What is this aspect ratio called?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Graham, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. Graham

    Graham Auditioning

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    I have just bought the Chris Botti DVD Region 1. When I play it on my 46"(16:9)Widescreen TV the picture appears to be 1.33:1 in WIDTH and 2.35:1 in HEIGHT.This leaves me with a fairly small rectangular picture in the middle of the screen.

    On some USA DVD retail Websites it is listed as a 1.33:1.

    Here in the UK it is listed as a 4:3 Full Screen (which to my knowledge is 1.33:1).The packaging does not state the aspect ratio either.

    Is this a FAULT with the DVD? I have messed around with the controls on my Toshiba TV and Arcam Diva 88 player but still the same small rectangle.

    I know I can stretch the picture to completely fill the screen but obviously you lose quality, on which is an already very poor picture (sound and content first class).

    Every one I ask just tells me to fiddle with my system.

    I own approx.100 DVD's and have never seen this before.

    Any one out there got an answer?
     
  2. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Hi, Graham, and welcome to HTF. I'm surprised nobody has responded to this question. first, I think it probably should really be in the Software section.

    Trying to answer your question, a picture can't have two different aspect ratios. In other words, it can't be 1.33:1 wide and 2.35:1 high, since the two numbers (ex, 1.33 & 1) are the ratio of width to height. A 1.33:1 image is 1.33 times as wide as it is high. A 2.35:1 image is 2.35 times as wide as it is high. Your Monitor is roughly 1.78:1 (16/9) so any image that has a ratio higher than 1.78:1 will have bars on the top and bottom, and an image with a ratio lower than 1.78:1 will have bars on the sides. There is no way to change that without either cropping or distorting the picture.

    If this disc you mention is 1.33:1, you will get bars on the sides, but if the monitor and DVD player are set up right, you will not get any on the top and bottom. This will happen any time you properly watch older movies that are (roughly) 1.33:1 or most any, but not all, TV shows made to date. Despite what an awful lot of salespeople say, the point of getting a widescreen TV is not to eliminate the bars, but to reduce them. The upcoming TV format, like you see on E.R. and Enterprise, among others, will fill the screen on your TV, as well as several movies. Most things you watch, however, will not fill the screen when properly shown.

    So why change the screen shape? You have three primary aspect ratios. TV up to now, and movies before about 1954 are mostly 1.33:1. TV is shifting to 1.78:1. Several movies are in the range from 1.66:1 to 1.85:1, and many movies are 2.35:1. Since Widescreen TVs (1.78:1) are roughly in the middle of all the most common ratios, that makes the best "happy medium" ratio for showing all ratios properly, while using the maximum, if not all of the screen all the time.
     
  3. Graham

    Graham Auditioning

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    Hello John,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I have noted all that you say regarding the 'Bars' being only at the sides. This is what I normally get when viewing all other 1.33 DVD's in my collection.

    I mentioned that the 'Chris Botti' DVD was the only one where I experienced the problem but I forgot that I also get the same size picture with 'Hooty & The Blowfish-Summer Camp With Trucks'.

    Do you or anyone else have any knowledge of this problem with either of the above mentioned DVD's or indeed with any other titles.

    As I have already stated I have fiddled with both the TV and the DVD player BUT I am sure that the problem must be with the discs as all other 1.33 exhibit the usual bars at the side.

    'DVD Box Office' Canada, say there is no problem with the disc even though I have not returned it.
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Graham,

    Are you saying that on this disc you get bars on the sides as well as the top and bottom?
     
  5. Graham

    Graham Auditioning

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    Hello John,

    That is correct. Bars at the top, bottom & sides

    Today I took the 'Chris Botti' DVD to my top-end Hi-Fi dealer for him to try out. He placed the disc in his DVD player and it displayed the same as mine. Bars at top and bottom.

    He says that this must be the way it was intended to be shown. I said that this is crazy, as you only get a small rectangle of a picture in the middle of the screen.

    He was as perplexed as I.

    As I stated in my last post, this also happens with the DVD 'Hooty & The Blowfish - Summer Camp With Trucks'.This is also supposed to be 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

    Am I going mad? There must be someone out there who has/is
    experiencing the same problem.
     
  6. John J Nelson

    John J Nelson Stunt Coordinator

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    Uh... it sounds like you're watching a non-anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer [​IMG]
    For some info on what an anamorphic transfer means, check out this site
    -- J.
     
  7. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    JohnRice,
    Sorry to be off-topic, but I'm curious to know which film your sig pics are from.
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Graham, it sounds like John Nelson mostly has it, except, of course, your disc is 1.33:1. 1.33:1 discs can't (or shouldn't) be anamorphic. My guess is you have your monitor set to "squeeze" the image on anything coming from that input. With anamorphic discs (which most are) that is correct, but is not correct with non-anamorphic discs. My guess is if you actually measure the side and top of the image and do the math, you are getting about a 1.6:1 image ratio due to the squeezing. You need to adjust the image setting for any non-anamorphic disc, which will include any that has a 1.33:1 image. You'll have to look into the manual to find out how to do that. It is really disappointing that the Hi-Fi dealer doesn't know this.



    Michael,

    The images are from Titus, which is a wild and pretty grim movie based on Shakespeare's first play "Titus Andronicus." It is an outrageous film, and not to everyone's taste, but one of my favorites.
     
  9. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  10. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Personally, I think that he may be watching Anamorphic Fullscreen. I know what all of you guys are thinking right now, but most of the Anchor Bay DVD-Extras use this method. When you put your DVD player in Full-Screen mode, the extras show up as fullscreen, and the whole 4:3 TV is used up, but if you put your DVD player in 16:9, then the picture is streched out, so then what I do, is I use the "Squeeze" trick (I have a Sony Wega) and thus, you get Anamorphic Fullscreen.

    It's just as Graham describes it looking. The picture doesn't look streched out, but there are black bars on all sides of the picture. For an example of what I'm talking about, please put in your Halloween 4 & 5 DVDs, and watch the extras (in 16 x 9 mode).
     
  11. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Sounds like a non-anamorphic DVD with your TV set to 4x3 or normal mode. You have to zoom if you want to fill the screen while keeping the correct aspect ratio.
     
  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Graham,
    (you can skip all this bullshit here and read the post AFTER this one for the answer, as I put in some legwork to get the to the bottom of it).
    If a title is WINDOWBOXED it pretty much means you have a NON-ANAMORPHIC title.
    windowbox - when black bars box in the picture on all 4 sides.
    anamorphic - intended for a 16x9 display. this can either be a regular widescreen (16x9) TV like you have, or a 4x3 TV in squeeze mode.
    non-anamorphic then means NOT anamorphic, or intended for a 4x3 display.
    Titles featuring a picture of 1.33 or thinner (if there are any) picture do NOT use anamorphic, so when we discuss anamorphic or not we really are only considering films/videos of wider aspect ratios (1.66, 1.85, 2.35, etc)
    simple enough for that I hope. [​IMG]
    First, do you own The Abyss? If so then this is another example of a NON-ANAMORPHIC disc. The W/S (widescreen) image is letterboxed (LBX) into a 4x3 image.
    If you send out a 4x3 image to a W/S display like your TV it will sit right in the middle. Great, that's normal (like TV shows). Bars on the sides.
    But if the image is then LBX inside that 4x3 area to begin with then you also have bars top and bottom.
    If this is what has happened, then you USUALLY solve this problem by using one of the TVs ZOOM modes. The set has several kinds for various distortions. In this case you would want to zoom with the most EVEN zoom the set has, which means it zooms in on height and width equally throughout the picture.
    Contrast this idea with other modes that sometimes stretch the edges more so the center of the picture is less distorted (for TV viewing usually) or some that shift the picture up (for subtitles in the black bars, etc).
    Now, just in case this isn't it (or if someone else reads this with similar problems), it is important to consider what your DVD PLAYER and TV think they are doing.
    Either device can modify the picture. You menu choices aren't just some absolute even though NORMALLY it's pretty much plug and play. This whole LBX 4x3 thing is one example where it gets screwy. [​IMG]
    Your first post didn't sound like a too flat problem (which streching a LBX wide without also zooming the height would cause). So I'll add this...
    If your image is VERY THIN, the following might be the problem
    Most (or all) DVD players in 16x9 mode (from the menu) will take a 4x3 image (LBX or just 1.33 AR anyway like TV shows) and put black bars on the side.
    It's possible for you to send this to the TV but then put the TV in 4x3 mode, thus adding even more black bars to the sides. Both the DVD player and the TV think they are each "fixing" your 4x3 into a 16x9 problem. The TV is taken a wide image (even though some of that is black bars, it doesn't know this) and putting it into the 4x3 area which is TOO THIN for a wide image.
    But a double fix means a very thin image. You are getting both guys adding black bars (kinda - might make more sense to think of each device squishing the image into a 4x3 space, and you get a double squish).
    Some sets/players prevent this. The TV MIGHT sense a 16x9 flag from the image and default into wide (full really for 16x9 sets) mode. Basically the TV sees that it's already getting a wide picture and doesn't know that what's in the image, black bars or anything.
    But if not...you can see what might happen.
    BOTTOM LINE
    Adding black bars to the top and bottom or to the sides are each ways of making an image fit into a display space. Anytime you do this, AND THEN have the display ALSO "fix" it you will get a double squish. If you make the image wide twice (LBX bars on top and bottom and then show on W/S TV) it's too flat, if you make the image thin twice (add bars to the side and then show in a 4x3 space or TV) it's too thin.
    Lots of talking but I wanted to be thorough in case I misread your question. [​IMG]
     
  13. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Being the kind of go getter I am [​IMG] , I went and looked up your boy and found a 5 minute sampler of the video was available online.
    Guess what... NON-ANAMORPHIC widescreen picture, or LBX in a 4x3 image.
    Thus, you will HAVE TO ZOOM or do without the size. Yes, zooming is not going to look great, but you won't be hurting the resolution because you never got the full resolution to begin with [​IMG]. That's why non-anamorphic images bug W/S TV owners so much.
    C'est la vie on this one. I feel your pain, but at least it's a music title and the music is what should matter most. [​IMG]
     
  14. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    If there are bars on all 4 sides- this is because it is non-anamorphic letterbox and your TV is in 4:3 mode. The bars on top/bottom are built into the video stream to format it properly for 4:3 TVs, and no measures have been made for 16:9 sets.
    You see, Anamorphic DVDS don't waste resolution on actually including the full bars in the video stream-- instead they use the full resolution available and allow the player to generate the bars for 4:3 tv users- leaving better reoslution for 16:9 set owners. These non-anamorphic titles, on the other hand, include the bars as part of the video signal...
    These non-anamorphic letterbox DVDs are just like lbx VHS tapes- the video is normal 4:3 format, with letterbox bars at the top and bottom recorded into the video signal. When played on a 4:3 set, it will be properly letterboxed with the bars at top and bottom. When you're playing on your set- if it formats it as 4:3 you will obviously have bars on the side generated by the TV for 4:3 material, and the video has bars at the top & bottom in the video stream- and thus you see bars on all sides, what you see.
    Most 16x9 sets have a zoom setting for this type of title. It fills the width of the image and then zooms away the built-in letterbox bars to maintain the proper shape and not losing any picture on your 16:9 set without wasting large screen real estate on bars that aren't needed for you. Which zoom mode you should use, I don't know your set, but someone here could likely tell you if needed.
    When you do zoom in, you're "losing" resolution- essentially blowing up the middle part of the picture over more space and cropping away the bars (which are only necessary for 4:3 tvs). You will quickly see the APPEAL of anamorphic enhancement on widescreen titles!
    -Vince
    PS: If you actually took this to a HI-FI dealer and he didn't realize this, the guy should be beaten senseless with large stick. There is nothing I hate more than people who are in the business as professional sales people and know less about it than even the average hobbiest.
     
  15. Graham

    Graham Auditioning

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    Hello to all,

    Thank you for all your help.

    I now, after reading all your comments, understand what this very irritating phenomenon is and Seth appears to sum it up very well.

    Just one little thought......

    I am continually being bombarded by advertisements and with the stock in retail outlets with WIDE SCREEN TV's. This is the way forward they say. Don't buy a 4.3, you will regret it they say. Then why-o-why isn't a very new DVD like 'Chris Botti's' optimized for Wide screen?

    As far as Vince states above that the dealer should be beaten for not being able to enlighten me, well this dealer is one of the best in the UK selling really top-end gear.

    Bring on the sticks Vince!
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I should have checked to see if your DVD is actually full screen. It would have made finding the solution much easier. Leave it to Seth, besides, I've been sick.

    Like I said earlier, it is completely inexcusable that the Hi-Fi guy didn't know about this.

    As far as non-anamorphic discs, you are right that there should not be any DVDs released that aren't enhanced. Amazingly, there still are a few of them. I know Indian Summer, which was released only a few weeks ago, isn't enhanced.
     
  17. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  18. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    You hold him, I'll hit him.
    [​IMG]
    Vince
     
  19. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    A person in his position not knowing, apparently, anything about that is something like a person who writes for a living not knowing how to spell "cat." The more I think about it, the more inexcusable it becomes.
     
  20. Graham

    Graham Auditioning

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