"The Omega Man" - Is it an anamorphic transfer?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by John Di Lauro, May 13, 2005.

  1. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    I just received a copy of this from an online retailer whose description states it is an anamorphic widescreen transfer.
    Their description also shows the cover art from the 2003 release, but the disc I received is the "new" cover art (actually a reissue of the aborted 1999 release, I think).
    The disc is also a flipper, I believe, with the P&S version on one side and the widescreen on the other. I think this edition was just released.

    The package description calls it "letterbox", however, and "enhanced for widescreen TVs". Is this WarnerBros jargon for "anamorphic"? I am confused because letterbox is typically used to mean something else. I have not opened the package yet because if this is a different transfer than the 2003 release I will start looking for a used copy.

    Can anyone shed some light on this? Why the heck do these companies keep re-releasing the same titles with slight variations? Perhaps there were enough requests from people who wanted "the whole screen filled up", hence the P&S version. I would prefer a disc without P&S since I'll never watch it, but as long as the other is the best transfer available I'll keep this disc.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    "enhanced for widescreen TVs" means anamorphic.

    Letterboxed can be either anamorphic or non-anamorphic. It simply refers to the fact that there are black bars. Sometimes when the term is used it implies non-anamorphic, but not always.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This dvd has an anamorphic widescreen presentation on it.








    Crawdaddy
     
  4. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks gentlemen, I guess this disc is a keeper.

    Still kinda baffled by the seemingly constant reissue of titles already released.

    John
     
  5. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    If it is the P&S on one side, widescreen on the other, then you have the version that was announced then withdrawn. The disc that finally came out was anamorphic widescreen only, dual layer, and some time later, the withdrawn versions started popping up in stores (with queries here about them potentially being collectable).

    If you have a large display, you may want to get the widescreen only release as it is encoded at a higher bitrate.
     
  6. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer

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    Thanks, Don. You just answered a question I was about to ask. I just came across this "older" edition on the shelf in a store and was wondering about that.
     
  7. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Don.

    This disc is supposed to be released on 5/31/05. The description I've read, though I can't find anything on the WB website, is that it is the dual format disc.

    I ordered it from amazon, whose description and graphics look like the widescreen-only 2003 version, the main reason I ordered from them. Other retailers show the 1999/2005 cover art.

    My guess is that amazon got a shipment of the new dics in advance and that's what I got, though it could be the old one.

    I do not have a large display at present. What size is the threshold where the bitrate differences might start to become noticeable?
     
  8. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    Sorry, I can't really answer this. I went from a 27 inch TV to a front projector and a six and a half foot wide screen, so it was very obvious (and expensive -- I ended replacing a bunch of discs). I don't have any experience with the inbetween sizes.

    You might get some responses if you post a question in the display devices area.

    Just out of curiosity, where did you see that Omega Man is being released on 5/31/05? I did a Google, and everyone seems to have the 2003 widescreen-only disc still available. Is Warners just dumping more of the double-sided discs? Strange...
     
  9. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    Does the older release have the extras that are in the new version, interviews, etc?
     
  10. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Don,

    Thanks, I'll try posting over there. Are these bitrates published somewhere in the technical specs on the DVD? How would one know which was which if 2 versions existed?

    Most online sellers I checked (buy.com and deepdiscountdvd.com come to mind) give a 5/31/05 release date. Some still show the cover art from the 2003 release but the description clearly states fullscreen/widescreen. As I mentioned, amazon's description was of the 2003 release but I got the other one. May I ask where you have seen the WS version advertised?

    Walter,

    I am not certain, but I think I read somewhere that the
    original release ('99 or '00, whenever it was) did not have the extras which were included in the '03 release. The copy I received does have these, which leads me to believe that it is not a leftover of the old release.

    John
     
  11. soop.spoon

    soop.spoon Supporting Actor

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    I wonder if the 5/31/05 release will be in a Keepcase?
     
  12. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    I found this at buy.com:

    "Release Date
    The release date shown on this page is not an error. It is the latest possible date that this product will be available for shipment through buy.com. Due to a price drop or other key merchandising event, the studio has decided to re-promote this title and assign a future release date even though it has previously been available for sale. Depending on our suppliers' existing inventory, the title may ship earlier - but certainly no later - than the release date shown."

    Warner Bros is selling the withdrawn version of Omega Man; this is not a new release. The thing that's misleading is buy.com has the widescreen art and deep discount DVD has the withdrawn art. They probably don't know the difference, so there's no telling what you'll get if you order from them. For this title, I'd suggest you go to a store and pick it out yourself.

    The withdrawn P&S/widescreen version has the purple cover with faces and Chuck Heston. I don't think this has the writer/actor intros, or the Heston SF essay.

    The widescreen only version has a white cover with a little drawing under the title, a dark band with the faces, and Heston. Amazon.com shows this version with the appropriate specs.

    As for bitrates, it's not published on the DVD. As a very rough rule of thumb, a two hour movie on a single-layer disc is encoded at about 3.5 Mbps. On a dual-layer disc, the average is about 7 Mbps. Many disc covers do indicate when it's a dual layer disc; the Omega Man disc has it beneath the box saying that the movie is in widescreen format, 16x9 enhanced.

    Since so many movies have been double and triple-dipped on DVD, you have to be a little cautious to make sure you're getting the version with the specs you desire.
     
  13. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Don.

    You are correct. The disc I received is the old one because it does not contain all the same bonus materials.

    To make matters worse, I think WB assigned the same UPC code to both versions, making it nearly impossible for the sellers to tell the difference.

    I am going to contact amazon and explain this to them. I kind of doubt they will guarantee they will exchange it for the disc described on their site (clearly the '03 release), but I will give it a shot.

    In the meantime, I'll check some local retail places and see what I can find.

    It's a feature I never use, but I think my DVD player has a bitrate display that can be turned on. Is this how you determined that the WS-only release had been encoded at a higher rate? Sorry to ask so many questions, but I am anxious to understand this technology better. I am still at a loss to understand the need to encode a flipper at a lower rate; dual-sided, dual-layer discs are fairly common I thought.


    John
     
  14. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    The term "flipper" is used for a disc where the movie is divided onto both sides of the disc (The Wild Bunch, for example). To watch the whole movie, you have to flip it over. Omega Man is just a double-sided disc.

    I've heard of players that display the bitrate, but I've never seen one. What I'm basing my ballpark figures on is personal experience encoding my own video and burning it to DVD-R, and that Warner Bros double-sided discs are typically a single layer per side. They're less expensive to manufacture than double-sided, dual-layer discs. So the widescreen-only Omega Man (dual layer) has twice the amount of space, and roughly twice the bitrate.

    Good luck with Amazon.
     
  15. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for setting me straight on the terminology.

    Contacted amazon. Explained as best I could, but got one of those canned responses indicating they really didn't read my message. They shipped a replacement which will in all likliehood be the exact same one.

    I'll let you know what happens.
     
  16. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, as expected, amazon shipped me the same thing.
     
  17. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    You have my sympathy (but you can't have my widescreen-only copy of Omega Man).

    Have you checked your local stores to see if they have it?
     
  18. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Don.

    Yes, I checked a few local stores but no luck. I may do some more looking this weekend. A few stores listed it but had none in inventory. I suspect that when they get a new shipment, it will be the "new" copy.

    I have also checked ebay. Same problem though, the listings show the widecreen only edition but when I emailed some vendors to confirm, the ones that bothered to respond said it was the full/widescreen.

    I saw a thread here where someone said the DVD format was being "dumbed down" in anticipation of the next format (Blu-ray, etc.). I suppose this flood of P&S discs is part of that. Too bad - I was really enjoying seeing all that extra frame I had missed all these years with TV and VHS.

    I'll keep chuggin' and see what I can find.
     
  19. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Actually, it's WB's jargon for "16x9 encoded"...as is the term "anamorphic"...since in reality there's nothing "stretched" on a digital DVD...just a 720 x 480 image with a flag indicating whether the image represents a 4x3 frame or a 16x9 frame...

    [​IMG]
     
  20. John Di Lauro

    John Di Lauro Stunt Coordinator

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    Good news - I was able to locate an excellent used copy on ebay.

    I suspect that the widescreen-only version of this disc is going to become hard to find pretty soon.
     

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