Disney movies in 1.66:1 ratio... Why?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Juan C Toro, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    Just bear with me for a second with the background of my story, and I will get to the main issue, so I can benefit from all your expertise:

    Recently, my DVD player, a Toshiba SD-2700 died on me, and became an overpriced CD Player: Doesn't play DVDs, only CDs. So in the meantime, I was watching DVDs in my backup player, an APEX that is attached to a second TV in the children's room.

    Finally, after Christmas, I went to buy a new DVD Player, and chose the SONY DVP-NS715P, with Progressive Scanning. And although it was supposed to be the end of my shopping, I ended up leaving the store with my player and a Samsung Widescreen TV, the HCM4216W, 1080i HDTV capable (talking about impulsive buying), to replace my old 21 inches TV. It was delivered a week later, and I love it. I am feeding the video using component video cable, and my DVDs look great, and sound great as well with my basic and very reliable Kenwood VR-407 receiver, Dolby Digital and DTS capable, with 100 watts output per channel.

    When setting up the DVD for Progressive scanning signal, I do not have the possibility of using the TV's various setting for the viewing format (Normal 4:3, Wide, Panorama, DVD and Zoom), so if the image is in any ratio lower than 16x9, it will be stretched horizontally.

    Which brings me to the subject matter: I got Lilo & Stitch, and watched the movie, and later I realized the aspect ratio is 1.66:1, so it was stretched (although it looked fine to me, maybe it was the style of the character design). So I changed the setting of the player from Progressive to Interlaced, and now the movie is in its proper ratio (I assume), but I have those "ugly gray bars" on the side.

    What do you think is the proper way to watch movies in this ratio? And second, why do they still make movies in this ration, when in a couple of years, when widescreen TV are more common, the movie will look "dated", since it will not conform to the standard 16x9 ratio?

    And also, while I am at it... In movies with aspect ratios wider than 1.85:1, Shouldn't the bars at the top and bottom display in gray rather than black, to avoid the risk of screen "burn in".

    JC
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I think you may be confusing 1.66:1 with 1.33:1. On a properly calibrated set, the side bars on an anamorphic 1.66:1 will probably be eliminated or very small due to overscan. You probably ended up squishing the picture to 1.33:1.
     
  3. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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  4. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    George:

    Thanks for your input.

    The DVD player is set up for a 19x9 TV, and Progressive scanning. So when I first watched the movie, it filled the screen, and looked good to me (the image didn't look stretched, but as I said, it could be because of the character design, which tends to be rounded, so the effect of the stretching - if any is occurring - would be less obvious).

    Then, I changed the setting of the DVD player to Interlaced, leaving the 16X9 setting, and that is when I get the gray bars on the side on this 1.66:1 title.

    JC
     
  5. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    Luke:

    Thanks to you as well. I also have Beauty and the Beast, and I didn't realized there are issues with the framing (I watched it originally on my 4:3 old TV. I will have to check this out.

    So, do you think in the case of a properly formatted 1.66:1 title, like Lilo & Stitch, I should leave the Progressive setting on my player so it fills the screen? Is the image properly display in this case, or am I getting a bit of horizontal stretching?

    I guess I will have to play with the settings to find the proper way...

    And I will also have to find out the proper way to watch non-anamorphic widescreen titles (although, I only have a very small amount, some of my old ones, as I decided a couple years ago that eventually I would get a widescreen TV, so I wouldn't buy a DVD unless it is OAR and anamorphic. Any suggestion about this?

    JC
     
  6. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    Disney uses 1:66 because many European countries still project in that ratio and Disney has always been extremely popular overseas. The films are composed for the tighter 1:85 frame since North America and England project in 1:85, and the extra picture is matted off here . Releasing Beauty in 1:85 is not a blasphemy since that's the ratio it was composed for and released in North America .
     
  7. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob:

    So, if I understand correctly, when I watch a 1:66 movie (in this case Lilo & Stitch) in my 16X9 TV, the image is not being stretched or distorted at all, but rather, the TV uses the maximum width to frame the picture, and then crops a very small amount of the image at the top and the bottom of the screen?

    JC
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Let your screen conform to the aspect ratio of the films, rather than the films conforming to the aspect ratio of the screen.
     
  9. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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  10. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    Guys:

    Thanks a lot for the great input. As I mentioned, I just got the TV, and am in the process of fine-tunning the hardware and software for a pleasurable viewing.

    I was a bit concerned about the 1.66:1 ratio movies, because I was expecting some matting on the sides, but I am not getting any. The image fills the entire screen. So I guess it may be due to the fact this ration is so close to 1.85:1, and the difference may be compensated by a bit of over-scanning on the TV.

    I will welcome any additional input or suggestions in this matter. Specially in the viewing of non-anamorphic DVDs.

    JC
     
  11. Jean-Michel

    Jean-Michel Supporting Actor

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  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  13. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    Juan ;

    When I talk about a 1:66 picture being cropped to 1:85 in North America, I am referring to the theatrical presentation. The prints arrive with the 1:66 image on them, but theatres use an aperture plate in the projector to mask them off to the 1:85 ratio so common here.
    I can't answer how the 1:66 image should look on a widescreen tv since I don't have one. It's quite likely there is a simple amount of overscan as you have suggested . I'll let the widescren owners guide you as to how it should look.
     
  14. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Put the TV in FULL mode like any other anamorphic enhanced widescreen DVD and leave the player in progressive scan.

    You may or may not get slight black windowboxed (or pillar) bars on the sides in order to fit the 1.66:1 ratio movie into a 1.78:1 high definition transfer depending on the amount of overscan on your TV.

    Dan
     
  15. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan:

    Thanks for your suggestion. This is the setting I had originally (16x9, Progressive Scanning). But I thought in this setting, I would see small black bars on the side when watching a 1.66:1 title, just like "The Sorcerer Apprentice" segment displays in Fantasia 2000. When I watch Fantasia, once again, I get full screen usage (as if it was a 1.85:1 title), but no noticeable distortion.

    So I guess the lack of black bars on the sides, as you mentioned, is due to the over scanning of the TV.

    Thanks again to all you guys for the input. Greatly appreciated.

    Juan Carlos
     
  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Juan,

    Like everyone is saying just play in normal 16x9 mode with your TV in "full". They've encoded the 1.66;1 transfer anamorphically...and taken up the bit of extra space on the left/right of the image with *vertical* sideboxing which is probably not visible on your screen from overscan. If anyone wants to see what it would look like with 0 overscan..check out the screen-caps on Ron's review on this forum...You can see the side-matting in the 16x9 screen-cap images.

    Where those of us with progressive-scan/16x9 setups have trouble is with the (!@#&*$$@!) 4x3 lbxed 1.66;1 transfers from the likes of MGM and Warner. Here...you have to "zoom" them but then you end up cropping them down to 1.78:1 and this can sometimes be tight if they've already overmatted a bit on the transfer which is usual. (and you might have to run interlaced to do that...my dvd player has zoom modes all it's own so I'm ok going progressive all the time).

    -dave
     

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