Question for those who watch 4:3 TV DVDs on a 16:9 set

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by RichP, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. RichP

    RichP Second Unit

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    Hi all,

    Just had a question for everyone that watches 4:3 formatted TV on DVD shows on a Widescreen set.

    What player do you use and how do you set it up?

    Myself, I use a Panasonic RP-91 (in fact the only reason I still have it is exactly for watching 4:3 formatted material) and I set it to display the 4:3 frame within a larger black-pillarboxed progressive scan 16:9 frame.

    I set my Toshiba 57HX83 to Full mode and it works very well with the Panasonic and those settings.

    Just wondering what everyone else does? Do you watch with the gray pillarboxes, or do you use a stretch mode or what?

    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    I also use the Panasonic's players' "4:3 Shrink" function with my new Infocus 4805 16:9 projector. (My previous projector was an Infocus X1, which was a native 4:3 projector with a 16:9 mode. So ... I simply placed that projector in 4:3 mode for 4:3 material, natch!)

    For example, when I view my Star Trek TV discs now, I leave my new 4805 in its "16:9 mode", and then, with the Panasonic in the "4:3 Shrink" mode, manually adjust the player's zoom to 1.16. This gives me an approximate aspect ratio of 1.66:1, with fairly small "pillarboxing" columns on the side of the 16:9 frame.

    The framing actually looks surprisingly natural this way; especially so with the ST: TOS discs (which I suspect may have been shot on film protected for 1.66:1.)

    I also tried, just for the heck of it, the 4805's "Letterboxing" aspect ratio mode; but it was quite obvious very quickly that I was losing way too much off the top and bottom. This mode should be reserved for non-anamorphic widescreen DVD presentations.

    As an alternative, I've found that activating the 4805's "Overscan" mode while in the "Native" format aspect ratio provides around a 1.42:1 aspect ratio which does a really good job with TV shows with "tight" framing, (or older 1.37:1 movies). In this mode I would need to set the Panasonic DVD player's 4:3 aspect ratio control to "Normal".

    I guess the bottom line is that I enjoy having all this versatile aspect ratio control which the combination of the Panasonic DVD player and my 16:9 projector provides.

    (BTW, you haven't lived until you've viewed the Star Trek: TOS episode "Amok Time" in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio on a 96" screen!)
     
  3. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I watch with TV-generated gray pillarbox bars.I watch too much TV on DVD to risk burn-in with black bars.
     
  4. Randall Cyrenne

    Randall Cyrenne Stunt Coordinator

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    I generally stretch the picture, in "Expanded" mode on my Hitachi set. Once in a while, I will go with the grey pillars, or on special occasions make them black pillars, but usually I don't find the Expanded mode too much of a compromise. The Hitachi method works pretty well. It only gets more obvious when a circular object appears on the edge of the picture, or during horizontal pans. True, this happens frequently, but I use "Expanded" to prevent burn-in, and admittedly (to my slight shame) because I like to fill the screen. Even though I know I'm getting some distortion with the Expanded mode, it seems less distasteful to me than watching pan and scan movies. I know, it's not rational; but that's how I feel. [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Same here... except my 16x9 TV is a Toshiba 56H80. I find the gray bars too distracting, and prefer the black bars generated by the RP-91 -- they disappear in a dark room. The TV is 4.5 years old and there is no sign of burn-in. It is ISF-calibrated.
     
  6. RichP

    RichP Second Unit

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    No one else?

    I figured with all the TV on DVD watchers here, most of you had a 16:9 set or projector. Interesting.
     
  7. Jonathan_Clarke

    Jonathan_Clarke Second Unit

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    I have a SONY dvd player going into a Panasonic 42" plasma and I watch a LOT of tv box sets on it.

    If cinematography is an issue I use "normal" which puts the grey pillars on. Batman: the animated series is important enough to not mess with the aspect ratio.

    Other shows I watch in "Just" where just the sides are stretched. Star Trek looks great like this, especially DS9. It makes the sets look more expansive and creates the feeling of another world more than the 3X4 ratio. The only problem you get is distortion when the camera pans. But the Star Trek shows tended to lock down the camera so you rarely run into that problem.

    I tried zooming to letterbox but I agree you lose too much of the picture. For three camera set shows like Taxi it's ok but you lose resolution anyway.
     
  8. Stan Rozenfeld

    Stan Rozenfeld Stunt Coordinator

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    I couldn't deal with grey side bars, or with stretching the image. At the same time, I have always been concerned with burn-in. My solution was that I got myself a Samsung DLP TV which has no danger of burn-in. I just put it on 4:3 mode with black sidebars and enjoy the show.
     
  9. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I keep my Sony dvd player's 4x3 function set to 'Normal' most of the time and I keep my Infocus X1 set to 16x9. This results in me having to do nothing when watching 4x3 material, everything is scaled for me automatically.

    However, when I want to watch a dvd that's widescreen but not anamorphically enhanced, like Titanic for instance, I have to switch my player's 4x3 function to 'Full' and my Infocus to 'Full' as well. But that isn't too often so I just keep it the way i've described in my first paragraph as my default setting.
     
  10. Randy_M

    Randy_M Supporting Actor

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    I also watch using my Panny RP91 that generates the black bars on my Tosh 50H80. Every once in a while, I watch normally using the gray bars, and they seem blindingly bright to me.

    If my RP91 ever croaks, I hope I can find another machine that will do the same thing...
     
  11. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    I wish I had a player that generated black bars. I don't watch any 4:3 stuff on my Toshiba 57H83. I watch them on another TV. I know there's supposed to be a hack to turn the TV's gray bars black, but I wouldn't dare try it.
     
  12. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    I have a projector which shines a 4:3 image onto a screen which is 1:78:1. Above and below the screen is a deep black felt which absorbs the extra light that comes from 4:3 programs.

    So basically I am soft-matting all the 4:3 shows I watch.

    This is not so outrageous, given that most shows I watch are recent tv series which are already widescreen.

    But there are a few times (when watching older shows on DVD) that the top and bottom is being matted off, and sometimes - very rarely - this doesn't look good. Case in point, I find that animated shows like Family Guy or Futurama tend to need the whole 4:3 frame so I'll sometimes zoom out for those, effectively pillarboxing it. But most live action shows turns into 1:78:1 very easily, and I expect that most old tv shows will eventually air this way anyway.
     
  13. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Second Unit

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    I stretch the older TV shows I watch, for the simple reason that I figure they were meant to be seen on a TV screen, and I've got a TV screen, so what th' hell, let's fill it, regardless of ratio. It's only TV.

    All theatrical "full screen" films, though, including cartoons and comedy shorts, are viewed with black bars on the side.
     
  14. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Laurence,
    just food for thought, but those responsable for making television shows put just as much effort into framing their shows as those who make theatrical material. The compositions are still important regardless of media, theater or television.

    That said, by stretching 4x3 material to fill a 16x9 screen, you aren't really altering the composition any, your just distorting it somewhat on the sides, so there's nothing wrong with that I suppose.

    However I just wanted you to know that simply because something is on tv and was meant to be seen on tv, doesn't mean that it isn't worthy of consideration. Just a friendly FYI. [​IMG]
     

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