New York: Center Of The World DVD Problem?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jim*F, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. Jim*F

    Jim*F Stunt Coordinator

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    I read about this elsewhere, and thought the problem was solved, but it seems like it wasn't.

    Episode 8 of the Ric Burns series New York: A Documentary Film, entitled The Center Of The World, chronicles the rise and fall of the World Trade Center. The 3-hour film was broadcast widescreen on PBS, and supposedly released on widescreen DVD last month.

    I just purchased the DVD, and it seems there was a mastering/transfer mistake -- the film is presented full frame (and before anyone asks, my DVD player is configured properly -- I tested several widescreen DVD's right after, and they all displayed fine with top and bottom black bars). It is very obvious -- you can tell pictures looked "zoomed in," and names and text are partially cut off.

    Has anyone else had this problem? Or not had this problem? I notice on the Shop PBS website that this DVD is on 2-4 week backorder. Has anyone heard about PBS fixing the problem?

    Thanks for any information.
     
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan Second Unit

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    The dvd displayed in widescreen on my TV. I had heard about this problem and was worried that mine would be the same. I never notice any zooming in on the DVD. If a disc is full frame my player will automatically display it with bars on the sides of the picture. This disc looked to me like a properly mastered 16x9 transfer. Hopefully you can get a replacement disc. FYI I bought mine at Best Buy.
     
  3. Jim*F

    Jim*F Stunt Coordinator

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    I can now explain the "problem" with this DVD, but it seems a bit strange.

    I finally went deep into my DVD menus, and the setting for type of TV was 4:3 (correct!), but an almost hidden menu for "4:3 viewing mode" was set to "pan & scan" instead of "letterbox" -- meaning that the DVD player would chop the sides off widescreen films when sent out to a 4:3 TV. So, I changed it to "letterbox" and the New York DVD appears properly in widescreen on my 4:3 TV.

    The strange thing is that if my DVD player had presumably been set to "pan & scan" mode (and today is the first time I've ever gone to that menu), shouldn't all the widescreen DVDs I've watched over the past 4 years have appeared full frame? This New York DVD is the only time this has happened -- could there be some kind of coding on the DVD that automatically sets the player to "pan & scan" if the TV is 4:3?

    I still can't figure out how I could have had the wrong setting for the past 4 years, but had every widescreen DVD up until New York show the right way (it's almost as if every DVD except for New York ignored the fact that my player was set for "pan & scan").

    I'm interested now to see if this happens to anyone else with a 4:3 TV (or if I have a possessed DVD player!).
     
  4. Jonathan

    Jonathan Second Unit

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    The DVD must be encoded with whats called pan & scan on the fly. Basically the dvd tells the player what part of the picture to show. Very few dvd's are encoded this way. That's why to always be sure to set your dvd player to 4x3 widescreen if you have a 4x3 tv.
     
  5. Jim*F

    Jim*F Stunt Coordinator

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    This "pan and scan on the fly" really exists? I can't believe it! Why would anyone encode a DVD like that?

    Well, at least I can now enjoy the last part of the incredible New York set.
     
  6. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Jim .... I today played this disc on my 4x3 HDTV for the first time. And had the exact same difficulties you had. .... Was FORCED to go into Set-Up and change the ratio setting from 16x9 to "4x3 Letterbox" (which I've never had to do before for any non-anamorphic disc). Very odd.

    After switching to 4x3 Letter Mode, the disc plays correctly (in 1.78 AR).
     
  7. Kevin Porter

    Kevin Porter Supporting Actor

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    When I first read the thread title I thought it mean't that New York is the center of our DVD problems. :b

    Thanks for bringing this to attention. I might have to Netflix this one. Though the 9/11 documentary to beat is "9/11" with the two French brothers.
     
  8. Jim*F

    Jim*F Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin, now I see exactly why one of the "Elements Of Style" in the English language is to use quotes, italics, or underlining for titles!! I've done that on written papers since grade school, but surprisingly many people don't use quotation marks that often on the internet.

    And you're right that the French filmmakers "9/11" is perhaps the best 9/11 documentary, I like how "Center Of The World" spends plenty of time describing the birth and growth of the towers (about 2 hours), then moves to the end of the towers (about 1 hour). And it complements the original 7-DVD New York set perfectly -- after 9/11, Burns' history of the city would have been glaringly incomplete without this 8th episode.

    David, thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one who experienced this. Why do I think that this was the one and only time we'll ever see this happen???
     
  9. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  10. Jason Borchers

    Jason Borchers Second Unit

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    .
     
  11. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  12. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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    I have this disc, and it is indeed 16:9 anamorphic...
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  14. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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    My TV is a 4:3 one as well, and it has the 16:9 "squeeze" feature.

    What TV/DVD player combo do you have?
     
  15. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  16. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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    I have a Panasonic DVD-RP82 DVD player and Sony KV-36XBR450 TV.

    On the Panny, I have it set to "16:9 TV Aspect". The other two settings are 4:3 Pan & Scan and 4:3 Letterbox.

    On the Sony, I have the "16:9 Enhanced Mode" on. With this setup, I get a nicely detailed 1.78:1 picture, with black bars at the top and bottom. With the TV's 16:9 Enhanced Mode off, the picture stretches vertically to fill the screen, but the people now look thin and stretched vertically. So it appears that my copy is definitely 16:9 anamorphic.

    You might be right, David--I might have a more recent copy. However, there is no anamorphic labelling on the back cover whatsoever, so there's no way to tell which copies are old and which ones are more recent.

    I guess I just lucked out (I got mine through Amazon in October if that means anything).
     

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