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Discussion in 'DVD' started by DaViD Boulet, Mar 31, 2003.
Just noticed this as dvdfile today:
The Warner Home Video press release--the one transmitted on news wires and archived at its press web site--says nothing about Giant being anamorphic. This is all it says about the transfer:
The Giant VHS in widescreen is NOT 2.35:1. It's 1.66:1.
Four years ago I asked why 1.33:1 were not released with anamorphic transfers. Someone (my search does not go back that far) said that you would "lose" resolution, in doing so. Anyone? Is it 'funny', that anamorphic ( and DTS ) STILL comes up on Spell Check, on this site!?!
Everything, anamorphic or not, is contained on a 720x480 canvas. The point of anamorphic is that there is less void (or black bars) by putting more picture information within the frame.
WHV just moved a new "Giant"-only press release today on Business Wire. Although it notes the 1.66:1 OAR, again it does not contain any language about the DVD being anamorphic.
I think I did these #'s right... based on a 640x480 frame (I couldn't do the math with rectangular pixels, but it should all work out about the same): If you take a 1.66:1 frame and letterbox it, you get an image that is 640x386 -640 X 386 = 247,040 pixels If you take a 1.66:1 frame and put it in a 16x9 (853x480) frame, the image is now 796x480. But after the anamorphic process (squishing the 853x480 frame to a 640x480 frame) you now end up with a 598x480 image. -598 X 480 = 287,040 and 287,040 / 287,040 = 1.16 So I believe (if I calculated correctly) that's a 16% increase in resolution.
My Giant DVD is anamorphic 1.78:1, which is probably what the new one will be. I wonder whether they will have the nonskippable opening by Stevens Jr.
I'm personally hanging halfway on the fence regarding the issue of 1.66:1 anamorphic transfers. I recently purchased a 4:3 Sony 40XBR800 model (jaw-dropping picture quality!), which has an auto 16:9 compression mode, and spent quite some time examining the differences between anamorphic and 4:3 letterboxing modes. As we all already know, with transfers at 1.78:1 an above, the anamorphic transfer provides superior resolution. Also, the "frame" content (the entire image you see) is exactly the same whether it is anamorphic or 4:3 letterbox, it's just sharper when viewed anamorphic. But there IS a noticeable difference in the frame content with 1.66:1 transfers — at least on these 4:3 Sony XBR sets — depending upon whether the player is set to "anamorphic" or "4:3 letterbox" modes. I have spent the past couple of days examining my 1.66:1 16x9 enhanced DVDs, and in every instance, watching the transfer via the "4:3 letterbox" mode yields more picture information on the top and bottom of the frame than watching it "anamorphic." In every instance. Here are a couple of 1.66:1 frame comparisons I made. The first example is from "Tarzan," the second from "Horror of Dracula": These two images exactly represent my experiences with 1.66:1 transfer (whoops, just noticed that my images are at two slightly different sizes, but no matter... they are still accurate). Onwards... With my player set to "4:3 letterbox", I see the entire 1.66:1 frame (as shown above). However, when I set my player to the "anamorphic" setting, the image is cropped on the top and bottom to 1.78:1 (the yellow framing line). So my choice is either 1) seeing the proper framing, or a 2) viewing a cropped image with has slightly higher resolution. Using "Horror of Dracula" as an example, the film's framing is already extremely tight - viewing the film in anamorphic mode results in heads being cut off at the top of the frame (it's extremely distracting, and is a very common complaint for those who view the film anamorphically). In 4:3 letterbox mode, this isn't an issue — heads usually remain intact and in frame. I have seen the references here (and elsewhere) to the windowboxing effect that is supposed to protect the entire 1.66:1 frame, but no such "side bars" appear on my setup (trust me, I checked... very thoroughly). When viewing anamorphic sources, the Sony "ignores" the black bars so that the rasters are assigned solely to actual picture information - it's very possible that this includes side banding as well. But the fact remains, on my setup, every anamorphic 1.66:1 transfer I've examined thus far is being cropped to 1.78:1 (16x9) somewhere along the line. I have come across postings from other people noticing this identical effect, all of whom have 4:3 setups with a built-in 16:9 anamorphic mode (i.e., the Sony XBR models), wondering why this is occuring. But I have yet to see anybody come up with a proper explanation. Most of the folks coming up with the explanations have been viewing these materials on a widescreen set rather than these 4:3 Sony setups, and are obviously having a difference experience for whatever reason. But what I've been able to determine with MY setup is essentially what I already mentioned — since a 1.66:1 frame is larger than that of the standard 16x9 framing (1.78:1), the anamorphic encoding outputs the image to the "required" aspect ratio by cropping off the top and bottom. A simple comparison between the two modes proves that the cropping is real and occurring... no magic tricks involved. Still, no matter the cause, that leaves me with the same dilemma... watch a 1.66:1 DVD in anamorphic mode for slightly increased resolution, or switch to 4:3 letterbox to view it with its proper intended framing? Frustrating... Fun fun fun...
Jeff K, that does sound like a hardware problem with Sony's 16x9 implementation. The pillar boxes will be hidden in the overscan on most TVs.
Jeff K - HORROR OF DRACULA is most definitely a 1.78 transfer, not anamorphic 1.66; I confirmed this on my projector as well as two different computer and DVD-ROM drives. There are no pillar-boxes on the left & right and it fills the computer DVD player window perfectly, whereas a 1.66 anamorphic transfer always has left & right pillars.
What's probably happening is that you are losing a little picture information at the top and bottom due to overscan. Overscan doesn't only occur on the left/right sides. It occurs on all four sides of the image including top and bottom. In the 4:3 letterboxed version the overscan portion is taken care of in the black bars. While in the anamorphic image there aren't any black bars on the top and bottom. Compare a 1.78 image (not just a 1.66) and I bet you will see the same effect. If you can reduce the vertical overscan without distorting the image, then hopefully this phenomenon will go away.
I'll bet $10.00 to Cancer Research that Warner's 2-Disc of Giant is matted at approximately 1.78:1 and is anamorphic... Gordy
FYI: This thread seems to copy (and extend) most of the discussion in this thread, as far as the Giant part is concerned. I hesitate to merge these two, however, because of the slightly disjunct content. Cees
First off, many thanks for all your replies. As you've all figured out, this phenomenon was frustrating the hell out of me, and I thought there wasn't anything I could do to correct it. But thanks to your help, I actually DID come up with a solution — one that completely eliminated the cropping!!! It turned out to be a minor issue with the VVEGA, and not my DVD player or the encoding on the disc. Plus on the side, I learned a few new things about the anamorphic world thanks to your folks! (I may have been an LD/DVD reviewer and consultant for ~20 years and an editor, but there is always room for us "experts" to learn new things — and anyone who knows "everything" and claims otherwise is full of it... ) Onwards... With regard to the "pillarboxing," guys, I do understand that it's generally hidden by overscan on most sets. However, the Sony VVEGA's have an outstanding Service Mode (not accessible to normal users, and not in the manual) that lets you configure 520 different settings/options. Through that, I am able to change the screen geometry in far too many ways: scaling, overscan, etc. I only did this with few random 1.66:1 titles, but I was unable to find ANY evidence of "pillarboxing" in those titles I checked. Of course, it is very possible that the "pillarboxing" is so slight that it can't even be detected when going through the Service Mode and changing the overscan/scaling options, but unlikely. It's more plausible that either a) the few titles I checked just weren't 1.66 pillarbox, but actually cropped to 1.78:1, or b) that the VVEGA just crops them off internally. But as Peter confirmed, "Horror of Dracula" definitely had no "pillarboxing." (I am not able to check out "Lilo & Stitch" since I haven't picked up the title yet... I am still waiting in the hopes that the SE will actually get released...) As Bill suggested, I compared a 1.78:1 transfer (between anamorphic and 4:3 WS modes), and as he surmised, I saw the exact same effect — on anamorphic mode, the top and bottom of the frame was again cropped. Hmmm... now that's an interesting revelation...