Aspect ratio seldom as expected

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Richard*, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    Friends:
    I am puzzled why most of the DVDs I watch with my Infocus projector on a Da-Lite 9:16 screen do not fill the screen. Often I must choose Letterbox to get the screen filled. Are not most Hollywood DVDs in 9:16 format? Or is my projector messed up?
    Thanks, Richard
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I think we need a little more information. Is it not filling the screen vertically or horizontally? There are several reasons your picture may not be filling your screen fully.

    It may be a case of you watching a 2.35:1 ratio film which will leave black bars on the top and bottom of a 16:9 screen. "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars" are examples of this ratio.

    Or... it may be a case of you watching a 4:3 "fullscreen" DVD on your projector. This would leave black bars on the sides of your screen.

    Or... you may be watching a "non-anamorphic letterboxed" DVD which will leave black bars all the way around your screen.

    Or... your DVD player isn't set to the proper output ratio. You want to make sure it's set to "widescreen" so it knows how adjust the image. I would check this setting before anything else based on the info in your post.

    A great website that explains all these things is: The Ultimate Guide to Anamorphic Widescreen DVD - For Everyone.

    Keep us posted.
     
  3. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    Sorry, of course you need to know where the black bars are. I find that most DVDs I watch, with the projector set for 16:9, have black bars at top and bottom. I can fill the screen by changing the proj. to Letter box. I have read a few articles linked here at the forum, and perhaps the answer is that most Hollywood films are NOT 16:9 OAR (the aspect ratio of my screen). It's just that I assumed that most films I would watch would fill the screen.
    Thanks for your interest.
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Richard,

    It would be helpful to confirm what movies we're talking about. While many Hollywood films do have the "wider" 2.35:1 aspect ratio (that therefor will play with minor black bars)... I would say in my collection it isn't necessarily the "majority."

    The symptoms you describe could be caused by a wider aspect ratio as you guessed, but the exact same symptoms would result from you not having your DVD player properly configured (set to 16:9 output) or if you're watching discs that are not anamorphically enhanced.

    If you post a list of films you've seen this problem with, we could likely offer more input.

    In addition to the link above, you might try checking out the articles in the HTF FAQ AND PRIMER, the link is in my signature.

    -V
     
  5. Lev-S

    Lev-S Second Unit

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    Speaking personally, when I went into DVD Profiler and checked my list (see sig), 2.35:1 narrowly beat out 1.85:1 as the dominant ratio. I have quite a large variety of DVDs too, so I'de wager that most other HTFers have about the same ratio.
     
  6. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    Vince & Lev,
    I am going to collect a few DVDs, determine their native Aspect Ratios and watch them with my system. Then I will get back to you all with my observations. In the meantime, thank you for your interest in helping me figure out what's going on here.
     
  7. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    OK Fellas,
    As I said I would do, I collected some DVDs in various aspect ratios. I viewed each DVD with my proj. set at 16:9 & in Letterbox. Here is what I saw on my 52" X 92" screen:

    Film Tech Spec of DVD
    Mulan "1.66:1 -- Enhanced for 16X9 Televisions"
    Proj. set at 16:9 = Blank band of screen, of about 6", above and below the picture.
    Proj. set at Letterbox = Filled screen with a little of native image lost, but not much.

    I got nearly the same results for films like Shall We Dance, El Dorado, Batteries Not Included, & What The Bleep, all of which say (except What The Bleep) that they are 1.85:1 ("enhanced" or "anamorphic" or "widescreen"). However, I did have a 1" blank strip at the bottom with these films.

    Finally, with the film Shrek (#1) which says it is 1.33:1 "Full Frame", I got the screen fully filled with proj. set at 16:9. Proj. set at Letterbox also filled the screen, but some of native image was lost at top and bottom. ***This was the only film that filled the screen when my proj. was set at 16:9***

    Is this what I should expect, i.e., do these observations appear to be normal? IOW, I will be using my Letterbox setting for most films if I want to fill the screen?
    Thank you, Richard
     
  8. John S

    John S Producer

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    1.85:1 will generally go a head a fill the screen, I suppose a tiny bar top and bottom could/should be normal.

    Only 1.78:1 should really be perfect though as that corresponds closest to 16:9 screens.

    Somebody with the same projo should have more/better input for you though.
     
  9. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    John S. I am having difficulty understanding your first sentence. Could you rephrase it for me.
    Thanks, R
     
  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Richard,

    Your DVD player is set incorrectly. It is set to "letterbox" output instead of 16:9. Look in the DVD player setup menus and there will be a display setting that should be set to 16:9.

    All the 1.85 films you mention above will fill the screen when the dvd is configured properly.

    -V
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    Bascially to rephrase....

    1.85:1 should fill the screen....

    In general 1.66:1 to 1.85:1 will fill the screen on enhanced for widescreen DVD's on 16:9 displays.


    1.78:1 is the aspect ratio that is really perfect 16:9, but any in the range that I mentioned are generally close enough to fill a 16:9 screen.
     
  12. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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    HAPPY BIRTHDAY VINCE!!
     
  13. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    Well, I'll be damned Vince,
    You are right. I didn't believe it at first, as I set the DVD (when new) to 16:9, but I think this Panasonic unit has a short memory. We get power outages here in the redwoods (falling limbs), and things went back to default. I even noticed that Progressive Scan was now turned off. I think I need to go through all my settings. Thanks so much Vince,
    Richard
     
  14. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    You'll find that happens a lot around here. [​IMG]

    Glad to help. There are a few additional technical details you might want to try to understand (why the fulscreen dvd filled the 16:9 screen for example)... but I give you a few days before I try to make your head explode!

    [​IMG]

    -V
     
  15. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    I found that I have my Panasonic DVD player plugged into a switched outlet on my Harmon Kardon amp. so it has no power to the unit at when I turn off the HK. I have now plugged it into an unswitched outlet. This may provide the power needed to keep the memory for the settings. Otherwise I will need to reset each time I watch a film.

    >>why the fulscreen dvd filled the 16:9 screen for example)
     
  16. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    Thanks to Vince's help, I have fixed the aspect ratio problem, and with the help of all you others, I now understand a lot more about video formats.

    When I went in to my Panasonic DVD-RP91 DVD player to correct the AR, I found a bunch of other settings with which I hope you can lend me a hand. The items and their current settings are:

    TV TYPE: LCD Projector I actually have a DLP (Knoll HD-272 (Infocus 7200)) but that is not in the options (only "Standard, CRT Projector, LCD Projector, & Projection TV"

    STILL MODE: AUTOMATIC (other options FIELD & FRAME)

    BLACK LEVEL CONTROL: LIGHTER (other option DARKER)

    FYI, the DVD player is connected directly by component video cables to my Knoll HD-272 (Infocus 7200) projector. I assume that this means that I can ignore all the DVD Player's AUDIO settings, eg., "PCM Down Conversion, Bitsteam vs PCM, Re-Master off or on", etc.

    Thanks again for all your help. Richard
     
  17. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Well... I'm not sure how the video connection to the PJ has any effect on whether you should/shouldn't use audio settings-- but if you have your DVD player directly connected via digital to an audio receiver, then many of the settings become moot. Although, you must have BITSTREAM selected for both DD and DTS signals in order to get proper digital surround playback.

    You might explain how you have your audio setup/connected and what you use for you audio portion of your system-- then we might be able to offer good info on the best audio settings for you.
     
  18. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

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    >>Well... I'm not sure how the video connection to the PJ has any effect on whether you should/shouldn't use audio settings-- but if you have your DVD player directly connected via digital to an audio receiver, then many of the settings become moot.
     

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