Pet Peeve: Subtitles "inside" the letterbox...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Pounds, Dec 14, 2001.

  1. Jeff Pounds

    Jeff Pounds Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2000
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    0
    I commented on this in the Pearl Harbor subtitle thread, but I wanted to gauge other peoples' thoughts on this...
    I absolutly hate it when subtitles on DVDs are generated electronically and displayed inside the letterbox, rather than inside the 2.35:1 or 1.85:1 "display" area...
    It seems to be more of an issue with 2.35:1 films.
    For one thing, it draws your attention out of the proper composition and into the letterbox.
    For another thing, I use mattes on my 27" 4:3 set, so I can't see all of the subtitles...
    It seems in keeping with OAR and theatrical presentation, they should just keep the subtitles within the properly formatted frame.
    Now I know that this will be less of a hassle when I finally get a 16:9 set, but it's a big pain in the butt right now...
    Does this drive anyone else bonkers like it does me?
     
  2. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,385
    Likes Received:
    0
    I defintely agree with you. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is another title guilty of doing this. Unfortunately, they did not fix this in the Superbit version.
     
  3. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 1999
    Messages:
    3,450
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree, and actually I don't even run mattes on my 16:9 TV or own a projection system, it's just a little thing that bugs me in light of knowing that one day I would like to run a full blown front projection deal with mattes and so on.

    Whilst fuzzy player generated types they may be, I REALLY praise Fox/Lucasfilm for framing them within the film frame on Phantom Menace. I wish more studios would do it, I wouldn't perhaps hate player generated subs so much.

    Dan (UK)
     
  4. Jeff Pounds

    Jeff Pounds Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2000
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  5. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,821
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Abilene, TX
    Real Name:
    Joshua Clinard
    That is correct Jeff. I don't have a 16x9 TV, so I am forced to see them in the letterbox area, or watch the film smushed. I choose to have them in the letterbox.
     
  6. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2000
    Messages:
    2,965
    Likes Received:
    24
    My personal bete-noir is subtitles in the letterbox on non-anamorphic DVDs. When you zoom them in on a 16:9 TV you lose the subtitles! This one more reason to avoid non-anamorphic DVDs like the plague.

    Ted
     
  7. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    I must praise Criterion in this respect - their foreign 2.35:1 anamorphic titles (And God Created Woman and Kwaidan to mention two) frame the subtitles entirely in the bottom bar when played back on a 4:3 monitor, but they jump upwards to the film frame when displayed in 16:9 glory.

    Unfortunately, many of their previous non-anamorphic 2.35:1 titles (if not all) have the subtitles in the black band.
     
  8. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2000
    Messages:
    4,260
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Nick So
    yeah, im kinda mad about that too, coz mattes are such an improvement, but my parents arent too fluent in english, so they have to have subtitles when available, and then i cant use mattes...

    but the good side is they dont cover any of hte picture... so its a tradeoff...
     
  9. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 1999
    Messages:
    3,450
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  10. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,555
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    I prefer the subtitles outside the frame because the subtitles were not meant to be in the frame when the movie was being shot.
     
  11. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2001
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Patrick, where do you think the subtitles were when the film was shown in the theater????

    The subtitles in the black letterbox area is one of my pet peeves, has been since the old LD days.

    On my system, if they are not in the picture area, they are not visable at all.

    Ted
     
  12. Martin Fontaine

    Martin Fontaine Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    0
    The way I understand it, the Subtitles Tracks are sort of like "Transparent GIFs" that are put on top of the frame after decoding and processing (Anamorphic Downconversion) I tried this with some Anamorphic and Non Anamorphic DVDs with my 27" TV (Which does not support Anamorphic Squeeze) and my Video Capture Card's Playback window with the "Fixed Aspect Ratio" option disabled and resized to a 16:9 shape.

    1st, the Subtiles remain IDENTICAL whether or not the DVD Player is set in 4:3 Letterbox or 16:9 Wide Mode. On a Widescreen TV or Display with Anamorphic Squeeze, the subs are stretched horizontally along with the rest of the picture which explain why many films use a font similar to say "Arial Narrow" so the letters don't look too fat once stretched.

    Now the problem is, since they don't have much control on the vertical positioning of the text, it would be a good idea to include 2 subtitle streams, one framed for 4:3 and one for 16:9. Or better yet, it would have been cool if there were some sort of a "Vertical Offset" option for subtitles to allow text to be positionned correctly in Anamorphic mode without having to include 2 streams. So the only possible solution would be to have players that allow to put a vertical offset manually so that the subs would be scrolled upwards by about 60 pixels to get out of the lower black bar.
     

Share This Page