R1 or R2, which is better?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by johnrm, Nov 7, 2000.

  1. johnrm

    johnrm
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    R1 or R2, which is better?

    I'm trying to figure which I'm better off buying, R1 or R2 DVDs. "No contest" I hear you say, I'm not so sure!

    History: (Skip this bit if you want - down to "My point is:")

    I have been buying DVDs for the past year. My first player was the Creative Labs DXR2, but I have since been through a few players, and now have a region free Panasonic RV20. I have now "amassed" about 30 movies, a mixture of R1 and R2.

    From the outset, I was aware of the Regional coding issue, and thought that this was great due to the number of titles available, and for timing (get the DVD, watch it at home, knowing that everyone else has to go to the Cinema to watch it!).

    And of course, its so easy to get DVDs across the Internet. A week after ordering, Mr. Postman has dropped your favourite move is in your letterbox!

    I suppose like everybody else, I like to get a good deal, and as such I am very picky about my purchases. I like to get as best I can, and at a reasonable price.

    My Point Is:

    I want to collect movies, with the ultimate goal of having absolutely perfect Picture and Sound.

    As an experiment I bought 2 copies of "Kalifornia", R1 and R2 so that I could compare them. Apart from the obvious things, scenes that censors don't want us to see, extra features etc. I notice that the screen presentation is different.

    My TV is a 32" Panasonic Widescreen...
    The R2 version of K. (Kalifornia) is Anamorphic, i.e. disproportionate in 4:3 mode and stretches to completely fill the screen in Wide mode - perfect proportion, fabulous picture.
    The R1 however is billed as Widescreen, but with TV in 4:3 mode, the proportion is correct, (what I call "postage stamp widescreen") but in order to view the movie in widescreen, the TV has to zoom in, giving black bars top and bottom, which are not in the R2 version.
    The black bars I don't mind, but what annoys me is that because the picture is zoomed, the lines are noticeable. (theres, say 525 lines on NTSC, of which about 475 are used, and then zoomed, so the lines are quite noticeable on a 32" TV)

    For now, my setup is quite primitive, 32" wide Panasonic TV, etc. but I plan to gradually do more with my set up - ultimately going with projection, progressive scan or line doubling etc.

    My question:

    If these lines are noticeable on a low-end system, are they compensated for on high-end system, or am I likely to notice the same thing?

    And thanks for reading this far!

    John
     
  2. HT Dude

    HT Dude
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    Which region you buys DVDs from is reasonably irrelevant if your Progressive scan system is based on a HCPC.
    The point of progressive scan is to get rid of the scan lines and from experience, NTSC discs are as good as PAL when viewed on an 8 foot screen from a HCPC.
    At the moment there will only be NTSC progressive scan stand alone DVD players, so if you're going to go that route, just get R1.
     
  3. Stewart C

    Stewart C
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    According to the Distributor Kalifornia is Anamorphic on both regions, and the aspect is 1.85:1 which is not as wide as wide can get. The widest we can get on DVD at present is 2.35:1 which will give you borders top and bottom on a 16:9 TV. A 1.85:1 broacast will fill the screen without any borders at all.

    I have to say I prefer 2.35:1 Anamorphic even with black borders. You seem to get a more cinematic experience too. For me the picture seems sharper too.

    On a 4:3 TV I would presume to would still get black borders. Be warned though the Region 1 disc has two versions on it. A 4:3 or 1.33:1 aspect on one side and a Widescreen presentation on the other.

    If using progressive scan for Pal and NTSC I would say without actually seeing them that they both represent superb pictures.

    Also, you should try not to zoom the picture as this will increase the line structure visibility on screen. Use only on 16:9 mode or wide never a pseduo wide mode as this could distort the picture and blur things somewhat.

    Regards



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    Stewart C

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  4. johnrm

    johnrm
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    Thanks for the replys guys, but I'm still not sure. If you take simple principles of magnification...
    Start with any image, magnify this and you get the same image, but with imperfections magnified also, but with Video presentations this is just a little different, because of the technology...

    Sample 1: True anamorphic picture.
    (Original image in raw format, fills the vertical, but not the horizontal, image is distorted.)
    Take any anamorphic movie, the image is stretched horizontally in order to fit a wide screen, which either proportionally introduces (interpolates?) new pixels into each line or simply magnifies each line, but each line is a complete data stream, and so there is minimal blemish.

    Sample 2: Non-anamorphic widescreen presentation. (Original image in raw format, DOES NOT fill the vertical, nor the horizontal, image is undistorted.)
    In this case, usage of widescreen necessitates the usage of Zoom. Zoom deals with the horizontal stretch as in the previous example, but in order to keep the aspect ratio correct spreads the existing number of lines across a greater vertical are, thus making visible the lines within the original image.

    1. Are these lines filled in or interpolated with a line doubler/scaler/progressive scan player?
    2. Am I better off buying movies in PAL(R2)Anamorphic or NTSC(R1)Widescreen?

    Thanks again for reading this far!
    John
     
  5. Stewart C

    Stewart C
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    Yes you are right the Anamorphic picture is squeezed horizontally to fit the standard 4:3 rectangle, then unsqueezed during playback on a widescreen display.

    A letterbox image means that the video is presented in its original aspect ration. This is wider than standard OR widescreen TV. Black bars are used to cover the gaps at the top and bottom of the screen. A 1.85:1 movie that has been letterboxed for 1:33 display has thinner borders than a 2.35:1 or wider format.

    What is great about anamorphic pictures is that less of the picture is wasted on letterbox borders. DVD has a frame size designed for 1:33.1 display, so the video still has to be made to fit but because it's only squeezed horizontally 33% more pixels are used to store active picture instead of black.

    Anamorphic video on a 4:3 display makes everyone look tall and skinny.

    For automatic letterbox mode, the player generates black bars top and bottom of the screen. This leaves 3/4 of the height remaining creating a shorter but wider rectangle. In order to fit this shorter rectangle, the anamorphic picture is squeezed vertiucally using a filter that combines every 4 lines into 3 reducing the vertical resolution in the process.

    As long as horizontal resolution is maintained then the picture should remain decent.

    In pan and scan mode the anamorphic video is unsqueezed to 16:9 and the sides are cropped off so that a portion of the image is shown at full height on a 4:3 screen.The pan and scan window is 75% of the full width which reduces the horizontal pixels.

    Anamorphisis causes no problems with line doublers and other video scalers, which simply duplicate the scan lines before they are stretched out by the widescreen display.

    Should you buy R1 or R2. Sorry but whatever your preference. Remember NTSC is 525/60 whereas PAL is 625/50. I would think that degredation of the horizontal pixel on an NTSC disc would be more noticable than on a PAL disc, plus I think our movies are sped up by 4% due to the frame rate of the film (24 frames) we run at 25 frames and NTSC is 29.97 frames.

    Hope this helps.


    Regards



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    Stewart C

    An amateur but an enthusiast
     
  6. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Well its only more cinematic if thats the original aspect ratio of course!

    When you say the picture seems sharper are you relating that to the 2.35 aspect or the anamorphic nature of the transfer? If its the former then its a bit wide of the mark: the anamorphic film process is inherently less sharp than material shot flat (this is the main reason Cameron seldom uses it you also lose a couple of stops and the depth of field is correspondingly less)

     
  7. johnrm

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    Thanks for the replies guys!

    Apart from the Letterbox R1 vs Anam. R1, I have noticed other issues, a disc claiming to be Widescreen (anamorphic I would imagine) is in fact letterbox, and as well is cropped top and bottom! Talk about a ball of s**t!

    (I have to compare the example with my R2 version, on loan to a friend at the moment, but I will post again as soon as I get it back)

    Heres a copy of an email sent to MGM (US Distributors)

    I have just purchased the Kalifornia DVD (ISBN 0-7928-4643-6) from an
    internet retailer, and despite the descriptive on your website, the
    widescreen presentation is not true widescreen, as you describe on your
    website, nor is the so-called widescreen presentation complete.
    Firstly: Widescreen implies Anamorphic, the presentation is not Anamorphic,
    but Letterbox.
    Secondly: If you compare Juliette Lewis at 56:30 on the Fullscreen version,
    her eyes never go off the top of the screen, but they do on the 'Widescreen'
    version.
    I would appreciate your comment.
     
  8. Stewart C

    Stewart C
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    Sorry John but I have to disagree a touch. Widescreen does NOT imply Anamorphic.

    Enhanced for Widescreen TV's or plain old anamorphic on the label.

    Simple widescreen does not always guarantee an anamorphic print.

    Regards



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    Stewart C

    An amateur but an enthusiast
     
  9. Stewart C

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    I know any kind of processing can sometimes have the effect of softening the picture !!

    I meant a better image between 2.35:1 and 1.85:1. In my subjective non spectrum analysed opinion !!

     
  10. johnrm

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    Yeah I thought that, but its about time they got their act together and conformed to SOME standard. It seems that the only thing they can agree are things such as preventing the masses enjoying any movie from anywhere in the world.

    Sucks, don't you think.

    Anyway, If we don't give out about this stuff, then more and more muck will be produced!

    John
     
  11. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    John,

    Just to throw another spanner int he works for you. Your example about Juliette Lewis above.....

    Some directors (Luc Besson for instance) film on 35mm film (4:3) aspect ratio. This is framed to create the cinematic version of 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 that you see at the cinema and on "widescreen" DVD/Video. However, quite often the director will re-compose the film from the original 35mm stock to create the 4:3 print ofr TV/VIDEO/DVD release. So, you are getting two artistically different versions of the same film....

    Which is correct?


    Gordon

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  12. johnrm

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    Good point Gordon.

    Ultimately I like to see movies the way they were intended, warts and all, so I imagine that if content is available in the 4:3 format version, and the Wide version has black bars (read wasted space), I assume it is possible to put more information into the presentation. Its not like the information is not there to begin with.
    In this case, (having compared both R1 and R2) despite the R1 Letterbox format, the R1 presentation 'feels' better, the image is somehow distorted in the Anamorphic R2 (I could be wrong, but this is my perception!)
    Maybe there is something to be said after all about the DVD Producers polishing the product before it hits market!

    Many thanks to all who replied!

    John

    Gordon, speaking of Luc Besson, I have R1 'The Professional' (aka 'Leon') and both 4:3 and 2.35:1 versions are on it. Not all Luc Bessons stuff is 4:3.
    Thanks again!
    John
     
  13. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    John,

    Classic film....

    I dont think I said all Luc Besson stuff was 4:3 . What I said is that he films in 35mm then re-formats the image to suit either the cinema or the TV. So, with TV you may get a smaller croppped 4:3 shaped image with more vertical information than the widescreen version and with the widescreen one you may lose some vertical info and gain horizontally over the 4:3 one.

    Gordon

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  14. johnrm

    johnrm
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    A man with great taste!

    I saw the trailer on TV prior to its cinema release, and thought 'Wow!' - and still do!

    John
     

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