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An inexpensive video processor to create letterbox...?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dick, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Here is what I want to be able to do, cheaply and easily: I want to superimpose a hard letterbox matte over the one that is transmitted by TCM during their 2.35:1 films in order to eliminate the bug that periodically appears on screen beneath the picture area. Or, for that matter, I'd like to be able to create a letterbox where none existed on home videos that were shot with widescreen in mind. This needs to be fairly cheap - just a box that can generate a variable matte. Any recommendations?
     
  2. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    The cheapest way is to use cardboard painted black, velcroed to your TV. I doubt you'll find an electronic device that does this in realtime, or if there is one, that it will do it cheaply, or without a significant reduction in video quality. Depending on your TV size, you could make 2 sizes, a 1.85:1 and a scope version. Or, you could simply use two pieces of cardboard that can be moved independently to accomodate for odd framing on TV.
     
  3. Michael St. Clair

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    If you feel you must do it electronically, it would be easy to do with a used Amiga and a genlock, you could probably get the pair used for a hundred bucks.
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    If you have a front projector, Stewart makes screen models with motorized masks.
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  6. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Yes, but I seem to have quite vivid recollections that, about ten years ago, there was a fairly simple unit with inputs for video source and output to t.v. (or vcr) that allowed one to generate black areas - create a matte of any shape or size, essentially. This would record onto a tape if fed to a vcr, and could thus potentially eliminate any bugs that appear within the black bars of a broadcast letterbox picture. Think it sold for $100-200. Am I way off base here?
     
  7. Michael St. Clair

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    There might be some video mixers that would work, one that does bottom to top wipes and has a built-in 'black' generator.
     
  8. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Ditto the mattes idea; not only will it help with your problem, but it will also really improve your DVD watching experience. Pat Sun did a page on making mattes:
    http://www.io.com/~patman/ht.html#mattes
     
  9. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Well, creating a matte to put over a television screen is fine IF ONE HAS A FLAT TUBE OR SCREEN. I do not. I have a fairly flat (32") screen, but placing a matte over it just isn't effective because the slight curvature means that anyone not sitting dead-on straight-ahead in front of the screen (one person at best) will not see a perfectly rectangular image.
     

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