Letterboxed with 16:9?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Mike Kelley, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. Mike Kelley

    Mike Kelley Auditioning

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    Folks,

    First, I've searched and read the FAQ and can't find this, so forgive a question I am sure has been asked and answered before.

    While I understand video fairly well I'm new to 16:9 TVs, and my Panasonic projector is perplexing me. While some of the movies I play do indeed fill the 16:9 screen, many do not, and it doesn't seem like so many should be of the wider ratio (2.55?) format. But no matter what aspect selection I use (16:9, Aspect or Zoom are all that are available to me using NTSC video with component in on this projector) these movies (Team America, The Life Aquatic and Sum of All Fears, to name just a few) still display the letterbox format. Other movies, like Waterworld and Who Framed Roger Rabbit work just fine (when using the Zoom setting).

    Are there truly that many DVDs that still appear letterboxed on 16:9 screens, or is there something simple I am missing with my system?
     
  2. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    anything greater than 16:9 (~1.78:1) will appear with black bars.

    and yes, many are greater than 16:9, especially recent films. 1.85:1, 1.95:1, and 2.35:1 are some other common screen ratios.
     
  3. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Check that your DVD player is set to a "16:9" television type. They usually come with "4:3" as default. If you did not change it in the setup menu, all widesceen films will be displayed as stretched letter box on your display. Look at "anamorphic enhancement" in the FAQ for an explanation why.

    Note: Often the DVD player setup menu is only available when there is no disk in the drive.

    In answer to your last question, yes there are many films that do not fill a 16:9 screen. Approximately 45-50% of all films made are 2.35:1. Add this in with the thousands of 4:3 films made before 1952 and you have the vast majority of films not filling a 16:9 screen.
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    *sigh*

    Mike, you're new here and are thus forgiven. But this is one of the tiredest subjects here at HTF and it is covered (in great depth) in the HTF manual edited by Vince Maskeeper. Just ask yourself: Can a specific screen aspect ratio perfectly fit all the many film aspect ratios? No. The 16:9 widescreen ratio was selected as a compromise. Any film with a wider aspect ratio, as the answers here show you, will result in an image with black dead space above and below the film image on your 16:9 screen.
     

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