Confused about Anamorphic DVD's

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott.Lacy, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. Scott.Lacy

    Scott.Lacy Extra

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    Howdy,

    I've got a new HD RPTV as well as the Panny RP-62 DVD player and I'm more confused than ever about Anamorphic DVD's.

    I have Apollo 13 on DVD. It says on the back that it is Anamorphic. I don't remember what the OAR is, but let's say for the sake of argument that it's 2.35:1. When I play the movie and set my TV to 'Full' I get the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. If I understand this correctly (which I probably don't) then since it is Anamorphic I should be able to set my TV to Zoom and it should re-size the picture to fit my full screen. But what really happens is that the top and bottom of the picture are stretched making everybody look tall and thin. It's like the anamorphic feature performs the same function as Full mode on standard 4:3 TV. Is this supposed to happen? Is there a switch that I need to turn on the anamorphic feature?

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    You'll still get black bars (albeit smaller than on a conventional 4:3 TV) on a film with a 2.35 aspect ratio when viewed on a TV with a 16x9 (or 1.78 aspect ratio). Nothing is wrong. This is normal.

    If you ZOOM the video, it will distort the picture being displayed. Some TVs have different ZOOM/stretch display modes, this may be one of them that you are seeing with the tall/skinny people on screen. Some modes will keep the center normal looking, and stretches the materials on the edges of the picture. Some will simply literally zoom enough to get rid of the black bars, but also chop off some material on the sides of the picture.

    "Anamorphic or 16x9 enhanced" just means that the entire availble lines of resolution has been used to encode the video on it, thus gainly 33% more lines when viewed with the right display (a 16x9 capable TV). Otherwise, for letterbox films in their various aspect ratio, the non-16x9 enhanced DVDs will simply place black bars that correspond to what's necessary to achieve the proper aspect ratio with no vertical compression (to be displayed on a 4:3 TV).

    If you have an anamorphic 16x9 enhanced film with a 1.85 aspect ratio, it'll look just about right on a TV with a 1.78 (16x9) aspect ratio (there's just a hint of black bars/lines that will most likely be covered up by the TV's overscan, usually 5% for most TVs), and the TV is programmed to vertically squish the picture to restore it to its proper aspect ratio.

    The anamorphic 16x9 enhanced film with a 2.35 aspect ratio will still have some black bars information encoded along with the video on the top and bottom of the picture, this is so the video will have the correct aspect ratio when it's displayed on a 16x9-capable display.
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    There are several different aspect ratios of films -- 1.33:1, 1.66:1, 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 are the most common. This is a ratio of the width of the picture relative to the height.

    A 16x9 television has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, while a 4x3 television's aspect ratio is 1.33:1.

    Film aspect ratios of 1.66:1 to 1.85:1 are close enough to that of a 16x9 TV that you will usually not see any black bars. Anything wider and there still will be black bars. Anything narrower, and there will be black side bars (called windowboxing). This is basic junior high / high school geometry.

    Anamorphic vs. non-anamorphic transfer have nothing to do with aspect ratios. It's a method for providing more picture resolution within the frame.

    To learn more, check out the following thread in the Basics area:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=120328
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  5. Scott.Lacy

    Scott.Lacy Extra

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    Thanks guys,

    I think I've got the basics of HT down pat. What I had never heard of until this forum was the term Anamorphic. I understand the concept of aspect ratios and how they work, as well as letterboxing/windowboxing. I thought I understood the term 'Anamorphic' to mean that even though the OAR is not 16x9 that because it is anamorphic it would re-format (for lack of a better term) a movie presented in another aspect ratio for 16x9 presentation with little/no black bars. But if I understand Patrick correctly, then it only re-formats it to use all available lines of resolution. Being that it would not do anything to the sides since the full width of the screen is already in use, but it would re-format the top and bottom for full use, causing the tall/skinny people. Is this correct?

    Also, if this IS correct, then what are the advantages of anamorphic? Given a choice I would much rather set my TV display to Zoom on non-anamorphic and lose a little bit of the picture than to use the zoom mode WITH anamorphic and distort the entire presentation. Of course, once I've had my set a little longer and get over my burn-in paranoia I'll just watch it in the OAR and not worry about the black bars.

    Scott
     
  6. Julio Ortiz

    Julio Ortiz Agent

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  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. Scott.Lacy

    Scott.Lacy Extra

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    Michael,

    Ok, I sincerely apologize for being so dense, but I am missing something here. I have read the anamorphic link when I first heard the term, and have re-read it probably a half dozen times by now. I know this is probably a simple concept, but I am not comprehending something about it.

    Tell me what I'm doing wrong here:

    I have a Panny 53wx52 RPTV and a RP-62 DVD Player (set to 16x9). I decide to go on a movie marathon one Saturday. I put in Young Guns (16x9 Enhanced). If I put my TV on 'Full' mode I get a great picture with black bars. Is this Anamorphic? If I read the link correctly, I need to be in a specific viewing mode to see the anamorphic content. I change to 'Zoom' on the TV. The picture looks great, and I do not get the black bars. After that movie is over I throw in Young Guns II (also 16x9 enhanced). 'Full' mode is the same as the first, however when I switch to 'Zoom' everybody is Tall & Skinny. The majority of my Anamorphic DVD's are displayed this way, and my brain is on overload trying to figure this out.

    Thanks for your patience,
    Scott
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I don't have either Young Guns disc, but according to Widescreen Review's database, which is among the most reliable:

    Young Guns is not anamorphic and is 1.85:1. This would be consistent with your getting black bars in "full" mode; you're probably also getting people who look short and fat. "Zoom" mode is probably the right choice. (I don't know Panasonic's terminology, but a non-anamorphic, letterboxed disc should generally be zoomed.)

    Young Guns II is anamorphic and 2.35:1. It should be watched in full mode, and there should be small black bars at top and bottom. If I'm right about "zoom" mode, it's designed to simply blow up a 4:3 letterboxed image, which is why you're getting tall and skinny people with anamorphic discs.

     
  11. Scott.Lacy

    Scott.Lacy Extra

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    OK, I've finally got it now. I've been watching my anamorphic DVD's in Zoom when I should have been watching them in Full mode. Thanks, I really appreciate all your help and now I think I finally have a decent understanding of what the term Anamorphic really means.

    Scott
     
  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Heh heh. Just don't get mixed up if you ever start hearing people talk about anamorphic film formats instead of anamorphic DVD formatting. [​IMG]

    It sounds like what you understand now is probably good enough for you to enjoy your DVDs. Not sure if you followed all the related links in the "anamorphic" section of the primer posted above, but if you haven't and would like to understand "why anamorphic" beyond the simplified reason of "better picture quality", then you should definitely follow those related links (at digitalbits.com and/or dvdfile.com).

    In those explanations, you will find diagrams and pictures to help illustrate things. The concepts are pretty straightforward, but often, people need some visuals to help solidify them for proper application in actual use.

    _Man_
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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