Should I be afraid to buy non-anamorphic titles?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin Porter, Apr 19, 2002.

  1. Kevin Porter

    Kevin Porter Supporting Actor

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    I've been looking into buying titles like "The Abyss" and "Everyone Says I Love You" but I'm really afraid for when I get a 16x9 television it'll look like crap. What should I do? Do I need to get one of those DVD players with the zoom feature? I'm in the dark on this one.

    ~Kevin
     
  2. Jefe Noche

    Jefe Noche Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin:

    I have a Toshiba HDTV and it has it's own "zoom" funcion. It "frames" non-anamorphic dvds perfectly. I also use this setting (theater wide 2) for "widescreen" cable broadcasts.

    As far as dvds are concerned anamorphic is allways better than non-anamorphic. That being said, some non-anamorphic transfers are better than many anamorphic trasfers. I don't own it, but I've read that The Abyss is as good as a non-anamorphic trasfer can get.
     
  3. rutger_s

    rutger_s Supporting Actor

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    The Abyss and Armageddon: The Director's Cut(Criterion Collection Edition) are the top two letterbox widescreen transfers so far.
     
  4. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I've heard the original Planet of the Apes looks very nice too for non-anamorphic.
     
  5. JohnJB

    JohnJB Stunt Coordinator

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    "some non-anamorphic transfers are better than many anamorphic trasfers"

    I don't know what set up you have and how good your eyesight is but in my experience on my 56" RPTV even the absolute worst anamorphic (i.e. Italian Dawn of the Dead 'Zombi') looks significantly better than The Abyss which I beleive is one of the very best non anamorphic DVD's.

    Obviously I'm not talking about the cleaness of the print, I'm talking about resolution and therefore enjoyment of the picture.
     
  6. Clint

    Clint Stunt Coordinator

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    The original Planet of the Apes doesn't look good. It could definitely benefit from an anamorphic enhancement.
     
  7. Brian McHale

    Brian McHale Supporting Actor

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    I recently got a 42" widescreen TV (Toshiba 42H81). This isn't as large as what a lot of people are watching, and I'm not sitting really close to it (10-12'), but I've seen some non-anamorphic transfers that looked as good as many anamorphic ones (specifically The Abyss and Office Space).

    Since you're losing resolution with non-anamorphic transfers, the main thing I notice with my setup is that using the Zoom feature on my DVD player is not nearly as satisfying with non-anamorphic; the resolution is not there to support using the TV to zoom the non-anamorphic image to fill the screen, then doing further zooming with the player.

    If you think you're going to eventually get a REALLY big widescreen TV, you should be concerned. However, if your setup will not be TOO large, or you won't be sitting very close to it, there's a good chance it will not seriously detract from your viewing experience.
     
  8. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    The key is to get a DVD player (such as the Panasonic RP91 or some JVC models) that can scale non-anamorphic DVDs to 16:9 format. This scaling is vastly superior to the simple raster expansion that the TV's ZOOM mode does. The difference on my 58" Pioneer Elite is like night and day (I have the RP91). It makes non-anamorphic discs like THE ABYSS look very good, albeit not as good as they could be if truly anamorphic.
     
  9. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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  10. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Is it safe for you to purchase non-"anamorphic" DVDs? Well, I have scores and scores of non-"anamorphic" widescreen titles in my library, and not one of them has hurt me yet. I feel completely safe with them in my house. [​IMG]
    (Nope, they don't look as smooth and filmlike as good 16:9-encoded discs, but you'd be surprised how nice some of them look.)
     
  11. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    If you are intending to purchase a widescreen TV, then I would highly recommend avoiding non-anamorphic titles.

    You'll just wind up upgrading to the anamorphic version in the future. Depending on how many non-anamorphic discs you have in your collection, that could be an expensive task.

    I stood firm and only purchased anamorphic titles for 2 years until I finally owned a widescreen TV. I've never regretted the decision.

    I passed up on some great titles because of it, but I always found something else to purchase anyways. And during those 2 years, alot of those non-anamorphic discs were re-released with anamorphic transfers.
     
  12. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Fortunately, nearly 100% of new releases are anamorphic unless they are released in pan and scan. I guess the issue is with older titles and you really have to wonder when these will be re-released. Studios have been VERY slow at re-releasing some of their original DVD titles from 1997 and 1998. As long as the DVD is in OAR, I wouldn't worry about it too much for now. Unless you have HDTV, a decent non-anamorphic DVD is going to look better than anything else available until the anamorphic version comes out.
     
  13. Craig Cunningham

    Craig Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

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    I have eased up on my strict requirement that all widescreen purchases be enhanced for widescreen. There were a handful of films I just couldn't do without...
    12 Angry Men
    Graduate
    Great Escape
    Manchurian Candidate
    Planet of the Apes
    Psycho
    Some Like It Hot
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    Vertigo
    Wild Bunch
    Witness for the Prosecution.
    I will definitely get my money's worth out them before they are re-released as anamorphic titles. [​IMG]
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Same here, Craig. And I have all but one of the titles on your list.
     
  15. Matthew_S

    Matthew_S Second Unit

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    I've been careful not to buy any new non-anamorphic titles. It's getting hard because i'd really like a copy of Rounders, which is a non-anamorphic, bare-bones edition. I have a feeling we won't be seeing an update of this one for awhile so i might break down and get it. It's tough playing the guessing game with new editions of dvds!!
     
  16. JohnJB

    JohnJB Stunt Coordinator

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    Glenn Heberle

    You suggest Panasonic RP91 to improve non-anamorphic transfers, what sort of outputs does this player have I thought only HDTV could see the benefit from progressive scan.

    Also I only have 25 non anamorphic DVD's (was 75 but I've upgraded circa 50 in the last twelve months) and I fully expect 90% of those to become available in anamorphic within a couple of years, so are there any other reasons to buy a progress scan other than inpatience.

    Craig Cunningham

    You might want to think about all region player as most of those films are available anamorphic (i.e. 16:9) in Region 2 (Europe)

    12 Angry Men

    Graduate (reference 16:9 transfer packed with x's)

    Great Escape (16:9 SE imminent)

    Manchurian Candidate

    Planet of the Apes (16:9)

    Psycho (16:9)

    Some Like It Hot (16:9)

    To Kill A Mockingbird

    Vertigo (16:9)

    Wild Bunch (16:9 flipper)

    Witness for the Prosecution.
     
  17. Michael St. Clair

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    This was a minor reason, and my laserdiscs were a major reason, that I bought a 4:3 HDTV with a true 16:9 mode.
     
  18. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    I'm not, because I doubt I'll ever get a HD widescreen TV. I like my 6 foot tall Mitsubishi projection TV well enough. I might get one if my current TV craps the bed.
     
  19. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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  20. Brian McHale

    Brian McHale Supporting Actor

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    I just thought of an additional annoyance when it comes to non-anamorphic discs that should be fixed by getting a scalable DVD player: subtitles.

    With some (most?) non-anamorphic movies, the subtitles are shown in the letterboxing. When you zoom in on your TV, the subtitles are mostly/completely blocked off.

    Since the DVD player actually positions the subtitles, I'm hoping that, when I get a new player, it will be smart enough to put the subtitles where I'll be able to see them, even when zooming in on a non-anamorphic DVD.
     

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