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Aspect Ratio Question regarding Blu-ray vs DVD [1958's Thunder Road] (1 Viewer)

ihatetivo

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Steve
Total noob here, but I have to ask. I've owned 1958's Thunder Road on DVD forever. I recently purchased the 2023 Blu-ray and eagerly watched it. While doing so, I had a nagging feeling that things I'd been used to seeing were now out-of-frame. So, I did a comparison and two excerpts are below. First is the Blu-ray and second is the DVD. As you can see, the Blu-ray shows much less in the vertical direction, but doesn't seem to offer much more width horizontally.

Question: Are my observations typical of Blu-ray vs DVD formats? Does the 1.85:1 Blu-ray now appear as it would have been shown in the theater?

Regardless, thanks in advance for the time and patience.
1 Blu.JPG


2 dvd.JPG
 

Josh Steinberg

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Until much more recent times, films meant to be shown theatrically with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio were shot on a film negative that has a shape that was roughly 1.37:1. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio would be achieved in projection by using aperture plates and masking to crop the top and bottom off to achieve the intended ratio.

Although extra visual information existed on the camera negative, the filmmakers never intended for you to see that information.

But because the television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 is pretty much the same as the uncropped negative, transfers made to run on TV were often made revealing this extra information, and some of those transfers made their way to DVD.

In short, the 1.85:1 Blu-ray is a more accurate representation of what the filmmakers intended and what audiences originally saw in theaters.
 

ihatetivo

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Until much more recent times, films meant to be shown theatrically with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio were shot on a film negative that has a shape that was roughly 1.37:1. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio would be achieved in projection by using aperture plates and masking to crop the top and bottom off to achieve the intended ratio.

Although extra visual information existed on the camera negative, the filmmakers never intended for you to see that information.

But because the television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 is pretty much the same as the uncropped negative, transfers made to run on TV were often made revealing this extra information, and some of those transfers made their way to DVD.

In short, the 1.85:1 Blu-ray is a more accurate representation of what the filmmakers intended and what audiences originally saw in theaters.
That makes perfect sense. Thank you for the clear explanation.

One follow-up. On my low-end Walmart HDTV, I still have bars on the top and bottom of the Blu-ray image. These bars are small, so its not really noticeable. However, does that imply the Blu-ray studio could have included a bit more of that extra vertical info if they wanted to? Or is my TV perhaps just weird and others would have no top/bottom bars in the first place?
 
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Josh Steinberg

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Your TV is 16x9, which translates roughly to an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

The transfer of the movie on the Blu-ray is 1.85:1.

So the little black bars are correct, you’re seeing the slight difference between the aspect ratio of the TV and the intended aspect ratio of the film.

Some studios choose to transfer 1.85-intended material with slightly more vertical information to make it a perfect fit for 1.78:1, but the trend in more recent years is to go for the correct ratio rather than altering it for television. The difference between the two is basically insignificant - the presentation of the aspect ratio on the TV is much more precise than it ever was in theaters.

In other words, you’re correct that the studio could have filled the screen completely with slightly more visual information, and chances are if the disc had been made in 2006 or 2012, they might have, but nowadays they don’t do that nearly as much.
 

ihatetivo

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Your TV is 16x9, which translates roughly to an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

The transfer of the movie on the Blu-ray is 1.85:1.

So the little black bars are correct, you’re seeing the slight difference between the aspect ratio of the TV and the intended aspect ratio of the film.

Some studios choose to transfer 1.85-intended material with slightly more vertical information to make it a perfect fit for 1.78:1, but the trend in more recent years is to go for the correct ratio rather than altering it for television. The difference between the two is basically insignificant - the presentation of the aspect ratio on the TV is much more precise than it ever was in theaters.

In other words, you’re correct that the studio could have filled the screen completely with slightly more visual information, and chances are if the disc had been made in 2006 or 2012, they might have, but nowadays they don’t do that nearly as much.
I think my thoughts were more as a hoarder who is averse to losing information, as opposed worrying about not filling my screen. Thank you for the education!
 

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