Anamorphic enhancement: is it expensive to have on DVD?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Thik Nongyow, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Stunt Coordinator

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    Even though anamorphic enhancement improves the resolution of a widescreen film on a television screen, is the process expensive to put into a DVD?
     
  2. SvenS

    SvenS Second Unit

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    It costs nothing extra to do anamorphic enhancement to DVD but simply to adjust the setup the equipment to do so. The reason most early DVD's were not enhanced is the early DVD players weren't good as downconverting to regular TV's so the studios didn't want to hear complaints. Now that DVD players downconvert very well (for the most part) the studios are more redicent to enhance the DVD's.
     
  3. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    There are costs associated with anamorphic enhancement, but it's fair to say that if you're starting from scratch (ie: film elements), it's just as easy to make an anamorphic transfer as it is to make one that's not.

    The predominance of non-anamorphic transfers in the early days of the format was mainly due to the reluctance of the studios to create new transfers, when they could save money by using letterboxed transfers made for the laserdisc release.
     
  4. Lannie Lorence

    Lannie Lorence Stunt Coordinator

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    I could be wrong but to have a an anamorphic transfer that truly adds detail, I believe you have to do a Hi-def transfer and downconvert it. I don't believe there is a lens or or set-up procedure that allows people to to do a regular NTSC or PAL anamorphic transfer. You could do a regular transfer and upconvert it by stretching the picture, but you're not really adding detail.

    Anyways, that Hi-def is transfer is quite pricier. How much so, I couldn't say. I've never looked into it.

    Does anyone have more info on what I said about the ability to do a straight-up NTSC anamorphic transfer? I have always wondered about this. Is this true?
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    My understanding has always been that you must start with a hi-def transfer in order to do an anamorphic DVD. (I remember Obi explaining this to me on the Compuserve Consumer Electronics Forum, must have been in 1996 or '97. [​IMG])
    The studios routinely create such transfers for new feature films, in anticipation of widespread use of HDTV, and have been doing so for several years. The problem (and expense) in doing this for older films is that you have to create a brand new transfer from the original elements. In the early days of the format many studios were reluctant to do this for catalog titles that already had widescreen laserdisc transfers.
    So yes, anamorphic costs more for titles that do not already have hi-def transfers lying around. But DVD is proving so popular, and there is so much demand for anamorphic, that this is becoming less and less of an issue these days.
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  6. SvenS

    SvenS Second Unit

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    I don't think a High Def transfer is needed at all but a new transfer is and if needed the studios of course would do a HD tranfer to save the cost of doing it again. But as stated above there is no real extra cost if you are starting out from scratch and you need to do Anamorphic instead of non-Anamorphic.
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  8. Daniel Kikin

    Daniel Kikin Screenwriter

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    Just curious, what was the reason that The Abyss never got an anamorphic transfer. I could be wrong since I don't remember the exact details from when it was released but from what I'm reading here, it sounds like it should have been do-able.
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  10. Daniel Kikin

    Daniel Kikin Screenwriter

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    Thanks Michael, I thought it had something to do with that. Also, you're right, it is a very good transfer with the exception of being non-anamorphic.
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    It should be pointed out that the word "anamorphic" is really misleading when it comes to DVD, as it has no bearing whatsoever on the use of anamorphic lenses used in the filming and exhibition of theatrical releases.

    A more accurate term would be 16:9-encoded.

    And all this means is that the DVD was authored and coded to output a 16:9 image--nothing more.

    Where people get confused is when they keep reading and hearing about "33 percent more resolution." One only experiences this greater amount of resolution when he or she has a 16:9-capable display showing the native 16:9 output from a DVD player. Since the player does not have to downconvert the image for a 4:3 letterboxed presentation, it doesn't have to use a third of the scanning lines to paint the letterboxing bars.
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I don't think it costs any more to make an anamorphic transfer than a non-anamorphic one when starting with film from scratch. However, back in the day the studios had lots of really excellent non-anamorphic transfers that they had done for LaserDisc, and the cost of doing the telecine compared with the amout of sales (remember, DVD is only 5 years old) didn't justify the exnenditure.

    Also, non-anamorphic looks better on 4:3 sets, which account for the vast majority of DVD capable displays. It was true then and it's just as true now.
     
  14. jacob w k

    jacob w k Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  16. Eric_R_C

    Eric_R_C Second Unit

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    FWIW, I read that Cameron was debating between the anamorphic and letterbox transfers of The Abyss. Apparently, he felt the letterbox version was superior in some sense, so he changed his decision in the middle of the process. This is why the box states "Enhanced for Widescreen", yet it is not.
    No, I cannot remember where I read this, so I can't really vouch for it.
    Found this little bit..
    James Cameron, like many bigtime directors, oversees his home video transfers personally. Because he shoots in Super35, he doesn't Pan'n Scan the final, Anamorphic versions, but instead returns to the original flat negative, which has head & foot room never seen on theater screens. For flat versions, he trims a bit off the sides and adds a great deal to the top and bottom; he likes this reformatting so much he says he prefers those transfers to the letterbox versions more accurately following the theatrical presentation of the film. His philosophy is that The Abyss in a movie theater and The Abyss at home are such different experiences that they need to be reformatted ... thinking that goes against the whole concept of Home Theater (we want to watch movies, not television). Luckily, Cameron's films always came out both in letterboxed and reformatted flat versions. The director is so powerful, that fans should be grateful he didn't nix letterboxing altogether.
    http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s85transfer.html
     
  17. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    [sigh]

    Sometimes I think more careless ink has been spilled over Cameron and Super35 than about any other director. To pick obvious examples (and with all due respect to DVD Savant):

     
  18. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Stunt Coordinator

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    Are we going off-topic here? Is this a discussion on the expense of anamorphic enhancement or is this a discussion on "The Abyss"? I really resent people "hijacking" (is this a common practice on the HTF?) my posts and taking it off-topic, so can everyone bring this topic to the original discussion?
     
  19. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Calm yourself, please.
    First of all, the thread hasn't been "hijacked". Topic "drift" is common in internet threads. There's nothing inherently evil about it. In fact, it's led to many worthwhile discussions.
    And second, The Abyss is a pertinent example of how the cost factor can affect whether or not a DVD is anamorphic. That is responsive to your original topic.
    M.
     
  20. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Also The Abyss was mastered during Fox's dark years, before Peter Staddon's sweeping reforms. Had it been released a year later it would have in all likelyhood have been anamorphic.

    You don't have to start from Hi-Def to do an anamorphic transfer. I can shoot my camcorder with 16:9 and encode it that way, bingo, anamorphic DVD.

    It's best to start from the best souce possible when making a smaller version of anything, and all the studios are archving their libraries in high-def right now. Those masters can be used for any DVD/VHS/lD release worldwide
     

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