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16:9 displaying 4:3 material - please help

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gerry S, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. Gerry S

    Gerry S Stunt Coordinator

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    After reading and studying, I find I still have some questions and want to run a few things by the group:

    Lets assume I will watch 50% DVD and 50% satellite programming. (I will watch movies, the wife insists she will watch satellite programming).

    Say I buy a 16:9 projector and 16:9 screen that measures 49"x87"(100" diag). Is it true that my 16:9 projector can display an undistorted 4:3 image that will measure 49"x65.25"? If I am correct, there will only be ~10" of unused screen on each side, which is totally tolerable. However, I have read that the unused part of the screen will display untolerable gray bars, is this true?

    Also, does it really look that bad if the projector distorts the 4:3 image to fill the 16:9 screen?

    Finally, can you do a 4:3 projector on a 16:9 screen. How well do DVD movies look with this kind of setup?

    Thanks in advance for any advice as well as your corrections,

    Gerry
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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  3. JimPal

    JimPal Auditioning

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    I don't know why you would want to do 4:3 FP on a 16:9 screen, seems you would be losing some height. I am getting ready to do FP and I was thinking (a mistake). I can go 92" wide, so if I go with a 4:3 screen and a 4:3 FP, I can always mask the bars when viewing 16:9 and still have the widest and tallest (biggest) screen possible for my situation for viewing either 4:3 or 16:9. I like big. The big question is, how will DVD's and HD look?
     
  4. Jim Mc

    Jim Mc Agent

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    I would always match the screen to the native aspect of the PJ.
    We have a 16:9 system. We watched satellite 4:3 on this system for over a year. Now that masking is in place it's better. The masking really improved the apparent contrast. The images at my link show with and without masking samples. The Apollo 13 scene is the big money shot but if you look closely at the Santana 4:3 scenes you can see the difference.
    http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=66116202303&n=1123730486
    The Stargate
    Here is how it all works.
    MASKING SYSTEM
    Phase 1
    16:9 > to > 2.35:1
    I have finished a pair of horizontally mounted masking panels covered in black velvet. They are 6" high and 10' wide for our 120" 16x9 screen. This allows me to mask the screen down to a 2.35:1 aspect. The masking panels roll on an aluminum track of 3/4" angle aluminum stock the working/roller edge points out to the side, not toward the seating. The masking panels have two rollers on each end, patio door rollers mounted flat about 4" from each end and an inch from the long edges. The rollers keep the masking tight and fairly level. The masking panels are tied together with a rope and pulley system. The rope goes from the upper masking panel up over the pulley and down to the lower masking panel. When the upper masking panel comes down the lower goes up. It took a little time to get the rope length and stops right but it aligns correctly for fully open and 2.35:1 masking. Once the bottom was connected to the top the masking panels tracked well and stay level when moved from a center point. The panels counter-balance each other.
    Aug 2002
    The track system mentioned above could possibly be replaced substituting two pairs of vertically mounted European drawer slides. Hiding the slides might prove a challenge however. The above system is totally concealed.
    Phase 2
    16:9 > to > 4:3
    I recently completed this phase of my masking being able to reduce 16:9 down in width to a 4:3 aspect ratio. I wanted several things from this masking:
    ·Very firm clean vertical edge
    ·Flat smooth surface to blend into existing wall
    ·Maintain a constant tight distance from the screen
    ·Be able to overlap and also use my existing horizontal masking
    I did this using a rather different method than others have used. I mounted a pair of spacers made from two 2x4’s glued together into a stack screwed horizontally to the wall just inside of the extremes of the horizontal masking travel. One spacer set high, one low. I had grooved the spacers to fit European drawer slides, which were screwed to the spacers this prevented slippage. I cut large panels using MDF to which I also mounted the other half of the European drawer slides. I made a jig to keep the slides square and correctly spaced. These panels were then covered with black velvet, which I was able to get for 50% off at JoAnn’s. (Fate shines on the DIY’r) I also mounted some simple home made adjustable screw stops to the back of the panels and the mounting blocks to allow for fine tuning the position of the panels in the 4:3 masking position. The European drawer slides are spec’d for a 100 lb load, my panels were about 27 lbs. So they slide very easily. I was going to tie these panels together for manual operation but I have clearance for Phase 3.
    Phase 3
    AUTOMATION
    My next step was to automate these masking panels using small air cylinders controlled via electrically operated air valves. I know everyone talks about motors. But the air cylinders eliminate several issues:
    ·The air system eliminates the limit switch worry, i.e. no fried motors
    ·I can run the whole thing on 12Vdc.
    ·Silent operation (Assumes a remote location for mounting a small air pump, air tank and the valving.)
    On the con side the system will not allow multiple masking stop points on say the horizontal masking. This is an issue some have addressed using the Drape Boss (discontinued) to drive multiple stop point masking, but which I feel affects too few movies to create a great worry. IMHO
    Phase 4
    PROGRAMMING
    I decided the variety of aspect ratios via the different formats DVD, LD & DSS and the lack of buttons on the remote that I could dedicate to masking choices made trying to program all the choices too cumbersome. So I have tied my masking system into my Niles Intellicontrol by using a contact closure set on the Intellicontrol main unit to control the masking providing a Masking Yes / No signal. Instead of having the masking choices programmed I have the two choices 16:9 > 2.35:1 & 16:9 > 4:3 selected via switches mounted on my center console table between the front row chairs. The switches are within inches of the remote but out of site. I can make the masking selection and at the appropriate point the masking rolls into place. Let me give an example:
    (REMOTE BUTTON PRESS)
    MOVIE TIME
    ·I load a DVD that is formatted in 2.35:1. I choose the appropriate masking selection switch.
    ·(INTRO) All appropriate gear is powered up and audio / video input selections occur via the programming. The room lights dim to mid level. Then my Intro DVD plays its “Welcome to the Stargate” introduction “Oscar Night” opening chapter without masking.
    ·(DVD) selects my Movie DVD player. All appropriate gear is powered up and audio / video input selections occur via the programming. The room lights dim to mid level if not already dimmed. Then the DVD launches.
    ·(Menu – DVD) I set the Audio choice from the DVD menu. My 1st generation Sony 7000 does not automatically seek the DD 5.1 track.
    ·(Play – DVD) The lights dim to OFF with only the steps lit. The masking rolls into place and the movie begins to play.
    BREAK TIME
    ·(Pause – DVD) The DVD pauses, lights come to mid level, masking rolls out, and the Intro DVD Intermission chapter begins.
    RETURN TO THE MOVIE - Here I have two paths, two choices.
    ·(Record – DVD)* The Intro DVD plays it’s “ Now back to our feature presentation “ chapter. Then the lights dim to OFF with only the steps lit. The masking rolls into place and the movie begins to play.
    OR
    ·(Play – DVD) The lights dim to OFF with only the steps lit. The masking rolls into place and the movie begins to play.
    ·The (Record – DVD) remote key was an unused key, since you can’t record DVD’s within the gear in my system.
    MOVIE ENDING
    ·(Stop – DVD) The DVD stops, lights come to mid level, masking rolls out, and the Intro DVD “We hope you enjoyed tonight’s feature presentation.” chapter begins.
    SHUTDOWN SYSTEM
    ·(System Off) Room lighting returns to full on. The audio gear returns to a preset level of –32db. All operating gear is powered off.
    Well that’s a taste of some of the capabilities I have been able to incorporate. It's been well worth the effort.
    The black velvet I used to cover the masking panels was well worth the price, about $145. I tried putting the masking panels down with a 1.85:1 image being projected obviously this was putting a full brightness image onto the masking panels the velvet absorbed 98% of that light. It was a real surprise how much light that stuff soaks up.
    My only regret was not doing this SOONER!!! The difference is amazing the added apparent contrast improvement is very dramatic. All who have seen the completed setup have been wow’d. My daughter’s comment when she saw the finished system was “You have got to be kidding” and her friends “Oh Wow”, “This is so cool” and “I’m coming here to watch movies”. When the kids are impressed you know you’ve done well.
     
  5. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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  6. Larry_Johnson

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    Can you come over and make my wife and kids say "wow"??

    Very nice.... I'm gonna have to do that...

    Any pointers or "look out for..."
     
  7. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    As far as deciding whether or not to go 4x3 or 16x9 and wanting the biggest display possible, I think a lot of it has to do with what you watch most (4x3 or 16x9) and the quality of the 4x3 and 16x9 signals.

    Most often, 16x9 material offers the better picture quality, DVD, HDTV etc and most often, 4x3 offers the lower picture quality, TV.

    So the question is, should you opt for a 4x3 screen which will give you a bigger 4x3 image and a smaller 16x9 image (black bars) or should you opt for a 16x9 screen with a bigger 16x9 image but a smaller 4x3 image with black bars by the sides.

    I chose a 16x9 setup because since the 16x9 material I watch is of a better quality than the 4x3 material, I wanted the 16x9 image to be as big as possible rather than having a larger (blown up) 4x3 image of a lesser quality.
     
  8. Gerry S

    Gerry S Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks to all for the information and responses to my questions.

    Jim, your theater is very impressive and I appreciate the pictures detailing the gray bars. Your masking made a huge difference, and I will have to come up with a similiar plan to mask my screen.

    I have decided to get a 16:9 projector and screen.

    Thanks again.

    -Gerry
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Jim,

    Thanks for the additional information. I'm in the preparation fase of my new HT and I was planning a masking system like yours. I'm thinking of having vertical masking pannels as well (panels or rolling screens here, haven't decided that yet).

    Cees
     

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