What is the purpose of anamorphic 1.66:1?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bart, Nov 15, 2003.

  1. Bart

    Bart Stunt Coordinator

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    I understand why widescreen movies are anamorphically enhanced on DVD, but is there any advantage to an anamorphic transfer for a 1.66:1 transfer? A movie with this aspect ratio will actually have black bars on the sides of the image on the DVD because it is not as wide as a 16:9 (1.78) image (you don't see the black bars on a 4:3 TV due to overscan, but on a PC or widescreen TV they should be visible). I guess my question is, is there any significant gain in picture resolution by the anamorphic transfer is this case (with small bars on the sides) verses a letterbox one (with small bars on the top and bottom)?

    I'm guessing a 1.66:1 aspect ratio letterboxed would wreck havoc on a 16:9 display since if you watched it in letterbox mode it would be windowboxed and if you watched it in zoom mode, the TV would chop off some of the top and bottom (unless widescreen TVs have a 1.66:1 zoom mode I don't know about). I think maybe there are a few questions buried in this post. [​IMG] Basically I'm just looking for clarification on this issue. Any help you guys could provide would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Bart
     
  2. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    Yes, you do have higher resolution with a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen than a 1.66:1 letterboxed, and it will look better on a 16x9 display encoded that way than as letterboxed. It's not a great difference in resolution, but it still makes sense.
     
  3. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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    There is still a substantial resolution gain to be had with enhancement of 1.66:1 transfers, but it is only about half of that gained with ARs of 1.78:1 or greater.

    The scaling issue is usually addressed on newer TVs, but it was a real problem on older sets like mine (and stayed that way until I put together a home theater PC).
     
  4. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Supporting Actor

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    There's one advantage. They get one additional sale. Me.
     
  5. Bart

    Bart Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert, what scaling issues were you talking about? Do you mean you had problems with letterboxed 1.66:1 DVDs? Also, can you see the black bars on the sides when you watch an anamorphic 1.66:1 DVD on a widescreen display? Thanks.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Bart: yes, you see the side bars on a properly calibrated 16x9 set. It's mainly a convience issue for 16x9 TV owners. I personally prefer the non-anamorphic transfers but it's not really a huge issue unless you're one of the ones inconvienced.
     
  7. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    If your w/s set doesn't have a 14:9 zoom mode, then to avoid cropping the picture your display will look like the "non-anamorphic" part of my sig.
     
  8. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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  9. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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    FYI if a home theater PC is used, non-enhanced 1.66:1 will look the same as enhanced will, apart from any deterioration due to the drop in effective resolution.

    Gotta love that TheaterTek! [​IMG]
     
  10. Wyatt_Y

    Wyatt_Y Stunt Coordinator

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    Grrrrr...... non-anamorphic 1.66:1 is a major PITA!!!!

    Unless you have some method to perform a variable zoom, the only way to see the whole picture is in 4:3 letterbox mode. 16:9 zoom cuts off the top and bottom - not a lot but noticable.

    I'd love to have an anamorphic 'Nightmare Before Christmas' and gladly take black sidebars!!!
     
  11. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Aside from the "convenience factor" for those owning 16x9 sets, as other posters have mentioned you *do* get a resoluiton increase pillarboxing a 1.66:1 image in a 16x9 frame vs "letterboxing" it in a 4x3 frame. That's because 1.66:1 is closer in shape to 1.78:1 than 1.33:1, so less space is wasted on "vertical bars" in 16x9 than is wasted on "horizontal bars" in 4x3.

    It makes a visible improvement...espeically once you step up to a larger RP set or front-projection screen.

    For some strange reason, Warner and MGM are the only two studios who don't "get it" with 16x9 1.66:1 mastering. [​IMG]

    -dave
     
  12. Aaryn Chan

    Aaryn Chan Supporting Actor

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    1.66 is almost 1.33 why didn't they stick with 1.33 or jump to 1.85?

    And do you dislike the DVDs (some) being 1.77 instead of 1.85?
     
  13. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    I doubt that there are many movies that would lose much in the slight crop from 1.66 to 1.78.
     
  14. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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  15. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    In a non-anamorphic NTSC transfer with no adjustment for overscan, a 1.66:1 image will be 720 x 384, or 276,480 pixels.

    In an anamorphic NTSC windowboxed transfer, a 1.66:1 image will be 676 x 480 pixels, or 324,480 pixels.

    The anamorphic transfer will have an additional 48,000 pixels.

    The non-anamorphic transfer will have ~85.2071005917159763% the resolution of the anamorphic transfer.

    However, if your television doesn't do the squeeze, the anamorphic transfer will be effectively 676 x 405, or 273,780 pixels.

    The anamorphic transfer will effectively have 2,700 less pixels.

    To be honest, however, 2,700 pixels is neligible when your dealing with a 345,600 pixel format.

    So basically, it doesn't mean a shit bit of difference to the average 4x3 tv user, but it means quite a good deal to the average 16x9/HTPC user.
     
  16. John Alderson

    John Alderson Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the numbers Adam. I crunched them for 1.66 transfers once, and came up with the same results. I didn't want to have to figure it all out again [​IMG]
     
  17. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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  18. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    David,

    What I meant was that most “flat” widescreen films should be mastered at 1.78:1 (with 16x9 enhancement).

    Granted, some movies were framed with 1.66:1 in mind. However, my contention is that cropping most of these movies slightly (to 1.78:1) in the telecine phase would not be a disaster (See Dr No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger as examples).
     
  19. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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  20. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    1.66:1 is actually exactly 25% wider than 1.33:1. That's a big difference.

    Vincent
     

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