how do you tell is something is anamorphic

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeremy Illingworth, Sep 1, 2001.

  1. Jeremy Illingworth

    Jeremy Illingworth Supporting Actor

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    How can you tell is something is in anamorphic is you don't know (obviously) and you don't know what the aspect ratio is? Is there something more objective than 'he looks skinny, switch to full frame'. I was watching the trailers on Aliens (for all four movies) and sometimes I wasn't sure if they were pan and scan (Aliens looked like it was) or 1:85 anamorphic (filling my screen) or what.
    jeremy
     
  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Unless you have a 16:9 set, or a 4:3 that does an anamorphic squeeze, you shouldn't be able to tell the difference. The only way to reliably tell is to have your DVD player output set for "Wide" or the equivalent. This will prevent the player from creating letterboxing and your anamorphic releases will appear tall and skinny. If it is letterboxed, it will appear normal. Otherwise, assuming your DVD player downconverts normally, anamorphic and non-anamorphic releases will be equal. The benefits will only be realized when you have a high definition set.
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  3. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    I'll second what Alex said. A 16x9 set is the best indicator of anamorphic video.
    Bruce
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  4. David Illingworth II

    David Illingworth II Second Unit

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    This is something that's been bugging me, and I think it may be somehow related.
    Many times, when watching DVDs on my regular ol' TV, the tops or corners of the image appear squeezed or curved. This is especially noticeable on the opening shot of Cast Away, where the telephone poles almost look as if they're underwater (y'know that broken angle effect with a straw). What in the hell is causing that?
     
  5. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Well the only good thing about having a set that locks in full (my pioneer widescreen) is that you can easily tell if something is anamorphic. With anamorphic dvds, if you try to shift through different modes (on my rp91 this is auto/zoom/shrink/normal) nothing changes. On nonanamorphic ones they do change.
    I suppose it's possible that this works on other 16x9 sets that don't lock in full, but I don't know.
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  6. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    You can tell if it's anamorphic even if you have a regular set. All you have to do is tell your player you have a 16:9 set (even though you don't). If everything is vertically stretched, you know it's anamorphic. For example, 1.85 films will take up the entire screen, and 2.35 films will look more like a 1.85 film.
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    [Edited last by RobertR on September 02, 2001 at 02:58 AM]
     
  7. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    The original question was if there was a way to tell without looking at it to see if everything is skinny or fat. The answer I think, is no. Although it would be kinda nice if there was a something in the player that would check the flag to see if it was Anamorphic or not and show it on some screen.
    I know sometimes I've had to do a double take to make sure I have my TV in the proper viewing mode. If you just watched a movie that was anamorphic, and then watch a trailer or something that isn't, you may not realise it until 10+ seconds into it that you need to switch your TV.
    From his comments, I think Jeremy does have a 16:9 TV.
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  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. Paul T

    Paul T Auditioning

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    I use the zoom mode on my Toshiba dvd player and if there are still black bars when zoomed in (1.78 ratio) then it`s not anamorphic.
     
  10. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    One possibility with the 'telephone pole' problem is that its a macrovision side-effect. My TV displays a problem where the top half-inch or so bends inwards sharply. Its a very distinct, sharp bend, so if you are seeing a slight curve at the top and bottom then that is geometry instead. Also, see if you see it with broadcast TV, as that won't have macrovision on it.
    on the other hand, I believe this is a rare problem caused by the specific type of UK TV I have, as it only happens on NTSC material which is obviously not the TV's primary display mode.
     
  11. David Illingworth II

    David Illingworth II Second Unit

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    No, the problem only occurs with DVDs, not broadcast. What is macrovision?
     
  12. Dwayne

    Dwayne Supporting Actor

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    quote:
    What is macrovision?
    [/quote]
    From www.macrovision.com :
    Corporate Background
    Corporate Information
    Macrovision Corporation (MVSN) is a publicly held NASDAQ company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with sales and development offices near London and in Tokyo. Our VP New Business Development has been promoted to general manager of one of our recent acquisitions. We are a leading player in the DRM (Digital Rights Management) market with proprietary technologies that enable content owners to manage their IP (intellectual property). We employ proprietary technologies to prevent unauthorized access to, and copies of, video, software, or audio content across a wide range of media, including prerecorded videocassettes; DVDs; cable, satellite and microwave distribution; CDs and CD-ROMs; computer software; and Internet delivered content. Revenues are in the $80 million/year range (post Globetrotter acquisition); the Company is highly profitable, with net income close to 30% of revenues. Total employee count is 200 with 50 in the UK. Since going public in March 1997, the Company has met or exceeded Wall Street's expectations every quarter. The Company is followed by five major investment banking research analysts – Chase H&Q, S.G.Cowen, U.S. Bancorp/Piper Jaffray, Sutro Capital, and Thomas Weisel. We have a current market capitalization of $2.5 billion. In 1998 and 1999 we were selected by Bloomberg as one of the top 50 growth companies in the U.S., and by Forbes as one of the top 200. We are included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock listing.
    Of course, what they don't tell you is that their technology can sometimes compromise the overall quality of a release. At least that's what I've heard from some posts in the past. I am sure someone more knowing can explain it better.
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    [Edited last by Dwayne on September 03, 2001 at 09:34 PM]
     
  13. Chris Biggs

    Chris Biggs Agent

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    I just look to see if the packaging says "Enhanced for widescreen televisions". DVD profiler can also give that information as well as DVD review sites like the Digital bits or DVD file.
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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