Anamorphic discs on 4x3 question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Butler, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    I know alot of you out there really are picky about anamorphic releases. I was wondering though how many of you have 16 x 9 TVs?

    I have a 4 x 3 set and havent been too concerned about anamorphic discs. I did hear though that I should care because anamorphic discs still shine even on a 4 x 3.

    Am I right?
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    In order to take advantage of an anamorphic DVD on a 4:3 TV, your TV would have to have a 16:9 mode.

    What happens normally on a 4:3 is that the letterboxed area takes up scan lines, decreasing your resolution.

    In 16x9 mode, the TV basically ignores the area outside of a 1.78:1 (16x9) area of the TV and the part outside of that would not waste scan lines, resulting in better resolution.

    Yes, the difference is noticable, even on my cheap-ass Samsung TV.

    If you have no 16:9 mode on your TV, it's a moot point.

     
  3. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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    I would disagree with whoever told you that anamorphic DVDs will "shine" even on 4:3 TVs. In fact, depending upon your DVD player, the exact opposite could be true because the player has to downconvert the picture to 4:3. This process can cause unwanted picture artifacts.

    Thankfully, DVD players have improved a lot over the last couple of years and do much better at downconversion.
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Yes, the only reason an anamorphic DVD would appear better on a 4:3 television without a 16:9 mode would be that it was transferred from a recent high-def master. Otherwise, no benefit would be realized. But I tell you this: Once you've begun enjoying well-authored anamorphic titles, there's no going back.
     
  5. rutger_s

    rutger_s Supporting Actor

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    Another problem is source elements. Even if a DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen does not mean that it will look awesome. Once Upon A Time In China distributed by Columbia Tri-Star Home Video has a lousy anamorphic widescreen transfer for the original Hong Kong version of the film.
     
  6. Michael St. Clair

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    It is possible that on certain discs you would get a better picture with an old 4:3 version (especially if it wasn't some older recycled letterboxed transfer from the late 80s to mid 90s) than an anamorphic reissue. For example, if a new anamorphic Titanic disc comes out, the old disc may look better on 4:3 sets because the transfer was GREAT.

    But when I only had a 4:3 set, I still biased my purchases towards anamorphic, knowing that they would look much better on my future set(s). And they do!
     
  7. Ernest

    Ernest Supporting Actor

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    The most important reason why users of the old NTSC TV's (4x3) should be concerned about anamorphic widescreen is eventually 16 x 9 becomes the standard. The only alternative you and others will have is to re-buy all those pan'n scan and letterbox DVD's in anamorphic. Pan'n and scan play awful on 16 x 9 TV's.

    Recently some DVD manufacturers have upgraded their software so the player will convert a letterbox 3x4 DVD to 16x9 (anamorphic). Apex, JVC, Panasonic to name a few. The picture quality improves and more important the re-sizing to 16x9 places the movie in the correct aspect ratio for widescreen viewing.

    In conclusion it is very important for everyone to buy anamorphic when they have a choice.
     
  8. Michael St. Clair

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  9. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    My TV is a 6 year old 30in Zenith.

    My DVD player is a Pioneer DV-626; which is about a year and a half old.

    My HT is mostly Yamaha.

    i do appreciate the responses so far.
     
  10. Nick_Scott

    Nick_Scott Second Unit

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    __________________________________________________ __

    I would disagree with whoever told you that anamorphic DVDs will "shine" even on 4:3 TVs. In fact, depending upon your DVD player, the exact opposite could be true because the player has to downconvert the picture to 4:3. This process can cause unwanted picture artifacts.

    __________________________________________________ __

    True, many players produce artifacts, but many 4x3 TVs can do an anamorphic squeeze.

    So, if his 4x3 has this capability (auto or manual), then anamorphic DVDs would really be better then non-anamorphic.
     
  11. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Before I got my 16X9 TV 2 years ago I wasn't terribly concerned about anamorphic vs. non-anamorphic titles since they all looked pretty much the same on my 35-inch Sony. I ended up having about 70% anamorphic and 30% non, just by chance.

    After the 16X9 TV arrived, I found myself unloading almost all of my non-anamorphic titles because the difference is so enormous, there was no going back.

    The non-16X9 titles I kept are the ones that haven't been reissued yet, and I can't wait until they are so I can replace them: TITANIC, DEEP IMPACT, THE ABYSS, TRUE LIES, etc.

    My advice: buy as few non-anamorphic titles as you can and with the money you save, get yourself a 16X9 TV.
     
  12. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    I am probably one of the few that still have an NTSC (480i only) widescreen TV, and yes, anamorphic makes a huge difference for widescreen TV's. Not sure how much longer this will be my primary TV, but until HDTV becomes more mainstream I don't expect to upgrade. Of course now that I said that I will probably be buying a new HDTV before the end of the year.
     
  13. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Like others have mentioned, depending on the agorithms your player uses to downconvert the DVD to 4x3, it could actually have degraded picture quality. However, the future-proofing is almost always worth the minor loss in quality.
     
  14. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    All other things being equal, a anamorphics disc won't look as good on a 4:3 TV (most don't have a 16x9 mode). However, the difference is negligible at most with almost all players made within the past two years, and future proofing makes-up for it many times over.

    Also, 16x9 usually implies that much more care and effort was put into making a good transfer.

    FYI, I am still using a 4:3 TV.
     
  15. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  16. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I have a Sony VVEGA with the 16x9 option, and let me just say that I will NEVER go back to watching downconverted anamorphic dvd's. After a good calibration, just bout every disc I watch appears very film-like compared to downconverted anamorphic, which tends to appear more jaggy and digital looking.
    In fact, i've had this set since June of last year, and have been watching anamorphic ever since, well recently, just for an experiment, I went in and switched my player back to 4x3 again, and after watching anamorphic for 8 odd months, the difference was unmistakable.
    On a sad note though, I find it increasingly difficult to watch one of my all time favorite films 'Titanic' because the transfer is just not up to par with anamorphic. The current disc looks VERY digital and jaggy.
    Thanks goodness their is a SE on the horizon next year, this film not being anamorphic is a disgrace.
     
  17. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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