Borders for 4x3 material?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Greg_S_H, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    A lot of HD broadcasts will now put picture information of some kind on the sides when they have a need to show 4x3 material. For example, if American Idol shows clips from their pre-HD seasons, they will blur and mirror the material being shown and fill in the bars with that. A better example is a WWII doc that is on Discovery right now. When they show archive material shot in the '40s, it is framed by artwork made to look like the hull of a fighter plane. This is also done on XBox Live games that are 4x3. Something like Pac-Man will play in its OAR and be framed by artwork designed to look like the original cabinet.

    This seems like a pretty good solution for people who hate the black bars. You can put anything there--could be movie theater curtains for an old movie--and it'll "trick" some into not even noticing they are watching 4x3. I'm just wondering if this kind of thing has been used before for DVD or Blu-Ray? I've never seen it, but I only have DVD and haven't bought anything in a while. Also, is there any kind of resolution benefit you could get by turning a 4x3 image into a 16x9 image without altering the original material? I would think not, but I don't know.
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    The Pinocchio Blu-ray has optional borders (with paintings in the style of the movie) on either side of the image.
     
  3. R-T-C Tim

    R-T-C Tim Stunt Coordinator

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    TNA wrestling put the TNA logo on each side to fill up the screen when they are showing highlights from their pre-HD matches. Personally I don't like it, it looks rather distracting and I do worry that burn-in might be an issue (obviously not with only short watching, but do like to be very careful).

    Of course it is nothing new, Hammer films did this way back in 1966 when they used the climactic scenes of 'Horror of Dracula' (filmed in standard widescreen) in the opening scenes of the scope 'Dracula Prince of Darkness' - they had blurry smoke surround the image to hide the edges.
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I think I saw an ad for that, now that you mention it. I wonder if they could subtly animate the borders to alleviate fears of burn-in, as Tim mentioned.
     
  5. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    They do, sort of. The borders are generally static within a single scene, but they do change at each scene change. The borders are coloured in a way that is generally harmonious with the colouring of the entire scene. There was one point I noticed where the borders changed mid-scene - when Figaro opens the window (right before the Blue Fairy comes in) the borders gradually change during that one shot from a brown to a night-blue colour.

    And no, I didn't watch the film with the borders - I just turned them on and fast-forwarded through it, just to see what they did through the film.
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Do you see it as altering the movie by watching with borders, as you would a widescreen movie made P&S?
     
  7. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I think it is annoying. But not quite as annoying as 4:3 documentary footage from 1947 that is cropped to 16:9 so that every second person has part of their head cut off.
     
  8. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    We actually call them 'curtains' when we put them in, and use 'curtains' to refer to the pillarboxing of 4x3 in a 16:9 frame
     
  9. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    It seems to me that this is something Blu-Ray players could do on their own, whether the disc had the feature or not. You could have your choice of several borders... red curtains, what have you. I don't know if such a thing would be possible with a simple firmware upgrade (probably not), but I would think it would be fairly easy for hardware manufacturers to add this feature to future Blu-Ray models.
     
  10. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    I totally agree with you. Stretching the image is even worse, I think.
    But if more companies (besides Disney) decide to put 'curtains' there, it has to be turned off. I prefer the black pillarboxes.
     

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