Are 1:1.85 anamorphic DVDs letterboxed on 16:9 sets?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay Sylvester, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    I'm thinking about buying an HDTV, but one thing has been bothering me. If I play a 1:1.85 aspect ratio anamorphic DVD on a 16:9 set, will it be slightly letterboxed so as to preserve the correct aspect ratio, or is it stretched vertically to fill the screen? Is there a setting on the TV that would allow me to choose?
     
  2. Byron Miller

    Byron Miller Auditioning

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    For most sets, you can make the TV do either.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Jay,
    I'm not sure if you are asking what you mean to be asking (are you sure you weren't thinking 2.35:1?) but the answer to your actual question is actually a bit complicated.
    Your question as it appears above would be:
    "With a 16x9 TV and a real 1.85:1 anamorphic DVD, the image would need a very slight letterboxing to really miantain a strict 1.85:1 aspect... does this happen?"
    1.85:1 is right about 16.6:9... so they are almost the same shape... so does DVD present this properly or just assume it is 16:9 and adjust.
    The answer is: depends.
    Some 1.85:1 DVDs are transferred as if they were 1.78:1 and thus fill the screen completely. I would say more than half 1.85:1 discs are actually slightly cropped to 1.78:1... although few notice because were talking about literally a single digit number of lines.
    Some 1.85:1 discs are actually slightly boxed to maintain the exact aspect ratio. But on the majority of sets, this is such a monumentally small boxing, that it is eaten by overscan and thus you never see it anyway.
    There will be no setting on your TV to change the aspect of 1.85:1 aspects specifically.
    But, if you meant 2.35:1 films, then the answer is different...
    2.35:1 films on the other hand will have larger black bars to mantain proper aspect even on a 16x9 screen (2.35:1 is still wider than 16x9, so the bars are necessary).
    [​IMG]
    Technically speaking, you could tell your set to zoom in on the picture of 2.35:1 discs which would eliminate the bars-- however you would crop out a bigt portion of info on the left/right sides, and be zooming to expand the picture area, resulting in a reduction in quality.
    -Vince
     
  4. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    Vince, I was asking exactly what I appeared to be asking [​IMG] I realize that 2.35:1 films will still show black bars due to their extra-wide images. I was just wondering if 1.85:1 DVDs would actually be true to their claimed aspect ratio and use letterboxing, or just get stretched vertically by the TV itself to fill the screen.
    If I'm reading your explanation correctly, it seems that anamorphic DVDs with a true 1.85:1 aspect ratio will still be slightly letterboxed, while DVDs that are labeled as 1.85:1 but are actually horizontally cropped to fit a 16:9 display will do just that: fit a 16:9 display.
    Isn't it misleading to claim a film is 1.85:1 when it's actually cropped to 1.78:1?
     
  5. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    If you set has 0 overscan then 1.85:1 will have small black bars. 99.99% of the sets out there have at least some overscan so 1.85:1 movies fill up the entire screen. Regards.
     
  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  7. Jim Ferguson

    Jim Ferguson Stunt Coordinator

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    As Vince said, it appears that about half of the nominally 1.85:1 movies are actually 1.78:1. Whether this is because the sides are cropped slightly, or whether the top and bottom of the mattes are opened up slightly is also a variable. Generally I think the mattes are opened up, since this is the way many 4:3 transfers are done of 1.85:1 movies.

    In my experience, non-anamorphic transfers are more likely to be a "true" 1.85:1 than anamorphic transfers, for whatever reason.

    In any case, on 99% of standard widescreen RPTVs you will not see that small black bars at the top and bottom even if it is a true 1.85:1 transfer, since it will usually be hidden by overscan. I can only see it on my front projection system because I have 0% overscan.
     

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