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OAR v. WS : Why isn't this a non-issue for DVD?


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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 11 2001 - 04:56 PM

Put simply, the DVD spec allows for on-the-fly pan-and-scan instructions. Why all the handwringing and gnashing of teeth from the studios, when the answer has been available since the inception of DVD?

I've been hunting for information about this feature, and why it isn't used. The best I've found so far is a Q&A from the dvdfile:
http://www.dvdfile.c..../2000/5_16.htm

Here's a snippet:
quote:
What you are referring to is actually a part of the DVD spec, and is usually referred to as "pan & scan on the fly." Since all DVD players can decode pan & scan coordinates if they are encoded in a piece of software, it is a bit surprising that no one has seriously played with these capabilities of the format yet. But, there are reasons for it...[/quote]
It goes on to discuss how cost and other factors conspired to keep studios from using this feature. But now, with studios trembling before the might of Blockbuster and Walmart, and others claiming that kids demand P&S videos, why isn't the P&S feature on DVDs utilized?

This would seem to be a no-brainer, since it solves everything. The original aspect ratio is preserved for all who care, and a fill-yer-tv form is available for those who prefer that.

Perhaps I totally misunderstand the pan-and-scan feature supported by DVD players, but it boggles my mind that there is this chaotic frenzy about OAR v. P&S, when the solution is at hand.

So what's the deal?

[Edited last by DaveF on October 11, 2001 at 07:59 PM]

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin Coleman

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Posted October 11 2001 - 05:03 PM

I agree 100% Dave,
Please read my post on the second page of Ron's thread linked here.

http://www.hometheat...L/031499-2.html

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Anthony_H

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Posted October 11 2001 - 05:05 PM

Part of the issue is that the "on the fly" feature doesn't work exactly the same as a pan-and-scan transfer. This feature simply emphasizes the middle of the screen. If this was used regularly.. JOE SIX PACK would truly realize he is missing something.

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 11 2001 - 05:11 PM

Partially answering my own question Posted Image http://www.dvdfile.c....1999/12_14.htm
[quote]

The main reason cited is that most players can not do "clean" scans, i.e., they would pan and scan by pixel, resulting in very "bumpy" pans left and right, which according to most authorists is very noticeable. Second, to encode an anamorphic transfer with Pan & Scan codes would eat up a lot of space, and would most likely require a dual-layer disc anyway to hold both the anamorphic transfer and the pan & scan instructions.

[quote]
It seems that the "space" argument is not valid anymore, with so many disks being dual-layered, anamorphic, DD, DTS, etc. The choppiness is an issue. But, a small price to pay. And some smart DVD maker would find a way to smooth it out, I'm sure.

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Joe Schwartz

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Posted April 24 2002 - 12:38 PM

[quote]

Second, to encode an anamorphic transfer with Pan & Scan codes would eat up a lot of space...

[quote]
I sincerely doubt that. Unless I'm misunderstanding something, it should add no more than a few bytes per frame -- maybe about 100 bytes/sec, compared to existing data rates of about 1 million bytes/sec. That's only a 0.01% increase in data. But I haven't read the DVD spec, so I'm just speculating as to how the feature might be encoded.



There are only two drawbacks that I can see to using P&S OTF. First, it provides lower resolution in P&S mode than a regular P&S disc. Second, it shows less of the film frame than an open-matte transfer does. Personally, I don't care about either of these drawbacks, because I prefer to watch movies in their OAR. But any producer who cares about the image quality of a P&S disc (is that an oxymoron?) would probably care about these drawbacks of P&S OTF.

#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Mark_vdH

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Posted April 24 2002 - 02:35 PM

There is one more drawback (at least I think): On transfers with an Aspect Ratio higher than 1.77:1 (maybe 1.85:1 due to overscan) black bars will still be visable. With a 2.35:1 film, Joe will still think he's watching a (1.77:1) widescreen movie.
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#7 of 12 OFFLINE   Joe Schwartz

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Posted April 24 2002 - 04:00 PM

That's a good point, Mark -- P&S OTF isn't a good solution for 2.35:1 films. For those films, the only reasonable options are to have separate OAR and P&S discs, or to put both versions on a dual-sided disc.

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted April 24 2002 - 05:25 PM

The black bars on 2.35:1 discs using P&S on the fly would be the same size as on any 16:9 show on TV right now. People do not complain about this for such shows on TV, so why would they on DVD? As for quality issues: It was mentioned in the Disney "interview" that black bars are more of an issue to people in the "non-technical environment" watching on a "19-inch TV or smaller". These people don't care about the quality issues. This is not meant as a put-down; it isn't that different from me not caring for the most expesive clothes, for example. They will not fuss about a slightly lower horizontal resolution. They also don't care if they are missing anything, and won't care that soft-matted films will be cropped to a greater extent. P&S on the fly should have been used from the start to please everyone. If it is true that pans are choppy, that issue would have be resolved and better handled in DVD players by now if they had done this from the get go. It is still not too late.

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Joe Schwartz

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Posted April 24 2002 - 05:48 PM

[quote]

The black bars on 2.35:1 discs using P&S on the fly would be the same size as on any 16:9 show on TV right now. People do not complain about this for such shows on TV, so why would they on DVD?

[quote]
Well, apparently many people do complain about the black bars on 1.78:1 DVDs, and how do we know they aren't complaining about 1.78:1 shows on TV? I'm not trying to defend those people, but any solution must take them into account.

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Mark_vdH

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Posted April 24 2002 - 10:13 PM

[quote]

The black bars on 2.35:1 discs using P&S on the fly would be the same size as on any 16:9 show on TV right now. People do not complain about this for such shows on TV, so why would they on DVD?

[quote]



There are certainly full screen DVD's of 1.77:1 (or 1.85:1) movies out there (A.I. or Shrek are recent examples), so there is certainly demand for full screen versions of these 1.77-1.85:1 movies.



Does anybody know of a release, from any region, that actually uses the P&S on the fly feature?

I have about 7 or 8 discs that have the option (R2/R4), but they seem, like Criterion's "The Last Temptation Of Christ", authoring errors to me: they just zoom in on the center of the screen, without ever panning left and right.

Examples: Manhattan, Annie Hall, The Good, The Bad...., The Magnificent Seven, This Is Spinal Tap (All MGM releases BTW).
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#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted April 24 2002 - 10:58 PM

I think "P&S ON-THE-FLY" would be a good, workable, solution for anamorphic transfers in the aspect ratios of 1.66:1 through 1.85:1. For those kinds of transfers only a "centering" code would be needed, IMO, to satisfy the "J6P"'s of the world. Yes, there would be times when the framing would be obviously "off", but the question is, would anybody that desires this kind of transfer really care all that much? Besides, it might actually help educate people as to the benefits of widescreen when they can simply turn off the "P&S ON-THE-FLY" feature with the touch of a menu option and see the true letterboxed framing. Perhaps even encoding 2.35:1 transfers (leaving them with a transfer cropped to about 1.85:1) would be a good way to start weaning the masses off their decades-long mentality of "fill-the-screen-at-any-cost". While I agree with Ron's policy statement of NO P&S TRANSFERS ON DVD, it would not bother me if every anamorphic widescreen transfer had this feature enabled. Strictly speaking, the DVD would still only contain one actual transfer.
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#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted April 24 2002 - 11:18 PM

[quote]

Does anybody know of a release, from any region, that actually uses the P&S on the fly feature?

[quote]


The only R1 disc that I'm aware of is DVD International's 1.78:1 Aquaria presentation.



It worked well on that disc, providing a simultaneous 16:9 anamorphic transfer and a derived 4:3 full frame transfer. 4:3 owners were also allowed to select a letterboxed transfer, downconverted from the widescreen transfer in the traditional way.



There were no discernable artifacts introduced by the process. Of course, we're simply talking about fish swimming around in a tank here.



IT WAS EARLIER REPORTED by the DVDANGLE site that some of the upcoming CTS "full-frame" transfers were actually 1.78:1 anamorphic transfers that were encoded with "P&S ON-THE-FLY" for 4:3 owners, but which had the "4:3 LBX" option locked-out. This would have provided widescreen owners with a "full-frame" 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer and 4:3 owners with a cropped downconverted "full-frame" transfer. However, this report has since proved to be false (at least for R1.)
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