds better, can be worse as information that was not meant to be in the film can be seen. Microphone booms are the most common example (there are much better examples when looking at 1.85:1 opened up to fit 4:3).

    Got a bit off the topic there but never mind.
     
  4. Garrett

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    Anamorphic means the picture is squashed from the Left and Right. On a W/S film the picture when played on a 16:9 TV it is then un-squashed. This gives a better resolution than if it was in a little picture in the middle of the screen and expanded Top and Bottom as well as Left, Right,. i.e. less line resolution.
    Mentioning Terminator 2 is a bad example as I believe James Cameron filmed in one format and did different crops for TV and Movies.
     
  5. Squirrel God

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    Here's one for you.... why do we bother saying "anamorphic widescreen"? Surely we don't need both words, one will suffice... If it's anamorphic it's widescreen, if it's widescreen it's anamorphic ... Assuming they use the word "letterbox" for "black bar 4:3 material", which they do seem to be doing......
     
  6. Xeonic

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    Firstly thanks DD! It took me ages searching all manner of AV sites to come up with something like your relatively straightforward definition : anamorphic = 16:9 frame, non-anamorphic = 4:3 frame. Secondly SG this answers your question - it is possible, although rather silly, to have a 4:3 "program", or in fact any other ratio, in an anamorphic format. So anamorphic does not necessarily mean widescreen.
     
  7. Ian J

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    Not true as you can have widescreen that isn't anamorphic.

    Early region 1 dvds were frequently not anamorphic although the situation has now changed,
     
  8. Squirrel God

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    I don't understand :confused:

    As I said in my original post, if we take widescreen to mean that it "fills" the 16:9 screen (i.e. without zooming and using the TV's wide option) then it's anamorphic is it not? If it's not anamorphic, how else can it fill a 16:9 screen?

    Presumably these early Region 1 DVDs were letterbox rather than widescreen?

    I've ordered Region 3 DVDs that were labelled as letterbox and naturally required zooming to fill the screen. Now we may also call this a "widescreen" of sorts, but it seems common now to label DVDs as widescreen when they do fill a 16:9 TV in wide mode.

    Is this just a case of semantics, i.e. using widescreen on packaging to refer to the TV rather than the aspect ratio? Or have I really got the wrong end of the stick? If so, I'd be grateful for a further post to clear this up in my head :)

    Thanks guys :D
     
  9. Xeonic

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    Bzzzt! That's the point! Basically yes it is semantics, as the dvd companies are "dumbing down for the man on the street", so widescreen does not mean filling the screen, only that the aspect ratio of the feature is 16:9.

    So if a dvd says "widescreen", it could still be letterboxed! Even the dubious "enhanced for 16:9" could mean this is a 16:9 format in a 4:3 frame "which looks better on a 16:9 device (!) ". Anamorphic is the only word which when written on a dvd means "this will fill the frame of a 16:9 screen".
     
  10. Squirrel God

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    Thanks - for a minute there i thought i was losing my mind!! So far every dvd that i have bought that has been labelled "widescreen" on the front has been anamorphic (but yes, the aspect ratios have varied - sometimes they do have the black bars). The ones I have bought that have had a non 4:3 ratio but were not anamorphic were labelled 'letterbox'. I presumed this was standard practice now hence my first post on this thread. Anyhoo, thanks again! :)
     
  11. Doubledoom

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    If you have a widescreen television, anamorphic is very important.

    Next time you are watching a film on Ch4 that is being broadcast in widescreen, take a look at the anamorphic version on digital and then take a look at the analogue version (which should auto zoom in as they use line 23 switching on analogue Ch4).

    The anamorphic transmission should look better (unless compression is rather high at the time).
     
  12. Squirrel God

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    Yes it does look better, although I can't check anymore because I don't use the RF in my TV anymore - totally unplugged it :)

    I should have qualified what I said about buying non-anamorphic DVDs by saying that these were only because they were very cheap and I only have 3 or 4 anyway. In fact, I'm glad I bought them because it's only by viewing non anamorphic stuff that you really appreciate anamorphic stuff :)

    As you may have seen on another thread, I recently bought The Others R3 from cd-wow and it said that it was anamorphic on their web site. When I got it, it was labelled as letterbox and, of course, it wasn't anamorphic. So I have sent it back to them for a refund. I can't stand non-anamorphic stuff now to be honest.
     
  13. Bernard Barnett

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    DVD packaging is often misleading. Only if it says anamorphic can you be sure it is. "Widescreen" and "letterbox" descriptions do not necessarily mean anamorphic. And you can still buy plenty of so-called widescreen movies that aren't. As recently as a couple of months ago I bought Some Like It Hot and The Day of the Jackal and neither was anamorphic. An anamorphic edition of Some Like It Hot is now available - it's called the special edition and is consequently more expensive (but it is miles better). Please note my comments apply only to R2 DVDs.
     
  14. Doubledoom

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    Not even then can you be sure. The Abyss is not anamorphic but the packaging says it is. There have been others too.
     
  15. Guest

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    so what the freak happens to an anamorphic picture played back on a 4:3 telly?
     
  16. Nike

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    You set the screen shape in the dvd players menu to 4:3 & the player does the 'anamophic squeeze' . I think it's part of the dvd standard that all players can do this.

    Some (more recent) 4:3 sets do have a 16:9 mode anyway though.
     
  17. Guest

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    so presumably the picture is squeezed to "un-natural" proportions.
     
  18. Nike

    Nike
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    No,
    So it looks correct:-

    Assuming a 4:3 TV & anamorphic disc;

    Player set to 16:9 screen shape - People, etc would look too tall & thin (unless 4:3 tv with 16:9 mode)

    Player sell to 4:3 - DVD player then reformats the picture to correct proportions.
     
  19. European

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    ...reading this thread certainly proved to me that there exists one heck of a lot of confusion about the terms "widescreen", "letterbox", "full-screen", "anamorphic" (plus one term not mentioned yet: "windowbox") ... which the thread does absolutely nothing to clarify - indeed, if anything the thread serves to confuse the readers even more, witness some of the replies given above to some of the questions asked above...

    ...the problem is that many people expect to be instructed about the workings of what is, in truth, a rather wonderful, but complicated technology - in twenty-five easy-to-read words, or less...

    http://www.dvdtimes.org.uk/features/widescreen1.html

    http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html

    http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/anamorphic/aspectratios/widescreenorama.html

    http://www.dvdweb.co.uk/information/anamorphic.htm

    http://www.mindspring.com/~atombrain/letterbox.html

    ...and - OT - but wide-screen-in-the-cinema related:

    http://www1.tripnet.se/~adler/wide2.html

    (signed) Pompous Perry

    . . . :eek: . . .
     
  20. European

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  21. Duncan Harvey

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    yes the widescreen museum is a wonderful site - well worth a visit.

    In answer to the question about displaying an anamorphic disc on a 4:3 set - well the player "downconverts" the image.

    This can be as simple as removing every 3rs or 4th line from the image, or as complicated as a mathematival analysis of the picture and then some fancy scaling.

    The alleged poor quality of downconversion was often used to justify not issuing films in anamorphic widescreen in the earlier days of DVD. Disney and Criterion were particular offenders.

    Personally having once owned a 1997 vintage R1 player, I never saw any problems with down conversion, and as I was watching on a 41 inch 4:3 set, I would have thought that they would have stood out.

    Surely this wasnt a smokescreen to disguise penny pinching by using old D2 laser masters for DVDs?? (insert tongue firmly into cheek)
     
  22. Guest

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    still makes absolutely no sense!!
     
  23. Duncan Harvey

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    what dont you understand?
     
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